Central material supply under difficult conditions
“Just within six months prior to start-up of the motan line, we had processed around 140 different materials, among them large amounts of special ones, such as PTFE-filled polyimides, polycarbonates, highly filled and reinforced PAs and very complex ground recyclate” states Managing Director Martin Burwinkel. This is due to the company focus on development and production of components with special features, which not every mouldmaker and moulder wants or can realise. An increasing number of injection moulding machines called for automation of material supply, also because the next stage in expansion with large production centres is already underway.
motan-colortronic and installation partner KFW planned, delivered and installed the entire materials supply line for the whole of the vast production site, which is separated by a public road, to feed almost 100 injection moulding machines in several production halls and including conveying equipment, drying plant and control technology. Several existing drying systems from other producers were fully integrated within the conveying and control technology from motan colortronic. Staff from Burwinkel undertook part of the pipeline installation. This work was also scheduled to fit in within overall project planning.
Ground recyclate consisting of agglomerated materials with different particle sizes and shapes, as well as soft and fibre reinforced fractions with significant differences in density, presented extraordinary demands on the conveying equipment and pipelines. They were nevertheless fulfilled at Burwinkel by standard components within motan colortronic’s Metro line. The granulators for ground recyclate are directly integrated within the line. As the conveying equipment for the version of the line supplied has two intakes as standard, there is no need for diverters to separate transport of virgin and recycled material. A specific type of automatic cleaning works reliably and prevents system disruption, also with critical materials.
Additional driers and conveying can be equally smoothly integrated within the line, as well as new injection moulding machines. The entire line is controlled by a CAN-Bus system: so only one cable had to be laid throughout the entire production area, connecting all machines and driers. Subsequent expansion or transfer of machines in connection with plant reconstruction is possible with further branching-off from the cable. The two control units, designed as web panels, can also be freely positioned wherever desired. They run on any PC via an Internet browser and so do not need any special hardware. Burwinkel has connected two control units with existing PCs in the two offices used for production planning, from where they monitor and control the entire line.
Obtaining better quality faster
A key part of the line is the coupling station combining material provision and drying requirements. Which material should run through which conveying line is pre-selected by the operator on the station’s autonomous control system, according to the production plan. Allocation of source and destination within the control system prevents material flow if the wrong line is connected. There is therefore double assurance to prevent incorrect conveying.
Vacuum purging is integrated, installed directly under the drier hoppers, so it can used rapidly and efficiently. According to the operator, cleaning of the system is also simple: he needs around 10 minutes for it to ensure contamination of subsequent material is prevented.
With an average of 15 to 18 machines supported by the operator at Burwinkel, there has been a reduction of one to one-and-a-half working hours per day with the new line. The time set free can be applied to measures to increase quality aspects associated with production processes.