Coded material assignment with RFID-technology

METROCONNECT U/C – motan-colortronic’s new coupling system


With the new METROCONNECT U/C coupling system, motan-colortronic is introducing a high quality, manually operated coupling station for pneumatic conveying systems, optionally as either an uncoded version (METROCONNECT U), or as a coded version (METROCONNECT C) with the maintenance free RFID-technology. The main benefit: The uncoded version can be retro-fitted to a coded version at any time. Additionally, older coupling systems can be extended with METROCONNECT C independent of manufacturer. Not only do coded coupling stations prevent coupling errors, they are often necessary if material tracking, validation, or certification is required.

In machine dedicated conveying systems, every single processing machine is assigned a conveying material feedline. The connection of the pipe to the different material sources occurs via a coupling station, which enables simple and flexible material changes. However, the manual switching of uncoded couplings is a latent source of error, which can have expensive consequences if the wrong material is conveyed to a machine.

With the new coupling system METROCONNECT U/C, motan-colortronic is offering a flexible concept to the processors.  The connectors and robust supports on the coupling table of the standard version can be easily and clearly labelled. The lids of the couplings, as well as the lock hooks, are spring assisted, so making handling simpler.

The coded version of the coupling system, METROCONNECT C, is equipped with RFID-technology. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification, a contact-free identification process. RFID-systems consist of a data storage (also called transponder or “tag”), as well as a reading/writing unit (sensor). The systems operate with weak electromagnetic waves which are transmitted from the reading unit. When the transponder is within range of the reading unit, bidirectional communication begins.

Motan-colortronic has equipped the hose couplings of the coded METROCONNECT C coding system with a swivel grip handle with an integrated tag. The lids of the coupling supports are also fitted with a tag. The reading/writing sensors are built in to the casing of the coupling supports. The swivel grip handles of the hose couplings have the advantage, that the transponder can be in the correct position for the sensor without having to turn the material hose itself. There is a removable cover on the coupling holders. Behind this is an LED light which signals operation or data exchange which is helpful for service work.

The coupling system is controlled, monitored, and configured with the METROCONNECT controls. These can be connected to the conveying controls METROnet and a visualisation via Ethernet. Up to eight blower lines (vacuum systems) can be configured with the METROCONNECT controls. A maximum of 96 loaders and material sources, as well as up to 125 coupling points can be connected to each blower line. If required, an extension of up to 250 coupling points is possible.

The mostly self-explanatory operation offers extensive monitoring and diagnostic possibilities. The operational state for every material outlet can be viewed via a status report. The reconfiguration of the sensors and transponders is also possible through the METROCONNECT controls.

motan is offering the METROCONNECT C coupling system completely configured ex-factory on request. The coupling system is also interesting for processors who may wish to change existing coupling tables when in the process of updating existing systems: Independent of the manufacturer, the METROCONNECT C coupling system can be adapted to older coupling systems.

In comparison to conventional systems such as barcode or laser marking, RFID-technology offers significant advantages. Transponder data can be read or written by the sensor without direct visual contact . Additionally, the technology supports production safety, because operation errors due to incorrect source/destination connections can be reduced.