Drying and central material supply of the special kind

With the integration of external energy sources for the drying and the setting up of the central material supply motan-colortronic has realized unique solutions at the automotive supplier FKT.


FKT mainly assembles fabrics, nets, aluminum profiles - and plastic injection moulding parts - into complex assemblies at the location Pförring near Ingolstadt. In the last few years the injection moulding sector was completely rebuilt, in September 2015 there were eleven machines up to 3000 kN clamp force in use, further expansion is already being planned. From the start of the injection moulding, a system by motan for the material drying was installed.

As a distinctive feature FKT operates a cogeneration plant with wood chips combustion for generation of district heating, which also supplies several companies and buildings in the area. FKT also uses the low-cost district heating through a buffer tank for tool heating. In addition, the external heat supply was integrated into the granule drying. "We have accomplished this with motan-colortronic in the first expansion phase" explains CEO Guido Günthner. The drying system with 13 Luxorbin A drying bins of various volumes and a coupling station by motan-colortronic form the heart of the central material supply at FKT.

The energy supply of the drying system demonstrates high environmental expertise: A dryer of type Luxor A 900 feeds the drying bins with dry air, which is heated by the heat exchanger from the district heating supply. Only when temperatures above 80 degrees are required, does the temperature difference get generated by conventional electrical heating. For polyamide GF50 variants, for example, the difference is typically only 20 degrees. Some engineering plastics processed in smaller quantities require drying temperatures that are slightly over 100 degrees.

Despite this unusual configuration, the entire control and monitoring, including the one of the heat exchanger was mapped by mere configuration in the standard controller software of the motan dryer equipped with ETA plus technology. ETA plus automatically regulates the air temperature and volume depending on drying parameters and extraction volumes. The energy supply is thus continuously adapted to the actual demand - even with a reduced workload.

The exclusive use of the standard software - in spite of the very special conditions - creates investment security for the customer, since software updates and future enlargement do not require individual adjustments. There are already plans for connection to a central control center.

Simple infeed of ground material

FKT processes predominantly reinforced materials with high abrasiveness. Accordingly, the elbows of the conveyor system and the coupling station were made out of glass. Similarly, glass inserts are available in the drying bins to keep maintenance costs minimal and achieve high process reliability. The coupling station provides 13 inlets and six outlets. Occasionally, a total of five mini color dosing devices of motan are used, to be able to dose additives directly on the machines. These dosing units can be exchanged freely between machines, suitable adapters are available everywhere.

At FKT the use of ground material is the rule: Sprues are ground directly on the machines and added to the virgin material. Otherwise, a central grinding is used. The motan conveyor system sucks directly from the mill and routes the ground material into the ongoing processes. The Metro HCG conveyors used have two inputs as a standard feature, the controller can also use these in the standard. Additional switches are not required.

With 13 drying bins, FKT has comparatively high capacities and the ability of keeping a large part of the material available parallel with an optimum degree of dehydration. The typically small batch sizes of an average of only 4,000 to 5,000 pieces at FKT require an even faster and easier set-up than in other injection mould productions in order to keep costs under control. This especially applies to the central material supply: In addition to the possible diversity of materials in the system, the planners give special importance to fast cleaning, except for maintainability, expandability and the possibility of integration in the extraordinary FKT energy concept. When the material is changed, the system is completed sucked empty, via the extraction boxes below the bins they are emptied over a short distance.

Central material drying and supply are key building blocks for FKT's efficient injection moulding production. Their reliable, trouble-free and low-maintenance operation is an integral part of the expanded production with its exceptionally small series for an automotive supplier, which has been built up in the space of a few years.

FKT in Pförring

FKT predominantly delivers assemblies on average in rather small numbers to the Volkswagen Group and BMW. After changes in the ownership structure, the family business has realigned its strategic focus since 2008: The mere assembly operation changed in a few years into a system supplier of wide vertical range of manufacture and comprehensive development activity. Idea development, design, validation, production and assembling are typical for the most current products. This includes wind deflectors for convertibles, shading systems for passenger cars and mobile homes as well as a number other optically and functionally sophisticated assemblies that are produced in rather small series.