Material logistics at injection molders are characterized by very different production lot sizes, a broad range of materials, and recycling materials that are difficult to convey. A central conveying line with CAN solves these problems.
“JUST WITHIN SIX MONTH 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,” said Managing Director Martin Burwinkel about his injection molder plant. This was due to the company’s focus on development and production of components with special features, which not every mold maker and molder wants or can realize. An increasing number of injection molding machines called for the automation of the material supply.
Motan Colortronic and installation partner KFW planned, delivered, and installed the entire material supply line for the whole of the production site, which is separated by a public road, to feed almost 100 injection molding machines in several production halls. The supply line included conveying equipment, a 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 the 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, present unusual demands on the conveying equipment and pipelines. They are fulfilled by standard components within Motan Colortronic’s Metro line: The granulators for ground recyclate are directly integrated within the line. As the conveying equipment 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 disruptions, also with critical materials.
Additional driers and conveying can be integrated within the line, as well as new injection molding machines. The entire line is controlled via a CAN system: only one cable had to be laid throughout the entire production area, connecting all machines and driers. A subsequent expansion or transfer of machines 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 a PC via an Internet browser and do not need any special hardware. Burwinkel has connected two control units with existing PCs in two offices used for production planning, from where they monitor and control the entire line.
A key part of the line is the coupling station. It combines 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. The allocation of sources and destinations within the control system prevents material flow if the wrong line is connected. This double assurance prevents incorrect conveying.
Vacuum purging is installed directly under the drier hoppers, so it can be used rapidly and efficiently. According to the operator, cleaning the system is also simple: it needs around 10 minutes to ensure subsequent material will not be contaminated. 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 Motan Group, with its headquarters in Konstanz on Lake Constance in Germany, was founded in 1947. As a provider of sustainable material handling, the company is active in injection molding, blow molding, extrusion and compounding, in-line systems, and chemicals. Part of the application-orientated product spectrum are modular systems solutions for storage, drying, and crystallization, conveying, dosing and mixing for the plastics manufacturing and processing industries.
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