The requirement to convey materials efficiently, safely and as rapidly as possible is vital for a successful injection moulding operation. Machinery manufacturers are designing cost-effective and versatile materials handling systems to meet the need for flexibility in the moulding shop, and ancillary suppliers are ensuring that materials delivered to the injection moulding machine are in the required form and the correct amount.
Piovan is continuing to develop its Easylink automatic coupling stations to prevent cross-material contamination and ensure high production performance. The company says that widely used manual coupling stations are generally suitable for handling moderate workloads. But in the case of multiple uses, connecting flexible pipes to the right source and moving them as needed, can become a complicated and tiring task. In order to avoid errors, the pipes are coded. Managing a number of them can also create other problems, such as dirt that needs to be constantly removed from the system, and the use of connections and pipes that over time wear out and have to be removed and replaced manually.
Easylink is now available in three models - EL 20, EL 40 and EL 60 - with the number indicating the amount of sources/destinations manageable. The new range is equipped with solutions that guarantee a total absence of cross-material contamination, which eliminates the primary concern among users of automatic stations, says Piovan. The Easylink range has a device that thoroughly cleans the conveyor pipe when a different material is being handled on the next cycle. The coupling stations
have a single selection pipe - rigid and enamelled to handle polymers of all hardness grades – of a variable diameter (40, 50-60 and 76 mm) for small, medium and large capacities, from a few to thousands of kg per hour. Piovan has also recently installed a central drying and material handling system for Forteq UK at its Huddersfield site. The plant produces automotive components, such as engine mounts, engine timing system guides, air suspension pistons, door latch housings and mechanisms, precise gears for wiper-motors and HVAC housings. The company also manufactures high end and high volume technical parts using flame retardant PC/ABS grades for the gas meter and water meter sector, utilising twin-shot moulding. The materials handling system supplies over 30 injection moulding machines. Forteq UK processes more than 1,000 tonnes of polymer each year, including glass-filled engineering grades such as PBT, PA66, PA12, PPA and PPS for technical components. Precise drying and handling of the polymer is a critical phase of the process as many of the components are functional and operate in demanding environments. The installation is part of a €5m investment in new technology and lean manufacturing. Piovan says that the drying system will reduce Forteq’s carbon footprint and lower energy consumption by 30%, as well as being a substantial part of its environmental continuous improvement plan.
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