Drying and preparing materials ideally for the injection moulding process is essential for high production efficiency, while also ensuring costs are kept to a minimum.
Piovan has designed, manufactured and installed a complex materials handling system to meet the exacting specifications of a leading North American injection moulder that involved its Modula drying systems, as well as Easylink automatic coupling stations, Quantum blenders and Pureflo filterless receivers – all controlled by Winfactory 4.0. The Nordson Medical Fluid Management Facility operates 48 unattended injection moulding machines and a complement of robots which mould, assemble and package 1.2 million parts per day in a large clean room operation.
Nordson Medical says that it required a materials handling system that met its business needs. The plant runs lights-out, which is key to the business. Lights-out manufacturing is a mind-set for processing. It starts with picking the right equipment, then following a good preventive maintenance programme with tight tolerances on everything, then training on all the equipment to make sure everyone knows how it works. Part design and tool design are also key to the success in the lights-out environment, says Nordson Medical: when everything comes together and there is a solid, validated process, there is not much tweaking to do.
The plant is set up on the philosophy that if a part is rejected, it is kicked out, and the machine resets itself and keeps running. If many are rejected or there is a problem with the moulding machine, the machine shuts down while others keep running. Everything is recorded, so the problem can be solved in the morning.
The ERP (enterprise resource planning) system provides a wide range of custom production to pull any material from any hopper to any machine in an automated way with no manual intervention. The Winfactory 4.0 system is based on OPC-UA (Open Platform Communications-Unified Architecture) and can connect all Piovan machines, as well as equipment from other manufacturers. It also optimises energy consumption, collects data needed to validate medical products and interfaces with the plant’s management system.
Read the complete article published on Injection World.