Other Technical Articles

Auro Parts Technical Articles

Home >> Technical Articles >> Labotek Drying Technology Provides Ultimate Energy Efficiency
Labotek Drying Technology Provides Ultimate Energy Efficiency
Time: 2017-04-19
Both quality and cost are the important factors in plastics processing. Energy efficiency is the pole with which they keep their balance. Labotek has been ahead of this market trend for a long time, identifying that ensuring the highest standard of energy consumption management in materials handling, and drying in particular, can benefit the entire plastics processing value chain and offer customers the attractive prospect of a rapid return on investment.
Labotek launches its innovative Gravi-Dryer, drying technology that only uses the energy required for consumption, providing a solid return on investment and ultimate energy efficiency. 
Gears are synonymous with control and therefore it is no surprise that precision plastic injection-moulded gear manufacturer Winzeler Gear did not wish to sacrifice control of its costs in its pursuit of productivity gains and the highest possible quality. The company's attitude to creativity is apparent right from entering its building in Chicago, where stunning 'gear art' rushes up to meet visitors in a riot of colour and shapes, and it is this artistic flair that makes Winzeler think differently about design and manufacturing. Winzeler is open to intelligent solutions for automation and its plant is a well-oiled demonstration of this. The company first invested in a Labotek materials handling system back in 2002 and since then, Winzeler has built on this system step by step.
Labotek's drying, dosing and conveying system at Winzeler has been treated to the Gravi-Dryer upgrade, which tracks the filling and discharge of plastic raw materials in the most energy efficient way possible with accuracy at plus or minus 0.5 per cent and full control and tracking for material consumption per hopper. What’s more, the system includes an SQL database, which stores raw material process values allowing Winzeler and other Gravi-Dryer users to secure the track record of its processes. 
As every injection moulder is different, Labotek’s technology is able to be optimised to provide solutions to a range of challenges. Ultra Reflex presented an interesting proposition for the materials handling innovator. Based in a small town in Germany's industrial heartland of Baden-Württemberg, Ultra Reflex injection moulds safety reflectors and optical components, and with 12 injection moulding machines at its plant - some of which are equipped with all-electric drives - the company is directing its investment in keeping its busy production line up to date.
Because Ultra Reflex' products are manufactured from optical or lens-grade resins such as PC, PMMA, amorphous PA and transparent polyolefins COP and COC, the onus was on finding materials handling solutions that would treat the materials with care, ensuring the materials are consistent throughout the supply chain. Having 12 separate drying systems, however, put pressure on the company in terms of upkeep, so General Manager Marcus Steiner landed on a solution that could do the job of multiple drying units in a single central dry air generator system.
Using Labotek's Gravi-Dryer technology, the Desiccant Flex Dryer (DFD) Series - which supplies up to 450 m3 per hour of dry air for ten drying hoppers - is equipped with load cells. This means that instead of a volumetric level control reporting different fill weights depending on the bulk density of the material, the system can adapt if the machines are running at different speeds, taking into account rising or falling material usage.
The dry air generator is regulated by frequency to provide the exact amount of airflow required and the process air directed at the drying hoppers is heated up using a heat exchanger from the cooling of the compressed air unit, which provides a consistent hot water temperature of 70 degrees Celsius. This Labotek External Heat Recovery (EHR) brings customers energy savings of up to 85 per cent. EHR utilises external hot water from compressor cooling or other plant processes, transferring this energy into the Labotek drying system through efficient air and water heat exchange devices.
The central material handling system is overseen by the central Labo-Net control centre, which comprises a visualisation of the image, overdrying protection and Labotek Energy Savings Systems (LESS) solutions including frequency regulated vacuum stations, adaptive air flow regulation and an SQL database. Moreover, Ultra Reflex has configured its system to enable remote servicing via a VPN connection for up to three central DFDs and stores 500 recipes in its material database. The control allows to store and preset drying parameters as recipes centrally. The control will only allow the conveying of material to the machine if the drying quality needed is reached. All process and drying parameters are documented, alarms are stored and the system is able to record the energy consumption. With that, a comprehensive traceability is ensured.
Source: http://labotek.com