Moretto provides a complete system to IAC

IAC Group, a global supplier for the automotive sector, set up a new production site in Bals, Romania. Partners for this project were Germany-based machine supplier KraussMaffei that installed several injection moulding machines (500/600-tonne CX series and 650-tonne MX series) and Italian auxiliary equipment supplier Moretto that supplied all the equipment for storing, feeding, drying, material dosing as well as the integrated supervisory system.

Making it easy for operators

For material supply/feeding, Moretto installed large external silos and pipelines, while for material storage it installed the OKTOMATIK integrated system, which is an automated emptying station.

With the OKTOMATIK, the complete octabin is turned over by an automated lifting mechanism into a collection storage bin, with controlled storage filling of 12 tonnes/ hour of material. The handling of the octabins is undertaken by lift trucks (assisted or not) and the work phases are indicated by dedicated signalling. Moreover, a special barcode-recognition system, besides driving the operator during the managing sequence, prevents mistakes from occurring during the loading.

Furthermore, the equipment, especially that in contact with glass fibres, is made of a sturdy material. Thus, stainless steel anti-wear bends as opposed to glass bends are utilised. Also the pipelines are assembled with TRILOCK fixing systems that give a perfect fit and avoid material stagnation and dust in the clefts.

Material feeding with Kruise Kontrol

A recurring problem when feeding material through pipelines of varying lengths and when utilising soft materials like PP or PE is the formation of angel hairs. To solve this, material feeding is managed gently through a feeding pump controlled in frequency with Moretto’s Kruise Kontrol system. Based on respective specifications, each material is transported at its own feeding speed. The data is recorded in a centralised calculator. When the feeding has to travel over a long distance, the granules are carried through an empty and clean pipe. In a conventional pipe, the granule slows down and speeds up when it reaches the end. The inconsistent speed thus results in inefficiency.

Moretto says its Kruise Kontrol automatically manages the three phases, flattening the speed peaks during filling and emptying, with a constant medium speed that increases the pump performance and the granule quantity. It is said to operate just like the cruise control mechanism in a car, which maintains constant speed, even when the car is going on a slope.

Kruise Kontrol offsets possible inefficiencies as it checks each material’s cycle and when the suction unit is empty. At the same time, it reports either the need to clean the filters or a possible loss of vacuum, indicating where the loss is.

Kruise Kontrol provides a solution for the feeding of different materials through a unique pipeline. The conventional method would be to base the dimensions of the feeding line on the most difficult material and to envisage the worst case scenario, but it is not possible to guarantee quality. Kruise Kontrol can be described as a “real gentleman for polymers”, since it invites the granule on board and carries it to its destination with the highest comfort.

Manifold plate Dolphin

Moretto has installed its automated manifold plate Dolphin to distribute the stored material to the respective injection moulding machines. This manifold plate stands out for its exclusive arm mechanism. The positioning speed is 1 second for both the arms at the material and mould side.

Instead of motorised rotation, it uses a pneumatically-driven mechanism, which has been tested for a million cycles. Since it is a modular structure, it can be extended at the base without the need for any stoppages. Thanks to its seal rings, Dolphin assures a hermetic coupling of the arm, avoiding ambient air from contaminating dried materials and allowing for efficiency.

Optimal drying with OTX

One of the problems in a large plant is the correct sizing of a drying system. If it is too small, the high moisture level in the dried material could cause wastages. And if the drying system is too large it will not be energy efficient.

Faced with this challenge, Moretto installed its OTX (Original Thermal Exchanger) technology for drying hoppers. OTX has an internal geometry to solve material flow-down problems. The improved performance allows for 50% shorter drying time; 50% less process air and 50% reduced hopper volume. Plus, the payback of the system is 12 months. Furthermore, it uses a new stainless steel, shockresistant Spyro covering.

The new air distribution technology combined with the internal section allows for improved temperature distribution, assuring a uniform and progressive thermal treatment of the granule inside the hopper.

The modular X Max dryer produces the process air, assuring a constant airflow with a dewpoint of –65°C. The X Max is able to synchronise with the moulding process and thereby regulate the quantity of process air, taking into consideration the hourly production. Since the most amount of energy consumed in the drying system comes from the quantity of the process air to be heated, it saves on energy. Moreover, thanks to the modularity feature, it is possible to integrate other dryer modules with the existing assembly, thus avoiding costly investments.

Integrated with the X Max is the Flowmatik automated system for air distribution. A dedicated measuring instrument for air consumption and two self-adjusting valves ensure that the correct amount of airflow goes to the granules being treated. Thus, all the parameters given by the polymer supplier are able to be complied with, preventing over drying or polymer degradation and controlling increases in viscosity.

Regarding the preparation of the formulation, the dosing units are placed directly on the injection moulding machine throat, thus saving floor space. This type of installation requires efficiency and precision during the dosing phase, and also needs to be vibration-free. Thus, Moretto installed the Gravix gravimetric dosing units that can dose up to four components, in a free-hanging load cell with digital process control.

The dosing hoppers, with a patented eyelid discharge system, are said to be up to six times faster than conventional guillotine-slide gates and provide accurate dosing, with tolerances of about 0.001%.

The airtight mixing cell prevents contact between polymers and ambient air, a vital point when dried materials are used, and also prevents dust from entering the machine.

Finally, to allow an effective control of the systems, Moretto installed its Mowis supervisory system. Material management, material feeding with variable speed, drying and dosing are accessible by a PC. “It is not necessary for users to have particular skills because the Windows-based graphical user interface details the plant layout and, with object interfaces and texts, shows the actual conditions in the plant.”

In cases of emergencies, remote control is possible via an optional Ethernet-based network. Furthermore, with the Windows-based Mowis, it is possible to connect to other applications such as ERP and management production systems. It also assures a simple management of all the data from the Moretto equipment or the other equipment in the plant.

Though realised in a short period of time, the IAC project is still a work in progress. The next step involves the installation of six large tonnage injection moulding machines, equipped with the Mould Control identification system, with Infotouch touch screen panel control.

The Mowis system, with the integrated process control module and RFID technology, controls all the functions, assuring a process without human error and a real time control.


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