New feeder systems provide precision, convenience
Buyers in the market for material feeders checked out an array of offerings at NPE2018. At the show and in the months since, OEMs offering machines for operations both big and small have touted new equipment to satisfy users’ tastes for flexibility, precision and convenience.
At NPE2018, Brabender Technologie showed off Model FDDW, a series of new loss-in-weight feeders for liquids. With feed rates varying from less than 2 ounces per hour to several tons per hour, the feeders are customizable according to process requirements and the characteristics of the liquid they handle. Based on pump selection, two general options are available — Model FDDW-DKMP and Model FDDW-DZP.
The company says the feeders can be tailored for use for either laboratory or full-production processes.
Featuring an “S-design,” the feeders have a pump mounted above the weigh tank that draws liquids, such as additives, peroxides, or mineral oils for compounding operations, from their vessels. With the S-design, the pump is much closer to the weigh tank than it is in other models, which employ flexible, horizontal connections between the main components. According to the company, the change makes the feeders more accurate.
And, compared to other similar products, the company says Model FDDW has fewer parts and a smaller footprint. In addition, a heating option for the model is less expensive.
The feeders can handle materials with a wide range of viscosities.
A diaphragm pump is appropriate for substances with viscosities of less than 400 centipoise (cP). A gear pump is available for feeding substances of 400 cP to 5,000 cP; it is able to feed ingredients at high pressures and temperatures and maintains accuracy even at low feeding rates.
According to the company, Model FDDW is a good alternative to more expensive Coriolis flow meters and is easily integrated with dry-solids feeders.
Plastrac introduced at NPE2018 a cart that makes feeding on the go possible. Think of it as a drive-through, for materials.
Based on carts it’s previously provided as custom products, Plastrac’s cart-based blending system is especially suited for use by molders that juggle multiple short-run projects. It can accommodate one or more feeders with a shared blower system — all on wheels. The compact carts can be situated — and moved — among processing machines, saving time and space. For fast changeovers, all parts of the system are easy to connect and disconnect. They can even feed machines performing double-shot applications, such as LSR molding.
“Just-in-time manufacturing has put a lot of pressure on plastics processors to find ways to simplify setups and changeovers, especially on short runs,” VP Eric Bullivant said in a press release. “That led us to develop cart-based blending systems that could be easily moved, accessed, operated trouble-
free and shared between machines.”
The cart’s control system can handle as many as six feeders, including two off-cart disc feeders, and two pairs of on-cart resin and additive feeders. Operators can switch colors electronically.
Standard features include a blending funnel that works with even small-percentage additives and Plastrac’s new easy-to-use, touch-screen blending controller, which also debuted at NPE2018. Every feed hopper has an ultrasonic, noncontact, wireless sensor that ensures resin and additive levels are adequate.
Each cart is tailored based on customer needs.
Moretto showed its new DPK continuous loss-in-weight feeder at NPE2018. Ideal for extrusion applications, the compact, gravimetric precision feeder can be used for intermittent or continuous dosing of small quantities of color or additives.
Even at very low dosing rates, the DPK provides dosing precision to within 0.03 percent, due to its ability to self-calibrate and fine-tune the speed of its stepper motor, the company said. The feeder meters additive based on the consumption of the processing machine, preventing waste of expensive materials. To assure steady flow of the additive, the interchangeable dosing screw is inclined.
The feeder’s load cell technology and control algorithms ensure that its operation is unaffected by machine vibrations, Moretto said.
The DPK features a rugged, clear acrylic additive hopper that allows users to instantly verify the material level. The hopper is easily removed without tools to facilitate quick material changes.
Users navigate the color touch-screen control via icons for easy, intuitive operation. Storing and retrieving material recipes are simple. The feeder comes in four sizes, the DPK 10, 14, 18 and 25.
Coperion has released Version 2.0 of its K-Vision control system. Designed to handle any of Coperion K-Tron’s feeders, the system’s software now can control up to 24 pieces of equipment — compared to 16 previously.
The K-Vision system includes a 12.1-inch touch screen, which uses graphics to provide process information. The interface offers event logging and supports both batch and continuous feeding operations.
One system can control feeders operating as part of as many as two lines for a variety of production purposes, including extrusion, compounding and mixing.
Now equipped with email capability, K-Vision provides for a number of remote-access options. Users can opt to get notifications when key events occur. For example, they can choose to get emails when a compounding line starts or stops, or when a feeder is running low of material.
Users of previous versions of K-Vision supplied with a 12.1-inch screen may upgrade for free.
“Our focus in expanding the functionality of the K-Vision software is on making it easy to use and maximizing flexibility,” Jason Daniel, GM of Coperion K-Tron’s equipment and systems business unit, said in a press release. “We want users to be able to access a broad range of information about the process quickly and easily, thus simplifying operational and supervisory tasks in the feeding process and significantly improving efficiency.”
Coperion K-Tron’s portfolio of feeding devices includes single- and twin-screw feeders, vibratory feeders, pump feeders for bulk solids and liquid feeders, as well as belt feeders and smart-flow meters.
ADVANCED BLENDING SOLUTIONS
Advanced Blending Solutions added to its Simplicity line of blenders and feeders at NPE2018.
Designed for dosing materials in very small amounts, the company’s new FE-10 gravimetric feeder allows material to flow as slowly as a single pellet at a time. Offering a top dosing rate of 10 pounds per hour, it can handle rates down to 1.6 ounces per hour.
R&D manager Brent Thoune said the FE-10’s design includes updated controls to handle slow feeding. It’s an ideal choice for handling materials, such as additives, that tend to bridge.
“The FE-10 is suited to run pellet materials at ultra-low rates,” he said. “This makes it a great product for customers looking to use additives at low percentages in their product blends.”
Advanced Blending Solutions LLC,
Wallace, Mich., 906-914-4180,
Brabender Technologie Inc.,
Mississauga, Ontario, 905-670-2933,
Coperion K-Tron Pitman Inc.,
Sewell, N.J., 856-589-0500,
Moretto USA LLC,
Jackson Center, Pa., 724-269-7600,
Edgemont, Pa., 610-356-3000,