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American Kuhne touts new controls

Issue: March 2018

At NPE2018, Graham Engineering will demonstrate its new Navigator control system, offering enhanced features and safety, on its American Kuhne-brand extruders.

The system is now standard on all types of American Kuhne extruders and extrusion systems, including those for medical tubing. American Kuhne’s Ultra line of extruders is found in numerous applications, handling pipe, profiles, blown and cast film, compounding, elastomers, fiber optics, industrial products, medical products, wire and cable.

An American Kuhne 1.25-inch extruder with the XC100 Navigator control

The company will exhibit extruders with the Navigator control system for the first time at the show.

“Graham Engineering Corp.’s proprietary Navigator control technology utilizes an industrial PC with a Windows platform to enable intuitive, industrial, integrated extrusion process control,” Graham CEO David Schroeder said in a written statement.

The system features a real-time graphical display.

“High visual correlation between the touch screen and machine function ensures an intuitive user experience that enables both new and experienced operators a rapid learning curve and ease of use,” Graham VP of Engineering Justin Kilgore said.

The Navigator software is built on an open architecture platform that allows a high degree of flexibility, according to the company. The Navigator hardware is designed to withstand harsh industrial conditions and issues such as vibration, electrical interference, wide temperature ranges and high humidity.

“The ease and ability to integrate is boundless,” Kilgore said. “From synchronized supervisory control of a line to its open architecture that supports connectivity for data-collection systems to internet for remote support and trouble-shooting, Navigator offers integration without limits.”

The XC300 Navigator control is designed for extruders used in integrated production lines.

The system also includes safety enhancements, according to Graham. It provides precise temperature control and an over-temperature feature that automatically triggers the shutdown of all heaters through a single contactor. Power to each individual heat zone is fed through a common contactor before being fed to each individual solid-state relay, also known as an SSR.

This wiring scheme allows the power for all heaters to be switched off or disconnected automatically at a single point instead of each heat zone having to be switched off individually. In case of an over-temperature fault, the individual SSR is switched off as well as the main heat contactor.  In this way, a single contactor provides system redundancy.

In addition, the control continually monitors pressure in a closed loop, and if high pressure is detected, it automatically shuts down the motor for operator and system safety.

Navigator is available with three different levels of functionality — the XC100 is for stand-alone extruders, the XC200 is for one or more extruders in simultaneous operation, and the XC300 is for integrated production lines with the extruder and components that could include a puller, water bath or winder. All three controls will be shown at NPE2018 installed on American Kuhne extruders.

At NPE2018, Graham also will demonstrate recent improvements that simplify extruder maintenance. Features include newly designed barrel covers that allow for quick and easy access to barrel heaters and thermocouples, and an automotive-style wiring harness with quick-change plugs for routing wiring and thermocouples between the electrical cabinet to the barrel heater and cooling zones.

Bruce Geiselman, senior staff reporter



American Kuhne
York, Pa., 717-848-3755, www.americankuhne.com