Nibek, a leading manufacturer in process plant undertook an R&D project in the manufacturing of paper bottles. The process was developed in conjunction with UCS to determine the best solution for this type of application and with considerations made for further modifications and enhancements to be made during the R&D testing.
The Plant consists of the following:-
Product Mixer: The product Mixer is equipped with 3 x loadcells c/w anti-vibration mounts and a loadcell amplifier mounted in the control panel. The operator will load the mixer up with product (paper), once filled, the operator will press a start button, at which time the control system will weigh the product and add the required amount of water to achieve the preset ratio. Once the water has been added the mixer will run for a predetermined time at which time the mixing is complete.
Product Holding tank: The Holding tank is equipped with a level transducer. When the tank level drops and product is required, as long as there is product available in the Mixer a transfer pump will transfer product from the Mixer to the Holding tank. The Holding tank will continue to request product until the level detects as full.
Header tank: The Header tank is equipped with a level transducer. When the tank level drops and product is required, as long as there is product available in the Holding tank a transfer pump will transfer product from the Holding tank to the Header tank. The Header tank will continue to request product until the level detects as full.
Turntable: The Turntable is equipped with 4 stations at which the moulds are filled, the product formed and removed and the moulds washed in preparation for the next product. The Turntable will be inverter controlled and will index 90deg every time these operations are completed. The turntable has 4 sets of slowdown and stop flags to be used in conjunction with a pair of proximity sensors to stop the table in position after each set of operations. Up the centre of the turntable is an air and water manifold equipped with an air and water solenoid for each of the 4 stations.
Station 1 (Fill) The Fill station will be equipped with a pneumatic cylinder to lower the tool to the moulds. A fill solenoid is then opened for a predetermined time to fill the mould with product.
Station 2 (Forming) The Forming station will be equipped with a pneumatic cylinder to lower the tool to the moulds. A membrane inflate solenoid is then opened for a predetermined time to form the product into the mould.
Station 3 (Product unload) The unload station will be equipped with a mould splitting system comprising of three Servo drives, with one used to engage the station onto the mould with the other two used to operate two mould splitting screws, opening up the mould allowing the product to be removed. The product is removed in the same manner as it is formed with the air pressure reduced to the membrane, so that the product can be gently lifted out of the mould. Once lifted out the Tool will transfer the product pneumatically to the entrance of the Dryer, where, once the entrance hatch is opened, it will be lowered onto the Dryer conveyor, before deflating the membrane, lifting out and returning to its position over the turntable.
Station 4 (Washing) The Wash station will be equipped with a pneumatic cylinder to lower the tool to the moulds. A vacuum solenoid will then energise to suck out any residual product assisted by a wash valve supplying high pressure water. This will operate for a predetermined time.
Dryer Conveyor and Doors: The Dryer automation consists of two pneumatically operated hatch doors and two guillotine doors. The guillotine doors are equipped with safety switches to be monitored by a safety relay to prove that they are shut before the hatch doors can be opened. Once product has been lowered in at the entrance of the Dryer, the entrance hatch will close, the entrance and exit guillotine doors will then open and the conveyor will indexes 150mm. The Conveyor is controlled via an inverter utilising an encoder feedback for distance positioning. A home switch is fitted to address any accumulative errors that may occur, resetting the ‘zero’ position whenever detected. When the index is complete the guillotine doors close, and the exit hatch will open ready for product to be unloaded.
Dryer unload: The Dryer unload tooling will exactly replicate the unit used at Station 3. It is equipped with two pneumatic cylinders for horizontal and vertical movement together with a inflating membrane to lift the product out of the Dryer to an unload table located at the exit of the Dryer.
UCS Automation provided the following services for the above project:
Control of the entire system is via a single Allen Bradley Compact Logix PLC with all ‘Powerflex’ inverters and Kinetix 300 Servo drives also being Rockwell products. The inverters and mould splitting Servo drives are connected to the PLC via Ethernet comms thus enable full control and alarm handling over the network. The operator interface is a 10.4” colour touch screen Panelview plus 7 HMI mounted in the control panel door, from where the operator monitors the plant status and defines all the variable parameters and timers associated with the plant, as well as viewing any alarms etc..
The system was installed and commissioned in 2015 and was completed on schedule to the great satisfaction of the Managing Director of Nibek along with the Investment team.