Under the banner “Pathways to Profitability,” Conair exhibited at NPE 2012 in Orlando, presenting products and technology that can help plastics processors operate more efficiently and profitably in today’s challenging economic climate. Conair had its largest exhibit ever in Booth 3643 at The International Plastics Showcase on April 1 – 4, 2012.
More than a dozen new products were displayed at NPE, including solutions in material handling, resin drying, heat transfer, blending, scrap reclaim and extrusion. However, the focus was not only on equipment, said Marketing Director Dori Raybuck. “We showed you how you can use these technologies to solve problems, cut waste, save energy and improve process yield – and put yourself on a pathway to profitability,” she explained. “When it comes to making decisions directly related to plastics-processing efficiency, no company is better positioned to help you find your way than Conair. Our NPE booth was all about sharing knowledge on how to properly manage and condition raw materials, optimize processing conditions and product quality, and recover value from scrap and off-spec parts.”
MATERIAL HANDLING & PLANT-WIDE CONTROL
Conair introduced major improvements to its most popular material-handling control systems –the FLX loading control – and the ControlWorks plant-wide management system. The changes expand the scope and capabilities of the systems while making them easier to use. In addition, a new control, The ELS, will be Conair’s most powerful material-handling control platform, a system that is fully distributed via industrial Ethernet communications. This introduction will dramatically simplify wiring and reduce installation costs, while increasing Conair conveying control capabilities several times to handle as many as 500 loaders and over 100 vacuum pumps.
The FLX material-handling system control offers processors the ability to start small – from as few as 8 loaders and 2 pumps – and then expand in easy increments as necessary. Now it is being expanded to handle up to 128 loaders and 40 pumps. It will continue to offer many high-level functions – such as multi-source/multi-destination loading, purge, ratio loading, ratio loading with purge, reverse conveying for regrind recovery, loader fill sensing and much more – normally available only on larger, more expensive controls.
ControlWorks, which enables users to monitor the operation of their auxiliary equipment and make changes to primary process set points – all from a single interface – is being rebuilt on a commonly available, highly flexible control platform. This change creates a more user-friendly system that is modular and open-ended so that users can adapt it to their specific plant requirements. They can even set it up to manage other equipment within a plant. A higher-resolution display will deliver larger, clearer graphics for better readability.
Conair also introduced a new automated material selection station that efficiently routes resin from one place to another based on digital instructions entered into any of their conveying system controls. What is typically a manual operation, which requires conveying lines from a given source to be hand-connected to lines leading to a specified destination, is now automated in a fast, compact, easy-to-use system from Conair. Operators use the control interface to identify a source (bin, gaylord, silo, etc.) and designate a destination (processing machine, blender, dryer, other storage vessel, etc.), and internal actuators and valves do the rest. The system includes inherent proofing to confirm that the actual connections match up with information entered by the operator. Designed for flexibility and expandability, the system only requires 110 or 220v AC power and minimal compressed air.
Also introduced was a compliment to Conair’s manual material selection station that verifies material conveying connections via a unique visual proofing system. Operators make the actual connections in typical fashion at a resin selection station designed specifically for that purpose, but the new system then verifies that the connections are correct by visually examining the couplers to assure that they are correct as programmed in the conveying system control. Improper connections prevent that material path from being used and an alarm alerts the operator to correct that source-to-destination hook-up. This new system will be demonstrated in conjunction with and FLX conveying system control, newly enhanced to work with the new vision proofing system.
Among other new products, a new color touchscreen user interface is being used to add capabilities – like data trend analysis -- to several Conair drying products, including mid-sized dryers (Models W150 to W400) used alone or as part of a ResinWorks central drying system. The new controls also make it possible to use Conair’s patented Drying Monitor probe in all the individual drying hoppers in a ResinWorks system and route that data, including material-temperature trends back to the dryer control.
New mold-temperature control units presented at NPE include the TW-HT Series and the TW-ALT Series. The TW-HT units use superheated water instead of oil to develop mold temperatures up to 392°F (200°C). Compared to oil heat-transfer media, water offers higher specific-heat capacity, better thermal conductivity and a heat-transfer coefficient that is more than double. Water is also safer to use and a better environmental choice than oil. For medical applications involving PEEK, polyetherimide (Ultem) and other ultra-high-temperature materials, which may require mold temperatures as high as 435°F (225°C), a special TW-HTM model is also available.
Conair TW-ALT mold temps deliver both hot and cold water in alternating cycles so that the temperature of the mold is increased before and during the injection portion of the machine cycle, and then lowered to cool the molded part prior to ejection. The units can deliver water as hot as 392°F (200°C) or as cool as 59°F (15°C). Alternating temperatures can cycle through a swing of 180°F (100°C) in critical areas or across the mold. This temperature cycling process can help reduce cycle times and improve part quality and surface finish in injection molding. It is ideal for parts used in appearance-critical applications and components requiring optical clarity.
Conair has named Peter Armbruster as National Sales Manager.
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