The latest Smart Granulator control from Conair, called SG2, makes first-in-the-industry predictive maintenance capabilities available for larger Viper granulators used in central size-reduction systems or in-line applications processing continuous, high volumes of process scrap, such as bottle or film lines. One of several new controls introduced by Conair for NPE2024, the SG2 control makes its U.S. debut on a Conair Viper 1736 granulator operating in the NPE Recycling Demo Area booth (S35209) and at the Conair booth (W2113) at NPE2024, May 6-10 in Orlando.  

Like its predecessor control, the SG1, which is offered on Viper 12, 17 and 23 Series granulators, the optional SG2 control shares Conair’s easy-to-use common control interface, housed in a 7-inch color touchscreen HMI. It also shares a new PLC platform with power cabinet wiring that simplifies connection and sequential control of shredders, conveyors, evacuation systems and other equipment commonly used in central and in-line size-reduction systems.  

But the big news is that, for the first time, the SG2 control offers predictive maintenance capabilities long sought by granulator manufacturers and customers.  

Dave Miller, Conair’s General Manager, Size Reduction explains that despite a long history of improvements to granulator performance, customers always had one question: “How do I know when to change the knives?” For years, Miller sought to explain the many variables involved machine hours, material characteristics, screen size, motor amperage, temperature in the cutting chamber and screen areas, vibration, and more – while helping customers find the right answer. However, in the end, he acknowledges, “It’s never been an exact science. By the time you can see or hear the signs of degraded granulator performance – inconsistent regrind and fines, increased motor amperage, material jams, reduced throughput, or increased heat and noise you’re past the point where maintenance was needed.” 

Seeking a better solution, Miller asked Conair’s design engineering team to improve the original SG1 control, adding the ability to use data to track actual granulator performance and show when knife changes – and other predictive maintenance actions such as bearing greasing – are necessary.  The result is the new SG2 control.   

In operation, the SG2 control gathers performance data from sensors located throughout the granulator – rotor RPM, motor load/amperage, cutting chamber and screen temperatures, and vibration levels. Then, the control compares these data to established “good” data that reflects desired equipment performance. If live performance data diverge from the desirable range, the SG2 alerts operators. It uses alarms for situations that require immediate attention (e.g. a Low RPM or High Amp alarm indicating a possible material jam), or a combination of maintenance trackers, (e.g., Knife Status display) trend-line displays, or on-screen reminders to indicate upcoming maintenance needs.   

“The new capabilities of the SG2 control open the door to exacting measurement of the factors that drive granulator maintenance, whether it’s knife changes, bearing lubrication, or screen replacement,” Miller explains. “So, for example, if you’re doing maintenance on a high-volume packaging or blow-molding line, you will be able to consult the SG2 to see if your in-line Viper granulator is also due for a knife change.”  

When linked to SmartServices®, Conair’s cloud-based Industry 4.0 platform for auxiliary monitoring, measurement, and control, Miller notes that “the SG2 control in the Viper granulator can not only provide trending data about equipment health to the SmartServices dashboard, but it can also send maintenance reminders to the proper personnel, so that you’re never running with dull knives, worn bearings, or overloaded motors – all problems that can cause future unplanned downtime if not addressed.” 

The Conair Group (www.conairgroup.com) offers innovative auxiliary equipment solutions to plastics processors around the world. With 32 degreed engineers, including 16 senior team members with an average of over 23 years of experience, Conair brings unparalleled technical expertise and support to its customers, guaranteeing its products will deliver maximum productive uptime. Twenty parts and service team members respond to tens of thousands of calls each year, answering in an average of about 15 seconds. Over 450 individual products include resin drying systems, blenders, feeders and material-conveying systems, temperature-control equipment, and granulators. Extrusion solutions include line-control systems, film and sheet scrap-reclaim systems, and downstream equipment for pipe and profile extrusion. Conair also has specialized expertise in every major end market – such as packaging, medical, transportation, building and construction, and many others – and strives to ensure plastics processors succeed in today’s competitive global marketplace. 

 

The latest SG2 (Smart Granulator) control, seen on a Viper Granulator, offers Conair’s “common” control interface, easy integration with material handling equipment, and first-in-the-industry predictive maintenance capabilities including a “Knife Status” tracker.