Infinex, a producer of hollow and structured-core panels made from polypropylene, sought a complete system solution for the production related reprocessing of production waste - sorted according to type. The panels are produced in substantial batch size, precision cutting them in a process which produces large amounts of off-cuts and trimmings.
"Granulating alone is no longer enough," said Getecha managing director, Burkhard Vogel.
"It is no longer enough in this day and age to just supply powerful granulators. Companies also expect tailor-made automated complete systems with feeding, extraction, conveying and packaging technology. “
Complicating things further, Infinex required the entire process from the delivery of the panels, their crushing up to the supply of the granulated material for the extrusion process to be completely automatic.
Mühlenbauer Getecha, a family-owned engineering company headquartered in the Black Forest in Germany, developed an all-in-one solution that fully met Infinex's specifications.
The first challenge was modifying the standard granulator produced by Getecha to handle
PP panel remnants measuring up to 5000 x 1400 mm and with a thickness up to 11 mm and a surface weight of 300 to 4000 g/m2 – unsorted and randomly stacked.
"Instead of a funnel for the material feed from above, we equipped the RotoSchneider RS 6015 granulator with a modified housing for feeding in the panels and planks horizontally and easily for its deployment at Infinex,“ explained Burkhard Vogel.
Getecha developed a frequency-controlled, electronically sliding carriage with multi-functional manipulator and integrated measuring sensors that ran along a 6.0m rail on a parallelogram suspension over the panel stack, to push and pull the panels in the direction of the RS 6015 granulator. The pneumatic-based parallelogram suspension allows the manipulator, which is designed as a flexible gripper/slider combination, to easily follow the uneven height of a panel stack through slight undulations.
“The gripper section does the lion's share of the work. Its six pneumatically operated needles hook into plates in order to pull these away from the stack to towards the RotoSchneider. We opted for this solution, because the problem of a build-up of remnants does not even occur thanks to the pulling motion,” said Burkhard Vogel.
Once granulated, the material is fed into a large BigBag station, complete with exhaust air de-dusting, automatic fill level measurement, and an automatic changeover between the two BigBags, via a pipe.
Once one of the BigBags is full, it is collected by forklift and taken to the extruders as required.
The entire process is controlled by a Siemens SPS S7 located in a switch control cabinet directly on the plant.
For Infinex, the new system has simplified the process and brought noticeable efficiency benefits. The company has announced that it will be working with Getecha on the next project, as well.