An overview of energy-saving technologies, digital control system, and management devices. Essential tools for an efficient and sustainable production
by Laura Meroni
As in a large stage, Moretto (Massanzago, Padua, Italy) exhibits the most innovative systems and products for injection moulding, blow moulding and extrusion. There are two exhibition areas in Hall 11, one specifically dedicated to the extrusion sector, with Contrex brand products, the group brand specialized in the supply of automation and control systems for blown film extrusion (Moretto Hall 11, Booth H 57 – Contrex Hall 11, Booth E65).
Maximum energy efficiency even on small productions
At K 2019 Moretto presents the X Comb series of dehumidifiers, extended in the range to cover higher production needs. These mini dryers are a real combination of patented Moretto technologies: fully electric (they do not use compressed air), they are equipped with powerful turbo-compressors, zeolite technology, the Dew Point equalizer and the exclusive OTX hopper. Particularly indicated for the drying of highly hygroscopic technical materials used in demanding sectors such as the medical, optical and automotive sectors, the X Comb dryers are the best allies in terms of efficiency and energy savings. The ON series, with compact and robust models, is suitable for installation directly on the mouth of the processing machine, guaranteeing constant quality during the production process. The Side series includes larger models up to 24 kg/h, with the installation next to the machine, to satisfy higher productions or in battery on trolley for maximum production flexibility. As for all Moretto dryers, the Moisture Meter can also be installed on the X Comb series. Moisture Meter analyses and detects the exact content of residual moisture up to 15 parts per million, allowing the customer to certify that the material is perfectly dried, proof of a quality production, in line with the technical, aesthetic and functional characteristics required. Furthermore, being able to measure and monitor the exact residual humidity level of the polymer in-line makes it possible to “optimize” processes using only the strictly necessary energy, avoiding production waste, reducing important operating costs and environmental impact.
Energy saving systems for packaging and PET
Particular attention is paid to the drying of PET granules, a delicate phase especially for large productions, typical of the rigid packaging and beverage sectors. In a dedicated area of the stand, Moretto presents a drying system consisting of a XD 800X series dryer combined with the OTX hopper and Moisture Meter Manager. The solution guarantees certifiable results, high energy efficiency for any type of material and a completely automatic system of the drying process. With Moisture Meter Manager the drying process goes from an “adaptive” logic to a “responsive” cutting-edge logic. The solution arises from the study of the physical phenomena to which the different polymers are subjected during the drying process, developed based on years of experience and objective results of practical tests. The innovative turbo-compressors system of the XD 800X series dryer, together with the OTX hoppers, offer high levels of energy efficiency. Furthermore, the XD 800X dryers do not use either cooling water or compressed air, being this another advantage in the treatment of PET and ensuring energy saving compared to conventional dryers. The use of the exclusive OTX hopper allows a homogeneous flow of the material inside the hopper during the process, guaranteeing an effective and controlled drying and an extraordinary energy efficiency of +66%, also reducing the material treatment time. In the treatment of PET in the Beverage sector, one of the aspects to which Moretto customers are most “loyal” is the constant treatment of OTX which ensures a stable process and an improvement in machine cycle times, in the order of half a second. This is equivalent to producing up to 17 million additional preforms per year. The application of Moisture Meter Manager integrates the dryer into a “responsive” system as required by the 4.0 intelligent factory project. Moisture Meter Manager measures the initial moisture of the granule and based on this, knowing the precise behaviour of each material, it performs the appropriate drying cycle to obtain the result requested by the customer in terms of final moisture, which is then monitored at the hoppers outlet. In this way, the device maximizes process performance and achieves incredible results in terms of energy savings. In addition to being intelligent and performing, they are machines with absolutely user-friendly controls with intuitive objects oriented touch screen and service friendly, with a conception aimed at ensuring facilitated maintenance, avoiding system inefficiencies over time.
Intelligent feeding and conveying
To automatically manage and supervise the entire conveying process of small or large quantities of plastic material, One Wire 3 guarantees the greatest transport efficiency, thanks to its advanced FIFO logic. The system also controls those devices, which with their exclusive technologies, contribute to optimizing the granule conveying and feeding process. In particular, the Dolphin manifold unit, automatically supplies and distributes all the materials to all the machines, avoiding any risk of contamination and human error. Another interesting system is KruiseKontrol. It is an exclusive Moretto patent, which the European Patent Office (EPO) recognized as “the only automatic and intelligent system in the world capable of defining the best transport conditions for each plastic material”. The uniqueness of this system lies in its ability to manage the speed of the material during the conveying phases, eliminating the peaks and the consequent formation of angel hair and wear of the pipes and adapt in a responsive way the transport conditions, differently from the various inverter systems that simply act on the air speed, but without taking into account the numerous variables that characterize each material (KK controls more than 15 parameters) and which constitute elements of strong differentiation in their behaviour in the pipe.
4.0 technologies for process supervision and control
For the supervision and control of plastics processing plants, Moretto has developed the advanced Mowis 3, a modular software capable of adapting to the needs and to the qualitative, productive and managerial objectives of each customer, allowing connectivity between machines, processes, departments, plants and factories.
Through the software the user monitors the status of each machine and each operation of the system: it records anomalies and creates a history, sets and/or modifies the process parameters, stores the changes to the system parameters, programs the work times, manages material consumption and production lots, creates process reports in real time and operating and efficiency statistics. Connected to the “service” it provides information on the status of the machines and identifies their maintenance needs. The device connects up to 1,100 clients. Mowis 3 has customized modules that allow a total “4.0 tracking” of the process: the “Lotto batch” module allows to trace the batches of material through the entire production process, from procurement to their transformation; “Sil-Control” avoids human errors in loading materials into the destination silos, “Item-Go” based on the item to be produced, defines and sets the parameters for each machine, automatically from the silo to the processing machine, “Mould Control” automatically recognizes the mould and defines the process parameters. These and others are the custom modules, which have now become pillars in the supervisory systems installed by Moretto at customer facilities that appreciate its efficiency, reliability and ease of management. Mowis 3 is remotely controllable and communicates with business management (ERP), production (MES) and customer data management systems via the universal OPC UA protocol.
Solutions for temperature control and cooling
Moretto offers a complete range of thermo and cooling systems to satisfy any production requirement, from single unit on the side of the machine, to ad hoc developed modular open centralized systems with a maniacal attention to total energy efficiency. The large amount of energy required for cooling processes in the plastics processing industry requires extremely efficient and flexible systems. The X Cooler series of modular chillers was created specifically with these prerogatives. The scalability of the cooling capacity makes it possible to supply the cooling capacity according to the real needs with a consequent drastic reduction in energy consumption, realizing a clear reduction in operating costs. The realization of X Cooler and of the smaller series of machines for installation inside the production plant, saw an obsessive attention to the construction details, which led, in some cases, to not being satisfied with what existed and to the creation of dedicated components to obtain the maximum results in performance terms. The temperature controllers of the TE-KO series ensure absolute efficiency and precision in automatic temperature control both in the moulds of injection moulding machines and in the cylinders and rollers of the extruders. Reliability, speed of temperature regulation, reduction of consumption and ease of use are the major records of these machines. Available in water, pressurized and oil versions with temperatures up to 300 °C based on the customer’s production needs.