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Koch-Technik: perfect material handling  #6 (64) 2008

KOCHWhen expanding the polymer granulate supply system, German company ZIK relies on know-how of Koch-Technik, a world leading manufacturer of periphery equipment

Expansion program
In the course of production expansion at Zittauer Kunststoff GmbH’s modern factory, owned by ZIK Company, specialists of Werner Koch Maschinentechnik GmbH (Germany, Ispringen) renewed the complete dryer and plastic granulate supply system. The central system, extended on several occasions already, links the CKT series dry air dryers, fitted with an integrated eco-control system, and 38 injection moulding machines that are supplied daily with up to 8 tonnes of various plastic granulates.
Zittauer Kunststoff Company has been occupied with injection molding for over 50 years now. Annually the enterprise processes approximately 2,000 tonnes of plastic granulate for the manufacture of high quality products for automotive, electronic, electrical engineering industries and for domestic household sphere. The part weight ranges from 0.5 to 3000 g. Well-known customers, such as Lear Corporation, Siemens VDO, ISRI, Cellpack, Miele and ZF are among the customers of this company that has been operating in the market for over 75 years.
- Our customers’ satisfaction with product quality is our major task, - says Managing Director, Gerald Kutschke. - And top quality can only be achieved through sophisticated technologies and perfect injection moulding.
To be able to meet these requirements and the increasing demand for high quality plastic parts, the central conveyor system, which has only been in existence for three years for a total of 30 injection moulding machines, has been now extended again by 12 machine units.

Competent partner
What should the new system be able to do? The specialists of Zittauer Kunststoff Company drew up a list of the major requirements:
- secure and reliable drying process for technical plastics;
- integration of existing systems;
- space-saving installation of the drying machines;
- transportation of material to the drying machines via channels built in the floor;
- fully automated recirculation of regranulate on every injection moulding machine;
- dyeing of granulate should be performed directly on the injection moulding machines.
It was soon clear that to fulfill these tasks is only possible with the help of an experienced supplier of necessary equipment. Together with Koch-Technik Company that has been working with Zittauer Kunststoff for many years now, an individual concept was developed, which takes into account all peculiarities of an enterprise and helps implement the technology that daily provides up to 8 tonnes of different materials, at the right time, in the right state, in the right place.

Clever solutions
In a first phase of expansion, specialists of Koch-Technik created a central conveyor system with an overall delivery rate of 600 kg/h, including five CKT series dryers and 20 drying containers with a total volume of 3,500 litres. To save space, the dryers were located on a special platform, 15 x 5 metres. A separate vacuum system conveys granulate from the material store located beneath the platform directly into the drying containers above.
Initially the 26 injection moulding machines were equipped with two distributors, with the pipelines for conveying material being laid under the equipment across a length of up to 95 metres and invisibly connected to every machine. To supply material to the injection moulding machines, specialists of Koch-Technik installed a separate vacuum system with a 7.5 kW rotary vacuum pump equipped with a slide vane, and Sa3 safety filter. To be able to flexibly adjust the KEM series dyeing equipment, all injection moulding machines were fitted with AZ adapters. Two-component conveyors on each machine ensure automated recirculation of regranulate.
In the second phase of expansion an additional CKT 300 series drying machine was installed on the available platform, which with the help of a distributor supplies material to the new injection moulding machines.

Careful and secure drying
Manufacture of technically complicated moulded products made from construction materials, such as PBT, PA 6, PA 6.6, PC, ABS, POM, PPC and TPU are Zittauer Kunststoff GmbH's speciality. If the raw materials are not dried sufficiently, the end product is invariably of poor quality: this can cause stripes, bubbles, uneven colour, the end product might become brittle or weak. That is why the quality of material drying equipment is of considerable importance in the entire production cycle. Six CKT 250 or 300 series dry air dryers, fitted with Panametrics dew point control that guarantees a dew point of between -30 C and -55 °C, include 23 drying containers with total capacity of 4,500 litres. This is an eco-closed circulating system that is completely independent from the ambient climate. Drying of the plastic granulate is performed with dry air to the optimal residual humidity, which ensures the perfect quality of the end product.
Due to the patented eco-control system it is possible to regulate the granulate drying process on the one hand, while on the other hand saving up to 40% on energy costs! It guarantees that heat-sensitive materials do not over-dry.

Flexible approach
To ensure trouble-free production process even during the expansion phase, Koch-Technik integrated the individual components into the expansion steps gradually. “There was no need to shutdown injection moulding operation," Kutschke is pleased to tell about the installation and commissioning process, which complexity lied in the need to ensure co-ordination in actions.
It is interesting that already existing equipment and new machines were easily integrated into the new common system. It became possible thanks to the fact that Koch-Technik installs flexible modular systems that enable successfully to match all equipment without special tools in a time-saving mode.
- We are looking for partners who are able to supply equipment needed for production of our high-quality products, - says Gerald Kutschke. - Solutions offered by Koch-Technik have satisfied all our requirements, the machines show faultless operation, and the maintenance is excellent. We are going to continue making orders to this company.
For more than 30 years, the name of Koch-Technik Company has been associated with innovations, precision, modular flexibility and cost-effectiveness in the mixing, dosing, conveying and drying of plastic granulates. Application of this equipment in more than 4,000 plastic processing companies pays testament to its high efficiency in production.

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