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Materials handling.

Small, mobile drying and conveying systems and new microprocessor controls were among the new materials-handling products that suppliers waited until showtime to reveal. Also not reported previously were various new blenders with enhanced controls for improved metering of materials, colorants, and additives.


Several firms introduced portable, beside-the-press systems that combine dehumidifying drying and conveying. AEC/Whitlock, Wood Dale, Ill., rolled out its new Porta-Dry model, which includes an integrated closed-loop WD Series dryer, off-the-shelf microprocessor controls, drying hopper, integral "Turbo-Vac" conveying pump, and a quick vacuum disconnect and clean-out. Porta-Dry is designed for use with a standard vacuum receiver or AEC/Whitlock's new minimum inventory sight-glass loader. Options include full dry-air conveying and a two-station vacuum-sequencing controller.

Dri-Air Industries, East Windsor, Conn., introduced its PD3 three-hopper portable drying and conveying system designed for blending virgin and regrind with colorant. The three hoppers and augers meter into one receptacle for conveying 150-300 lb/hr to the feed throat. The system is priced at $11,000-20,000 depending on configuration, and can perform in clean-room environments that require dustless operation.

The new DCS Drying/Conveying System from Novatec Inc., Baltimore, is a portable model, base-priced at $9100, that features the company's MD series "Micro Dryers" and a closed-loop conveying system. Two versions are available for 25 and 50 lb/hr. A small, stainless-steel "J.I.T." receiver eliminates the need for an on-machine drying hopper and speeds material changeovers. The new MCS-3000 microprocessor control integrates the drying and conveying functions for the mobile unit. It provides continuous dewpoint monitoring and both controls and monitors two process heaters simultaneously. Now standard on all Novatec dryers, the controller comes with RS-485 port and SPI communications protocol.

Bry-Air Inc., Sunbury, Ohio, has introduced its MD3-3 portable drying system, which incorporates a 300-cfm desiccant dryer. The unit, priced at about $5000, offers mechanical controls and is mounted on casters.

A new option on all Bry-Air dryers is the BAS-1000 controller. It provides a four-line alphanumeric display with digital readout of dewpoint, process-air temperature and setpoint, and return-air temperature. It also has dewpoint-controlled drying for energy savings, 32k program memory and seven-day timer, and RS-232 or RS-485 serial port.


A mini central loading system operated by a portable ring-compressor motor was launched by Matsui America Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill. The new system, designated JL-4VC-5, is a stationary, modular unit for loading up to five injection molding machines. Priced around $14,000, the system uses a 1.1-hp Matsui "Jet Loader" vacuum pump.

Conair Franklin, Franklin, Pa., introduced CAML (compressed-air material loader), a new modular line designed primarily for loading non-hygroscopic resins. It has a ratio-ready controller for metering amounts of virgin and regrind material. The unit has a base price of $13,250 and conveys up to 400 lb/hr. CAML can incorporate sight-glass feeder tubes in a range of 8 to 33 oz.

AEC/Whitlock introduced its WD-M mini dehumidifying dryer series for injection presses up to 100 tons. The WD-M series controls feature a built-in "fuzzy-logic" circuit, which provides precise temperature control and eliminates continuous auto-tuning.


Novatec unveiled its new MCS-216 central materials-handling control system, which can operate up to 16 loading stations. The new control is an expansion of Novatec's MCS-206 system. Priced at $1850, the controls incorporate a two-pump capability for centralized materials-handling control of a mid-sized production facility. The controls feature an alphanumeric LCD display with on-line processing information, pass-code entry program, "no-load" alarm for early warning of low material in each resin hopper, and individual on/off touch-pad controls for all 16 stations.

A new central materials-handling control system from Conair Franklin, called "Sentral," is offered in three models for 10-40 hoppers being fed from a central vacuum pump. Based on an Allen-Bradley controller, Sentral incorporates a host of sensors (ratio, purge, discharge, fill) and programmable job menus. It also logs and stores alarm conditions.

Motan Inc., Plainwell, Mich., introduced its new MCS+ conveying controller, which incorporates an Allen-Bradley SLC/500 microprocessor. It offers various standard features such as individual fill and discharge timers for each station; individual purge time and proportioning settings; dry-air selection; and a priority-filling capability to virtually eliminate machine "starvation." Price is under $3800.

AEC/Whitlock's new "PanelMate" weigh blender control features an LCD off-screen "TouchPanel," a PLC from Eaton IDT that offers expanded user-friendly features and enhanced menu access.

As reported here earlier, Universal Dynamics Inc., Woodbridge, Va., brought out its "Echo" distributed control system for resin conveying. (see PT, May '94, p. 127). The technology is based on new microprocessor controls, new software, and new wiring technology. Equipment stations in a pneumatic conveying system, each with its own microprocessor, are linked via a "daisy-chain" two-wire ring. Echo forms a communications network, comparable to an office Ethernet local-area network, throughout the materials-handling system. The Echo network, which uses a proprietary communications protocol, no longer is limited by a central controller, providing flexibility to expand and add new nodes in a system without rewiring back to a central processor.


In addition to a handful of new blenders reported before the show, a few more emerged in Chicago. The new "Target" weigh blender from Universal Dynamics operates at up to 500 lb/hr and can handle up to four components. Accuracy is said to be 0.05%, with a calibration time of less than 15 sec. Its modular construction is designed for quick cleaning and disassembly. The blender makes use of Universal Dynamics' new Echo network control and communication technology.

Conair Franklin's new Autoweigh GB140 is a gravimetric blender for up to four materials. It is designed for small injection presses (up to 200 lb/hr). Base-priced at $7750, the unit offers on-the-fly dispensing of color concentrates through a newly designed actuating valve.

Novatec came out with a new small model in its BBS weigh-blender series for up to 500 lb/hr. It stores up to 100 recipes.


A new Ratio Valve unit designed to load virgin and regrind in digitally preset proportions comes from Hurricane Pneumatic Conveying Inc. (formerly Filterless Conveying Systems), Brantford, Ont. The unit is adaptable to either central receivers or integral loaders and is available in open- or closed-loop design. The valve oscillates the virgin and regrind polymers to prevent layering. It has no moving parts.

Universal Dynamics has introduced a new external dual-ratio valve as an extension of its "Loadstar" series of vacuum-loading equipment. Standard features include dual high-speed air cylinders, quick-connect self-sealing air fittings, and a material view port.


A new container tilter from Motan is designed for molders who load material directly from gaylords. Once the gaylord is placed on the tilter, it automatically adjusts the tilt angle for uninterrupted material flow. It has a capacity of 1400 lb and max. tilt angle of 45 [degrees].

Also new from Motan is the MB Additive Feeder, featuring full-flow calibration and simplified color changes.

Novatec has added to its line a Resin Management System consisting of a batch-type weigh hopper that measures and records resin throughput on the production floor. It can be mounted on bulk-storage vessels or individual machine hoppers. The microprocessor-controlled unit has an LCD display and can automatically stop operation when a programmed total throughput is attained.
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Article Details
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Author:Gabriele, Michael C.
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Aug 1, 1994
Previous Article:Chemicals & additives.
Next Article:Recycling systems.

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