- July 01, 2011, Edited by Claudia Hine, Managing Editor
Anticipating a rebound in the worldwide economy, global silicone release manufacturer Mondi decided in mid-2009 to relocate and upgrade a decommissioned 2.3-m wide coating line from its UK facility to one in Germany. Mondi executives worked with Circonix Technologies to evaluate how to proceed because Circonix had performed a similar extrusion line move four years earlier at Mondi's Lancaster plant in the US.
Plus, Fulton Machinery, Circonix's machinery design and manufacturing division, gave Mondi the benefit of working with one company to evaluate the benefits of a turnkey upgrade and relocation option. Circonix showed Mondi how its “UEM” (Used Equipment reManufacturer) option of relocating and upgrading the vintage 1992 silicone coating line would be faster and cost about 60% less than buying a completely new line.
Says Patrick Lennertz, managing director of the Jülich facility, “Circonix Technologies made it possible for Mondi to increase production capacity quickly and cost effectively. Their turnkey approach minimized the number of people that Mondi had to commit to the process.”
Circonix's UEM approach involved identifying what parts of the line would be reused and what needed to be refurbished, upgraded, modified, or replaced with new equipment. The plan detailed how to implement the new line so it would be in production in just ten months — faster than a typical approach for a line of this magnitude. Key parts of the plan included increasing the line speed from 500 mpm to 800 mpm and incorporating safety systems to meet the EN ISO 13849-1 2006 safety standards.
The first step for Circonix was to organize and manage the dismantling and relocation processes. This included coordinating manpower requirements; documenting and tagging all equipment prior to disassembly; dismantling the equipment in a way that allowed for safe transport and quick reassembly; and site preparation at the Jülich facility. Circonix also had to design the machine line arrangement to fit in the existing building space in Jülich, with consideration for future equipment additions.
The coating line sections to be reused, e.g., the corona treater, cooling roll, remoisturizing assemblies, and the silicone coating delivery system, were sent directly to the factory floor for installation. Simultaneously, Circonix began rebuilding the coater's unwind section, the six-roll silicone coating head, a cooling roll section, and the turret winder. The company also fabricated a new dancer assembly for the rewind section of the coating line, added lay-on rolls, and modified the knife on the splicing assembly. A new five-zone dryer, entrance vacuum roll, and exit edge guiding system were ordered as well.
Drive & Control Systems
The drive and control systems were typical for a line that was almost 20 years old: a combination of original equipment that was no longer supported by the manufacturers and upgraded components that still were useful. Since the drive and control systems must support line speeds up to 800 mpm, it was decided to incorporate a new Siemens S-120 AC drive system, configured to run on a common DC bus to conserve energy, with a new Siemens S7-400 series safety PLC system.
This drive and control system allows for many complex control algorithms to be implemented into the line, maximizing the line's performance, usability, and safety. The moisturizer's standalone S5 control system was incorporated into the new S7 processor. Also, the integrated safety system allowed for the addition of safety logic circuits in the new line and would accommodate any future expansion without a major redesign of a traditional hardwired circuit.
Mondi executives say the automated drive and control systems allow the coating line to run with a minimum number of operators. The unwind splicing operation was fully automated with Circonix Technologies' SplicePro system. With this system, the operator loads a roll onto the unwind, and SplicePro performs the entire splicing sequence automatically. Once the operator enters the desired tail length into the system, Mondi says a perfect lap splice is made, with a minimum amount of wraps left on the expiring core. This system reportedly has been proven at line speeds of 1,525 mpm. The splice is tracked through the machine and a completely coordinated automated transfer is performed at the rewind, leaving the unwind splice on the outer wrap of the jumbo roll for easy removal and minimized waste.
All drives and controls were installed in a 40-ft Circonix Container Drive system (CCD). The CCD is a steel shipping container used as a drive house and is custom-fitted with two access doors, a 220 VAC lighting system, air conditioning, and a false floor with removable panels. Under this floor are spacious internal wire ways for field wire pulls. All panels conform to IP23 “Touch Safe” physical protection against electrical shocks. The CCD system allows all drives and controls to be pre-installed off site, saving time and money during the installation process.
Cost and time are two key elements that are part of the decision-making process concerning how to improve production capabilities. Years of cooperation between the two companies enabled Circonix to once again align its UEM business approach with the Mondi strategic framework of business opportunities.
Following the commissioning of the new line, Lennertz said, “Circonix's complete commitment to the project made it possible for us to execute our production plan on schedule.”
Circonix Technologies | www.circonix.com
Mondi Jülich GmbH | Rathausstrasse 29, DE-52428, Jülich, Germany | +49 02461 623 0 | www.mondigroup.com
At Mondi Jülich, two ergonomically designed operators' consoles, built by Circonix, include a main console and a coater operator station. The main console is programmed for central machine control and overseeing safety functions. It is equipped with PowerPlant, Circonix's Win CC-based SCADA system that monitors the line's myriad functions. PowerPlant collects, stores, and analyzes production data to help manufacturers operate converting lines at peak efficiency.
PowerPlant's design includes client server architecture and is built on the latest PC hardware and software operating systems. Also installed as part of the main console's software offerings is ProMaintenance, Circonix's local/remote maintenance program that allows a maintenance technician to solve problems from remote locations.
All application software was documented, and a lifetime, full access license was provided to Mondi when the machinery was commissioned to facilitate easier and more cost-effective system upgrades in the future.