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BlendSave for Plastic Manufacturers

Optimal Flow Management of Raw Materials in Plastics

BlendSaveTM is a multi-channel batch compounder that optimizes raw material flow management.

Enhanced batch consistency, high throughput, and greater profits are here…

The existing process of weighing, blending and conveying - which plastics manufacturers have accepted as “standard practice,” is fraught with waste, inefficiency and unnecessary complexity. Large capital expenditures on auxiliary machinery and a dizzying maze of tubes are accompanied by higher costs associated with manpower, energy, floor space, ongoing maintenance, and loss due to human errors, all of which are weighing down on factory efficiency.

This white paper examines LIAD’s patented BlendSave, a fully automated and simultaneous multi-channel weighing and mixing system for producing homogenous plastic products  

Centralized Blender with Simultaneous Weighing

BlendSave Method

BlendSave is a centralized blender consisting of up to 14 individual weighing chambers fed directly from silos or containers, a common funnel and an automatic manifold for distributing whole batches to the appropriate processing machine.

BlendSave works by simultaneously weighing all needed resins and additives for each recipe within its 14 weighing chambers dedicated to a specific raw material and then releases the entire batch into a common funnel before being sent via an automatic manifold and tubing to the corresponding processing machine.

As opposed to the traditional gravimetric batch blender which is limited to the number of machines it can serve due to the multitude of formula variations, a single BlendSave takes up only 52 meters of space and supports up to 24 processing machines.

Unlimited Capabilities

BlendSave is unique in that it enables multiple systems to intercommunicate, thereby creating a platform that is theoretically unlimited in how many raw materials and color recipes can be processed, and how many processing machines can be supplied.

Unmatched Accuracy

For applications where weight accuracy is of utmost importance, BlendSave provides consistent, high-resolution weighing within 0.01g by utilizing a combination of multi-step weighing and small load cells.

Following material weighing, the complete batch is dropped into a common funnel and automatic manifold and passed through a mixer within the free fall hopper located at the extruder inlet to ensure optimal batch uniformity.

This highly-accurate and fast flow enables BlendSave to service manufacturers most demanding requirements.

Efficient Flow Management

Illustrative Factory Existing Four-Bin Gravimetric Blender BlendSave
Silos 10 10
Processing Machines 96 96
Four-Bin Gravimetric Blender 50 0
BlendSave 0 4
Floor Space (Meters2) 300 20
Mixer 0 96
Hopper Loader 200 40
Tubing (Meters) Complex Simple

When considering an example of a factory with 10 raw materials and 96 injection machines processing 1.2 tons/hour, the typical factory will utilize 50 four-bin gravimetric batch blenders, 200 hopper loaders, and a complex network of plastic tubing.

By integrating BlendSave, the representative factory will feed all 96 processing machines with only 4 BlendSave systems, 40 hopper loaders, and 96 mixers,  while taking up just 20 square meters of space and spreading out a simple tube arrangement.

When considering the possibility of 4 integrated BlendSave systems, the total required floor space is only 20 sqm.

Switching Jobs & Contamination Prevention

BlendSave’s dedicated weighing chamber for each raw material fed directly from the material silo eliminates the need for batch blender sterilization and makes the entire process of switching between jobs exceptionally easy. Furthermore, within the common funnel and distributor pipe of the automatic manifold, BlendSave uses a high-pressured air blast between each batch to sterilize the area and prepare for the next batch of raw materials.

Batch Uniformity

In typical plastics manufacturing, as the mixed batch is released from the remote gravimetric batch blender and conveyed via the delivery tube to the corresponding processing machine, it is assumed that the components of the batch are significantly blended when they enter the processing machine. However, this assumption does not take into account that as the batch is vacuumed from the gravimetric blender, the materials will separate according to their specific weight, and the batch will no longer be sufficiently mixed.

LIAD achieves superior batch uniformity by placing a mixer within the free fall hopper connected to the inlet of each processing machine. Regardless of tube distance or vacuum pressure, the batch enters the injection machine thoroughly mixed and thereby enhance the products’ quality and saves significant additives’ cost.

Production Speed & Batch Accuracy

Standard gravimetric blenders weigh batch components in a serial order. Each component is dispensed separately into a single, common weighing chamber, from which they are all subsequently dropped into a mixing chamber before being vacuumed to their respective injection line. This method of serial weighing limits the speed with which a blender can release a batch.

BlendSave improves production speed by dedicating a weighing chamber for each individual bin; weighing in parallel all batch components. In addition to the enhanced speed, time savings and eliminating the risk of batch contamination, BlendSave uses smaller load cells; affording higher batch accuracy with a relatively high throughput.

Program Monitoring

By utilizing BlendSave, factories have access to continuously updated information concerning equipment and material efficiency. As all the raw materials flow through a common system, BlendSave affords managers full monitoring and control of job status, batch auditing, historic graphs and performance reports for each machine and job via an interactive PC dashboard. 

Conclusion

BlendSave enables factories to improve efficiency by simplifying the flow of raw materials and reducing the need for capital equipment. Man-hours which used to be spent on batch preparations are dramatically reduced, while additional factory space is now used for other revenue-generating activities.

Furthermore, BlendSave enables factories to produce faster and with greater quality and control, opening new opportunities for growth and efficiency.

About LIAD and its innovative breakthrough technologies:

LIAD Weighing and Control Systems, a veteran engineering company with over 35 years’ experience in the plastics industry, is recognized for innovative products which significantly improve plant efficiency. LIAD was the first company to introduce about 15 years ago a gravimetric feeder adjacent to the extruder inlet for precise and controlled dosing of masterbatches and additives.

In addition to BlendSave, LIAD is now introducing four more innovative breakthroughs in plastics manufacturing which promise to increase efficiency further and generate greater factory profit.

  • ColorSave-Micro – LIAD’s next-generation single component gravimetric masterbatch/additive feeder works with all types of masterbatches. The system reaches accuracy to within a single pellet, (http://www.liad.co.il/products/feeders/ColorSave-Micro).
  • SpectroSaveA multi-channel in-line spectrometer that integrates within the production line, providing on-site and real-time QA of colors, (http://www.liad.co.il/products/qc/spectrosave).
  • ColorSave-Spectro - A single component masterbatch feeder controlled by SpectroSave, and capable of instantly adjusting the release of colored masterbatches to obtain the desired color most efficiently.