BlendSave is an advanced multi-channel batch compounder that’s enabling plastics manufacturers and mono-masterbatch compounders to optimize their raw material flow management.
Enhanced batch consistency, high throughput, and greater profits are here…
The existing process of weighing, blending and conveying, which plastics and additive 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, inventory and labor; all of which are weighing down factory efficiency.
This white paper examines LIAD’s patented BlendSaveTM, a fully automated and simultaneous multi-channel weighing and mixing system for producing new homogenous batches from an inventory of additive and resin granules.
Centralized Blender with Simultaneous Weighing
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 is designed for multiple applications including creating new homogenous masterbatch from a combination of mono-masterbatches, and plastics batch compounding for plastic processing machines. 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 48 processing machines.
For applications where weight accuracy is of upmost importance, such as masterbatch compounding by combining mono-masterbatches, BlendSave provides consistent, high-resolution weighing within 0.01g utilizing a multi-step process and small load cells. Following the highly accurate 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 with the most demanding requirements.
Efficient Flow Management
||Existing Four-Bin Gravimetric Blender
|Four-Bin Gravimetric Blender
|Floor Space (Meters2)
When considering an example 3002m 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 202 meters of space and spreading out a simple tube arrangement.
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. Manufacturers with tens of different raw materials can integrate multiple BlendSave units into a single system linked via a PC-linked controller. The multiple systems are raised on a platform, such that the funnel for each individual system releases the weighed material into a second common funnel utilized by all systems. The complete batch is then sent to its processing machine via a single automatic manifold.
When considering the possibility of 3 BlendSave systems, the total required floor space is only 15 sqm.
BlendSave is not solely for classic masterbatch producers, but may also be used by large plastic manufacturers in collaboration with their masterbatch providers to create new masterbatch colors as needed on-site, while keeping only a limited inventory of mono-masterbatch granules.
Switching Jobs & Contamination Prevention
BlendSave’s dedicated weighing chambers 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.
In typical plastics manufacturing, as the mixed batch is released from the 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 doesn’t 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.
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 plastics job management speed by dedicating a weighing chamber for each individual bin; weighing in parallel all batch components. In addition to the enhanced speed and time savings by eliminating the risk of batch contamination, BlendSave uses smaller load cells; affording higher batch accuracy with a relatively high throughput.
By utilizing BlendSave, factories have access to continuously updated information concerning equipment and material efficiency. As all of 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.
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 up new opportunities for growth and efficiency.
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 a number of products which are today considered standard in plastics manufacturing, including a gravimetric feeder adjacent to the extruder for precise measuring of color pellets.
In addition to BlendSave, LIAD is now introducing four more innovative breakthroughs in plastics manufacturing which promise to further increase efficiency and generate greater factory profit.
- ColorSave-Micro™ – LIAD’s next generation single component gravimetric masterbatch/additive feeder works with all types of materials, including regrind and powder. The system reaches accuracy to within a single pellet. (www.colorsave-micro.com)
- SpectroSave™ – A differential spectrometer used at the extrusion line for color quality control.
- ColorSave-Spectro™ - A single component masterbatch and additive feeder controlled by SpectroSave, and capable of instantly adjusting the release of color pellets to obtain the desired color in the most cost-efficient manner.
For more information from LIAD Weighing and Control Systems visit www.liad.co.il