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Precision sorting thanks to the Westeria AirLift

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Air classifiers are a crucial piece of equipment when it comes to systems that separate materials of different weights present in waste streams. In particular, Westeria’s AirLift is notably precise as far as sorting. As a separator for ultra-lightweight materials, Westeria’s Airlift is also capable of sorting fractions made up of components that differ in specific weight. An example application is the PET bottle recycling, in which the valuable PET fraction can efficiently and thoroughly be separated from lightweight contaminants such as PE films or paper labels.

Regulations governing plastics products are increasingly requiring the use of larger proportions of recycled materials. Germany’s Packaging Act specifies a material recycling rate of 58.5% for plastics packaging, a rate which is set to rise to 63% from 2022. These regulations disregard economic factors such as the oversupply of plastic scrap and the current reduced prices for virgin plastics. This means the requirements on the quality and purity of the input available for recycling are increasing. If these greater quantities of recycled material are to be obtained from post-consumer waste, greater attention has to be paid to the processing step upstream of recycling, particularly sorting.

New market situations demand the right tools for the job

Conventional over-conveyor extractors (or air classifiers) are very well suited to separating different weight fractions in waste streams. They cannot cope when it comes to differentiating presorted or similar lightweight components, which is why the Westeria AirLift plays a key role. The Airlift can replace conventional air classifiers in existing installations where it can then separate plastic film from paper or different plastics from one another.

The complete AirLift system consists of three components. The SpeedCon high-speed conveyor belt, which has a particularly long design service life, feeds the material at up to 4 ms-1 toward the central element, the AirLift while the AirWheel is arranged downstream of the AirLift. Depending on the model, working widths of the AirLift range between 1,000 mm and 3,500 mm, the widest being capable of handling throughputs of up to 320 m³/h with grain sizes varying from 60 mm to 250 mm. Maximum outlet capacity is 5.6 t/h. Automatic gate controllers prevent material blockages on the input and the output sides to ensure high operational reliability. Being continuously adjustable, the automatic gate control also ensures that the passage height can be adjusted exactly to the specific separation goal.

The SpeedCon is angled downwards by 20° directly below the intake. As a result, the air stream can easily get underneath the light parts. Angling the conveyor in this way imparts a ballistic trajectory to all input stream materials. The integrated controller can adjust the trajectory’s shape or throw distance via the belt speed to tailor it precisely to the task at hand. Diametric downflow ensures particularly high selectivity. Levels of purity in excess of 95% are achievable depending on the input material. For instance, an analysis of AirLift systems installed in the mixed plastics feed to an NIR sorter revealed that, for a working width of 2,800 mm, over 90% of the desired film fraction could be reliably separated. As a result, the system considerably reduces disposal costs and increases recycling cost-efficiency. Eliminating the film from mixed plastics facilitates NIR sorting and distinctly improves the sorting result.

System integration

The complete three-part AirLift system can be used as a sub-component of a more comprehensive sorting installation. Its design also allows it to be straightforwardly retrofitted if necessary.

Summary and outlook

Society is demanding the use of recycled plastics, a demand which policymakers are increasingly meeting. In the coming years, the circular economy will stop being a theoretical mission statement and become an everyday reality. Waste disposal operators readily require high-performance sorting technology in order to be able to obtain optimally segregated secondary raw materials from the waste stream. High-quality recycled plastics are essential for manufacturing products that can be put to use long-term.

With the AirLift in its arsenal, Westeria has a solution that meets requirements and can be straightforwardly retrofitted in existing sorting operations. The various models and configurations mean that they can be adapted to any kind of plant configuration. Westeria is constantly developing its technology and current projects, including the boosting of the performance of its high-efficiency “DiscSpreader” material distribution systems.

Packaging

What kind of automation do you need for your packaging line?

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One of the primary factors in determining your approach to packaging line automation is to take a look at your existing warehouse environment. Packaging environments differ based on many variables such as the type of business, warehouse layout, and the number and sizes of products to be shipped. As examples, a manufacturing facility may produce products in batches, while an e-commerce fulfillment center may require shipments of single- and multi-item orders. Other facilities may require packaging of small or similar-sized items, while others may have large, heavy and/or odd-shaped products to ship. Each would benefit from automation, but each requires a different automatic packaging solution to achieve the best results.

Since packaging processes can be carried out in a number of different ways based on operational requirements, the best way to optimize your warehouse is to fully assess and understand your existing workflow. With the assistance of an Automated Packaging Professional, you can look at your packaging line holistically to design a customizable solution that matches your product flow, from shelves to shipping.

Although no two packaging environments are alike, every packaging process includes some form of data integration, product transport, carton production, product protection, carton erect, carton packing, sealing, marking, sortation, and business intelligence. See our previous blog post to learn more about this.On Demand Packaging® solutions can enhance processes and flow by integrating with one or more of these 10 features, depending on the workflow environment. The following examples illustrate different packaging environments and the benefits of a customized Packsize system in each.

Automated Box Last

“Box Last” is a highly-automated packaging flow designed for manufacturing or distribution facilities that need to pick and package single- or multi-item orders. While utilizing three Packsize machine systems and an integrated software platform, this packaging process produces a right-sized box-last, for the right product, in the right sequence, every time. All 10 features of the packaging process are integrated in this solution.

This process employs conveyance automation (and also works for non-conveyable or oversized items, from the picking of products). Each product is scanned for dimensional data and placed on warehouse racking. Sortation occurs at the scanner placed on the conveyor before the three shipping trucks.

In this example, the M1 packages large, non-conveyable orders, the X4 handles medium conveyable single- or multi-item orders, and the X7 packages smaller, conveyable, single- or multi-item orders.

A large outdoor retailer has taken big steps to fine-tune packaging in its distribution centers by employing the Right-sized Packaging on Demand “box last” process, integrating several automated, small-footprint packaging machines to produce custom boxes for every order. Prior to utilizing this process, the company stocked an inventory of boxes, in varying sizes, at several pack stations, wasting time, money, and efficiency. Right-sized packaging lowered their dimensional charges, reduced the cost of materials and labor, all while increasing throughput.

  • Customize your solution to match your product flow from shelves to shipping
  • Right-sized box is produced last for the right product in the right sequence, every time
  • Integration points across your facility will know where to route the order
  • Packsize equipment will package products based on key attributes, cut times, and delivery methods

Automated Box First

“Box First” is another highly-automated packaging solution that pairs boxes automatically with an order ready to be packed. Each product is scanned for dimensional data and placed on warehouse racking. Items are packed in the box as the box is conveyed through the warehouse racking. Sortation occurs at the scanner placed on the conveyor before the three shipping trucks.

Customize your On Demand Packaging solution to enhance processes and flow

  • Packsize equipment enables a right-sized box to be created and routed to the appropriate areas of your distribution center
  • Boxes are automatically paired with an order ready to be packed
  • Seamless communication built on the PackNet® software foundation enhances flow and provides order analytics

Leading cake decoration supplier DecoPack utilizes a box-first On Demand Packaging solution after realizing the need to increase automation to support higher shipping volumes to its customers. Prior to automating, the company would pick orders into a tote, transport the tote to packing stations and then take the items out to pack into a pre-selected carton chosen from a large box inventory. This process required several workers in pick lines and large amounts of corrugated and void fill. Right-sized packaging provided the automation solution they needed, while reducing time, touch, and travel in their packaging and shipping process.

Automated Manufacturing / Assembly Environment

In a manufacturing environment products may be produced in batches (the same item is produced for a certain production run), or by a purchase order, down to a single unit at a time. Products may be large, oddly-shaped, or heavy. This process illustrates a Packsize machine accommodating either production environment. Depending on the variation of products produced, packaging needs, takt time required, and other variables, On Demand Packaging solutions can be customized to improve throughput and reduce costs.

For customers seeking higher automation for large, odd-shaped, and/or heavy products

  • Integrates seamlessly into your existing assembly line
  • Deliver the perfect fitting box to your packstation
  • Automation helps to reduce labor and improve consistency in your packaging process

Forward-thinking furniture manufacturer Legacy Cabinets sought to reduce empty space and improve protection when shipping its cabinetry. However, the initial attempt at right-sizing required a substantially large box inventory. This required significant time, costs, and management of 500 box SKUs. Legacy Cabinet’s inventory now consists of only five different sizes of z-Fold®.

Multi-Machine Manufacturing Flow

This packaging solution features less automation and integration than the other manufacturing environment references. Products are transported to Packsize machines for custom box production then packed and shipped by an employee. This process can be integrated with packaging software to scan a product for dimensional data as it is unpackaged and placed on warehouse racking.

Can be customized for any workflow

  • Product dimensions are entered into the machine either with a barcode scan, manual scan, or your WMS
  • z-Fold® will be fed into the machine and cut into a right-sized box
  • Equipped for various box sizes and designs
  • PackNet coordinates all elements of the manufacturing flow

For more than 20 years, Central Carolina Products relied on a traditional store-and-retrieve box inventory system to ship custom auto parts and other injection-molded products. Waiting for box vendor quotes and orders added several days to its lead time. After incorporating an On Demand Packaging solution, they can now create 100 custom boxes for 100 different parts at no extra cost and with no additional lead time.

Custom Batch Production

In batch production, an automated packaging machine creates batches of boxes, eliminating the need for a box inventory. In the illustration below, it is assumed that the production run is generated by an integrated software system, which means that this is higher on the integration scale, even though the packaging process flow is lower on the automation scale.

Eliminate the dependency on box vendors for stock boxes and custom orders

  • Quickly produce the exact number of boxes you need in the right size and design
  • Optimized to produce any custom box for your operations—either in batch or single-piece flow productions

Packaging is typically the final part of any manufacturing or order fulfillment process, and often, the last to be optimized. The process solutions above emphasize the role a packaging line plays in achieving business objectives, increased throughput, reduced labor, and cost savings. Just as no two warehouse environments are alike, automation is not a one-size-fits-all remedy, but rather a customizable and flexible solution designed to streamline warehouse operations, increase sustainability, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction.

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Chemistry

Optimal solutions for pump applications!

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Active and present in various industries for more than 49 years, I-MAK is a global player of the power transmission industry. With more than 1.000.000 References and hundred of different product lines, I-MAK propose unique solutions to a large scale of applications, machineries and sectors. 

Pumps and transfer technologies represent a key application in a large range of industries. I-MAK propose unique solutions for gear and lube pump machineries, available with a large range of options, the IR Series (Helical gearboxes) is perfectly adapted to these demanding applications. Available in 12 different series ranging from 90nm to 18.000 nm, the IR Series cover a large part of pump manufacturer’s needs. Available with input shaft or direct motor coupling, the gearbox is easy to mount with standard foot configuration. These features are a key advantage for end users that can easily dismount the gearboxes for maintenance and limit the downtime or system lockdowns. 

Particularly present in oil and gas industries, I-MAK is actively taking part in various major projects in the middle east ( UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia) and is a preferred suppliers for thousands of crude oil producers, refineries and engineering companies. The company is also serving the US oil industry with the key localization of SIPCO-IMAK in Houston, Texas. With a dedicated team of experts and support team providing quick and quality assistance to the North America market. All the product range of the brand are available in ATEX configuration, providing a reinforced security to match with the sector standards and needs of technological partners. 

I-MAK is also active in the food and beverage industry, the new products features added in last years are key addition to the existing products line. Available in special paint and coating, the gearboxes are easy to wash and limit material deposit, rust and contribute to the maintenance of high hygienic standard at on customer’s sites.  With optional food grade oil and resistance to high temperature and aggressive environment, the oil leakage risks and impact are limited to the minimum. 

The wide network of I-MAK offices, distributors and technical centers offers a unique geographical coverage that assure a quick on site assistance in most of the region around world. For areas that cannot be reached customers have access to the unique 24h/7 days assistance line of I-MAK, with the guarantee to speak with a service engineer or operation department at any time of the day! Available in 6 different language this service focus on solution first, keeping the customer activities on flow!

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Computer

3D CAD configurator by CADENAS small belt conveyor product line

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MTF Technik Hardy Schürfeld GmbH & Co. KG has expanded its online product configurator based on eCATALOGsolutions technology by CADENAS GmbH. In addition to the Multi-Tech belt conveyors, customers and interested parties can now also configure straight small belt conveyor belts of the I-Tech type according to their needs. This type is mainly used in confined spaces, such as in machines or tool shafts. Due to these space limitations and the complexity of the product, it is therefore even more important for planners and engineers to have complete and reliable 3D CAD data available right from the start. MTF Technik’s configurator provides this data free of charge in more than 150 common CAD formats – for more planning reliability as well as faster quotation and time-to-market.

Easy configuration

The intuitive configurator is a great help in customizing the I-Tech belt conveyor and its features, such as the dimensions, feeding and discharge heights, belt specifications, drive unit, base frame and some extras. Users are guided step by step through each stage of the configuration. A plausibility check is also carried out in parallel with each input. This ensures that only actually orderable variants can be configured. If needed, a help function provides additional support for each input field.

As soon as the desired belt conveyor has been built, customers receive a 2D preview drawing and a high-quality 3D CAD model that can be rotated and cropped as desired. The product data can then be easily downloaded in the preferred CAD format and as a PDF data sheet including all relevant dimensions and specifications. The data sheet can also be forwarded directly to MTF Technik in order to quickly receive a detailed offer for a specific selection. Once configurations have been made, they can be saved to an individual account and easily modified for further applications.

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