System Facilitates Material Distribution
Wittmann-Battenfeld has developed a new material-distribution system that is said to facilitate material changeovers. Called Codemax, it features monitored coupling stations that ensure materials are sent to the right machine at the right time.
RFID antennas and tags on every coupling make sure that correct connections are established in every case between material-feeding pipelines and processing machines. The connections are monitored via the machine builder’s network control for materials handling systems and invariably checked against the input from the system operator. If a coupling process is triggered on the network control system without operator input, this immediately generates an error signal, and the material transport affected is stopped. This reportedly prevents feeding of the wrong material to a processing machine.
The same procedure is followed if a material change has been triggered via the control system, and the wrong material is connected to the coupling station. Before a coupling process is carried out, the system operator is shown which material hose must be connected to which distributor unit. Both incorrect and open connections are visualized on the control system’s graphic display. All of this ensures in every single case that the processing machines are always supplied with only the required material, and leakages caused by open connections are eliminated as well.
Mounted inside an aluminum housing and over-molded with a shock-absorbing layer of plastic, the RFID antennas are optimally protected against shocks. Existing material distributors can also be retrofitted with RFID antennas, and subsequent extension of monitored coupling stations presents no problems.
Codemax coupling stations are available in a pluggable version with sealed pipe clamps, which permits subsequent exchange of pipe elements and the use of wear-resistant parts where necessary. Fast camlock couplings consist of aluminum and are fully sealed, produced without sensitive threading, and are mounted on stainless steel pipes. An extremely sturdy design helps the coupling withstand rough handling of the couplings in operation, as material hoses are commonly dropped onto the floor together with the couplings. The camlock couplings ensure safe connections without leakages and can be re-plugged quickly nevertheless.
The company says Codemax is easy to operate, and all currently available coupling options can be retrieved from a central point. With the help of such a system, fast material changes become normal practice, material sources such as dryers, roller containers or external silos can be used by several consumers, and all in all, RFID monitoring ensures a faultless production process.
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