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Will Post Cure Inflator Machinery Ever Die?

Few weeks back, I shared Jacob Peled’s presentation ‘The Future of Tire Plants’ and more recently, ‘Visions of the Future’ on our LinkedIn Page. On reading, an industry friend asked me this question – ‘Will Post Cure Inflator Machinery Ever Die?

While Jacob’s presentation envisions the shortening of curing time by use of higher temperatures and pressure, automation, development of bladder, materials etc, there have been no specific mention of Post Cure Inflators.

So where did this question rise from, I was curious.

Historically, the process of Post Curing Inflation has seen its popularity rise and fall at different time intervals. Tyre technology has been evolving to embrace increased efficiency at all stages of manufacturing. And Post Curing Inflation is not really an energy efficient process, reasoned my friend clarifying the basis for his question.

So, what is Post Cure Inflator Machinery?

Post Cure Inflator (PCI) machinery cools the tyre under pressure immediately after it has been cured.

post-cure-inflator-tire-machinery

Image: L&T Make Post Cure Inflator

For the tyre, this stage involves mounting them on the flanges, inflating it and cooling it according to a selected procedure. You may do this for one or two cycles (Note: one cycle is equal to the time taken for one curing cycle) depending on the specification arrived at for the time your cured tyre takes to cool down to room temperature.

Types of Post Cure Inflator Machinery

There are two types of Post Cure Inflator machinery, viz. Automatic and Semi-Automatic, in the market for use with tyres of passenger cars, light trucks, trucks and off-the-road equipment.

  1. Automatic Post Cure Inflator units are installed at the rear of tyre curing presses, to receive the cured tyres from the curing presses. The tyres are cooled to ambient temperature under controlled air pressure to avoid distortion of plies. After cooling, tyres are discharged onto the takeaway conveyor rollers. Post Cure Inflators are available in 2-position and 4-position designs, which allow for inflation time equivalent to curing time and double the curing time respectively.
  2. Semi Automatic Post Cure Inflator units are located in the curing area and cured tyres are loaded into these units. Tyres are cooled to the ambient temperature under controlled air pressure and are manually discharged from these units.

Machinery suppliers offer design features like adjustable inflation, auto/manual rotation, and adjustable bead width. These features enable Post Cure Inflator machinery to also function as a testing stand for secondary, manual inspection of sidewall or runout rejects.

To examine the importance of this tyre machinery further, let’s understand the process deeper.

Post Curing Inflation Process & its Significance

Post Curing Inflation is recommended especially for tyres of nylon carcass construction. This is because nylon has a unique property of shrinking while it is heated.  When you have nylon in your tyre carcass (i.e. the skeleton of the tyre), there is a tendency for it to shrink as you heat the tyre to vulcanize.

Since vulcanizing of the tyre happens inside a curing press, it is not possible for these nylon cords to shrink. This is because there is high pressure inside the tyre which keeps these nylon cords in the stretched condition. But when the curing is completed and you release the pressure inside the bladder, the nylon cords tend to shrink since your tyre is still hot.

To avoid this hot or thermal shrinkage, the tyre is to be cooled under pressure. If you skip this process, the tyres may lose shape or get distorted or have changes in dimensions.

Post Cure Inflator machinery stabilizes the shape of your tyre in production. When you delay Post Curing Inflation, the damage caused would be irreversible and highly undesirable – both for your company’s reputation and customers safety.

If your customer is given a tyre which was affected by Post Curing Inflation delay, its dimensions will be different from normal tyres. This leads to uneven wear, problems to the axle and bearings of their vehicle. The distortion in shape further leads to tyre uniformity problems that adversely impacts the level of comfort and performance of tyres in the highly advanced vehicles. Last but not the least, a distorted tyre is not safe and lead to accidents.  Needless to say, all of the above creates a negative impact on the company’s image and lead to economic and legal implications for your company.

When the design of your tyre construction changes, Post Curing Inflation process allow your tyres to maintain their designed profile and performance characteristics as they reach road temperatures.

Summarizing, while the popularity of Post Curing Inflation process (and hence Post Cure Inflator Machinery) may shift back and forth, this tyre machinery will not die soon.

What do you think?


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Why We Love Gear Coupling (And You Should, Too!)

First things first! You choose a coupling to connect two shafts together at their ends to transmit power. The primary purpose of coupling is to join two pieces of rotating equipment while permitting some degree of misalignment or end movement or both.

Normally, couplings do not allow shafts to disconnect during operation, however there are torque limiting couplings which can slip or disconnect when some torque limit is exceeded. Hence, you should carefully select, install and maintain couplings; as this could give you substantial savings in the form of reduced maintenance costs and downtime.

Gear Coupling

A gear coupling is a mechanical device to join two rotating shafts (that are not collinear) for efficient transmission of mechanical power. These are crucial because although you may align the shafts (for example, between the gearbox and the mixing mill roll) at the time of installation, it is likely that during the operation there may be disruption to this alignment.

Disruptions could occur due to setting of foundation, thermal expansion, shaft deflection, wearing out of other parts, improper maintenance and many more reasons. At these times, where the misalignment occurring during the operation is unavoidable, a gear coupling compensate or minimize the effect of misalignment thus providing a good solution to prevent your rubber machinery, bearings, seals and shafts from being subjected to the additional forces.

Gear couplings are power intensive and considered as the king of the coupling types. You would see the gear couplings being adopted for wide range of application in drive technologies. Hence, we love love gear coupling (and I think, you would too!).

Gear Couplings and Universal Joints

Gear couplings and universal joints are used in similar applications. Gear couplings have higher torque densities than universal joints designed to fit a given space, while universal joints induce lower vibrations. The limit on torque density in universal joints is due to the limited cross sections of the cross and yoke.

The gear teeth in a gear coupling have high backlash to allow for angular misalignment. The excess backlash can contribute to vibration.

Structure of a Gear Coupling

Gear couplings are torsionally rigid and consist of hubs with multi crowned teeth at flank, tip and chamfering on teeth, gaskets, sleeve and O-rings. The hubs attach to the machinery shafts, and sleeves span the gap from one hub to the next. They are available in two designs – completely flexible and flexible/rigid.

The hub is the heart of any gear coupling. Hence manufacturers take great care to impart a superior design and mostly manufacture the hub on CNC machine for precision. Together with the tooth profile of the hub, these aspects enable the gear coupling to function well under all operating conditions with increased reliability and long life.

The tooth flanks and outer diameter of the external gear are crowned to allow for angular displacement between the two gears. The multi crowned teeth reduce the alignment adjustment and improve the load carrying capacity of the teeth. The backlash between the teeth is minimal due to multi-crown tooth design.

A completely flexible coupling comprises two hubs with an external gear and two outer sleeves with an internal gear. It’s a universal coupling for all sorts of applications and accommodates all possible misalignment (angular, radial and combined) as well as large axial moments.

Structure of a Gear Coupling

A flexible/rigid coupling comprises one flexible geared half and one rigid half. It does not accommodate parallel displacement of shafts but does accommodate angular misalignment.

Information to order Gear Coupling

When you are buying rubber machinery, your machinery supplier or OEM would take care of this. However, you need to understand that there is a check list of information that needs to be provided to a gear coupling supplier that includes,

  1. Specify quantity required and delivery expectations.
  2. Specify shaft or bore sizes and key-way dimensions. You need to give exact dimensions with tolerances.
  3. Specify load – HP and/or torque at a specific RPM. State the normal and maximum conditions of use.
  4. Specify Speed of operation – Minimum, Normal and Maximum.
  5. Specify Application. Most Rubber & Tyre Machinery (Mixers, Kneaders, Mills, Calenders, Extruders, etc) conforms to a service factor classification where heavy shock conditions or frequent reversing peak loads that do not exceed 150 per cent average horse power is observed. Uneven load is usually present during operation. Service factor ranges from 1.25 to 1.50.
  6. Specify Coupling Series, Type and Size.
  7. Specify Space limitations – envelope dimensions, shaft extensions and shaft spacing.
  8. Specify unusual misalignment conditions if any.
  9. Specify Modifications – tapered bores, special keys, hub cut off, counter bores or others
  10. Specify unusual operating conditions ambient temperatures and atmospheres, if any.

Maintenance of Gear Coupling

Gear Coupling maintenance is mostly simple – requiring a regularly scheduled inspection of each coupling. Your schedule should consist of:

  • Performing visual inspections – checking for signs of wear or fatigue, and cleaning couplings regularly.
  • Checking and changing lubricant Each coupling half is provided with grease nipple/plug on the housing from where grease can be filled directly. The coupling is supplied with some quality of grease to facilitate assembly. It is recommended to fill the required quality and quantity of grease before putting the coupling in operation. This maintenance is required annually for most couplings and more frequently for couplings in adverse environments or in demanding operating conditions.
  • Documenting the maintenance performed on each coupling, along with the date.

Here’s a 1:17 min video of dismantling of a gear coupling so you could appreciate the components that make-up this coupling much better.

Video of Dismantling of A Gear Coupling

Video

Failure of Gear Coupling

Caution! Even with proper maintenance, your gear couplings can fail. The other causes of failure include:

  • Improper installation
  • Poor coupling selection
  • Operation beyond design capabilities

The only way to improve your coupling life is to understand what caused the failure and to correct it prior to installing a new coupling. You could check for some external signs that indicate potential coupling failure like,

  • Abnormal noise, such as screeching, squealing or chattering
  • Excessive vibration or wobble
  • Failed seals indicated by lubricant leakage or contamination

Summarizing, gear coupling is a mechanical device to join two rotating shafts for efficient transmission of mechanical power, are power intensive and is the king amongst the coupling types. They offer the highest load capacity and stiffness, yet easy to maintain. These are some of our reasons to love this gear coupling on the rubber machinery. 

Do you have more? Let us know your thoughts.


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Anatomy of a Bale Ply Reel Winder

Have you heard of Bale Ply Reel Winder Machine?

Most likely a YES! if you are in the tyre industry.

For the benefit of other starters, this is an allied equipment. Used as a conveying and winding system in tire industry, a Bale Ply Reel Winder consists of two stations for winding up fabric lined rubber sheets.

The winding system receives fabric sandwiched Rubber Ply from your calendar and is wound in a reel at a wind-up speed of 16-32 rpm. The conveying speed is around 40 meters/minute.

Structurally, this machinery consists of four key components.

  1. Wind-Up Conveyor
  2. Ball Screw Assembly
  3. Frame Slide Assembly
  4. Reel Lift Assembly

Below is the equipment information image card on the Anatomy of a Bale Ply Reel Winder (for your quick preview) with inputs from L&T Rubber Processing Machinery.

Bale Reel Winder Image Card

For additional details, I urge you to also check out L&T’s newsletter which is fairly informative on operational aspects and technical specifications along with pictures of this machinery.

Do you want one for your Plant today? Or do you find a compatible use of Bale Ply Reel Winder (with customization) elsewhere for conveying and winding requirements in your operation.

Let us know your thoughts.


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13 Things You Should Know About Hydraulic Power Pack

If you have seen or used an Internal Mixer, Bale Cutter, Press, or any Hydraulic machinery then you have witnessed a Hydraulic Power Pack in operation.

13-Things-About-Hydraulic-Power-Pack

Here are 13 things you should know about Hydraulic Power Pack.

  1. By definition, hydraulic power packs are self-contained power-units used instead of a built-in power supply, to transmit power from one location to another and thus run your rubber machinery. A hydraulic system employs enclosed fluid to transfer energy from one source to another, and subsequently create rotary motion, linear motion, or force.
  2. Hydraulic power packs come in different shapes and sizes; some are very large and stationary whereas others are smaller and compact. The mechanical characteristics and specifications of a hydraulic power pack dictate the type of applications for which it can be effective.
  3. You can identify hydraulic power packs through its main components. Because irrespective of the size of the unit, all power packs will have the following;
  • A hydraulic reservoir (or tank) which holds the enclosed oil. This is a storage unit designed with enough volume for the oil in the pipes to drain into it. They also ensure this oil is stored and maintained in the best possible condition. Reservoirs will come in different sizes. Common auxiliaries for a reservoir include filler/breathers and drain ports, level gauge, level switches and inspection covers.
  • Regulators that control and maintain the amount of pressure that the hydraulic power pack delivers. These are very vital.
  • Pressure Supply lines and Relief lines. The supply line supplies fluid under pressure to the pump and the relief lines relieve pressure between the pump and the valves. The relief lines also control the direction of flow through the system.
  • Motor to power a pump
  • A pump to perform two actions. Firstly, it creates a vacuum at the pump inlet and with the help of atmospheric pressure, forces fluid from the reservoir into the inlet line. This fluid is then fed to the pump. The pump then delivers this fluid to the pump outlet and force feeds it into the hydraulic system.
  1. Some of the important factors that influence a hydraulic power unit’s performance are pressure limits, power capacity, and reservoir volume. In addition, its physical characteristics including size, power supply, and pumping strength are also significant considerations. Reputed suppliers take great care to ensure that a large, durable hydraulic power unit is built for functioning under a range of environmental conditions.
  2. Hydraulic power packs have other components like
  • Filters: Filtration is a critical part of a hydraulic power pack, ensuring wear is minimised and efficiencies are maintained. Basic suction strainers do not allow large contaminants to enter the pump. Pressure filters are normally configured at the pump outlet and ensure only filtered oil enters the hydraulic system. Contamination within the system is filtered out by the return filter before it enters the hydraulic reservoir.
  • Pressure Control valves that limit or control the hydraulic pressure within the hydraulic system.
  • Directional Control hydraulic valves (manual, electrical, pneumatic or hydraulic operated) direct the oil flow around the system to operate actuators, motors or other functions.
  • Cooling is another other key consideration, where efficiencies within a system or machine will produce heat in the oil; this must be cooled to ensure long life and high-efficiency.
  • Accumulators: These are containers that can be attached to the hydraulic actuators. They collect oil from the pump and are intended to build and maintain fluid pressure to supplement the motor pumping system.
  • Coolers and Heaters: As part of the temperature regulation process, an air cooler can be installed near or behind the filter unit to prevent temperatures from rising above operational parameters. Likewise, a heating system, such as an oil-based heater, can be used to elevate temperatures when necessary.
  • Power Unit Controllers: The hydraulic controller unit is the operator interface containing power switches, displays, and monitoring features. It is necessary for installing and integrating a power unit into a hydraulic systems, and can usually be found wired into the power unit. Oil level and temperature protection switch, Pressure switches and filter clogging switches are quite common.

Hydraulic-Power-Pack-Schematic

  1. Hydraulic power packs come with a variety of valve connections. This means that you can power a variety of rubber and tyre machinery by using the appropriate valves. Most manufacturers segregate their models into a ‘standard’, ‘mini’, ‘micro’ or‘bespoke’ power pack categories.
  2. When picking a hydraulic power pack there are a variety of pumps and options to pick from. Hence, it is important to pick the right power pack to meet your machines needs. It is also important to consider a power pack that will help maximise productivity and minimise cost.
  3. In rubber and tyre machinery, you would need custom design of your hydraulic power packs depending on the features you select and how you select. For example, you could either opt for a single power pack for your drop door and hydraulic ram operations of a mixer; or choose separate power packs for individual operations depending on the circumstances at your plant.
  4. Your supplier should review the pressure and flow data together with you. And they should also take load profiles and the thermal budget into account. Doing this ensures that you get a power pack that precisely meets your technical requirements and operates economically.
  5. It is ideal if you or your machinery supplier get everything integrated from a single source. Because, fewer interfaces means your hydraulic system gets built faster. Your costs are lower, too.
  6. Experts recommend use of high-efficiency low-noise internal gear pumps when designing power packs. Your supplier may consider accumulator charging technology or variable speed drives as may be the case for your application. Multiple pressure circuits are another option.
  7. Hydraulic power packs require regular maintenance to ensure they work properly and safely for extended periods of use. Maintaining hydraulic power packs is relatively simple. You should check the tubing for any noticeable problems such as dents or cracks. You should also inspect the reservoir to check for any corrosion or rust. And do regularly change the hydraulic fluid as per recommended maintenance schedule of your hydraulic power pack.
  8. Hydraulic power packs must be installed and mounted in a clean and dry location void of any standing water or accumulated run-off.

Summarizing, you should opt for a power pack that has low power consumption, requires very little installation space, and operates with low cooling requirements. This would mean that your operating costs are very low for the unit and it’s easy to integrate into your main machinery. All of these would help you procure power packs featuring high reliability and availability on the one hand, and easy and cost-effective integration into your rubber machinery on the other.

Did I miss some aspects?  Would you like to add more to this list? Let us know.


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Turnkey TSR Processing Experts – Know Your Supplier

If you are into rubber sourcing, you already know that introduction of Technically Specified Rubber (TSR) has standardized the rubber grading (as compared to RSS) and simplified procurement for buyers. Depending on the origin, you get Standard Malaysian Rubber (SMR), Standard Thai Rubber (STR), Standard Indonesian Rubber (SIR), Standard Sri Lanka Rubber (SSR), Standard Vietnam Rubber (SVR), Indian Standard Natural Rubber (ISNR), etc.

Setting up a TSR production line demands a uniquely different series of main and allied machinery lines (starting with cup/crumb rubber to bales from stacked rubber sheets). More importantly, you need an expert to guide you well.

At Rubber Machinery World, our effort to bring you information on an equipment supplier’s Competency, Capacity, Commitment, Communication, Technology, Market Presence, Culture and other details that you seek; continues with this advertorial of ‘Know Your Supplier’.

In this post, I introduce you to a two-decade old Turnkey TSR Processing Machinery Supplier based in India and expanding fast.

Hevea Engineering Works Pvt. Ltd  is into Design, Manufacturing, Supply, Installation, Commissioning and Service of machinery for TSR Processing and Rubber Moulded Goods Industry since 1996 with a glowing reputation in India and overseas.

Hevea Engineering Works

From an exhaustive interview with Tom C. Abraham, Director, we understand that Hevea Engineering Works (HEW) is fast building on its reputation and expertise of very strong pre-sales consulting, customized machinery design and post-sales support for Turnkey TSR processing.

I reproduce for you a teaser of our conversation in this post. Please do read full interview to comprehensively Know Your Supplier on this special edition here or by clicking on the below image.

Hevea_Engineering_Works_Magazine

Flip through Full eEdition

Q. What are the major strengths of Hevea Engineering Works? How do you add value to TSR equipment buyers?

We have established a strong base in TSR processing machinery in last 20 yrs. We understand the complete TSR value chain – right from cup rubber to final usage. This gives us the unique perspective to recommend the right solution to our customers. The ‘solution’ can vary from as basic (though important) as consulting on plant layout and design to supply of customized machinery for TSR processing. For example, you would benefit from different designs for a DRC of 45% as compared to DRC of 80%. Again machinery varies for latex processing, field coagulum, or RSS reprocessing. We understand TSR best. We improve our designs regularly based on our customers’ feedback. Additionally, at our own production facility, we test our products.

This means when customers buy from us, they can be assured of machinery that is improved in design, are user-friendly and has low maintenance.

Competitive pricing is another big strength with us because we control the design and manufacturing in-house.

Q.  I see that you have a vast range of equipment for TSR industry. So, what products and services can a prospective buyer expect when they come to you?

TSR Processing machinery selection can be complex for a new entrant while established processors understand the nuances well. This is because depending on the nature of the raw material (for example latex processing, field coagulum, RSS reprocessing, etc) the machinery design, usage and functionality vary. At HEW, we understand the TSR value chain comprehensively. This means when a prospective buyer comes to us he could discuss his requirement of main TSR Processing Main Machinery like Slab Cutter, Pre-Breaker, Hammer Mill, Creper, Shredder, Dryer, Hydraulic Press together with the supporting machinery Conveyor, Grab Bucket, Crumb Filling Station, Bucket Elevator, Scrubber, Metal detector, etc. For new projects, we recommend that buyer involves us from start like site selection/planning, layout design, machinery selection and a detailed cost estimate. We also help in providing electrical data, water requirements, Effluent Treatment etc. This is highly advantageous for the customers, as it saves a lot of initial time and money, and also greatly reduces the project execution time.

Lately we have diversified into rubber moulding machinery like intermix, kneader and moulding presses. An existing user can discuss with us his reconditioning or service requirements in these ranges of machinery.

Summarizing, our endeavor is to provide quality machinery at a competitive price and continue building our list of satisfied customers in India and abroad.

Q. How do you differentiate yourself as well as compete on price of your products with other brands in the market and of course with the cheaper SE Asian machines?

Hevea Engineering Works has been designing and manufacturing TSR processing machinery since 1996. We did our first export to Srilanka and In 2007, we also set up the first TSR processing factory in North-East India for our customer. Since then, we have built on our strengths of delivering high quality product at competitive pricing, leveraging in-house design and engineering capabilities to customize. Our expertise in TSR processing machinery is built both from our acquired knowledge of the industry and our personal experiences. We have designed our Dryer to minimize the heat loss, yielding greatly reduced fuel consumption. Another example – our crepers, pre-breakers etc have been redesigned to greatly reduce maintenance schedules and costs. The increased machinery uptime influences the efficiency significantly. Our products are built to suit the raw materials available in each region. In India, the manufacturing capacity of a typical TSR plant is 40-60 tons per day. Our machines easily match this capacity. Because of these considerations, and also due to the relatively low manufacturing costs in India, our prices are very competitive. Further, in addition to our competitive prices, we are very strong on pre-sales consulting, customized machinery design, operator training and post-sales support.

So, if you are looking for highest Return-On-Investment with the quickest payback period, our product range is easily the right solution for you.

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Also, in this eEdition, for your comprehensive information we included a box, adjacent to pictures, explaining the utility of each machinery in a TSR Production Line. Download PDF Here

Meanwhile, here is a quick overview of TSR Processing Machinery Solutions from Hevea Engineering Works and their contacts if you would like to reach them quickly.

Contact_Hevea_Engineering_Works


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Know Your Supplier is an advertorial initiative of Rubber Machinery World and all information are as provided by the supplier. If you desire to know more, kindly reach out on the contact details provided or write to me stating the additional details you seek on this supplier.

And if you would like your organization to be promoted on Rubber Machinery World, please see the opportunities on Partner Me or Contact Me at rubbermachineryworld@gmail.com for your customized offering.


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Industrie 4.0 And Why You Should Be Excited About It?

If you are even remotely following the advancements in manufacturing and automation, then you have already heard this term – Industrie 4.0. A German branded initiative, this is a term coined for the next stage of manufacturing that describes the main future development tasks required to achieve a ‘Smart Factory‘.

To quickly understand, you may visualize smart factories as ‘social networks’ where humans, machines and materials communicate and interact in real time.

Considered the 4th industrial revolution in manufacturing (watch a video), Industrie 4.0 is a dynamic process of evolution. It refers to the technological evolution from embedded systems to Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS).

Too much of jargons? Let me make an effort to explain…..

Relevance of CPS

In your manufacturing environment, these Cyber-Physical Systems comprise of smart machines, storage systems and production facilities capable of autonomously exchanging information, triggering actions and controlling each other independently.

This means all your machines, processes, control systems, logistics and even end-products are closely interconnected via internet-based, data-handling technologies and devices.

CPS makes your next level of decentralization realistic. It improves your resource productivity and efficiency, enables more flexible models of your work organization.

Says, Ashutosh Chincholikar, Business Head, Smart Controls India Ltd, “With Industrie 4.0, rubber and tyre machinery will no longer simply ‘processes’ the product, but your product would communicate with the machinery to tell it exactly what to do.”

Industrie-4.0-Rubber-Tyre-Machinery

Benefits of Industrie 4.0

Your benefits include flexibility in specification and volume, fine-tuning to your customer needs, and improving efficiency as a way to reduce your cost.

Your product development-to-market and order-to-shipment lead times become shorter. Expensive downtime for your machinery and plant gets reduced through remote monitoring and predictive maintenance.

Digitization, connected-ness and virtual tool planning opens your door to customized mass-production. This means you can produce very small batch sizes and yet sell at a profit.  Flexible manufacturing may mean that more of your parts and production materials have to be detected, inspected and identified. Transparency and reproducibility of your processes will enhance your product quality.

Experiences shared by Smart Controls India Ltd, include significant benefits like

  • 5% increase in productivity on 20 machines was equal to an extra machine.
  • 25% saving on a plant in Auto industry
  • 11% efficiency improvements in first 3 months at a Tire Company.
  • 68% gain in production by just fine tuning setup processes (up from 410 to 690 parts/week)
  • A large equipment manufacturer’s OEE shot up from 24% to 62% on machines

It is these benefits of speed, flexibility, quality amongst others that should keep you excited and upbeat about the prospects of Industrie 4.0. Further when you use CPS, you will have a clear advantage to attract the best employee talent since you can offer a better work-life balance.

| It is these benefits of speed, flexibility, quality amongst others that should keep you excited and upbeat about the prospects of Industrie 4.0. |

Need for a balanced approach

Interestingly, Industrie 4.0 goes by a variety of names: ‘Advanced Manufacturing’ in the USA and the UK, ‘les usines du futur’ (The Factories of the Future) in France, ‘Made Different – Factories of the Future’ in Belgium, and “Smart Industries” in the Netherlands.

As a manufacturer, you definitely need to procure equipment with right level of futuristic automation. Because Industrie 4.0 is bringing fundamental change to your business competition in today’s ‘VUCA’ (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world.  If you continue using today’s automation systems you will fail due to excess cost in automation.

| If you continue using today’s automation systems you will fail due to excess cost in automation. |

However, it is also necessary to find the balance between full automation and manual work. It doesn’t make sense to automate all your manufacturing processes completely as the cost of that will be too high.

For example, tire production is high-volume customization. The tire industry seeks to consistently improve quality while cutting waste, thus reduce the cost of each tire. Experts and Leaders will tell you that the steps you need to do this in China or India are different than they are in Japan or in Europe or in the U.S.

Every application must be evaluated with regards to the breakeven point. And that is where you will benefit with the assistance of a systems integrator.

balanced-approach

Adopt a Balanced Approach. (Image Source: Web)

| Every application must be evaluated with regards to the break-even point.|

Adds Ashutosh, “In order to implement automation solutions in the tyre industry someone who understands the intricacies of tyre manufacturing processes – from mixing, tyre building, curing to inspection – is needed. This is where Smart Controls plays a big role. With over 15 years of experience in serving the tyre industry, Smart Controls has full knowledge and experience of using the Siemens Technological Platform to implement automation solutions for almost all processes of tyre making.”

(You may wish to hear more on the ‘role of a system integrator in your smart factory’, when Ashutosh Chincholikar speaks at the International Rubber Conference in Chennai on March 1-3, 2016.) 

Summarizing, Industrie 4.0 is more than just a buzzword today and hence important that you take notice. Because it ensures that your resources are used more efficiently while people and machinery work far more productively.

Let us know your thoughts on Smart Factory and and plans for Industrie 4.0.


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What the Heck Is Rubber Creper Machine?

Last month, on a visit to God’s Own Country and Land of Rubber – Kerala, I had the privilege of getting acquainted with a different class of rubber machinery namely the TSR Processing Machinery.

Most of you would know that TSR stands for Technically Specified Rubber. And for few hardcore rubber machinery enthusiasts, like me, TSR also means Twin Screw Roller.

So during my various interactions with rubber entrepreneurs, the words RSS, TSR and Creper were being spelt-out at frequent intervals.

Fortunately for me, RSS and TSR were familiar terms!

If you are into rubber sourcing, you already know that introduction of Technically Specified Rubber (TSR) has standardized the rubber grading and simplified procurement for buyers. This means, you now have the choice of not relying only on visual assessments (read RSS) that are subjective.

Instead, you assess the actual content of foreign and volatile matter in TSR to pick up the right choice of rubber grade according to your product processing requirement.

Depending on the origin, standards may marginally vary. You have Standard Malaysian Rubber (SMR), Standard Thai Rubber (STR), Standard Indonesian Rubber (SIR), Standard Sri Lanka Rubber (SSR), Standard Vietnam Rubber (SVR), Indian Standard Natural Rubber (ISNR), etc which I consciously leave for the rubber experts to comment.

During first few exchanges, I gathered that Creper referred to specific rubber machinery for TSR, while subsequent meetings helped me put together a first-hand perspective.

CREPER

Image: Creper by Hevea Engineering Works Pvt. Ltd.

So, What the Heck is Rubber Creper Machine?

To understand better, let’s start with a holistic view.

Any TSR production line (starting with cup/crumb rubber to bales from stacked rubber sheets) involves a series of main machinery and allied machinery lines as you will observe from the flow chart below.

TSR-Processing-Flow-Chart

Image: Processing Flow Chart From Web

And Rubber Creper Machine is the main TSR processing equipment used for cleaning, thinning and flattening. They are also known as ‘Crepe Rubber Machine’, ‘Macerator’ or just ‘Creper’.

It can flatten your rubber to creping piece which have a certain water and thickness prior to granulating.

Tom C. Abraham, director of Hevea Engineering Works Private Limited informs me, “This machinery can be used as a pre-cleaning or size reduction machine as well as for the blending of crepes prior to final size reduction.”

Tom definitely knows better since Hevea Engineering Works (HEW) is one of the leading TSR Processing Machinery Manufacturers having executed many turnkey projects in the last 20 years.

TSR Processing Units can be seen in Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand.

The sizes of the units do vary.

Construction of a Rubber Creper Machine

Structurally, a Rubber Creper consists of front roll and rear roll that are mounted on Cast Iron (CI) frames, adjusting mechanism, transmission mechanism, gear reducer, motor and heavy-duty Mild Steel base plate.

One Creper unit may consist of 1-5 sets of individual Crepers.

Mostly, the rolls are made of Cast Iron (CI) and the connecting gears are made of EN-8 material.

Operation of a Rubber Creper Machine

The Rolls of this Creper have special grooving that is designed for excellent shearing effect on rubber. The shearing effect reduces crepe thickness of rubber blocks and rubber granule.

Reduction in the size of the thick blankets of crumb rubber crepes happen at the intermediate second stages and final stage of the cleaning process. After several passes through the Creper, the crumb rubber can be easily dried without the occurrence (or appearance) of white spots after the trolley dryer in your TSR production process.

rubber-creper-machinery

Image from Web

The connecting gear mounted, with friction ratio imparts relative movement for the rolls, which makes the material flatten out. The shearing effect of the Creper together with the spraying of water on the rolls further assists in efficient dirt removing of foreign contaminants trapped in the rubber coagulum.

Simultaneously, this speed difference between front roll and rear roll induces knead action and shred rubber material into granulating shape, bar shape and honeycomb shape.

Various equipment suppliers offer you roll diameter sizes ranging from 8-inches to 24-inches with electric motor drives of 10 HP to 125 HP. Roll speeds, drive arrangement, friction ratio and grooving patterns can be customized and selected to suit your requirement.

The throughput of a Rubber Creper varies from 1 to 10 Ton DRC /hour depending on roll speeds. (DRC means Dry Rubber Content). Reputed manufacturers offer robust and accurately built Creper machine to meet your requirements.

Here’s a wonderful short animation video from Golsta that shows the Rubber Creper Machine, quite informatively.

Creper-Animation-Video

Click on the image to see video

While investing, you may have to decide the production capacity of Rubber Creper Machine according to your production line and layout requirements.

Adds, Tom C. Abraham of Hevea Engineering Works (HEW), “For a unit planning 40T/Day, your TSR processing line may need appropriate sizes of Slab Cutter (1 No.), Pre-breakers (2 Nos.), Hammer Mill (1 No.), Rubber Crepers (6-7 Nos.), Shredder (1 No.), Dryer (1 No.), Baling Press (2 Nos.) together with its ancillaries depending on your processing and/or layout. HEW’s advantage is we can consult turnkey and offer all of these machinery under one roof”.

Summarizing, a Rubber Creper Machine is the main machinery used for cleaning, thinning and flattening in your TSR processing. Different customized features are available helping you pick the right equipment meeting your requirement.

Let me know your thoughts on rubber creper.


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