Rubber & Tyre Machinery World

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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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The Biggest Problem with Heat Transfer Efficiency in Rubber Machinery (And How You Can Fix It)

Rubber processing has a bizarre energy pattern, when seen from a layman’s perspective. Because you add heat into your process and then you cool down!

Heat addition and removal is repeated in each of your subsequent stages as well.

When you process rubber, energy is consumed across the value chain – right from transport of raw rubber, to the various processing operations (be it rubber mixing, rubber extrusion, rubber calendering, moulding etc) to convert into your suitable product and then transportation of your product.

Energy Uses in Rubber Processing

Source: Tangram

This implies that you need to cool down your rubber processing machinery regularly, which simultaneously involves heat exchange from a hot medium to a cooler medium.

And the most common medium to cool is water.

But where there’s water, you will face water-related problems caused by its mineral deposits. These deposits could give you varying degrees of water-related problems that affect your operating efficiencies and/or even leading to more costly equipment downtime issues.

This could be in your Rubber Machinery like Mixer, Mixing Mill Rolls, Calender Rolls, Press, Extruder, Heat Exchangers, Moulds, and factory equipment like Boilers, Chillers, Compressors, and TCU‘s or other Ancillary Units, etc.

You would notice that the mineral deposits accumulate quickly regardless of screens or treatment actions adopted. Even a thin coating of water scale will act to insulate the water system’s surface and retard the transfer of heat.

Hence, scaling is the biggest problem affecting the heat transfer efficiency in rubber machinery.

To increase heat transfer efficiency, lower maintenance cost, conserve overall energy consumption and thus enhance the usable life of your machinery, removing scales in all your water-cooled or water-heated rubber and tyre equipment is very important.

In a simple rubber machinery like the mixing mill, the presence of scales on rolls leads to localized hot spots affecting your mixing quality. In the case of boilers, scales can be very damaging leading to even boiler rupture. When water scale, lime and rust deposits accumulate on the water side of chambers, rotors and the drop door of the Mixer, it causes temperature of your rubber stock to rise and gradually lead to a loss in production.

Different machinery has different safe and effective method to remove scales. Recently, I was shown an instruction sheet, from one of the descalers (RYDLYME), on the process to descale a rubber mixer that I found interesting.

Here’s the process reproduced. I hope you too find it informative.

How To Clean Your Rubber Mixer

Image From RYDLYME

  1. Take mixer out of service.
  2. Close water supply valve at header as shown in the sketch above.
  3. Drain all water from all sections of mixer.
  4. Connect Descaling Solution pump discharge hose to water header. Header usually supplies all circuits.
  5. Connect return hoses to drain lines from all circuits and place into the Descaling Solution receiver.
  6. Close water supply valves to gate and jacket circuits.
  7. Start pump and pump the descaling solution into rotors to purge the water from this circuit to sewer. When the descaling solution begins to discharge from this hose, return to the receiver.
  8. Open water supply valve to gate and maintain Descaling Solution circulation through this circuit.
  9. Open water supply valve to jacket and maintain Descaling Solution circulation through this circuit.
  10. If any circuit is NOT flowing properly, restrict Descaling Solution flow in other circuits until flow returns to normal in this circuit.
  11. Circulate a total of 120 Litres of Descaling Solution through all circuits of mixer until clean. This will require approximately four (4) hours pumping time.
  12. It is suggested to periodically rotate the rotors during Descaling Solution cleaning to assure that the Descaling Solution is in contact with all of the lobes of the rotor.
  13. Upon completion of cleaning, flush all Descaling Solution from all circuits with fresh water.
  14. Disconnect the Descaling Solution pump and all hoses. The mixer is now ready to be returned to service.
  15. Periodic descaling will keep the temperatures of the mixer within acceptable limits, assuring you a better product and minimize burnt or improperly mixed stock.
  16. Clean out the Descaling Solution System and store for future use.

Summarizing, scaling is the biggest problem with heat transfer efficiency in your rubber machinery. Descaling or cleaning the scales helps you fix this issue. Hence incorporating descaling solutions into your preventive maintenance program is recommended to keep your equipment running effectively and economically.

Do you agree?


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Editor’s Pick: Extruder And Extrusion Process (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of Extruder And Extrusion Process by Dr.S.N.Chakravarty.

Comparison between Hot Feed & Cold Feed Extruder

Hot Feed Extruder Cold Feed Extruder
L/D ratio varies from 4: 1 to 5: 1

In many cases the screw has increasing pitch.

L/D ratio varies from 15: 1 to 20:1.

The screw has decreasing pitch. The screw has increasing root dia with more flight depth at feed end which increase from feed to discharge.

Skill of warming mill operator and extruder operator is required to control uniform temperature and viscosity of stock. Warming mill not needed. But for preparation of strip mixing mill is needed.
Compound change requires cleaning/ changing of warming  mill and quick breakdown of new compound. No such requirement
Amount of scrap till correct extrudate comes out is dependent on operator’s skill. First few meters are scrap rough and nervy; there after uniformity attains and is less dependent  on operator’s skill.
Lower HP in extruder, but requires warming mills. Higher HP in extruder is required; but overall HP is less and no requires no warming mills.
Wearing of scroll is less. Wearing of scroll is faster.
More floor space is required. Less floor space is required.

Extruder Output Comparison

Maximum output lb./hr at equal rpm

Extruder inch

Screw Diameter mm rpm Hot feed Cold feed

3.5

90

70

900

1100

6.0

150

51

2990

3080

8.0 200 46 4620

5060

One of the basic characteristics of all the extrusion process is the clearance between Barrel and screw. This is generally permitted to a limit in order to :

  • control porosity
  • control extrusion temperature

Each manufacture has their own design of screw. However the basic function remain same. An adjustment can be made for volume occupied by the flight lands. Screw design has a direct bearing on out put and quality of Extrudate . Output rate depends  upon the screw design and geometry of extrudate .

Output of extruder is dependent on size of extruder i.e. the ratio of L:D. First estimate of out put is expressed as :

Output = A.(L/2).R.d

A         =          Cross sectional area of extruder

L          =          Lead Length

R         =          Revolution per minute

d          =          density of rubber

Generally these exists a liner relationship between RPM & output. Other factors also have bearing on out e.g. Pitch height , base depth, width and flight. This is expressed by following

Formula 1

Each of those parameters has an effect on extrusion characteristics and output.

However net out pat will be governed by the extension characteristics  desired by user for type of compounds. For example if temperature is a limit, this is to be optimized for each compound and shall be a crucial factor for out put.

Die Design

The die is the piece of metal which controls the final shape of extrudates. Generally die making and die design depends on experience, however a good control on compound properties gives better extrusion .

It is necessary to get a swelling factor at each point of profile for a particular compound. The same varies from centre of die to extreme ends. Die swell is defined as ratio of extrudate section & cross-section of die. Depends on Polymer, carbon – type & phr, viscosity,  Lead angle (Bevel ) of die etc.

Cold Feed Extruders

In recent year there has been an upward trend in production of cold feed extruder. In general sense an extruder which is fed with the compound at a temperature  above ambient may be said to be a hot feed extruder. On the other hand any extruder where compound is fed at ambient temperature or below may be called a cold feed extruder.  Some of the differences may be classified as under :-

FEED HOT FEED COLD FEED
  Prewarmed hot feed above room temperature No need to feed hot compound. It is fed at room temperature.
L : D Ratio Generally hot feed extruders are having 5: 1 or 4: 1 Generally vary between 12: 1 to 16 : 1
Mills A set of mill is required No mills are required
Floor space requirement More Less – Because of no mills.
Power & water consumption More Less
Temperature control Compound is homogenised on mills & is a manual job also. Compound is homogenised with better control .
Feed system Through a feed mill Must-as metal pieces may harm the pins.

Pin Type Cold Feed  Extruder

Most of the Cold Feed Extruders are now equipped with metallic pins fixed along the circumference in full length of screw. These pins help in homogenizing the compound. These number may be optimized by process & if required pins from last zone i.e. towards head may be blocked. These pins are generally 8 to 10 in circumference  in 10 rows will have 8 X 10 =  80  pins.

Dr. Chakravarty can be reached on kpspltd@gmail.com


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Editor’s Pick: Extruder And Extrusion Process (Part 1)

Dr.S.N.Chakravarty sent me this informative piece on Extruder And Extrusion Process.

Here is Part 1 of this two-part series.

Introduction

Extruders are machines, which shape rubber to a profiled strip by forcing it through a die. In the simplest form an extruder consists of four basic components viz.

  1. a device system
  2. a barrel
  3. a ram or screw for forcing the rubber through the barrel and
  4. a head holding the die which ultimately gives the desired shape.

Extruder drive system comprises of an AC or DC motor along with a reduction gear unit using V-Belt drive for power transmission or connected directly using suitable couplings. The extruder drive has to turn the extruder screw at the desired speed. It should be able to maintain a constant screw speed because fluctuation in screw speed will result in throughput fluctuation, which in turn will cause fluctuations in the dimensions of the extrudate.

The fundamental  distinction between two types of extruders is in mode of operation:

  • Continuous: Delivers rubber in a continuous manner and has a rotating member or screw; here the pressure is produced by a screw.
  • Discontinuous: Delivers rubber in an intermittent fashion and has a reciprocating  ram or screw, these type of extruders are ideally suited for batch type processes such as injection moulding.

Ram Type Extruders

Barwell Ram Type Extruder

Barwell Ram Type Extruder

In ram extruders, a quantity of warm compound is placed into the cylinder, the die is attached to cylinder and ram pushes the compound through the die to form a profiled section.

Advantages:

  • Extrusion can be carried out at lower temperatures.
  • Difficult compounds can be extruded.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Useful to short runs.
  • Useful for compounds which need to be strained through gauge for quality products requiring completely contamination free material .

Screw Type Extruders

A screw extruder consists of five components (a) drive system (b) a feed hopper ( c ) a screw rotating within (d) a barrel (e) a head and die. The basic principle is that the screw carries material from the feed hopper by acting as a conveyor or a hump providing pressure to extrude or force the material along the machine barrel through the head and the die.

Screw Type Extruder

Screw Type Extruder With Description

  • Feed hopper: the purpose of which is to receive material and pass it down to the flights of the screw. It is mostly supplied in the form of strip.
  • Barrel: within which the screw rotates, the usual clearance is approximately 0.40 mm. Normally, the barrel is fitted with a detachable liner in the form of a sleeve which is highly wear and corrosion resistant made of hardened steel . The barrel is made double walled for steam or water circulation so that a constant temperature is maintained in the extruder head.
  • Screw: A conventional extruder screw has three geometrically different sections.
    • Feed section (closest to the feed opening) generally has deep flights and consists of approximately 1/5th of the length of the screw. The material in this section will mostly be in solid state.
    • Metering section (closest to the die ) usually has shallow flights and consists of approximately 2/5th of the length of the screw . The material in this section will mostly be in molten state.
    • The third section, which connects the feed section and the metering section, is called as compression section. In going from feed section towards the metering section, a compression of the material in the screw channel takes place, which is essential for the proper functioning of extruders. The compression favors streamline flow and helps to eliminate air and also ensures a constant pressure in the head.

Extruders are usually designated by the diameter of the extruder barrel. The ratio of relative output of extruders varies as the square of the screw diameter . Thus the output of a 60 mm extruder will be 2.2 times that of a 40 mm machine.

An additional designation often used is the length to diameter (L/D) ratio. This is an important factor in the selection of extruders to match process requirements. The length of a rubber extruder depends on whether it is a hot feed or cold feed extruder.

Hot feed extruders are usually very short about 3D to 5D while cold feed ones range  from 12D to 20 D .

Screws are made of steel alloy forging, heat-treated to a machinable  hardness and hard-chrome plated. The flight lands are surface hardened to approximately 600 Brinnel. The screw is internally bored to facilitate water-cooling.

  • Head: the purpose of which is to equalise the pressure from the screw and barrel and to transport the compound smoothly at equal pressures and speed to the die.
  • Die: The purpose of which is to give the compound the desired shape. The extrudates shrink along their length and increase in thickness and width, the behaviour being termed “ die swell “ which depends upon (i) rheological characteristics compound  (ii) shape of head and extrudate (iii) pressure in the head (iv) the head and compound temperatures .

The  extruder is operated in such  a manner so that temperature is gradually more from feed to discharge, the die being the hottest part.

Cross Head Extruder

This is used to cover hose, wires, tyre bead wire and the extruder function here remains same as for regular extruder and cold feed type is preferred. The extruder barrel, screw and head can be heated / cooled to desired temperature. The material to be coated comes at 90° angle to the extruder screw system, and rubber thus makes a 90° turn.

In the conventional screw extruder, the rubber compound is conveyed in three states, as solid, then as a mixture of solid and melt and finally, as a melt. The movement of the material in the barrel is the resultant of four flow mechanisms. The two of these are the drag flow and transverse flow.

The drag flow results due to the forward conveying action of the material towards the die, produced by the relative motion between the screw and the barrel while the transverse flow results in a circulatory flow which is important for heat transfer and mixing but is not contributing directly to the  extruder output.

In Part 2 of this article, you will read more of COMPARISON OF EXTRUDERS.

Dr. Chakravarty can be reached on kpspltd@gmail.com


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Machinery Is The Key To Rubber Processing – Dr. Chakravarty

Machinery is the key to rubber processing and brought significant changes in rubber industry, says Dr. S.N.Chakravarty in an exclusive interview with Rubber Machinery World. Celebrating his 50th year in Rubber Industry working in different countries including India, he shares his experience.

Know A Rubber Leader

Dr. Chakravarty has many achievements to his credit. After working in Bayer AG, Germany for many years he became Technical Manager of Bayer (India) Ltd. and then of Modi Rubber Ltd. Subsequently he started his own Consultancy Organisation in Rubber and related field.

He is the past Chairman of Indian Rubber Institute and Rubber Committee (PCD14) of Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), Fellow of Plastics & Rubber Institute, PRI (UK), Indian Rubber Institute (IRI),  Indian Chemical Society (ICS), Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers (IIChE), Inst. of Chemist and Member of Rubber Division, American Chemical Society (USA). He represented India in TC 45 / ISO & was a member of IRCO, UK Committee, Convenor of 1st Int. Rubber Conf., Rubber Con ’93 Delhi in 1993 and member of ITTAC for many years.

Dr. Chakravarty has been Hon. Professor of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and Kharagpur, visiting Faculty to different Universities & Institutes. He was the first President of Asian Rubber Forum to which all Asian countries like Japan, Korea, China, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nepal etc. are members.

Dr Chakravarty has more than 106 Publications in National & International journals of repute. His work in the area of Rubber Chemistry & Technology and educational activity are well recognised all over the country & abroad. Dr. Chakravarty has traveled widely over the world and has command over different languages.

Recently he was awarded the “TRiLA Life Time Achievement Award, 2015” by Tyre Times at the recently concluded Tyre expo in Chennai.

So, now you would understand my predicament when I had to limit to 10 questions to capture his vast knowledge, leadership and expertise to feature him in your Know Your Rubber Leader Series!

Fortunately (for me), he also shares his expertise through articles on this portal. (Read his earlier posts – Mixing & Mix Design and Injection Moulding Of Rubber Product)

Below are some thoughtful snippets of his interview while you could read the complete interview by clicking on the image below.

Know A Rubber Leader - Dr.Chakravarty

Click on this image to read the complete interview

  1. Would you say that rubber processing has undergone change in the last 4.5 decades that you have been with rubber industry? What were the drivers for this change?

Surely, rubber processing has undergone substantial changes over the last about 5 decades, This is mainly due to availability of developed machinery – Mixer, Extruder, Calender, Presses etc., along with electronic / microprocessor controls, as well as development of rubber technology & ingredients used in compounding. Machinery is the key to rubber processing.

  1. What role has machinery played in this change?

Machinery played many fold role in rubber industry. These developments of machinery have made it possible to

  • Improve production output (impact on cost)
  • Superior dispersion & homogeneity – improvement in property level.
  • Lowering of wastage – impact on cost
  • Dimensional accuracy of components
  • Accuracy in working – improvement in quality
  • Effective Quality Control (QC)
  • Energy saving – very important factor
  • Pollution Control, better housekeeping, health factor for the working people in this industry.

xxxxx

Read Complete Interview or Download PDF Here

I hope you find this interview insightful. Let me know your thoughts.


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Tire Production Simplified In A Flow Chart

My earlier post on Tyre Building Machine – 5 Amazing Videos You Must See was well received by the readers and they found it informative.

I have in earlier posts covered rubber machinery like Bale Cutter, Mixer, Mixing Mill, Batch-Off, Extruder, Tire Buffer, etc. However, its intriguing to see where all these equipment (along with the other machinery) goes into tire production.

This flow chart simplifies tire production overview and helps you visualize the various equipment that we discuss on this portal Rubber Machinery World in the right perspective.

Tire-Production-Flow-Chart

The source of above flow chart is from Nell Achieve Website.

And just in case, you thought even for a microsecond ‘Is this all to tyre manufacturing?’, I correct you here.

The tire production process is a very meticulous and complex  affair. Click here to download the infographic from Giti that explains their tire production concisely.

I hope you found this post informative. Let me know.


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How To Select Your Rubber And Tyre Machinery? Insightful Advices From 6 CEO’s

“How To Select Your Rubber And Tyre Machinery?”

This subject question could have volumes written in theory. But today we focus on what the CEO’s advise, distilled down from their experience, expertise, and wisdom.

Your equipment supplier ecosystem includes New Manufacturers, Rebuilders, OEM Suppliers, Pre-Owned Machinery Suppliers and Agent representatives.

So I asked all the CEO’s the same question to give you a true perspective.

“What would you advice on machinery selection to buyers and users of rubber and tire equipment?”

The different views they offered here are not only insightful, they are pertinent, prudent and practical.

Read on in our Special Supplement here….

This special supplement is one of our efforts to give you useful knowledge on-the-go in a concise and timely manner. This topic based micro-editions is in addition to our other initiatives like ‘Know Your Supplier’ that provides you information on the machinery supplier ecosystem.

Watch Video Version of this supplement on YouTube or Download Full PDF Here.


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