CHICAGO — Conair Group is focusing on integration at this year's NPE in Chicago. The Franklin, Pa., firm is showing integrated materials-handling, heat-transfer, parts-handling and scrap-reclaim systems at NPE Booth S1130 even as it is undertaking an integration of its four manufacturing facilities.
Product integration starts with Conair's new central distribution system for conveying and drying resins, which can be tailored to fit the needs of a variety of processors, Conair said.Features include a new Drying Monitor Network linking multiple dryers to a single monitoring station.
The monitor tracks the resin temperature at six different places in each drying hopper using a specialized, vertical probe rod instead of the traditional single-site temperature probe, according to Ray Kelly, Conair's advanced technology development group manager.
``The system measures the temperature performance of the plastic as it dries,'' Kelly said. ``It can alert operators several hours before a problem actually arises in the system. You're not reacting to a problem after it's too late.''
The system also features individual drying units for each hopper. Separate dryers eliminate the need to pipe hot air over long distances, said Keith R. Goettelmann, project leader for the central design system.
``There's energy savings, and it's also a safety issue,'' Goettelmann said. ``The air manifold [running between the air source and the dryers] is always at ambient temperature.''
Other features include new fantail material manifolds that allow material to be routed from several sources to a specified processing machine quickly, and dry-air material conveying.
Conair's corporate integration announced in January is progressing on schedule, said John E. O'Conner, vice president of operations. The firm is shifting three divisions and their plants in Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan to Franklin starting this month, O'Conner said.The transition will be completed in October, O'Conner said, noting that 17 product lines are being moved to Franklin one line at a time.
``The voice of the customer was saying, `We like to deal with one entity,''' said Conrad Bessemer, executive vice president.
Along with a newly expanded manufacturing facility in Franklin, the company is moving into a new corporate office and demonstration center 10 miles outside of Pittsburgh in Emsworth, Pa.
O'Conner said the restructuring was not a cost-cutting move.
``We're spending between $10 million and $20 million to expand the industry,'' he said.