Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp., the Lincoln, R.I.-based unit of German parent company Windmöller & Hölscher KG, is once again showing booth visitors how its Turboclean system and 4.0 technology can improve process consistency and lower costs.
The film extrusion, printing and converting machinery maker originally launched Turboclean at K 2016 in Düsseldorf, Germany, with live demonstrations on its Varex II blown film line. At NPE2018, W&H is not doing live demonstrations of the resin purging and job changeover system, but it does have a sample roll of film on display visually showing a blue to red color changeover of a food processing film to a collation shrink film, for example.
W&H says the Turboclean enables time-saving advantages in film extrusion where smaller jobs and frequent material changeovers are common. The mostly automated process purges resin from all extruders and gravimetric hoppers simultaneously. Using Turboclean on a blown film line, for instance, can reduce changeover times from 40 minutes to as little as 12 minutes when compared with manual or conventional job changeovers, the company said.
"If you look at that over the course of the day, if you're doing three job changes, you're getting anywhere from two to three hours of additional time," Andrew Wheeler, president of W&H in North America, said in a phone interview before NPE. "The savings are huge, and what it means is a massive reduction in scrap, but also the possibility of getting in two or three more jobs per day."
Wheeler added: "It's a double positive: You're not only reducing the scrap, but you're increasing the good product going out."
New this year is the option for film extruders to retrofit existing W&H Varex I and Varex II blown film lines built in or after 2010 with Turboclean. In 2016, when Turboclean was first introduced, it was only available on new Varex II systems. The system is specifically designed for lines that have gravimetric hoppers, spokeswoman Catherine Mattson said in a phone interview.
"We had one customer who told us that he figured he could pay the system off in two months, which would be great," Wheeler said of the retrofit option.
In addition to Turboclean, W&H is focusing on its Film Performance Monitor (FPM) — available on Filmex II cast film lines — for product and process consistency as well as improved load safety and stability.
Wheeler described FPM as "sort of a FedEx tracking system" for film, where you can see every single stop the product made on its way to a destination.
"The Film Performance Monitor on the Filmex was really designed so that the customer's end product can be tracked back to 'birth,'" he said.
A driving force for the technology, which falls under W&H's Industry 4.0 offerings, is load stability issues. In Europe especially, Mattson said, transporting product can be a huge safety issue, where you have soft-sided trucks that are loaded from the side as opposed to the rear and secured with a pull-down canvas cover.
"If you have an accident or hit the brakes, a lot of product — if it's not really properly loaded or properly wrapped around the pallet — the product can be damaged," she explained. "But not only that, in some of these accidents, I think they say around 25,000 people a year in Europe are either killed or maimed or otherwise hurt … so it's a very big problem making sure that loads are very stable for transport."
With the FPM, W&H customers can scan a QR code on the core of a reel of film and access information that provides complete product traceability by linking data from the first step of film production through the wrapping stage.
"This is a tool we're giving [customers] to be able to constantly monitor their performance and the process performance in the film before they pass it on, so there is some sort of accountability," Mattson said.
W&H is planning to expand the technology into other product lines as well, Wheeler added.
And for showgoers interested in machinery for woven polypropylene sacks used in packaging, among other products, a sales representative from W&H sister company BSW Machinery Handels-GmbH is on hand at the booth to answer additional questions.