Düsseldorf, Germany — The Graham Group, which includes the Graham Engineering, American Kuhne and Welex brands, introduced a new version of the Navigator control system at K 2019 in Düsseldorf.
Originally developed for the Graham Engineering's extrusion blow molding systems and later adapted for Welex sheet extrusion lines, Navigator is now available for American Kuhne machines producing medical tubing, profiles, wire and cable.
Based on an industrial PC using the Windows OS, real-time graphic displays are the key feature of the Navigator control system, according to Justin Kilgore, vice president of engineering.
"High visual correlation between the touchscreen and machine function ensures an intuitive user experience that provides ease of use and a rapid learning curve for both new and experienced operators," Kilgore said.
Gina Haines, vice president and chief marketing officer, explained more: "There are three levels of functionality. XC100 is for stand-alone extruders, XC200 is for one or more extruders in simultaneous operation, while XC300 is for integrated product line with an extruder and other components, such as a puller, water bath or winder."
Haines continued by saying that the system enables operators to monitor and control functionality. This includes — but is not limited to — closed-loop barrel PID heat/cool control, clamp and die zone control, heater burnout detection/alarm, high temperature alarm and melt pressure monitor with dual alarms.
Beyond process control, the system further adds a security access manager and recipe manager. Further, process parameters are monitored and controlled via real-time I/O diagnostics with remote functionality — using the TeamViewer phone application — essentially driving IoT/Industry 4.0 capabilities.
Kilgore noted: "Navigator control is delivered via hardware designed to withstand harsh industrial conditions such as vibration, electrical interference, high temperature and humidity. From synchronized supervisory control of a line, to its open architecture that supports connectivity for data collection systems, to internet for remote support and troubleshooting, Navigator offers integration without limits."
Haines added that each manufacturing function — medical tubing, etc. — is controlled by separate operational setups within the Navigator system, itself designed to be a robust addition to the specified machinery.
With a view to reducing cost, the Navigator system has an extruder screw speed control, which includes start/stop, operating speed and amp displays. This can adjust screw speed based on material type and melt, helping to reduce energy usage by operating at an optimized speed.