Plastics cooling made easy with Microgel

The Frigel Microgel unit has once again proven itself to be the market leader in aiding injection moulding manufacturers to reduce their cycle time and optimise their process, resulting in maximum efficiency. 

Microgel

In a partnership spanning over 10 years, Summit Systems have supplied Prysmian Cables and Systems Ltd with various ancillary machines for their UK based production, from Maguire blenders to temperature control units.  

Prysmian Cables and Systems Ltd manufactures a wide range of building wires and specialist fire rated cables, which are available through a first-class network of wholesalers. They also offer a comprehensive range of accessories designed with the cables in mind. Prysmian is a brand of the Prysmian Group, the world leader in high-technology cables and systems for energy and telecommunications, with sales of over €11 billion in 2019. The Prysmian Group is a truly global company with subsidiaries in more than 50 countries, 106 plants, 25 research and development centres with approximately 29,000 employees. 

The Summit Systems and Prysmian relationship began with the supplying of the Maguire Blenders which helped them to make huge materials savings. Following this, Summit recommended the Loss-in-Weight blenders which saw further material savings and a drastic improvement to product quality.  

Technical Sales Engineer, Jason Culleton approached Prysmian to assist in the concept of further product quality improvement and cycle time reduction, after witnessing staff operating moulding machines, handling hot parts which posed as a health and safety risk to the machine operator. Summit Systems knew that within their portfolio of plastic ancillary machinery, there was the appropriate equipment to help eliminate these issues. 

Summit specified the Microgel – a temperature control unit from Frigel. 

The Microgel is a super-compact mould cooling unit specifically designed for process temperature control with the ability to reduce the cooling time of the injection moulding process. The Microgel consists of a water-cooled chiller with one or two high flow booster pumps, temperature controllers with heating elements, and a free-cooling valve. The Microgel allows the user to optimise their process by looking at historical data from the unit and being able to maintain temperatures to 0.1°C.  

Users of the Microgel Temperature Control units can benefit from lower energy consumption and faster start up times. The units require minimal maintenance, saving additional time and money. They have minimum environmental impact, having up to 80% less refrigerant than a centralised system, and offer advanced energy savings with the individual free cooling function. Preheating and downtime are also reduced during the mould changeover period. 

Summit Systems offered Prysmian Cables a free trial of the Microgel, to prove the concept of operation before purchase, and being so confident in the quality of the machine were positive the unit would be able to make drastic changes to their production quality and cycle times. 

A short and simple installation with no modifications needed to their process meant the unit was in operation quickly. Summit Systems’ technical engineers were on site throughout the day to provide equipment training and familiarise the staff with the operation of the machine. 

The purpose of the trial was to demonstrate to Prysmian how the Microgel could improve product quality, drastically reduce cycle time, and ensure a safer working environment for the mould machine operators. 

Microgel

The trial demonstrated to Prysmian a 150% productivity increase as a result of the 60% reduction in cycle time (originally 90 seconds, down to 36 seconds).  

At a time when energy prices are so high, it is crucial to also consider the energy savings delivered from the machine. With cycle times 60% lower than their existing machinery, they would be saving copious amounts of energy to produce better quality products from their moulding machine. 

Additionally, due to the function of the Microgels there is no longer the need for a central chiller, which will be replaced by a Summit Systems adiabatic cooler, saving further energy costs. 

Based on the above improvements and the successful completion of the Microgel trial, Summit Systems are thrilled that Prysmian Cables have opted to purchase a further 5 units to aid in the reduction of cycle cooling times, energy savings and health and safety throughout their UK based processes.  

Luiz Ferizolla, Production and Logistics Manager at Prysmian, “The savings from the 1 off Microgel unit we have has paid for the 5 additional units we are ordering, and that is just on production hours saved, we have not yet considered the energy savings. The Microgel has doubled our production output, improved our product quality, and reduced our scrap levels. We’d highly recommend the Microgel and Summit Systems!” 

Matt Ross, Sales Director at Summit Systems, “The Frigel Microgel unit has once again proven itself to be the market leader in aiding injection moulding manufacturers to reduce their cycle time and optimise their process, resulting in maximum efficiency. We are delighted to work in conjunction with Prysmian Group and with the strong partnership and work input from both sides, the results were exceptional.” 

For more information on the Microgel range from Summit Systems click here or call us on 01827 265 800. 

Powering down on drying energy costs with ULTRA Dryers

How have the ULTRA Dryers been helping customers save huge costs on drying polymers, improving product quality, and reducing machine downtime? We spoke with Moulded Packaging Solutions to find out… 

Being an independent business in a sector dominated by large corporates, Moulded Packaging Solutions (MPS), has built its packaging business on process efficiencies and cost savings to maintain competitiveness. This focus has never been greater with the impact shock that the current energy crisis has placed on their manufacturing plant. 

MPS ULTRA Dryers
Iain McLeod – Manufacturing Director, Moulded Packaging Solutions Limited

With industrial power costs doubling and more, MPS are striving to negate these costs through investment. By switching to Maguire ULTRA dryers, they have proven energy savings of 58% on their PET drying costs. Their drive to reduce cost is impressive in itself but there is a pride and commitment in constantly reducing their carbon footprint which this investment satisfies.

MPS founded in 2006 by Alan Charlton and Iain McLeod, provides diverse plastic packaging solutions for Food, Pharma VMS, and Confectionary producers. Charlton and McLeod both previously worked in the plastics packaging and moulding industry, gaining over 60 years of knowledge and experience in plastic packaging manufacturing between them.

In line with MPS’s continuous investment and improvement philosophy, MPS has continually invested in energy efficient drying systems for PET. Previously MPS invested in state-of-the-art Desiccant Wheel energy efficient dryers, and most recently has invested in Maguire ULTRA dryers, where the company has seen 3 major benefits for their ISBM production compared to prior drying systems:

Greater Energy Savings & Efficiency

Previously MPS had invested in leading desiccant wheel dryers which when compared to the classic twin tower desiccant dryer, offered considerable energy savings. However, when drying PET with the Maguire ULTRA dryer, using the unique vacuum drying process, MPS were able to realise further savings that averaged close to 60% over the desiccant wheel systems.

“By investing in the Maguire ULTRA’s we’ve been able to achieve very real savings in energy costs, especially in view of energy costs rocketing in the last 12 months,” said Iain McLeod. “This helps in every sense in running our independent business in keeping our costs under control”.

Dramatically reduced drying times resulting in considerable production gains

With conventional dryers typical drying time for PET is 4 hours, but with the ULTRA dryer, which doesn’t rely on desiccant dried hot air slowly releasing moisture from the material but instead uses the science of vacuum, moisture is released more rapidly, at a mere 1 hour. This reduction allows for a significant boost in productivity and machine up time, plus greater flexibility for ISBM machine start-ups and job changes.

McLeod, “We offer a range of packaging solutions from food, vitamins to confectionary and the flexibility we can achieve in drying is greatly enhancing our production capabilities for short runs, which is ideal for our custom orders, whilst keeping costs to a minimum.”

Reduced maintenance requirements allowing maximum production times

MPS has a strong focus on investment and flexibility in their production process, and a key issue to maintaining this edge in production is maximum up time, avoiding the unplanned stoppages and minimising scheduled maintenance.

With the Maguire ULTRA Dryer maintenance is significantly reduced compared to conventional dryers, due to no process filters, no chilled water requirements and no desiccant wheels or towers to monitor and replace periodically. This saves huge amounts of time and ensures a consistent and stable drying process, versus having to monitor and check dew points and downtime for cleaning of the filters and replacing desiccant.

What does this mean?

These benefits have led to a fast return on investment and the ULTRA dryers have continued to perform really well in their process. When compared to their other dryer onsite, the ULTRA dryers performed using 58% less energy, with further energy still to be saved with the use of the energy saver limit.

As an illustration in what that means in running costs of a dryer – if for example on one ISBM machine energy usage at an average price of £0.12/kWh – with Desiccant dryers running costs over a 5-year period could amount to over £30,100 just for energy – with the ULTRA dryer costs are more around £12,600. With energy costs increasing this is only greater, meaning the ULTRA pays for itself more rapidly and is simpler for start-ups and maintenance.

ULTRA Dryer comparison graph
Trial results: ULTRA Dryers versus Alternative Model

In a trial performed internally by MPS, the ULTRA Dryer recorded a rate of 0.108 kWh per kg versus 0.258 kWh per kg from an alternative model. Over an 8-hour time frame, on near consecutive days, they noted noticeable variations in energy usage with the Maguire ULTRA dryer (shown in red) drastically outperforming the other model (shown in grey). Between 16:00 and 00:00, the ULTRA dryer used a total of 20.42 kWh costing a mere £1.96 versus the alternate model using over 50 kWh, costing over £5.05.

Iain McLeod, “The service and guidance provided by Summit Systems and their recommendation of the Maguire ULTRA dryers has made great savings and we’re happy to report such positive energy reductions since introducing the vacuum dryer to our processes. We would highly recommend Summit Systems and the Maguire ULTRA dryer to anyone in the industry looking to invest in energy-efficient plastics drying equipment”.

Call 01827 265 800 or email us on info@summitsystems.co.uk to discover how the ULTRA Dryers can help you save huge costs on drying your polymers, improve product quality and reduce machine downtime.

Rapid Response Breakdown Cover: Case Study

Summit Systems proves their market-leading breakdown service.

A Summit Systems customer reported a faulty 11kW pump at 12:30 on a Saturday afternoon, needing a replacement ASAP. At 15:00, Summit Systems warehouse manager Craig loaded a new pump onto a courier and an engineer was on his way to site. Just after 16:00, both the pump and engineer arrived on site and had the customer back up and running by 18:00!

We operate a 24/7, 365 breakdown service and always aim to be onsite within four hours of the initial contact. You can call the office number and get directed to the engineer, or call our emergency breakdown number 0800 030 2122.

SUMMIT CHILLED PROVES 20% CYCLE REDUCTION

Summit Chilled, the intelligent process temperature control division of Summit Systems, has been selected to supply 18 x Thermoregulators to a Tier 1 Automotive customer.

After extensive trials on one of the customer’s large injection moulding machines, Summit Chilled suggested using a Frigel Duel Zone Turbogel RBD 130/24 instead of existing multiple 18kW tool heaters. Following the successful trial, it was concluded that ONE unit was capable of doing the job better than FOUR original units.

With the Frigel Duel Zone Turbogel, they saw an 11% reduction on their cycle times added to a large reduction on capital costs.

Therefore with reduced cycle time, halved footprint and capital costs payback was a matter of only a few months.

The customer has pin pointed that the dramatic increase in flow rate has resulted in much improved quality, coupled with a reduced cycle time of 20%, which had to be regulated to 11% due to the restriction in downstream operations.

Polymer Training & Innovation Centre

Polymer Training & Innovation Centre is an internationally recognised centre of excellence in the field of polymer training, education and expertise. A technical training and consultancy business, owned by the City of Wolverhampton College, Polymer Training specialising in injection moulding, blow moulding and extrusion training.

Polymer Training emphasised their requirement to create a showpiece, state of the art training facility replicating the industry standard. They wanted to give students a more in-depth training experience, while focusing on maximum efficiency and more economical equipment. Polymer Training were after solutions to reduce clutter around the site, reduce their manual labour and improve efficiency throughout.

With the support of a project manager, sales engineer and two technical design engineers, plans were created to implement a fully centralised loading and drying station, thus increasing flexibility of material around the plant to up to four different machines, significantly improving plant efficiency.

Summit Systems, as per the brief, managed to install a fully centralised loading and drying material system consisting of 6 material bins and a 6×4 manifold table produced by Summit Systems fabrications department. Alongside this, Summit Systems installed a range of VISMEC equipment including a pump filter, 2 dryers, a control server and a state of the art supervisory system. Intelligent pipework was installed by Summit pipework engineers, using glass components to create a super hard wearing solution.

On completion, the newly installed system gave flexibility for material to be distributed to more than one machine throughout the plant.

Technical Trainer Neville Dudley comments “Our new material central feed system has enabled us to create a true lean/5s environment on PTIC’s journey towards becoming Europe’s number one supplier of training to the Polymer Industry. Our continuing partnership with Summit Systems is proving invaluable in achieving this goal. The Summit Systems central feed system is cutting edge equipment, and fully represents the commitment of PTIC in maintaining a state-of-the-art training facility.”

Project manager Richard Dean says “We made a conscious effort to ensure Polymer Training’s system was designed and installed to give the trainee the best like for like training platform. This central system replicates an Industrial system, fully labelled to assist the operator in material/ IMM connection selection coupled with a material management area.”

The VISMEC supervisory system also allows us to control and operate machinery from tablets, mobile phones and computers outside of the Polymer Training site.

All material storage bins were labelled and incorporate an A4 sized pocket to allow the operator to place a laminated ‘Material Safety Data Sheet’ against each machine.

Polymer Training Neville Dudley concludes “The project delivery, installation and commissioning was managed by Summit with a high level of professionalism and care, and has proven to be of great interest to our students and more in line with equipment used in our industry…. not to mention a show piece”.