On Location: At one of Coperion's Test Centers for Bulk Material Handling

Our extensively equipped test centers are an important cornerstone of what Coperion and Coperion K-Tron offer in terms of bulk material handling solutions, compounding systems, and feeding technology. The test centers form a foundation of our continuous research and development work by offering our customers the security of extensive product testing under real-world conditions, before making their investment.

But how did the test centers operate during the last several months under the travel restrictions? Is there anything new in the test centers? What exciting projects and developments are they working on now?

Let’s take a peek behind the curtain, beginning with our test center for bulk material handling at Coperion’s Weingarten, Germany location, where we interviewed Ralf Bösch. Ralf is Head of Research and Development, Material Handling at Coperion, and is an expert in proper process engineering design of conveying lines, material handling systems and components.

Question: Coperion has been occupied for decades with the topics of bulk material processing and pneumatic conveying. We possess comprehensive knowledge about the properties and behaviors of over 10,000 different bulk materials. So why is it still necessary to perform product tests in the test center?

Answer: As a result of growing demands and emerging markets, new materials arrive almost daily, and recipes are growing more and more complex. Today's products consist of far more raw materials than before, making end products highly sensitive to handling in the subsequent process. For that reason, extensive research of these newly developed products in our test lab and expanding our know-how is indispensable. Investigating these foundations form the basis for optimal production system design. Moreover, it gives our customers important assurance regarding their end product even before investing in the system.

Question: What options for tests does the test center in Weingarten offer?

Answer: With a variety of different technologies and a team of trained Coperion experts, we have a high-performance, modern environment for investigating bulk materials at our disposal. For example, we can test pneumatic conveying of bulk materials through a pipeline network totaling over 2,000 m in length and with various diameters. Complex measuring systems ensure that all the necessary measurement data is recorded and logged. This allows us to offer our customers the option to carry out both tests connected to system projects as well as independent studies at any time. Our customers can be present in person during tests, allowing them the opportunity to learn on-site, and to see and believe for themselves the performance versatility in bulk material handling. The synthesis from bulk material investigations in the test center and laboratory with our specialized knowledge is the optimal basis for solving process engineering problems.

Question: What role does the laboratory play within the test lab?

Answer: Our state-of-the-art laboratory offers every basic measurement option for characterizing samples regarding their bulk material mechanical properties. Among these would be bulk, vibratory, and particle density measurement, analysis of particle size, moisture, and fluidization, as well as investigation of bulk material flow behavior using the ring shear device.

Question: Topics such as energy efficiency and sustainability play an important role in meeting our customers’ needs. Can you provide answers using the possibilities of the test center in Weingarten concerning these two topics? Can those answers find their way into system design?

Answer: Topics such as energy efficiency and sustainable system operation play a vital role in bulk material handling operations. For example, there are some interesting development projects currently in process in relation to energy savings. In our test center, we collect the numbers to back these developments up. Using that as a basis, we are in a position to offer our customers a conveying line that is optimally designed with regard to energy efficiency. In terms of sustainability, recycling and battery manufacturing are very high priorities. The tests with a wide variety of recycled materials, which are fortunately being used more and more, are very exciting. With the variety and flexibility of our test equipment, we always find the right solution for their product handling. The same holds for testing products that are needed for battery manufacturing. We can even do intensive analyses of hazardous materials in a special area of our lab. 

Question: What were the challenges over the past several months? 

Answer: We were able to carry out customer tests even in the last few months by strictly adhering to the established hygiene rules. Unfortunately, for some customers, it wasn’t possible to visit the test center in person due to travel restrictions. Thanks to digital solutions such as live streams, we were able to engage intensively with customers, and it allowed us to thoroughly discuss their tests’ results. Nevertheless, we are really looking forward to our customers being able to visit us in our Weingarten test center again.

Mr. Bösch, thank you for the interview!

Your Contact

  • Ralf Bösch

    Head of Research & Development, Material Handling, Coperion