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Top considerations for system modernization

Coperion and Coperion K-Tron have the capability to outline the full range of options available in state-of-the-art technology, pricing as well as in the return on investment for each design.

Many manufacturers across the world have outdated food processing systems; however they worry about the potential cost of updating to newer technologies. In this case it is important to work with an equipment and systems provider that has the capability to outline the full range of options available in technology, both in initial capital costs as well as in the return on investment for each design. It is also important that the equipment provider outline both short-term and long-term return on investment for the specific process. For this reason, Coperion and Coperion K-Tron provide all of this information and advise the end user on exactly how innovations in design, such as a more accurate weighing system, or a higher free volume extruder, or a quick change easy clean rotary valve can help to  improve the overall process efficiency, and, most importantly, improve profitability.

Automation in food processing will become increasingly important in order to monitor the overall process and improve efficiency. In addition, as food safety continues to gain importance for food manufacturers, food equipment suppliers will need to be increasingly aware of how product and process design affect overall food safety. Coperion and Coperion K-Tron will continue to be innovators in process equipment technology and process automation and will continually improve their equipment designs to meet these needs. Equipment designs to meet higher capacities and product output (like ZSK food extruders) or simpler easy clean designs (like Coperion K-Tron sanitary filter receivers or Coperion rotary/diverter valves) will become necessary options for higher efficiency systems.

Coperion and Coperion K-Tron have applied innovative automation and instrumentation options to enhance overall equipment and process performance.  Just a few of these recent innovations include:

RotorCheck 5.0 contact monitoring system for Coperion rotary valves: This system registers, evaluates and reports unwanted contact between the rotor and housing in order to be able to prevent metallic abrasion and thus potential contamination of the product being conveyed. Industrial sectors with high quality requirements, frequently changing products and recipes or a high number of cleaning cycles stand to benefit from this in particular. The newly introduced physical separation of measured value logging and evaluation electronics has advantages in terms of operation and maintenance, while the redeveloped control system provides advanced options for event diagnosis and connection to host systems. Furthermore, the use of extremely high-quality components contributes to longer uninterrupted running times. This product enhancement also greatly improves overall process food safety. For further information on the RotorCheck system click here.

Electronic Pressure Compensation (EPC) for Coperion K-Tron feeders: The main advantages of the new system include improved accuracy and reliability as well as lower initial cost and easier installation compared to traditional mechanical pressure compensation systems. In a closed feeding system, pressure build-up inside a feeder can significantly impair weighing accuracy. The commonly installed mechanical pressure compensation systems are sensitive to structural factors and machine alignment and may therefore be intricate or even unreliable. Coperion K-Tron has now developed a clever but simple electronic automation solution for accurate and steady pressure compensation in feeder hoppers. The modular design incorporates pressure sensors and electronics tailored to interact smoothly with Coperion K-Tron’s KCM feeder control system. Depending on set-up and requirements, sensors can be positioned on the feeder hopper and, if required, on the material discharge tube. The software implements a self-optimizing compensation algorithm for best performance and dynamics identical to those of Coperion K-Tron’s SFT load cells, which allows for highly accurate feeding results, even in systems with perceivable pressure fluctuations. This simple instrumentation upgrade is a perfect addition for system modernization in both feeder performance as well as downtimes required for cleaning. For further information on EPC and retrofitting to existing feeder designs click here.

ActiFlow FlowTM aid device for optimizing screw fill and material flow in Coperion K-Tron feeder hoppers: The ActiFlow smart flow aid device applies gentle vibrations to the hopper wall, hereby carefully activating the contained material with the optimal amplitude and frequency. The ActiFlow control module constantly communicates with the KCM feeder control to ensure an ideal material flow in the hopper and maintain a very high feeding accuracy. The filter algorithms in the load cells or the platform scale effectively filter out vibrations, thus guaranteeing an exact weight signal at all times – even when the ActiFlow’s bulk material activation is at its maximum. ActiFlow works in conjunction with the LIW feeder controller and digital weighing system to determine any change in material flow by weight, before it becomes a problem. Once the ActiFlow controller detects a potential problem, vibration is applied to the hopper and is continually adjusted to get the material moving efficiently without impacting feeder performance. In addition, it avoids compaction of the bulk material because only the necessary amount of vibration is applied, required to assure uniform material flow. This device is especially useful when feeding cohesive food powders such as spice blends, cocoa powders or lactose. For further information on the ActiFlow please click here.

By including these automation add-ons to the control systems of the equipment or process, a number of benefits in safety, and equipment and process efficiency can be realized. Both Coperion and Coperion K-Tron have sales and systems engineering personnel with experience in a wide variety of process and equipment designs. Our specialties lie in handling the most difficult of food ingredients. As illustrated above, we can provide a variety of options in improving various technologies in a range of pricing and design options. We have extensive experience in providing the complete food processing system for a continuous process, whether it is a conversion from existing batch designs, or optimizing continuous material handling, feeding and extruder design options. Together, we work with the end-user to determine the best options for their process, all with an emphasis on efficiency and product safety.

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