Italian Compounder Upgrades Pilot Plant with Support from Coperion

Efficient and innovative raw material handling solution

Stuttgart, September 2019 — Italy-based family-owned compounder LATI Industria Termoplastici S.p.A. has tasked Coperion with the pre-engineering and engineering of a state-of-the-art material handling line of a pilot plant at their production site at Torba (VARESE), Italy. The focus of this project is on the development of a tailor-made solution for the semi-automated and automated material handling from raw materials receiving to the extruder. A key challenge is the broad variety of different raw materials with variable properties, which requires a high flexibility of the plant design. Quick changeover times are required to increase the overall efficiency of the pilot plant. Moreover, processes like washing, cleaning and the fast removal of the equipment to facilitate short changeover times are to be considered and streamlined from a technical point of view; quick clean solutions are needed to improve and shorten the processes. This pilot plant is a key step for LATI's factory of the future, including automation and digitalization of the entire production process.

Together with the LATI experts, Coperion developed an overall material handling concept including innovations like the new versatile multi-tasking Big Bag Empty Station BES-6 for free flowing and sticking materials with an easy-cleaning concept, modular design for flexible configuration, and a flexible interface. In addition, the scope of the project includes bulk bag unloading and weighing stations as well as vacuum conveying lines managed by a unique aspirator with air rate devices and automated raw material bins handling with weighing systems. The material handling equipment is designed to easily interface with the existing Coperion K-Tron feeders of the pilot plant. The data exchange for raw material consumption and management in real time meets Industry 4.0 standards as well as the process optimization measures. Safety standards and ergonomics are of utmost importance to LATI and the pilot plant will be built accordingly.

LATI is specialized in high-performance thermoplastics. . Amongst their scope of products are structural, self-lubricant and conductive compounds for any industrial sector, self-extinguishing materials for E&E and appliance as well as compounds for water and food contact. LATI’s product portfolio is very broad and the variety of the raw materials used in production is extremely vast. The broad variety of the raw material is exactly the challenge that drove LATI’s management towards Coperion to develop a solution for the material handling of their pilot plant. Coperion’s broad experience in difficult to handle materials as well as to handle a large variety of materials at the same time supported LATI Group’s management in their decision to kick-off their pilot plant together with Coperion.

Michela Conterno, CEO of LATI, sums up her take on the project: “We were looking for a strong partner with extensive expertise in the field of difficult to handle and efficiently convey materials. Coperion has been a long-term partner and with this new pilot line project they helped us tremendously to raise the bar for the complex tasks of handling such a large variety of products and additives as we have. New technical developments and an innovative technical concept convinced us to execute this pilot plant project together with Coperion.”

Emanuele Falavena, Sales Manager, Coperion Italy, says: “With this project Coperion is able to prove its innovation drive. The enormous amount of materials to be handled challenged our team. In the end we came up with a flexible, efficient concept, which meets LATI’s requirements regarding process optimization, safety, efficiency and flexibility”.

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