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“Intelligent silos” keep close tabs on resin; Reimelt acquisition proving its worth

There was a time when the silos typically used at European plastics processing facilities to store pellets and granulate just outside a facility's walls were little different from the silos found on most farms. Those times are long gone, though, and that is made readily apparent in a new development from manufacturer Zeppelin (Friedrichshafen, Germany). Company officials say the development, and the firm's purchase last year of Reimelt Henschel, are giving it a much stronger footprint in the medical molding market. 

(Friedrichshafen, Germany). Company officials say the development, and the firm's purchase last year of Reimelt Henschel, are giving it a much stronger footprint in the medical molding market. 

New is a control system that helps a processor document almost to the pellet the movement of granulate within his plant. The PC-based system is mounted on a silo or silos, with each having its own system to ensure that a single failure in the main control used to watch over materials handling does not also delete the silos' data. Called SCS 350C, these new controls track the amount of resin in a silo, save data on when new resin is poured into a silo and when it is drawn into the plant's processing machines, and provide a plant manager with a graphic overlook of what is contained in each of his silos.

Collection and saving data already is familiar to processors serving some industries, notably medical and automotive, and likely will grow even more prevalent as the technology to mange such data improves. For Zeppelin, these new control systems not only are a logical development for its silos but also could help the company increase its presence in the medical plastics market.

According to Zeppelin officials who spoke with MPW last week at the Powtec tradeshow in Nuremberg, Germany, the company's 2009 acquisition of materials handling machinery manufacturer Reimelt Henschel (Rödermark, Germany) has helped Zeppelin be much more active in this market. "We're now able to go after many projects we could not have approached before," said Harald Wims, VP for technology and business development at the company. Specifically, he said Reimelt Henschel's experience delivering materials handling equipment for the medical and food industries has helped Zeppelin since the acquisition to compete for and win a number of large materials handling projects at processors of medical plastic parts.

"In the past, Zeppelin maybe could have won the business for the silo, but now with Reimelt's experience in mixing and dosing, and its cleanroom experience, we are able to provide the entire materials handling system from silo to processing machine." [email protected]

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