Dusseldorf - At K 2013, it was clear that Rick von Kraus, president of Addex Inc., enjoyed staying busy.
"As expected we broke our number of leads record by 25%," he told PlasticsToday. "It wasn't only the number of inquiries that was high, but also their quality. Although it is too early to tell how many of them will turn into orders, the feeling about that prospect is very good. We had shows, both in Düsseldorf and in Chicago in the 90s, that came close to this positive feeling, but certainly nothing like it since."
At K 2013, the supplier of blown film equipment and components launched several new capabilities for its automatic external gauge control (EGC) systems for blown film extrusion lines.
During the last two years, Addex has embarked on a complete overhaul of its automatic gauge control hardware and software, taking advantage of the latest electronic miniaturization and distributed controls.
Von Kraus said the new functionalities help processors increase yield and also use less raw material.
Various functionalities have been placed directly inside each component; reportedly enabling easy retrofits to existing or new extrusion systems, with all communication handled via an Ethernet TCP-IP Modbus connection.
Among the new AGC functionalities is the Addex Mapper, a standalone device that directly accepts most thickness profiler system profiles. It then automatically takes into account all the twists, turns, and undulations of the bubble to create a fully "mapped" thickness profile with better than 1 degree accuracy. It even continues to allow profiler information to be properly mapped during oscillating haul-off reversals.
Von Kraus said that this is a unique capability only offered by Addex and the company makes it available to the entire industry in either standalone or in seamless operation with its other functionalities.
Addex has also introduced the ALF (All Layflat) capacitive sensor module which allows for direct collapsing frame measurement of thickness to the Mapper using already available oscillating haul-off motion for accurate profiling. Up to two ALFs can be added, one in each side of the collapsing frame for faster response. Other sensor technologies can be used optionally in both positions, such as non-contact capacitive and nuclear.
Processors can add another new feature, the Profiler Module, which adds a separate profiling ring for all sensor technologies to be scanned automatically around the bubble. The results automatically feed to the Mapper and then on to the EGC for a "total system control solution."
Other new AGC functionalities from Addex include direct control of the high resolution air flow within the Addex dual-flow cooling ring. A 360-degree profile of desired cooling air flow is registered and the air ring automatically handles direct control. Direct control of even higher resolution air flow within the Addex IBC cooling system uses the same interface used for the cooling ring.
Fully integrated autoprofile control algorithms can also be calculated. A 360-degree already mapped thickness profile is inputted into the Addex system to determine the best control action and seamlessly connects to the air rings' cooling adjustors.
For owners of earlier vintages of Addex Auto Profile systems, these can be fully upgraded with some or all of the above functionalities with the addition of AutoProfiler Convertor Module. This places all previous designs on the latest Ethernet subsystem and eliminates all the wiring except Ethernet and power. Users can implement all of Addex's latest technology enhancements and still utilize most all of their existing mechanical hardware.
Von Kraus said many prospective customers are interested in its released test result. On the same extrusion line, it compares Addex's AGC systems with a close competitor and the company says it shows how Addex's greater number of control zones result in a significantly reduced film thickness variation.