Accurate temperature control for manufacturers from Bürkert
Temperature controlled processes – such as aluminium die casting and injection moulding – are crucial to product quality and process efficiency in the manufacturing industries. Here, Bürkert gives us several examples of how a modular process control platform can be utilised to create a tailored solution for any manufacturing process.
Modular process control systems for die-cast tooling
In the manufacture of high-pressure die-cast aluminium parts, tool temperatures have a significant influence on surface finish, dimensional accuracy and the amount of finishing required. At the same time, cost-effective manufacturing requires cycle times and reliability to be optimised, which leads to a need for automated systems with the fastest practical cycle times.
Optimising this process requires a highly dynamic control system that comprises precision temperature sensors, flow control valves and isolation valves that can reliably manage the fast heating and cooling rates of the thermoregulation process. In applications that use spray cooling, it must be capable of controlling the cooling process by means of exactly regulated quantities of water, air or a mixture of the two. Similarly, tool manufacturers that need to develop complex and intricate shapes for metal and plastic moulds often use conformal cooling to ensure product quality, as well as reduced cycle times.
By implementing a modular process control system, it is possible to integrate it with existing machinery and add as many sensors and control valves as necessary to deliver an ideal solution, regardless of the original manufacturer. With sufficient planning and design expertise, the modular platform can also provide flexibility in the wider manufacturing process by enabling fast, efficient batch changeovers and quick adaptation for new lines.
Flow control valves in injection moulding applications
One of the major challenges in injection moulding is to produce parts that fall from the die ready for use and do not need additional processing. A typical example would be high-volume precision moulded components for consumer products, such as LCD screen frames, phone, laptop casings and similar items.
An important contribution towards achieving this aim is made by vario-thermal control of the injection moulding tool. Only with this technique is it possible to produce plastic parts without distortion, that are the right size and have high surface quality in terms of gloss, haptic properties and lack of weld lines.
The main temperature regulation challenge is to enable rapid changes between hot temperatures, around 180°C during the injection phase, and cooler temperatures of approximately 100°C. Of course, this should be achieved with low cycle times as far as possible to maintain productivity.
The key is to position the valve switching station close to the tool, so the transition from hot to cooler temperatures involves only a very small exchange of water within the system. In conjunction with accurate temperature measurement and flow control valves, it is possible to create a very reliable and efficient process by implementing a modular process control platform. This enables the seamless integration of sensors, flow measurement devices and flow control valves within an existing installation.
Bespoke temperature control systems for extrusion processes
Extrusion technology is used to manufacture a wide range of products using plastics and metals and the overriding objective is to produce a uniform profile without distortion or variation in the dimensions. The decisive factor in achieving this goal is maintaining the correct process temperatures, regardless of external influences.
In this example, the cooling process is as important as the heating procedures and as such industrial extrusion equipment will benefit from a modular process control platform. As a complete process temperature regulation system, this solution automates the controlled heating of the extruder sections and targeted cooling in the subsequent calibration stations.
With a flexible layout, each system allows the highest levels of quality to be achieved because the number of cooling points and nozzles can be varied and each one can be equipped with a dedicated, decentralised control system. By working with expert designers, it is possible to create bespoke temperature control systems that provide the necessary levels of flexibility and reliability.
In each of these applications, there is a demand for precision control of temperature and a need to compensate for variables such as ambient temperatures, requiring the control system to adjust accordingly.
Paddle-wheel flowmeters to industrial ethernet control
With expert knowledge in process flow control, Bürkert offers a comprehensive range of sensors, control valves and process infrastructure that can be easily integrated with existing equipment. The Modular Process Control Platform offers flow control solutions for processes that are powered electrically, pneumatically or manually and can implement a range of flow control technologies.
From simple paddle-wheel flowmeters to industrial ethernet control and everything in between, Bürkert can deliver a tailor-made flow control system for all types of temperature-controlled process. For more information about Bürkert’s temperature control components, please contact Bürkert today.
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