The year kick-starts with the Autosport International UK Show at the NEC, Birmingham. 2KM has been working with automotive manufacturers on different projects for many years. POWERFLEX is one of them having established a long term, successful cooperation.
EPTG Ltd, was experiencing problems in the consistent manufacturing of their moulded Polyurethane product. Being the manufacturer of an essential automotive component, specifically Polyurethane Suspension Bushes, the ability to achieve 100% quality every single time is essential.
2KM UK Ltd was approached to identify the issue and provide a cost effective and reliable solution. Working closely with the client and material supplier, 2KM identified the material conditioning as the main problem. The main attributing issue was maintaining the optimum processing temperature of 40oC throughout the system, due to the material’s high freeze temperature.
2KM proposed a modified version of the Process Gear Mix 102, allowing a three zone heating arrangement to the mixing and metering system. The first zone includes the conditioning vessels and metering pumps, the second zone is the transfer hoses and the dynamic mixer head is the third one. Each element is individually heated and regulated through digital control units mounted on the control panel. The digital control units enable the variance of the pre-set temperature from zone to zone and the actual temperature is displayed and monitored at all times.
The systems’ characteristics- Customised solution
The system has three separate A component metering units allowing the simultaneous conditioning of all Polyols. Whilst one of the material systems is in use, the other two are conditioned, enabling the processing of the three dedicated materials using only one machine. This set up minimises the material change down time and, very importantly, reduces the capital expenditure for the customer.
With careful planning the machine can always be in use while preparing the next production run. The changeover of materials is carried out by the flick of a switch. The three material tanks and metering pumps are housed in a heated enclosure and each pump is fitted with a heater block. The hose pack is electrically trace heated and the mixer is fitted with a heater. The recirculation system for each of the A components maintains the optimum conditions for the materials, ensuring quality.
Controlling system conditions enable the material viscosity to remain constant, ensuring a robust manufacturing process and keeping the load and output speed on the metering pump drive motor continuous. The constant speed of the A and B component metering pumps are essential to maintaining the mix ratio and required flow rate. The mixed material is cured in the correct timeframe, eliminating shrinkage and leading to a better quality product.
The bespoke solution created for POWERFLEX, helped achieve a consistent, excellent quality, and increased the overall productivity. The 2KM machines are now used exclusively to support the entire product line.
EPTG Ltd (European Polyurethane Technologies Group) is a leading, UK based, aftermarket automotive polyurethane components manufacturer. Their wide range of products, known as POWERFLEX, are the number one selling performance bushes in Europe. POWERFLEX have been honoured with the Queen’s Award of Enterprise International Trade 2013, underlining their quality and stature as a global exporter. For more information, visit their website www.powerflex.co.uk .