A Lights-Out Unattended Production Solution from UPM

UPM Conveyors recently worked on updating the production system for Rutland Plastics, to achieve unattended production on a Krauss Maffei KM150, with a solution involving eight belt conveyors, QC station, metal detection, product cooling, part separation and box filling.

Rutland Plastics, a private company based in Oakham, operates moulding machines ranging from 150 tonnes to 1700 tonnes. The company has a 6600 sq ft factory floor and a turnover in excess of £10 million.

Rutland Plastics approached UPM to achieve unattended production on a Krauss Maffei KM150 injection moulding machine. UPM provided a turnkey solution requiring 8 belt conveyors to allow automatic product divert for QC inspection; ferrous/non-ferrous metal detection; product cooling; parts separation and box filling with a capacity of 8 full; 8 empty and 1 filling.

Contamination detection

Product divert is achieved with a small reversing conveyor located onto a swan neck conveyor in the well of the machine and at any stage in production, an operator can energise to reverse and transfer a shot to an integral sample drawer for QC inspection.

Metal detection is based on UPM inserting a search coil under the inclined section of the Swan Neck in the well of the machine. When a foreign body is detected, it will energise an audio-visual alarm and stop the belt conveyor, allowing an operator to check and remove the contamination.

This process does not affect the moulding machine cycle as products continue to be produced and accumulated on the conveyor until the operator has reset to start again.

Further automated elements

Product cooling is necessary to avoid any deformation to the mouldings which are produced in PP on multi-cavity tools ranging from 8-16 impressions mould and 4 sprues with a section thickness of 5 to 15mm. UPM fitted a cooling tunnel with high flow air fans to reduce the temperature from 80°C to 20°C.

For parts separation, the system works via a roller drum with central adjustment for the gap, to allow ease of changing, so the sprues exit onto another swan neck for transfer to a granulator and mouldings discharge. This then goes to a third swan neck for conveying to the box filling station.

The box filling station by UPM is a two-tier construction and was designed to accommodate 8 full boxes; 8 empty and 1 filling with the box located onto a weigh scale to count by weight which achieves an extremely high level of accuracy.

On achieving the correct pre-weight/count, the overhead conveyor will stop; the full box is indexed off and an empty box brought onto the weight scale which initiates the overhead conveyor to start again, repeating the cycle. When all boxes are full, a sensor will energise an audible and visual alarm to alert an operator.

The central control is a PLC controlling all aspects of the system interfacing with the variable speed drives on each conveyor and connecting to the weigh scale.

About UPM

Established in 1975 UPM manufacture bespoke conveyors from straight, incline & swan neck units to turnkey systems offering product cooling, metal detection, static removal, part counting, tote accumulation and much more. All conveyors are manufactured in the UK, from UPM’s facility in Berkshire, and all projects are fully managed in-house, from design to installation and commissioning, with proven after-sales support. For more information, visit the UPM Conveyors website.


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UPM Conveyors
+44 01753 548801

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