materials handling | Technology Right: Penta’s

enclosed Smart Conveyor is particularly suitable for handling dry blend in

compounding plant

to be used as a secondary user interface. Standard features also include an email capability that allows essential staff to be notified of key events, such as stoppage of the compounding line, a feeder is running out, or notification of a specific alarm. Penta, part of the Italian Piovan Group since 2014, designs and manufactures custom large scale systems for storage and handling of powder raw materials with typical particle sizes below 300 microns, such as the additives and mineral fillers used in compounding operations. Its Smart Conveyor technology, for instance, is said to be particularly suitable for transportation of materials such as dry blend for PVC industries, offering the benefit of gentle handling of product while preventing escape of material into the plant environment.

The Smart Conveyor mechanical chain

conveyor feeding solution is claimed to be more compact than traditional pneumatic systems while the absence of air compressors and filters reduces energy usage and mainte- nance requirements. In addition, the use of a belt is said to avoid the risk of separation of component ingredients during transpor- tation to the compounding extruder. Penta says the Smart Conveyor

incorporates software control that monitors and automatically adapts the system to suit throughput demand. It is said to be suitable for handling and

distribution of cold-mixed product and for

Above: Coperion K-Tron’s Smart Flow Meter is claimed to offer more reliable metering and monitoring of bulk material flow

integration into continuous mixing applications. Since its acquisition by Piovan, Penta has been developing plant solutions that combine


Movacolor’s MCNexus precision

additive doser uses 3D printed components to simplify

construction 38

both companies’ technologies, such as the Quantum solution for compounders. These multi-level systems are built around Piovan’s Quantum gravimetric dosing technology. Features include compact footprint, simple and flexible batch management, easy cleaning and precision dosing. The modular design of the system makes it possible to expand or modify installations as future production require- ments develop.


Movacolor has developed the compact MCNexus for precision pellet-by-pellet dosing of additives or masterbatches in a variety of pellet shapes. “The MCNexus has been designed for high precision extrusion and injection moulding applications and is particularly well


suited for use on small extruders, providing ultra-small shot weights or dosing small quantities of highly concentrated additives,” says Movacolor Managing Director Gerhard Dersjant. “The system can dose lower quantities than

previously possible with a gravimetric system and offers 100% repeatability,” he says. “The unit picks up the additive pellet-by-pellet and a sensor monitors if a pellet is actually present and dosed. This way the unit counts the dosed pellets and is 100% accurate. Any deviation is the weight per pellet, which for high grade additives will be very low. It can replace any existing in-line feeder and the operation is very similar.” The MCNexus employs an optometric dosing unit

with three different dosing discs operated by com- pressed air and a stepper motor able to dose pellets at rates of 1-4 each second. The unit operates on the Venturi working principle. Applications are claimed to include low capacity extrusion, such as 3D fibre extrusion and laboratory extruders, and dosing of highly concentrated colours and additives. In a further novelty, the MCNexus is manufactured using 3D printing technology. This allows integration of various functions in a single part and results in a more compact construction and claimed improvement in reliability. “For Movacolor, the advantages of this [use of 3D printing] are that despite its internal complexity we can construct this unit using only a few parts, which makes it easy to manu- facture,” Dersjant adds. “Advantages for the customer include that it is more reliable and cheaper than it would have been with conventional manu- facturing techniques. In addition,

we can easily adapt the mounting design, so it can fit on the required

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