Car manufacturer BMW has recently been supplied with Piovan’s ‘Modula’ drying technology at one of its new German production sites for the BMW i3 and BMW i8. The group specified to all potential suppliers that any of the processes necessary to convey, dry and blend the different polymers in use had to be “energy efficient and self-sustainable”. Outputs claimed by each potential supplier would be tested and compared.
The testing period, which lasted for six months saw five major suppliers of auxiliary equipment take part.
Modula is an adaptable, energy-efficient drying system with multiple hopper assembly, which Piovan launched to the market in late 2010.
Recently Piovan obtained a specific patent in certification of the innovative nature of the Modula system.
The two Modula set-ups supplied to BMW were configured to support an expansion to twelve production lines.
The materials used by BMW are mainly blends with polypropylene or polycarbonate base (for example, PP/EPDM and PC/SAN). The plastic part is first injection moulded and immediately transferred to the painting lines — a sensitive phase of the production process where silicone particles are banned. Modula does not use any silicone components/parts within the system, making it suitable for such applications.
Two sets of Modula were supplied, each configured with single dry air generator and seven drying hoppers with volumes ranging from 600 to 1000 litres.
The purpose of hygroscopic plastic drying is to reduce moisture content to the required levels. This operation is generally performed by circulating hot dry air inside a drying hopper.
At BMW, the two Modula systems that Piovan supplied automatically adjust and control all operating parameters for each individual hopper, and hence use only the required energy.
This is made possible through control software that interfaces the settings for each hopper with the data collected by the sensors installed on the system.
This means that, by using a Piovan patented measuring unit located in the air supply line and under each hopper, the airflow can be adjusted and controlled instantaneously and independently hopper by hopper.
In addition, the total airflow is modulated automatically and efficiently by the central drying unit, equipped with IE3 class blowers.
Modula is currently available for medium and large capacity applications (200 to 2000 kg/h) and, Piovan claims, provides savings of as much as 50% in comparison to ordinary centralised drying systems of equivalent capacity. Modula is also Winfactory ready.
Along with Modula, BMW was supplied with Varyo auto-adjustable vacuum conveying systems, MDW gravimetric blenders and a Winfactory supervisory system.