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Control extrusion process smarter than ever

Source:Adsale Plastics Network 2023-05-18

Modern extrusion process is getting more complex to achieve higher productivity and better quality while saving more resources. To help operator control the complex process with ease, new user-friendly and connectivity features are developed for the next generation of control system.


Award-winning control system with new user interface


The iF Design Award and the Red Dot Design Award granted to the pioneer processControl system demonstrate that KraussMaffei has succeeded in combining an attractive graphic design with outstanding user-friendliness.


KraussMaffei expects complex extrusion processes for sustainability reasons will become standard. As the process complexity in terms of feeding, coloring and degassing is higher, more data are processed by the control system and displayed at the same time on the user interface.


KraussMaffei thereby focused on human-centered design in the development of the new interface. Based on the requirements catalog resulting from customer interviews, the company then developed the innovative user interface together with Würzburg-based HMI Project GmbH, had it checked by test persons and finally optimized it.


The core feature of the new user interface is wizards that provide the operator with step-by-step instructions for certain procedures such as starting the production line or shutting it down. Besides, experiences can be stored in the system, enabling even less experienced operators to control complex processes.


The visual design of the display is simple self-explanatory, well-structured, and clear. Any deviations from setpoints are indicated at an early stage by visual feedback, so that intervention is possible before it becomes even necessary.


Thanks to the modular HMI design, new applications like KraussMaffei’s ColorAdjust color measuring and control system can be integrated into the control interface without having to adapt the operating concept.


The visual design of the new pioneer processControl interface. 


Next generation of supervisory control technology


Davis-Standard has recently replaced its EPIC III with the EPIC IV as the standard offering for supervisory control on all new extruders. The new generation is also available as an upgrade for existing EPIC systems.


The EPIC IV builds upon the comprehensive, user-friendly approach of the EPIC III while enhancing the operator’s experience and adding connectivity to Davis-Standard’s cloud-based solution, DS Activ-Check.


Advantages include improved graphics and symbols, additional diagnostic and efficiency tools, and screens focused on active functions and alerts, according to Davis-Standard.


As explained, the EPIC IV uses a high-performance HMI approach to strengthen the operator’s experience. The new color scheme focuses operator attention on active functions and alerts while also assisting operators with color vision deficiency by using shapes to indicate machine status.


The updates seen in EPIC IV reflect the company’s commitment to digital transformation via DS Activ-Check that enables real-time predictive maintenance by providing early notifications of potential machine failures.


As a result, operators are alerted to issues before they happen, reducing unplanned downtime and collecting valuable data in sync with EPIC IV control features. Users receive notifications via e-mail or text, and continuous monitoring of production machine status is available on smart devices and remote PCs.


Key parameters monitored include extruder reducer, lubrication system, motor characteristics, drive power unit, barrel heating and cooling functions.


User-friendly visualization software with expanded functions


The more reliably the entire film production process is controlled digitally, the higher the film quality. Therefore, Hosokawa Alpine has added a number of new features to its ExVis (extrusion visualization) process visualization software.


The emphasis in expanding the version 5.0 of the software was placed on user-friendly operation and an even better overview of process-relevant data. Among other improvements, the daily work of blown film system operators has been made easier by the constant integration of feedback.


ExVis 5.0 is a fully networked system that centrally manages the data of all system components. The program also offers a wide range of new options for daily work on the machine.


This means that operators can access the user manual or the circuit diagrams directly from ExVis in the event of an error message. This gives them contextual information on what needs to be done immediately.


Besides, the start-up assistance makes it easier to start the system. The settings for a film recipe are stored in the software, allowing operators to start up the system in four automated steps without any process engineering know-how.

Hosokawa Alpine_480.jpg

ExVis is a process visualization software for blown film lines.

Extruder and extrusion line
Industry 4.0
· FCS-Group 
· Nanjing Deteng Machinery Co., Ltd. 
· Xingya (Suzhou) Intelligent Equipment Manufacturing Co., Ltd 

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