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Close control of the m any parameters involved in the extrusion process help to improve part quality – such as by reducing thickness variation. And many control systems are now using off-the-shelf components, rather than bespoke parts, so that they have wide compatibility with a range of machinery.
ExtruTouch, the latest controls platform from Gloucester Engineering Co (GEC), is custom designed to control complete blown film systems, and include vacuum loading, blending, speeds, temperatures and pressures, gauging, profi le control and safety.
It combines the robustness of GEC’s earlier generation controls with the latest technology and enhanced graphics. Based on B&R’s latest X-20 generation PLC, ExtruTouch comes with a large 22in colour touchscreen that uses intuitive, easy to understand graphics. It uses off-the-shelf hardware and has multi-language capabilities, remote access, easy interfacing with other Windows-based applications and OPC compatibility – for connectivity to common third-party analysis tools.
Blown film processors can benefit from ExtruTouch in a number of ways, says GEC. Firstly, it can be retrofitted to any existing blown film line regardless of make or model – and not just GEC equipment. Also, by using a third-party non-proprietary IO, processors know that support and updating will be easy and readily available. This also reduces maintenance costs and the chance of part obsolescence.
A graphical front end makes training easy, saving managers time by training users faster, while there is remote access for 24/7 ability to check processing data and make adjustments if necessary.