The increasing use of plastics in car manufacturing and the electronics industry has led to a higher demand for customized compounds and subsequently for efficiently operating plants. Although the extruder remains the core component in these plants, other modules such as material handling, electric controls and the steel structure also account for a substantial share of the total investment costs, not to mention building technology, dimensioning and provision of energy and auxiliary materials. Furthermore, support when designing the individual process steps can be an integral part of the plant's success. Hubert Stojanovic, Head of Sales, Engineering Plastics, at Zeppelin Systems, describes the situation of many plastic compounds producers: "Producers of technical compounds generally distinguish themselves through their process know-how, but don't always want or are not able to deal with the fine-tuning of the parameters, detail planning and project management when building their plant."
Zeppelin Systems has been handling these tasks for many years now. The company headquartered in Friedrichshafen, Germany, not only supports its customers in selecting the optimal machines and components, it also takes over tasks such as installation planning, document compilation and supervision of schedules. In other words, Zeppelin Systems takes charge of the entire project coordination. "We provide our customers with unbiased advice – just like an architect would do when selecting his building stones," Sascha Schmid, Sales Manager, Engineering Plastics at Zeppelin Systems explains. "The producer can therefore concentrate on his value-adding process and be sure that his project will run smoothly and optimally."
Zeppelin Systems monitored and coordinated the integration of systems – provided by the customer – for weighing/dosing, extruding, granulating, controlling as well as packing and bagging at a well-known compounder. In the final expansion stage, the plant will produce approx. 140,000 tons of compounds yearly. Zeppelin not only supplied the material handling and the Bolt-Tec design storage silos, but also ensured that the entire plant runs efficiently despite the highly abrasive compounds with fiberglass. "Hard to handle bulk materials require extensive know-how in terms of wear protection as this has to be taken into account throughout the entire plant," Hubert Stojanovic adds. "This enabled us to optimally design the overall process."
Project completion was successful in part thanks to decades of experience in collaborating with all major suppliers. "For many, material handling only holds a secondary role, but it is present in all main interfaces throughout the process, e.g. for material supply in the extruder or at the packing station," Sascha Schmid explains. "Over the years, we have acquired deep understanding of the processes. As a result, our role has evolved from plant designer to architect."
Zeppelin Systems' new role as architect and its advantages for compound producers will be presented at this year's K in Düsseldorf, Germany, in hall 9, booth B41.