Q&A: TURBOSTART AUTOMATED LINE STOP AND START UP SYSTEM
W&H Polymer Scientist, Mike Andrews PhD, answers questions about TURBOSTART, the automated system for stopping and starting a blown film line with just one operator.
What is TURBOSTART?
TURBOSTART is a revolutionary automated system for starting, stopping and re-starting your blown film line that simplifies the processes that are necessary for every day production. TURBOSTART was launched at K 2019 in Düsseldorf where the process was demonstrated on a production scale 5-layer blown film line 3 times a day in front of huge crowds. It's available on new lines and also as a retrofit.
What were the driving factors behind the development of TURBOSTART?
We’ve heard from almost every one of our customers that their biggest struggle is finding and training enough staff to run their machines in an ever-increasing market. So each plant needs to have the appropriate tools to allow the experienced operators be more efficient and to be able to train new operators quickly. Our R&D department took this feedback and simplified one of the most labor-intensive tasks associated with regular operation: starting and stopping the blown film line. TURBOSTART allows for machine startup to be completed by a single operator.
How does TURBOSTART affect the job of the machine operator?
Their work is simplified in a few ways. The entire startup process can now be executed through a handful of buttons on a single PROCONTROL screen, as opposed to hopping through several different screens and manually adjusting a variety of different settings as the machine starts. This is possible due to TURBOSTART’s ability to automatically ramp up and move all machine components into a state ready for production. When it is time to stop the line for changing screens or cleaning die lips for example, the stop function can be initiated with the press of one button to bring all components of the machine to the home position and slowly ramp down the extrusion system to a controlled stop position. With TURBOSTART, operators no longer have to climb stairs or handle knives as the TURBOSTART not only cuts air out of the collapsed tube but also inserts tube-slitting knives automatically at the secondary nip or draw unit making the edge slit tube ready for web separation.
With so much being automated, the operator is only required to tie the new melt onto the existing film left threaded through the line, separate the film at the winder after slitting, and perform a roll change to bring the line into production.
How does it benefit operators with different levels of experience?
For less experienced operators, TURBOSTART makes the process of operating a blown film line much easier to learn and manage in a shorter time frame. Operators with a greater level of experience can utilize the TURBOSTART process to minimize the downtime during a planned stoppage and manage their time efficiently across multiple lines where they are having to work increasingly on an individual basis.
What is the value added benefit of TURBOSTART?
TURBOSTART allows a single operator with minimal experience to start and stop W&H blown film lines. It also reduces the need for operators to use knives during startup, that provides a significant safety benefit. Finally, controlled stoppage and re-starts conducted using TURBOSTART reduce both downtime and scrap rates.