New Feeder Control Technology Increases Process Efficiency

New Feeder Control Technology Increases Process Efficiency
An efficient production process is dependent upon an optimal interaction between man and machine.

In contrast to the past, where hours were spent feeding the machine with data, in the future, the machine will be able to act and learn independently. Coperion K-Tron has laid the foundations for this with the latest generation of the proven KCM feeder control system recently launched on the market, as the completely redesigned KCM-III control module has a number of new functions that improve productivity in the long term.

Improved control algorithms in the new KCM-III provide faster communication with the feeder drive, weighing system, and peripherals, resulting in more precise control of the system. In combination with the latest generation of patented SFT weighing technology, the KCM-III offers significantly higher weighing resolution (8,000,000:1 in 20 ms) than its predecessor model. The result is a better short-term feeding accuracy, as the control system reacts very quickly to changes in the system.

Thanks to the integrated Ethernet capability, no additional data converters are required to connect the feeder control unit to a PLC control system; the communication module uses widely used protocols such as Profinet, Ethernet/IP and many others. With the optional Wi-Fi gateway an operator with a smartphone, tablet, laptop or other device to access any KCM-III control module on that local network to remotely control the feeder parameters, check status or view files. The user-friendly feeder web page with a comprehensive user interface can be accessed via Ethernet (Wi-Fi or wired) and offers completely new ways of interacting with an individual feeder control module or even with a group of networked KCM controllers.  

The KCM-III control module combines the motor drive board with the control of the feeder and its peripheral components in one compact unit and is usually mounted directly at the feeder. The user interface can be displayed in several languages, which can be changed at any time via the menu. The KCM-III currently supports over a dozen languages, including graphical languages such as Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. The keypad has modern, user-friendly symbols that are language-independent.

The new 5-inch LCD screen with an improved user interface has an integrated, context-sensitive help function. For each parameter, the corresponding explanation can be displayed by pressing the help button. This is also enormous support for troubleshooting. There is no need to identify alarm numbers and analyze them using checklists in the manual. The machine itself reports immediately together with the alarm what has to be done to eliminate the error.

In order to optimize the production process, to determine the consumption of bulk material, or to trace the end product, the collection and evaluation of data are becoming increasingly important in today’s world. The KCM-III has a completely new, powerful CPU with expanded memory to enable the collection of more log and event files, as well as trace and process data. Up to seven days of traceability are standard. Extended traceability is available as part of an optional software package that provides up to 180 days of data storage. An additional PC tool allows any parameter from multiple networked KCMs to be stored on one PC. This allows – where necessary – complete traceability with real-time data from production and more transparency in the process. In the future, production must be able to adapt quickly to changing market requirements in order to be successful. With the new, fast CPU and a wide range of networking options, both wired and wireless, the new KCM-III has the necessary foundation for future expansions such as preventive maintenance, electronic remote service, Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), outlier detection, machine optimization and much more. It thus plays an important role in optimizing production quality, saving energy, and reducing the maintenance costs of production facilities.

This article is published by

Innovative and Sustainable Bulk Material Processing Solutions.

Coperion and Coperion K-Tron are system and equipment suppliers, including extruders, feeders, pneumatic conveying and components, who understand the importance of process efficiency. We design, develop, manufacture and maintain systems, machines and components for the plastic, ...

Coperion K-Tron