New competitors in a global market with rising prices for raw materials are putting pressure on producers of PVC plastic pipes to make adjustments in their production. But what is the smart and right way to react to the external pressures?
We have some valuable suggestions for businesses in the field of plastics processing and are asking the question: which mistakes should be avoided and which adjustments truly offer a promising way forward?
The Plastics Industry is Changing
Ever more plastics processing businesses are facing increasing pressures due to the rising cost of raw materials as well as severe supply shortages. One group of the hardest affected enterprises are those that specialize in the production of multilayered PVC pipes. On the other hand, these challenging times offer a great opportunity to optimize one‘s production.
Plastics Processing: Tactical vs. Strategic Adjustments
Many producers of PVC pipes are reacting to the new pressures by substituting their usual raw materials and relying on cheap fillers. The idea behind is simple and straightforward: by substituting expensive materials, the cost of procurement as well as the price of the end product are lowered. Through this tactical adjustment, some businesses hope to achieve the end goal of remaining competitive with their prices and maintaining their full delivery capabilities.
Unfortunately, this tactical approach to the external pressures is destined to produce unintended consequences and backfire. It usually leads to reduced output and increased wear and tear on machines. For older machines, this can lead to the necessity of retrofits and spare parts. Even with all this, a stable and constant quality of production is still unlikely to be achieved.
Higher Output and Lower Material Costs Through Better Technology
How can producers find a truly economical way for producing plastic pipes without having to resort to cheap raw- and filling materials? There‘s only one way: The output must be increased and, simultaneously, the amount of raw materials used must be decreased.
If producers can, at the same time, also enhance the quality of their end products, they don‘t just secure their position in the market but make a genuine leap forward.
The key to making this possible are state-of-the-art digital technologies. In order to offer producers of PVC pipes a chance to truly overcome the turbulent times in a highly competitive market, WEBER has developed a truly unique screw geometry for counter-rotating twin-screw extruders: the IF-Screw-Technology®.
30% Quicker: Mechanical Energy Inputs into Plastics
The IF-Screw-Technology® (IF stands for Interference) was specifically developed to serve one core purpose: making the extrusion process more economical. The innovative screw makes production processes possible that would be unthinkable with regular commercially available counter-rotating twin-screw extruders.
Other than common twin-screw extruders, the IF-Screw is developed circumferentially and undulatory. This unique design leads to snake-like movements of the screw‘s chamber volume that is filled with PVC. The resulting kneading effect produces additional internal friction among the PVC particles. Overall, this offers one great advantage: The mechanical energy input into the plastic is happening faster by 30 percent!
Saving Time and Money with Automated and Digitized Production
Producers of PVC pipes who want to stay competitive in the market for the foreseeable future will have to resort to digitized methods of production. It‘s no longer a question of “if“, but a question of “when“. The great advantage for those who decide to face the challenge head on is their lead as first movers over competitors.
Opportunities to digitally control, automate, and analyze production offer one further advantage that is frequently overlooked: achieving the best energy efficiency possible. This is something that is often overlooked in the ocean of opportunities of digitally automated production. Overall, the next generation of extrusion processing offers two central promises: Saving time and saving money.
Made for Plastics Processors: A Manufacturing Execution System with Line Control
NEXXT365 by WEBER is the rare combination of a manufacturing execution system (MES) with superordinate line control. NEXXT365 is a web-based application that connects crucial steps and elements of the production process, such as:
- Production Orders
- Customer Orders
- Setup Instructions
- Article-Specific Process Recipes
- Process-Dependent Use of Raw Materials
At its core, the innovation by WEBER offers all producers of plastic pipes a way to produce in a more efficient and more economical manner. This is possible since extrusion lines work quicker, safer, more repeatably, and more precisely – all while also saving costly material. All of this results in a measurable and meaningful impact: the scrap rate as well as the potential for mistakes are greatly reduced.
In case of disturbances, disruptions, or malfunctions, a control algorithm automatically initiates countermeasures – or even shuts down the entire production process if necessary.
All in One Place: Recording and Analyzing Production Parameters
An MES like NEXXT365 provides all key data about orders and machines in one places – 100% paperless. With one simple click, an extrusion line can be started up or shut down – thanks to a standardized OPC-UA interface. Even multi-stage recipes can be started up directly at the line.
The advanced WEBER technology even collects and bundles all data from machines in an archive. All orders and production parameters that go along with them can be analyzed and evaluated at a glance.
Highest IT Security Standards and High-End WEBER Service
Our long-term partnership with our valued customers has made one thing crystal clear:
the security in digital production is extremely important!
That‘s why NEXXT365 protects sensitive customer data by relying on tried and trusted security standards of EUROMAP, Europe’s Association for Plastics and Rubber Machinery manufacturers and utilizes the best of modern technologies like HTPPS encryption.
Should there still be a problem or a maintenance issue, our WEBER Visual Support will help you out remotely. As a customer, you will then virtually meet on of our many competent service technicians who will lead you through system control – made easy thanks to assisted reality technology! Small maintenance works, updates, and repairs are quickly and efficiently taken care of.