When a glass producers in the Netherlands needed a new cullet return system, they turned to Forglass, furnace and batch plant technology expert from Poland, whose engineers have designed a new-generation scraping conveyor, equipped with “smart” technology. In fact, the design has already been dubbed SmartScraper™ due to the machine’s built-in intelligence.
One of the key elements of this intelligence is the Overload Protection System (OPS). Rather than mechanical protection, this system uses electronic sensors to continually monitor the working conditions of the SmartScraper™ conveyor, diagnose problems and react instantly to changes in operation. Unlike with the previous solutions, it is possible to slow down or stop the machine at an appropriate moment, before any of its elements, including the protection system itself, are damaged. Additionally, when connected to a comprehensive array of sensors (e.g. temperature, working speed or efficiency), OPS facilitates detailed analysis of the machine’s performance.
Thanks to this system, most damage can be avoided, which means that the lifespan of a SmartScraper™ is longer than other conveyors, while its operational costs associated with maintenance are reduced, both of which contribute to increasing the overall return on investment.
Furthermore, the functioning of the conveyor is continuously monitored in real time and can be controlled remotely. The system stores event history data, allowing its analysis, so that conclusions can be drawn and changes made to prevent hazardous situations in the future. OPS is also connected to IS machines and cullet rejection system – a configuration consistent with Industry 4.0 concepts, which allows the system to predict the loads on the conveyor and to adjust its functioning accordingly.
One of the requirements of contemporary glass factories – this particular project being no exception – is compliance with very stringent anti-dust regulations. Forglass SmartScraper’s design ensures extremely low levels of dust generated by the conveyor, which not only satisfied the Client’s requirements, but will also protect sensitive parts of the machine and makes its upkeep easier for the rest of its life.
The project was particularly challenging due to the fact that the entire plant was undergoing a major modernisation project and Forglass engineers had to work at night so as not to collide with the multitude of workers during the day.
Despite these difficulties, Forglass received from the Client many positive comments on several aspects of the project, including very high safety standards, precise engineering that eliminated collisions, timeliness and excellent communication with the Forglass team.
SmartScraper™ is only one of many innovative technologies being developed by Forglass.