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Zeller Gmelin: Process optimization of ink systems

Production plant with raw materials and finished products storage system for conventional and UV offset inks

The company Zeller + Gmelin is a developer and manufacturer of lubricants, chemical engineering and printing inks. The headquarters of the medium-sized company located in Eislingen, near Stuttgart. Worldwide Zeller + Gmelin is represented by 16 subsidiaries. In the printing inks are radiation curable printing systems segment, a specialty of the company. Zeller + Gmelin is one of the leading international providers radiation-curing printing inks and varnishes. The special coatings are indispensable today for printing on paper and metal packaging, labels and numerous promotional materials.

The production area for the radiation-curing printing systems is to reshape

To reduce production costs and to be able to push forward the steady market growth, the Executive Board decided in late 2012 to make the production area for the radiation-curing printing systems new – completely. From incoming goods to storage in special bearings and the metering of the components to bottling the finished coatings. Other objectives: to improve the ergonomic conditions, streamlining of work processes and optimization of internal logistics.

For this ambitious project an accomplished partner was sought. The project team of Zeller + Gmelin could draw three specialized companies shortlisted by European-wide exploratory companies that have both the special product expertise as well as on the planning expertise to develop such a system and build. The filling GmbH designed for companies in the printing area with high precision dispensing equipment that have been developed for the particular properties of the radiation-curing printing systems.

The heated storage system to the metering system with 65 high-precision valve Aircut

Early 2013 was able to start the project. Filling designed for the planning of the entire system first a 3D animation with all structural components: of the tank system with heat system via a pipe system to promote materials resins, paints, binders – until the final dosing. The advantage of this method: All project managers can identify potential vulnerabilities early and critical points and looking for suitable alternatives.

For the development and implementation of heating chamber, electrics, fuel station and pipe system filling commissioned specialized partners. A core element of the system is the stock for the components. To make the materials for pumps transportable, the bearing must be kept at a constant temperature of 38 degrees Celsius. The bearing may also be exposed to UV radiation in order to prevent an unplanned curing of the components.

Particularly challenging is the work with radiation-curing printing inks and lacquers, when it comes to the precise metering of the components according to consuming was the preparation.
In common multi-week trials a project team of the two companies working on a solution for the optimal dosage of the products. This finally took place in the development of a standardized Aircut valve that is able to dose the highly viscous substances accurately. At a dosage of 1,000 grams a maximum tolerance of one percent was required and achieved. The facility currently has 64 liquid ends and one right-installed scale. Depending on requirements, the system can be expanded to 100 metering and an additional scale. So Zeller + Gmelin is ideally equipped even with growing demand from UV coatings.

Füll Dispensing DosieranlageThe desired goals were more than met from the customer’s point of view. There were even additional synergies that were not foreseeable in advance. From the point of view of those responsible at Zeller + Gmelin, the goal of cost savings was fully achieved. The work was made much easier: Previously, the color in 200-liter containers laboriously brought by employees from the warehouse to production, this is done today by pumps. This means that the risk of transport accidents during operation is a thing of the past. And instead of using drums, the company can now work more economically with IBCs.

Not only has internal logistics improved, but the conversion to delivery by tanker also has positive effects in purchasing. The reliable availability of the components on the system has increased output. Product quality has also been improved because automation has made processes safer and more reproducible. Wendlin, operations manager in the ink plant, to increase the quality of service: “We are very satisfied with the after sales service. Much can be clarified directly via data line between service and production. If a technician has to come, someone from Füll will be faster and faster! ”

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