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Concept development: A fully automatic heating system

For over 35 years, DENIOS AG has been regarded as a reliable and solution-oriented partner for industry, working hard to protect people and the environment. In order to remain competitive in the global economy, digitalisation, process automation and efficiency optimisation are at the top of the agenda. DENIOS has developed a concept for a fully automatic heating chamber based on a bespoke customer requirement and detailed needs analysis.

The challenge and task

Modernisation measures for more efficiency.

For a manufacturer of speciality chemicals, the existing heating system is not efficient enough to match up to today's standards. The old system is inefficient both in terms of energy consumption and the area-benefit ratio. It is a brick-built, 150 m² room with insufficient insulation. Handling areas ("shelf aisles") are also heated and only a small ceiling fan provides some air movement. Next to the old plant there are other heating chambers whose capacity is already at maxiumum due to production increases. The new plant therefore needs to accommodate additional capacity within the existing floor space. The solution: the new plant will be built upwards as a continuous tunnel.

Digital transformation.

Within the next few years, the customer plans to partially automate the material flow. Driverless transport systems will bring the containers to their destination. By networking the heating chamber, it could be integrated into the digital process world. The new concept provides for data exchange between the heating chamber and the customer's own control system. For the customer, this would mean an important addition to the digital transformation. Up to now, production monitoring and control is partly carried out using handwritten notes.

The solution

Automated production processes.

An automated solution brings reliability and facilitates a customer's processes. Important questions that arise in the process can be answered with a system-based logic. Below are some examples of quesitions that arise during the thermal processing of hazardous substances:

Has the correct substance been set with the substance-dependent target temperature?

Is the substance allowed to be in the same area as the other substances?

Does the substance pose an additional hazard?

How long has the substance been in the heating chamber, and in which position?

DENIOS has taken on the challenge of creating an automation solution based on the proven heating chamber design - a fully automatic heating system for hazardous substances.

Fully automated heating systems.

A fully automated system, with a centralised heating chamber, supplies the entire plant with temperature-controlled hazardous materials while precisely maintaining and monitoring the process parameters. Designed as a continuous oven with several levels, the heating chamber requires very little space and aits modular build means it is adaptable. Two gantry robots - one at each end - ensure smooth storage and transfer.

The pallet loading station can either be loaded manually or using driverless transport systems. At this point, the hazardous material container is scanned and analysed. The ERP system then checks the requirements for target temperature, heating times and storage conditions according to the stored article master data. This defines its allocation to the respective suitable heating aisles of the conveyor oven. Each flow section can be heated and managed separately. This results in maximum flexibility of temperature and storage zones. Sectional roller conveyors transport the packs through the tunnel. This allows for accumulation and separation operation that makes best use of the total capacity.

Protective measures for handling hazardous substances.

Extensive protective measures are needed, in order to comply with legal regulations, if hazardous substances are handled in the plant. Monitored drip plates, for example, collect leaks and channel them into collection trays. An alarm is triggered immediately if a container leaks. Preventive fire protection is also taken into account if necessary. Each chamber is equipped with fire protection class A1 insulation. Additional options such as smoke detectors and extinguishing piping ensure appropriate safety and speed of response.

Result and customer benefits

The fully automatic heating system from DENIOS meets all the requirements of a modern process technology solution. It substitutes manual, error-prone process control and monitoring with reliable, programmed processes. A clear gain in efficiency. In future, the customer will be able to view and adjust all process parameters digitally at any time. Based on a design that has been tried and tested over many years, all legal requirements are met. DENIOS is setting the course for future-proof process integration of the thermal treatment of materials into the material flow and production process.

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