Italiano

NIM

Goals

Functional analysis of the existing plant

Lead time reduction and production process optimization

Reduction of waste and rework

Production on demand

solution

NIM

Design and construction of an Industry 4.0 polyurethane blocks production plant

RESULTS

1

fully automated and "Zero-defect" production plant

+32 %

increase of production capacity (*)

-13 %

reduction of energy consumption (*)

-30 %

reduction of production cycle time (*)

< 2 %

waste

(*) compared to similar equipment with standard technology

 
GOALS

The objective of the project was to design and build NIM: an Industry 4.0 polyurethane blocks production plant in Los Angeles, California.
Compared to similar equipment made with standard technology, NIM offers technologically advanced solutions to:
optimize the entire production process 

  • by reducing the lead time and improving procedures

reduce production defects and waste

  • by continuously monitoring the critical parameters of each recipe with innovative sensors or estimating them with digital twins;

perform production on demand.

Installation of NIM

 
SOLUTION

NIM is a completely segregated and automated equipment, with interconnected components that can be managed remotely by the operator, whose sole responsibility is to select the desired recipe and program the quantities of the production batch.

This solution complies with the US standards UL 508A, Nfpa 79, SAE-ISO-EN-DIN, Ansi B-11.

 

The system consists of:

  • a foaming machine in which the raw materials are conditioned and mixed,

  • a color control unit,

  • four automatic molds of adjustable dimensions, laid in battery for a length of about 20 m,

  • a machine for the automatic extrusion of polyurethane blocks,

  • a transport system of the blocks, by roller conveyors,

  • a printer and a weight system, according to the production specifications, complete with an anti-adhesive application system for the subsequent stacking of the blocks.
     

The foam reacts inside the molds after the polyurethane dispensing through a distributor moved by a cartesian robot along two X-Y axes. The two X-Y axes, which rapresents the dispenser shuttle, move in the mold area (about 3x2 m), where the X axis is that of the two-track gantry (for a total length of 20 m), common to the four molds.


A second cartesian robot applies preliminarily the release agent on the molds, so on board of the same gantry there is another shuttle, moved along an X axis of the gantry, with on board other two Y and Z axes for the release agent distribution.

The automatic molds are designed to satisfy the production of the required block sizes and they close ensuring the seal up to a pressure of 2.5 bar, developed by the reaction of the polyurethane. They are also equipped with motorized rollers to wrap and unroll polyethylene films, in order to move the finished blocks and contain the raw materials when they are still in the liquid phase.There is also a heat exchanger integrated in the molds: it is able to correct the evolution of chemical reactions and process parameters, depending on the environmental variables detected inside the production site, mainly temperature and humidity.

The transport and sorting system of the blocks in the warehouse is based on automatic roller conveyors that move, rotate and deposit the block on the main conveyor belt.

The equipment is designed to realize a parallel and differentiated production on the four lines associated with the molds and to recognize the possible removal of the molds for maintenance purposes.

NIM: automatic mold

NIM: pouring machine

NIM: release agent robot

NIM: foaming machine

 
RESULTS

Compared to similar equipment with standard technology, NIM achieved the following results:

  • an increase in plant production capacity equal to + 32%;

  • the 13% reduction in global energy consumption of the production line;

  • a production Cycle Time 30% lower;

  • quantity of scraps due to non-compliance with customer specifications below 2%.

The graph below shows a comparison between the performance of the two types of equipment, considering:

  • the ideal production capacity, estimated based on the cycle time and standard production hours;

  • the real production capacity, also considering the loss of time for scheduled stops, breakdowns, etc.

NIM system analytical report

Comparison between ideal and real production capacity

Energy consumption comparison

 
SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS, PAPERS AND AWARDS

D. Cascella, G.L. Cascella: "La produzione di poliuretano sposa la digitalizzazione" [AUTOMAZIONE INDUSTRIALE n.276 - ottobre 2019]

 October 07, 2019 

"[...] Con l’obiettivo di intercettare tutti i vantaggi potenzialmente offerti dalla digital transformation e dalla Qualità 4.0, sono state affrontate la progettazione e la realizzazione di un impianto di produzione di blocchi in poliuretano con sede operativa negli Stati Uniti. Il coinvolgimento di un team multidisciplinare di fornitori italiani (con competenze che vanno dell’impiantistica elettrica e di automazione, alla costruzione di robot e realizzazione di stampi) ha reso possibile la riconfigurazione totale di un impianto classico secondo le normative e gli standard americani UL 508A, Nfpa 79, SAE-ISO-EN-DIN, Ansi B-11. Capofila del progetto è l’azienda pugliese New Wind Italian Bedding Technology, coadiuvata da Mecprod per la costruzione dell’impianto e da Idea75 per il coordinamento del progetto."

 
stakeholders & Credits
leo.PNG

Giuseppe Leonardo CASCELLA, PhD

PROJECT COORDINATOR

Idea75

MSc with honors and PhD in Electrical Eng. @Politecnico di Bari (IT)

EU Marie Curie Fellow @Nottingham University (UK)

40+ international papers

30+ industrial and R&D projects

newwind200_2.jpg

New Wind Italian Bedding

Partner

The company NewWind S.r.l. was born in 1997 and from the beginning it stands out with its high standard of production and attention to detail.

Today the company produces 17 types of pillows. Morever, it produces more than 40 types of mattresses, available in different sizes and adaptable to any type of need

mecprod200_2.jpg

MECPROD

Partner

Mecprod S.r.l. was born in Ostuni, Brindisi, in 1994. Thanks to an important network of national and international relationships and collaborations, over time Mecprod has succeeded in consolidating considerable experience in the mechanical field. In 2009 the management also wanted to diversify the activities carried out by Mecprod, investing resources in the renewable energy sector.

 
KEYWORDS

Digital Transformation

Bedding

Continuos Improvement

Quality by Design

PAT (Process Analytical Technologies)

Zero Defect Manifacturing

Waste Reduction

Process optimization

Industry 4.0

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