A sophisticated Continuous Panel Line for SOPREMA in Germany
The French producer of building elements needed a flexible manufacturing solution combined with high productivity and complete control of production parameters. Cannon’s team working has been the key of this success
SOPREMA is an international manufacturer specializing in waterproofing, thermal insulation and soundproofing products for the building and civil engineering sectors. Founded in 1908, SOPREMA has headquarters in Strasbourg, France and operates in 90 countries with 51 production sites and more than 4,000 distributors. Its 8 R&D Centres are strongly oriented to Sustainable Development and constant innovation.
Costumer requests to face the rising demand of insulation panel were:
“wet side” of the foaming equipment, an extremely flexible manufacturing solution combined with high productivity and complete control of all production parameters. Cannon was approached to quote the whole section of equipment from the raw materials storage farm to the end of the double belt panel laminator, including electronic controls, thermoregulation and safety systems. Cannon Ergos, supported by French and German colleagues —worked as main contractor and won this important project.
A Well-played Team Work
Cannon France and Cannon Deutschland played an important role in holding the local contacts with the French headquarters of SOPREMA and with the factory management in Germany. Cannon Ergos and Cannon Afros in Italy, working in cooperation with sister companies Cannon Automata and Cannon Bono Sistemi, combined their latest developments in terms of metering, mixing, polymerisation and storage technologies, under a single electronic control system operating under the Industry 4.0 concept. Cannon Bono Sistemi designed and provided a complete bulk storage farm composed by numerous tanks for Polyols, Isocyanates, Additives, and Pentane blowing agent, each one completed with all accessories, temperature control systems, loading/unloading pumping groups and rigid piping feeding lines, in order to manage the storage activities of each raw material in correct operating conditions.
A particular focus has been made on the Pentane storage system, where suitable safety devices and alarms are requested by the flammable chemical. The entire storage farm was automatically controlled through a dedicated unique control panel.
Cannon Afros conceived an open-layout multi-component high-pressure metering unit able to dispense more than ten chemicals with individual control of outputs and pressures throughout the piping system feeding three self-cleaning mixing heads.
The recirculation of all components is guaranteed, to ensure constant viscosities and pressure at any moment on the whole circuit of chemicals.
A Re.Co. system is included, for a real-time automatic correction of foaming pressures in case of deviation from the set values. To ensure the best thermal stability to the foaming process, the mixing heads’ area is enclosed in a cabin.
Cannon Ergos designed a latest-generation fast double belt conveyor, fed by a complete unwinders section. The tension of the facing substrates is continuously controlled with load cells and dancing rolls, with independent aligning devices and buffer storage for automatic splicing. The foaming area is conceived with a vacuum zone to keep the lower facing perfectly flat and multiple temperature control device to pre-heat it before the deposition of the reacting blend of Polyurethane. To ensure accessibility to mixing heads, piping, valves and transducers, the whole foam dispensing section is rationally laid out on an overhead foaming portal, which also provides optimum visibility on the section of conveyor where the foam starts its rise.
A Cannon screw drive ensures constant and non-fluctuating traction to the fast double belt conveyor. Load cell, positioned under the belt, control in real time the pressure exerted by the rising foam, allowing for reduction of its over-packing, a solution which leads to substantial savings in chemicals at the end of the year. To ensure constancy in the panel’s thickness, a calibrating system driven by brushless motors controls and regulates the distance between the upper and the lower belt. The tilting system was designed on both flanks of the conveyor to allow for the production of tapered panels, i.e. panels with different thickness between the left and the right sides.
An efficient thermoregulation method uses a circulation of air inside the double belt’s structure, providing efficient thermal insulation all around the whole conveyor, to save energy and ensure constant temperature in the polymerisation area. Cannon Automata conceived the controls of each piece of equipment under a single roof, providing unique opportunities for complete collection of production data and their intelligent integration within a SCADA supervision software. Total integration between this complex production line and SOPREMA management software of the factory has been guaranteed. This sophisticated panel line allows SOPREMA to supply at a growing pace their flexible-faced insulation panels in a wide range of thickness and dimensions.
SOPREMA also received from Cannon Bono Energia, the Group’s Company specialised in thermal plants, a large OMV 2500 oil heater. Installed in their Strasbourg sandwich panel factory, this low-emission gas-burning boiler is rated 2.5 Million Kcal/h. The heat produced by the machine contributes to the chemical process for the production of bitumen sealant, applied to their range of water-proof panels. Its high efficiency, combined with an easy management and a very low emission of gases (particularly low is the NOx value, well below the 100 mg/m3 demanded by the tight French environmental regulations) has been appreciated by this French subsidiary of the SOPREMA Group.