Turnkey Automation System Saves Aerospace Chemical Company Labor Costs and Improves Productivity and Efficiency

Challenge


A global leader in advanced composites technology was looking for a way to automation one of their processes. Part of their process includes coating the fiber they create with a resin that has an extremely precise chemical makeup. It must be manufactured to an accuracy of +/- 0.5 grams per the 4 chemical ingredients used. The fibers they manufacture are converted into composite materials that are used to create aircraft parts. The challenge has been to have a human resource hand mix the chemicals up to 6 times per day, as they need it for their process.

The company was starting to wonder if there was a way they could automate such a process when Valin called and asked if we could hold an MTV event at their location. On the truck, we introduced our capabilities with chemical injections and automation controls. They told us of their challenge and asked if we could help them automate their resin mixing.

Solution


Valin utilized internal engineering expertise to design a solution that included 4 injection pumps, a micro controller, temperature controller, heat trace, HMI, directional control valves, fittings, and tubing. An outside builder assembled the components in an orderly panel, while a technician programmed the PLC. The PLC would operate all precision injection pumps with timer functions to a high degree of accuracy.

Customer Benefits


The solution was turnkey and performed exactly how they hoped it would. The panel was placed on the wall and the customer plumbed each chemical to the bulkhead fittings from the bottom, and the pumps inside the panel will expel out of the top of the panel. The programmer implemented a cleaning purge cycle between uses. The dispensing is totally automated. No more hand measurement will be required! The customer will just mix up what is dispensed by hand and put it in their process.

We were able to save the customer many hours of manual labor, which freed up their employees to handle more important tasks. This reduced the number of steps in their process, allowing them to get their product to market faster.