Flexible pipe production at the push of a button
| Andreas Weseler
First QuickSwitch system at newcomer Encoma
Water supply, geothermal energy, cable protection and underfloor heating - as of now, Encoma Ltd. in Manitoba, Canada, is serving its customers with customized HDPE pipes for such applications. The QuickSwitch line from KraussMaffei makes it possible, which is a first in two respects. For KraussMaffei, it is the first line of its kind in North America, and for newcomer Encoma, it is the first pipe line ever. He is so satisfied with it that he has already ordered two more.
Encoma started producing multilayer HDPE pipe in the fall of 2021 after building a new hall for several extrusion lines. For this purpose, KraussMaffei Extrusion installed a complete 3-layer QuickSwitch line in Manitoba - from raw material to semi-finished product handling.
"For us as a newcomer in this branch of industry, it was extremely important to have a competent partner at our side who would be able to set up a turnkey plant on our premises and also provide training and support."Derek Hofer, plant manager at Encoma Ltd. in Manitoba, Canada
KraussMaffei met exactly these requirements of Encoma and Derek Hofer has absolutely no regrets about the decision. On the contrary: Encoma is so satisfied with the system technology and machine supplier that the company ordered two new lines just three months after the start of production - a second QuickSwitch and a 5-layer PE-RT line, specifically for underfloor heating pipes. The quality, reproducibility and production time for manufacturing HDPE pipes on the first QuickSwitch line were so convincing that Encoma directly chose KraussMaffei again as its machine supplier.
"The quality, reproducibility and production time for manufacturing HDPE pipe on the first QuickSwitch line were so convincing that we directly chose KraussMaffei again as our machine supplier."Derek Hofer, plant manager at Encoma Ltd. in Manitoba, Canada
Pipe dimensions adjusted at the touch of a button
QuickSwitch is the unique complete line offering for the flexible production of pipes of widely differing dimensions without retooling on one and the same line. At its heart is the adjustable pipehead, which can be set to a new pipe dimension fully automatically and without stopping the line within around ten minutes. All that is needed is a taper of 4 to 6 meters, which contributes not only to efficient but also sustainable pipe production. In addition to changing the pipe dimension at the push of a button, QuickSwitch also handles the fine adjustment of pipe wall thickness and centering.
Both parameters are essential for the production of high-quality tubes. Once production data has been stored, it can be recalled and adjusted at any time, thus ensuring exact reproducibility. All downstream units integrated in the control unit are automatically changed over as well, eliminating the need for readjustment. Thanks to the intelligent control system, all production parameters can be monitored, documented and correlated with each other, the plant manages itself and the personnel effort is minimal. All in all, ideal for a newcomer company like Encoma. With the line already installed, Encoma produces tubes in the diameter range from 25 to 63 mm; the one now ordered will extend the dimensional range to 160 mm. "Thanks to the ideal concept, we are able to produce a wide range of different tubes for changing customer requirements, even in small quantities," Derek Hofer is convinced and sees his company well equipped for further growth.