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27th August 2019, Prilep

Mikrosam launches new automation capabilities

Design in production of an automated line for CHG and CNG. © Mikrosam

Design in production of an automated line for CHG and CNG. © Mikrosam

Mikrosam is launching new automation capabilities for filament winding of compressed hydrogen (CHG) and compressed natural gas tanks (CNG) with a contract to deliver one of the largest production lines for the automotive industry.

The complete line will include Mikrosam’s multi-spindle filament winding (FW) machines integrated with new innovative automation units to produce more than 60,000 tanks annually. This contract with JSC DPO Plastic is a result of a two-year intensive competitive design and bidding process.

“After reviewing many competing offers, we are very happy to select Mikrosam as the best and most reliable supplier with proven productivity track record offering highest ROI on such scale. Additional plus is that Mikrosam has excellent relationships with third parties, whose equipment will be integrated. Our estimations show such integration can achieve lowest total cycle-time with maximum quality level, not just on FW equipment but on the complete production line,” commented Irina Shevtsova, Chairman, Board of Directors of JSC DPO Plastik.

Innovation and reliability

The growing demand in global markets for CNG and CHG, including automotive, transportation, energy store and future fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV) is pushing the need for cost-efficient and productive solutions with high ROI.

“Many customers come back to Mikrosam not just for our advanced composites competence, but for our relentless focus on providing solutions to their market goals. After delivering several automated lines, each with something new, Mikrosam has become de-facto reference in FW automation. This new line with so many new innovative units speaks to our leadership in composite manufacturing automation for growing new markets,” said Dimitar Bogdanoski, Sales Manager at Mikrosam DOO.

Mikrosam will deliver to JSC DPO Plastik the latest and most advanced multi-spindle FW machines for wet and tow-preg winding featuring innovations for very fast and precise winding of glass and carbon fibres. These multi-spindle machines are designed to build various tanks between 40L and 350L capacity for storage of CNG and CHG.

Mikrosam’s engineering

In addition to Mikrosam’s patented automated cut and restart system, double-drive carriage for high speed, and high precision tow-preg winding, the FW equipment features an original shaft design for pressure vessels. This system is designed to allow for programmed and continuous control of pressure inside the tank liners during each layer of winding. Additionally, during wet winding the resin mixing, delivery to resin bath, and resin deposition on fibres is controlled. Together these features are said to ensure fast, consistently high quality of winding with optimal material usage for each produced tank.

Mikrosam’s engineering extended the ability to easily scale production via integration of multiple FW units, while ensuring high quality yields of the complete line. To achieve high scale and maximise equipment utilisation, there's a dynamic load-balancing system which is designed to ensure simultaneous winding of four or more multi-spindle FW machines. This dynamic load balancing provides higher overall utilisation than simply having many FW machines on the floor.

All units are fully integrated with a robot-based handling system and a Top-Level Control System (TCON). The robot-based handling units control and measure the weight of the tanks at each stage of the process: from plastic liner to post-curing. The TCON system – state-of-the-art software developed by Mikrosam – collects details of process parameters at each step of production in a data warehouse even collecting data from third party auxiliary equipment.

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