Australia: Advantages through modern color dosing systems

In 2012 Würschum GmbH supplied a five color Oxide system to Urbanstone Pty Ltd in Perth. The Flex 70 Oxide system has allowed to further automate the high quality production facility.

Urbanstone are well-known in Australia for their variety of masonry products with a wide range of colors, textures and finishes. The company based in Perth has introduced a number of new products to the building sector that were previously unseen in the market.

“By adding the Würschum oxide metering equipment to our high-quality manufacturing processes, we have improved our continuity in the manufacture of consistent color runs, added greater flexibility and helped grow our sales volumes into the architectural/specification sector of the market. Our clients in this area are appreciating the ongoing consistency of colors available, through repeat business for us,” says Michael Falconer, Group General Manager of Urbanstone.

Cost savings utilized

The new automatic oxide metering system of the Flex series can handle powder pigments as well as granules and c-pigment. It is mainly used with powder pigments, though, so the cost savings in purchasing powder can be utilized. The Flex 70-2 unit is equipped with a single weigh hopper and two independent pressure/conveying vessels. This single weigh hopper can be filled from all five screw conveyors and then travels horizontally to both conveying vessels, where it discharges the accurately weighed batch by gravity through a sealed connection, totally dust-free.

Depending on the production schedule, this set-up brings about various benefits. The first advantage for Urbanstone is that they use a large concrete mixer, so in case of large loads of approximately 60 kg the system can weigh up the full load in two parts and deliver them by a horizontal movement to both pressure/conveying vessels. There, the full load can be held until called for and fed very quickly into the mixer.

Flexible line supply

The second benefit is that the two conveying hoppers can be used for darker as well as lighter colors. This is freely programmable in the control software since all five colors are connected to the single weigh hopper that can supply any of the five colors to any of the two conveying vessels. The system also allows for the easy and inexpensive addition of a third conveying vessel, if future manufacturing needs arise.

The third advantage is that the two (or later three) conveying vessels can be used for fully independent production lines. One of the vessels can be dedicated to one line and the other one or two can be dedicated to another line. This means that even if there is an interruption in one line, the Flex color oxide system can hold this batch for any given time while the system is serving the other production line.

Good health and safety features

The fourth benefit lies in the fact that all five available colors can be combined to any additive color, which can then be held in any given conveying vessel, thus allowing for ultimate color range flexibility for the concrete products. This is especially useful if, in paver production, for instance, a face mixer runs a blend of three different colored concretes and then all three color batches can be held for immediate discharge.

This set-up provides unique opportunities for arranging the pigment metering system in any given scenario whilst also being adaptable to possible future changes.

Furthermore, the system has outstanding health and safety features, such as the pneumatic bag shakers and the dust-free connection of the big bags, which are loaded onto the frame using a forklift. This is also true for the dust collector allowing for dust-free conveying into the mixer.

Permanent access to performance parameters

Various sensors, including the supply pressure sensor and the permanent conveying pressure sensor, provide the operator but also the remote support team with permanent access to the relevant performance parameters of the system, which minimizes downtime and ensures performance-based maintenance.

Another unique circumstance to be mentioned is that Würschum did not have to send a technician to the site. The customer installed the equipment as designed, set up and shipped, so it required a minimum of on-site mechanical set-up activities. Würschum’s Australian distributor, ZI-Argus, provided the technical support for the final set-up and start-up. ZI-Argus also delivered the controls for the complete batch system. After a very short start-up time, everything was ready for full-scale production.

Strong package

The Flex 70 pigment metering system enables Urbanstone to manufacture a terrific range of products with the most cost-effective powder pigment solution.

Besides the Urbanstone example, Würschum and ZI-Argus have many other customers in Australia, including Baines Masonry in Sydney, Boral Masonry in Brisbane, GB Masonry in Queensland, plus various pigment metering systems each individually designed from variable components to meet the specific needs of the individual plants.

The key strength of the Würschum equipment is that it provides custom-made solutions for a wide range of applications from roof tiles, blocks, pavers and architectural precast, combined with the philosophy that “we are only satisfied if our customers are satisfied”. This approach results in a strong package of support, service and equipment performance together with the local partners.

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