Smart Industry article 3/6: Projects in the spotlight
Working innovatively is second nature to the staff at Dinnissen. Chris Cleven, Project Engineering Manager, can draw on countless examples where out-of-the-box thinking has made a difference.
In the third article from the Smart Industry’s Dinnissen special, he elaborates on two projects in particular. Read the article below.
Because Dinnissen has the capability to produce customized solutions in-house, it receives special requests quite regularly. An excellent example is the project of a customer from India, who was having issues with a product. “The drums that hold the substance are shipped and, while at sea, the product has the tendency of forming gas inside the drum. Although it is not explosive, it can expand during that period. This meant our customer's employees had to open the drums with a gas mask inside a special cabin, and even then it was a difficult process to clean the drums safely. When legislation in Germany prohibited this procedure, the company knocked on our door to come up with a customized solution.”
"Working together with the customer on a new solution, that's what makes our work so interesting!”
The installation is equipped with a double extraction system and several parts have been custom-developed by the Dinnissen engineers. “We did comprehensive research on internet and spent countless hours on this project. The great thing is that after all the hard work, we not only delivered the mechanical solution, but also took care of the control, assembly and software of the system. The whole installation was built and assembled in house, tested with a safe dummy product and only then put into commission in Germany. There are several parts of the installation we can now also apply in projects for other customers.”
Dinnissen employs a team of thirty Engineers in total; five of them worked on this special project for which a whole year was allocated. The result is a complete custom-built installation in which the filled drums are placed, fully treated, and then finally come out completely clean. “We developed an installation according to several process steps. One of these steps was to build a machine that opens the drums automatically by punching out the lid with a large knife. The drums are then conveyed to a washing cabin and are flushed with nitrogen to render the gas harmless. The next step is a glove box with an absorber inside, which removes all the moisture from the barrel. A special tipping installation tilts the drums on their side, allowing an operator to remove the loose pieces of product, which are now harmless. The next step in the process is breaking the product into granules, vacuuming the drums clean and washing them inside and out. When the barrel comes out again, it is completely clean and ready for reuse.”
Mixer of 5,000 litres
The second project that Chris Cleven touches on is a project for a Polish supplier of premixes for baby food. “Because of a sample procedure and hygiene requirements, they wanted to use a large, extruding mixer. Our standard maximum capacity was 2,400 litres at that time. However, the request of the customer was for us to produce a 5,000 litre mixer. To a layman this may seem like a straightforward job, but with these capacities there is a lot more involved. The biggest challenge is coping with the forces that logically increase as the mixer gets bigger. If you can imagine that a drive mechanism with shafts already weighs about nine and a half tonnes, then you can understand that we need to be extremely careful and do a lot of calculating.”
To the tiniest detail
Using a calculation module, the Engineers tackled this challenge and calculated down to the tiniest detail whether the mixer would hold strong from a technical perspective. “We designed and drew on this project for about six weeks, which is significantly longer that for a standard mixer. Not only does everything have to be correct technically, but all functionalities have to be drawn in as well. And, very importantly, how will you make sure everything is built hygienically? For starters by not using hollow spaces. But also by making the mixer fully accessible through a hatch at the back of the mixer. Finally, user-friendliness was another key requirement: one operator must be able to extrude the mixing axles. In order to meet every one of these requirements, we always coordinate our work with production. We might have an idea on paper, but it also needs to be possible to actually make it.” Any drawing the engineers make is very detailed, right down to the cabling. “This way you avoid unforeseen surprises afterwards”, says Cleven.
The mixers that were developed were fitted with special parts that were produced in-house. Everything was assembled in the factory, down to the last screw. They were also tested in Sevenum in the factory using the actual product. “After some minor adjustments, the mixer ran smoothly and the project was completed to the customer's satisfaction. The next step we're already thinking about is making a mixer of no less than 8,000 litres!”
Linchpin for moving forward
According to Cleven, challenging projects like these are the linchpin for moving forward as an organization. “In many projects you're working with existing principles, but it's good to always think a step further. Working together with the customer on a new solution, that's what makes our work so interesting!”