Global plastic consumption continues to increase – with particularly rapid growth in India. One of the few companies in India who are able to serve and support the full spectrum plastic processing needs, Windsor Machines Limited gets the flexibility it needs with an APROL process control solution from B&R.
As our lifestyles change, global plastic consumption is increasing exponentially. We use plastics in our households, cars and to package our foods and beverages. While the per capita consumption of plastics in some western countries is over 100 kilograms per year, India's average of 10 kilograms is amongst the lowest globally. However, this is changing quickly. Based in India and serving 65 countries around the world, Windsor Machines Limited is one of the few companies that is able to serve and support the full spectrum plastic processing needs dictated by today's consumer demands.
With cutting-edge product design and latest technology, Windsor Machines Limited manufactures injection molding, pipe extrusion and blown film systems. "Providing all of these solutions under one roof gives us a unique edge over our competition," says T.S. Rajan, the company's Executive Director and CEO, and adds, "As a leading machinery supplier with the lowest operating cost per kilo of polymer processed, working for our customers’ profits remains our mantra for success." Windsor is a trusted name amongst manufacturers of both rigid and flexible packaging.
Windsor has successfully introduced a five-layer polyolefin blown film line in India. The groundbreaking POD series provides greater flexibility, increased productivity and superior quality in the manufacturing of non-barrier film applications. The POD lines consume less raw material, leading to optimal use and conservation of resources. They are designed to manufacture highperformance, high-quality plastic films used for packaging, milk pouches, edible oil packaging, shrink and stretch wrap films, surface protection films, agricultural films and a variety of barrier films.
"Windsor has a major focus on technology for providing next-generation machines and plants to our customers," says Windsor CTO, Vinay Bansod. "Artificial Intelligence is already available in our injection molding machines and will be soon a feature integrated in our extrusion lines."
The blown film line can vary from one to nine layers. Modularity, scalability and flexibility of solutions is a major challenge for machine builders. Connectivity to various sub-systems, temperature control, winder control, speed control, oscillations, online changes and long-term data storage are some other notable requirements.
Extruders are used to heat the raw material before it is blown into a film. The choice of raw material depends on the desired film thickness and transparency. The number of extruders determines the number of layers – the five-layer blown film plant consists of five extruder units. These feed molten plastic to a unit from PLAST-CONTROL, which blows it into a film bubble. With the help of guides, this bubble is directed upwards and then split onto different rollers. The film is then rolled onto winders, which support auto-splicing to make the process continuous.
"Connectivity to the PLAST-CONTROL unit, extruder temperature control, winder control and maintaining the specified thickness are some of the critical aspects in the blown film line," says Bansod. "In addition, diagnostics, trends, reporting, access control, online changes and long-term storage are also desired by customers," he adds.
"When it comes to automation, we place our trust in B&R technology and solutions for all of our machines," says Bansod and further stresses, "B&R helps us keep pace with the cutting edge of technology and stay ahead of our competition." In the five-layer blown film line, Windsor has experienced the power of B&R's APROL process control system. Implementing APROL has helped Windsor achieve modularity, scalability, reliability, higher performance and quality in a cost-effective solution.
Windsor's technical teams are strict when it comes to evaluating automation vendors, paying particular attention to reliability, features, support mechanisms and overall cost. B&R satisfies these requirements with ease. "Our focus on technology has helped us achieve 20% year-on-year growth. B&R has played a role in helping us repeat this accomplishment consistently," says Deputy CEO, Nitin Choudhary. "We are proud of the fact that Windsor was first in India to successfully implement APROL solution," he shares.
Executive Director and CEO
"Windsor has a major focus on technology for providing next-generation machines and plants to our customers. We are a trusted name amongst manufacturers of both rigid and flexible packaging. Artificial Intelligence is already available in our injection molding machines and will be soon a feature integrated in our extrusion lines."
"Our focus on technology has helped us achieve 20% year-on-year growth. We are proud and happy of the fact that Windsor was the first in India to successfully implement APROL."
Changing from a one-layer blown film line to five, seven or nine layers is a complex process that affects every level of design, engineering and automation software. From the perspective of the machine builder, it is virtually an entirely new development.
"We have always wanted a modular solution that reduces the amount of software engineering required to implement a variety of machine sizes," says Bansod. "Using APROL, we were able to achieve the necessary amount of flexibility with minimal engineering effort," he confirmed.
Windsor has been using B&R solutions for machine automation for some time. The company's engineers are familiar with B&R' Automation Studio engineering environment as well as its hardware. APROL uses the same hardware that is used for machine automation, and the Automation Studio libraries used in APROL made it easier for developers to adapt to the new system.
The PLAST-CONTROL system is implemented in APROL, making it possible to make changes even when the machine is operational. APROL provides the customer with long-term data storage in an SQL database.
No system is complete without appropriate system diagnostics, alarm management and reporting features. System diagnostics is necessary in maintenance; alarm management is needed to provide warnings and alarms in case of faults and reporting is necessary for management to understand system performance.
"We're constantly on the lookout for ways to improve productivity while eliminating material waste," says Bansod. "The reports generated by APROL provide all the necessary data in Excel format, which makes it easily accessible for the customer. In addition, various levels of access control provide the authorisation we need for production and maintenance."
"We have been using B&R for all our machines and plants for over ten years and our long-term partnership has helped us penetrate markets in India and around the world," says Choudhary. "Industry 4.0 readiness is an increasingly common demand from our customers. We have been providing such machines and plants for the past five years capable of analytics, OEE reporting and cloud connectivity," he further emphasised.
"Our upcoming machines will reveal a strong focus on technology development, with over ten new technologies and solutions being planned every year. We are happy to say that B&R will continue to play a vital role in these developments," concludes Bansod.
"When it comes to automation, we place our trust in B&R technology and solutions for all our machines. B&R helps us keep pace with the cutting edge technology and stay ahead of our competition."