Temperature control and stability are critical to manufacturing processes because they have a direct effect on cycle times and output. This effects product quality, consistency and wastage, as well as having a significant effect on energy consumption and production costs.
Often in manufacturing multiple different products are made on the production lines. Therefore different target temperatures for the process are required depending on the product being made and raw materials being used. As manufacturing is all about product consistency and process repeatability, controlling and maintaining process temperature within the various stages of the manufacturing process is vital.
Ultimately, correct temperatures help ensure product stability and surface finish. This helps lower wastage and customer return costs. It also helps prevent tangible damage to the reputation of the manufacturer through the release of sub-standard product.
Temperature control units
The most efficient way to control temperature is to install a packaged temperature control unit (TCU). Or mould heaters as they are known in the plastics industry. By packaged, we mean everything you need to control the temperature – a heater bank, pump, valves, actuator & controller etc – is all contained within the unit. Many temperature control systems consist of bespoke equipment that connect to the machinery. This can be effective but creates more scope for reliability issues and failures because they may not have been fully tried and tested before installation. The ICS Cool Energy range of fully packaged chillers and TCUs are based on tried and tested processes. They are therefore much more reliable, easier to maintain and take up less room due to their powerful outputs and economical size.
Functions of a TCU
A TCU has 3 main functions – to heat, to cool and to control. It can work alongside a chiller to provide enhanced cooling power and at elevated temperatures provide accurate temperature control with minimum temperature deviation. It does so by regulating the heating elements contained within TCU to deliver vastly improved levels of temperature control. This control, teamed with the greater cooling capacity provided by the chiller (the higher the kW, the faster the heat up time from ambient to target temperature), results in reduced cycle times/quicker manufacture times. This in return results in lower energy costs and increased profit.
The TCU is therefore a very beneficial piece of temperature control equipment and an excellent investment. It has the ability to both heat and cool at the same time and is ideal for warming up equipment, tools and moulds to desired temperatures. Then keep them operating at optimum performance temperatures. The TCU can provide accurate process temperatures for each stage of your manufacturing process. Ideal if there are multiple stages to your production.
The ICS Cool Energy range of TCUs come with C8 basic and advanced controllers to set accurate temperatures and provide easy analysis of production data. This allows you to ensure your system is reaching the correct temperatures when your process requires them. Helping you to maintain product consistency and repeatability whilst lowering energy consumption and wastage. The controller also monitors the flow rate of the water (or oil) and sounds an alarm should the flow rate suddenly reduce to below the minimum level required. Additionally, our products can come with remote monitoring software to report on your temperature control performance and help improve your operational efficiencies.
There are many different ways to heat, cool and manage processes. The great thing about a TCU is that is has the capability to do all 3 in one easy to use unit and has enhanced cooling capabilities when connected to a chiller too. The TCU can connect to your systems and software programmes and through analysis can help you improve temperature control in your manufacturing processes.