Manufacturing Automation – Polyurethane Metering
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Race Track or Turn Table

 Selecting the Best Solution

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Recently I had a customer request a quote for a Turntable style foam line. The request was fairly detailed and outlined a thirty two station turntable capable of generating a part every nine seconds, and accommodating the need for both open and closed mold pours via a robotic controlled mix-head with foam being produced via a four component metering system.

[spacer height=”15″] I am the “new guy” at Konal Engineering and Equipment and this quote request was a great opportunity for me to once again see firsthand how Konal Engineering strives to provide our customers with solutions tailored to fit their specific needs. As our engineering team reviewed the specifics of the request it became very clear that customer’s needs might be better served with a racetrack style system instead of a turntable. Now I’m not so new that I don’t understand the fundamental differences between a turntable and racetrack system, however in this case there were several key factors that came into play and prompted us to not only provide a quote for exactly what the customer requested but also put together a quote for a racetrack system option and detail the pros and cons of each system. The question was purposefully asked “what best fits our customer’s needs in this situation, a turntable or racetrack style system?”

[spacer height=”15″] The first factor was the size of the turntable…… forty-four feet! Yes, that’s one huge turntable with one massive footprint. Most industrial buildings have the supporting columns for the ceiling spaced at roughly forty feet apart. Needless to say that given the size of the turntable and the ergonomics and layout challenges including the utilities, workstations, location and resupply of consumables etc, it could pose some challenges in design and placement as well as a health and safety nightmare. Regardless, Konal’s engineering team sharpened their pencils and fired up their computers to develop a concept and design that fulfilled the spec’s of the customer. The kicker in the scenario was the request for a lab cell for test shots as well as the ability to change tools without the aid of a fork truck.

[spacer height=”15″] The last factor that prompted us to include the racetrack option was the request for costing on a second system. Now experience has taught me that in the automotive world things can change on a dime. The ability to be able to increase production as well as downsize in both a timely manner and cost effective is paramount!

[spacer height=”15″] Okay, everyone knows that a turntable system is basically like a merry-go-round and they have been in use since the 1920’s. Racetracks are a newer concept and one that Konal has been making strides in both speed and cost recently. We brag one of the fastest racetrack systems in use producing a part every 5.5 seconds. Along with the speed other benefits of this type of system include flexibility in layout of the racetrack. In the past Konal has successfully designed and installed oval, “L” and “T” shaped systems.

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A racetrack system is also modular. If production requirements increased Konal could manufacture additional modules as required to add to the system in a weekend and have our customer up and running again. The straight a-way’s allow more room for the addition of operators for cleaning, demold, mold release application, installation of a sub straight in the mold, as well as “cross functional technologies like automatic opener and closers and additional robots. Racetrack systems usually require fewer spare parts making repairs and PM’s easier and quicker to effect with shorter down time. Finally the adaptability in the variations of tool types is much simpler than with a turntable.

[spacer height=”15″] With the number of stations and the possibility of increased production we very strongly recommended the racetrack option to our customer and they were excited by the design and benefits.

[spacer height=”15″] Do you have questions about Konal racetrack or turntable foam systems! E-mail me or any of our sales team and we’d be happy to correspond with you and answer any questions you may have.

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