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According to Piab, a Swedish specialist in gripping, lifting and handling solutions with its German headquarters in Butzbach in Hesse, the path to higher productivity in manufacturing leads exclusively through broader use of automation. Thus, solutions for vacuum conveying of powders, granulates and small particles should be as easy to adapt, efficient and sustainable as possible. With the new piFLOW Batch Volume Optimisation (BVO) product series in addition to the existing range of piFLOW vacuum conveyors, Piab will in future ensure that the conveyor is filled evenly and optimally, thus contributing to the further development of workplaces in manufacturing.

Re-evaluating processes for food, pharmaceuticals and chemicals

The degree of automation is advancing noticeably due to the adaptation of new solutions in almost all industries, including the markets for food, pharmaceuticals and chemicals. The catalyst for this development is the increasing acceptance thanks to the obvious benefits of automation, such as improved product hygiene or the safety gain for employees. Added to this are increased consumer expectations and legal regulations that are forcing more and more manufacturers to re-evaluate their processes. But despite all these factors, there are still reasons that discourage appropriate investment.

As user-friendly as possible

For example, manufacturing plants currently often still consist of separate islands of automation in which process steps are difficult to link together. Another obstacle is the fundamental aversion of some companies to new technologies, as they believe that these require specially trained personnel and skilled workers who are increasingly difficult to acquire on the labour market. To refute this argument, newly introduced devices should be as user-friendly as possible in order to shorten staff training time and reduce the possibility of human error.

Measures for acceptance

In developing the new piFLOW Batch Volume Optimisation product series, Piab has fully considered the acceptance requirements just mentioned. According to Piab, the fill level optimisation (BVO) complies with industry standards and it is designed not only to be easy to maintain, but also to dramatically increase productivity. Specifically, the conveyor picks up products at a feed point and delivers them in batches to a receiving bin or machine. The BVO has a level sensor that automatically triggers discharge once the conveyor is full. The conveyor is also quick and easy to set up and offers additional protection against unplanned maintenance thanks to automated level detection.

"Even robust industrial equipment is used by people - we can't expect automation techniques to be accepted if they are difficult to understand. This works in the same way as when we introduce new mobile technologies or other personal devices. If we manage to make how it works accessible, it will be easy for users to adapt," explains Laura Katinaite, Head of Product Management for Vacuum Conveying Piab's strategy. She goes on to say: "Piab is a true pioneer of user-friendly solutions. We are a Swedish company with a long experience in developing industrial processes - it is in our DNA. We are convinced that this new product series will be easy to use for companies planning to switch from manual handling or mechanical conveying. With the use of vacuum conveying, users will experience that handling powder is easy."