A Portrait of the FDM GmbH

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Posted in: , on 23. Dec. 2008 - 18:06

A Portrait of the FDM GmbH

(Feeding, Dosing, Mixing)

In the plastics processing industry a smooth materials feeding is – apart from the quality of the materials – one of the most important conditions for a high-quality product and a trouble-free production process. Therefore, the manufacturers entirely count on material handling systems guaranteeing a continuous feed of their processing lines with any kind of polymer granulates, regrind material and additives made by FDM GmbH, highly-experienced expert from Königswinter in North Rhine-Westphalia. The innovative company, founded in 2003 and today already counting 22 employees, offers combinations of feeding, mixing and dosing systems for all kinds of plastics as well its recycling materials, worldwide. FDM is particularly proud of its electronic control systems with the corresponding software, which is designed according to customer and project requirements. Furthermore, the company offers silos, dryers and PET-crystallizers and has already put into practice several PVC-projects with mixer batches successfully.

The entire FDM staff was formerly employed by ex Vollmar Anlagentechnik and therefore possesses not only a distinctive know-how of dosing and mixing techniques, but also the necessary expertise for the projecting and designing of complete feeding, weighing and storing systems. The team consists of eight project engineers and four software specialists. Within the last five years more than 100 gravimetrical dosing systems and over 30 kilometres of feeding lines with their respective control systems prove the confidence of the customers in the experienced “newcomer”.

Projects from one source

Company founder and General Manager Hartmut Vollmar and General Manager Guido Faust can look back on several very successful projects for which the FDM was held fully responsible for the materials handling systems. The company from Königswinter was in full charge of the planning of the line configuration, the software development and also the successful “turn key” installation.

“For some 7-layer coextrusion lines for the production of barrier film for sausage wrapping we have newly designed and delivered the gravimetrical dosing system with a central conveying system” reports Vollmar about an exemplary order. In particular, the company boss continues, the FDM has made a name for the handling of difficult materials such as PET regind material. For the layout of a new line for the recycling of used PET bottles the FDM technicians supported the customer with word and deed at a very early planning stage. “We have installed pressure as well as suction conveying systems for the different production phases at the plant. For the control we chose the state of the art Siemens module S7, as communication module for the single line components we selected a Profibus.” However, the decisive aspect in this stage of the project was, according to Vollmar, the fact that the complete software was created, optimized and tested at the Königswinter premises

Complete systems and many details

For the manufacture of feeding, dosing and mixing systems the mechanical engineers use 70% of bought-in parts. The remaining 30% are own production. FDM’s core competence is the assembling of the parts, the fabrication of control systems and the development and programming of the respective software. Vollmar says “We are in a position to offer innovative conceptions and low-cost solutions even for complex problems”. This way not only good value volumetrical dosing solutions for inferior granulate throughputs or systems for the gravimetrical dosing of flowing bulk material, but also highly-complex dosing systems for up to 12 components are produced in Königswinter. Technical refinements such as servomotor drives with CAN or Profibus drive, digital readings recorders, automatic screw size recognition or screw shell retainers are a matter of course. Also the fact that the suction, pressure and vacuum feeding systems developed in Königswinter (with throughput capacities of 1 – 20,000 kg/h) are fully automatic. Containers with or without exchangeable filter, modular designs of the housings and a quick-lock system for the easy cleaning are some of the details that guarantee a trouble-free process.

Control makes the difference

For the customer the result is not only a constantly homogenous mixture of the different material components, or better mechanical and optical characteristics of the finished product. Especially the FDM know-how in the process control comes in useful. The automatic interaction of conveying systems on one side and the dosing and mixing systems on the other side result in the necessary reliability. In addition, the possibility to document and store recipes as well as control and record all production parameters within common data bank systems mean total control. Main features are throughput-, film thickness profile- and complete extruder control. “By means of this wide range of products we offer our customers a good mixture in two respects. They can be sure that their systems will produce good and reproducible quality in permanent operation for many years” summarizes Vollmar.

Customer and product service

The description of the product range of the expert for feeding, dosing and mixing techniques would not be complete without the after-sales-service the company is offering for its customers. 24-hour-service is FDM’s highest commandment. Remote maintenance as well as troubleshooting and elimination on the spot are done ad hoc. This service is rendered by the FDM technicians to manufacturers working with third-party products as well as for lines into service for more than 25 years. Furthermore, new business partners are permanently taken care of after the conclusion of the sale. The service and sales team of FDM is in permanent contact with the customers in order to further develop production lines with regard to new product and market requirements.

Successful on the PET recycling market

The PET crystallizers offered by FDM belong to the series of “little helpers”. The devices designed as solid bed crystallizers transfer PET material from the amorphous to the crystalline state, in a smooth and energy-saving way, thus facilitating the material handling as the agglomerating of the material during the drying process is prevented. The crystallizers can be used for granulates, bottle scrap and film regrind material. FDM has climbed into the league of worldwide leading suppliers on the PET recycling market. The company has carried out more than 20 crystallization projects with throughputs between 50 and 2.500 kg/h.

International prospects

Several renowned international manufacturers in the plastics industry rank among FDM customers. About 50% of the production goes abroad, to Poland, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Great Britain, Croatia and the Benelux States, also Asia, Australia, South America and several countries of the Middle East. The company leaders see new markets particularly in Eastern Europe. As soon as the global extension of the sales network has been concluded, new markets will soon open. Because also for the diversification of the clientele counts: It all depends on the right mixture!

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Fig 1: FDM Managing Directors Hartmut Vollmar (left) and Guido Faust

Bild 2: Throughput control and gravimetric blending systems GDS 11

Bild 3: “Simatic S7“ Control by Siemens

Bild 4: FDM Crystallization and Cooling Unit (4.500 l) for PET-Granules

Fig 5: A lively swarm of international visitors at the FDM open house in Königswinter during K 2007


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