Labotek produces centralised materials supply systems for the plastics industry. These supply systems allow granulates and additives to be transported from silos via dryers to extruders, injection moulding machines and blow moulding machines distributed throughout a production site. Labotek has been supplied by Busch with its Mink claw vacuum pumps, as according to the management this ensures the highest levels of reliability and efficiency.
Labotek was founded in Denmark in 1943. Initially the company manufactured and marketed laboratory apparatus, but in the 1960s started to produce peripheral equipment for the plastics processing industry. The company’s core business is now the design, production and installation of centralised materials supply systems. These systems are capable of transporting several tons of material per hour over hundreds of metres to processing machines. The Labotek engineering and production departments are located at Fresderikssund in Denmark, with other project teams working at Labotek subsidiaries in Germany (Wuppertal) and Sweden (Skurup). In addition, Labotek has a network of representatives in more than 50 countries worldwide.
Most of the plant units – dryers, filters, separators, coupling stations and vessels – are manufactured in-house. The pipelines are offered in a diverse range of materials, from aluminium to stainless steel and glass, although most systems are fitted with stainless steel pipework. Labotek configures the control system specifically to match application requirements. The controller used is “Labo-Net”, an easy-to-use system developed by Labotek which features a 12“ touchscreen and a self-explanatory user interface. Labotek is thus a worldwide provider of turn-key materials supply systems.
The vacuum supply components are ordered directly from Busch. The vacuum supply serves to create a low pressure in the suction line, causing an air current to move which transports material along the pipe. In order to offer its customers the most reliable and efficient vacuum supplies, Labotek opted for Busch Mink claw vacuum pumps.
Busch says that the mink claw vacuum pumps require no oil for compression, so the extracted air does not make contact with oil or other operating fluids. This is due to the contact-free operating principle, which has a further advantage: internal components are not subject to wear. For the operators of Mink claw vacuum pumps this means almost maintenance-free vacuum supplies, as the only servicing recommended by Busch is a gearbox oil change every 20,000 operating hours. Other service tasks essential for oil-lubricated vacuum pumps, such as the replacement of oil, filters and worn components, are not required.
Efficiency is an important consideration: Labotek designs its materials supply systems to operate with maximum economy. The Mink claw vacuum pumps fitted to Labotek systems are the most energy-efficient units available – their power consumption is lower than any other vacuum pump on the market. A frequency control option is available, allowing the vacuum output to be matched to demand to achieve even greater energy savings.
An additional advantage offered by Mink claw vacuum pumps is the wide range of sizes available (40-1150 m³/h), allowing an exact match to the demands of individual centralised supply systems. Several pumps can be combined easily, so if the supply system is expanded at a later date the number of vacuum units can be increased as necessary. In large systems with several Mink vacuum pumps, a controller ensures that only the units required to meet the current demand are in operation. The vacuum pumps can be operated in circuits connected by shut-off valves, so in the event of a vacuum pump failure no loss of production occurs.