Wide variety of technologies between digitisation and sustainability for the Piovan Group

Piovan Group is a world leader in the design and production of systems for the automation of construction processes for the storage, transport and processing of polymers, plastic powders and foodstuffs, and is always at the forefront of the search for highly efficient integrated eco-sustainable solutions that optimise the use of raw materials and energy resources and are designed for Industry 4.0, with the aim of supporting its customers from the design phase to the installation and commissioning of the plant.

Technology outlook for the plastics market
Speaking to Felice Meliti (photo above), Chief Commercial Officer of the Piovan Group, about the company's forthcoming participation in Plast 2023 and the innovations to be seen at the show, starting with a question about the technology on which the group is currently focusing: "In line with our objective of sustainable growth, while respecting the environmental values of social justice and governance", Meliti began, "we are focusing on patented technologies that support the entire supply chain involved in the process of recycling and processing post-consumer plastics, with the aim of accelerating the transition to a more circular model". In fact, the Piovan Group holds 279 patents, 14 of which are related to the circular economy. In practical terms, therefore, all this translates into the Group's commitment to providing its stakeholders with high performance and design solutions capable of guaranteeing the highest quality standards while minimising energy consumption".

A green approach
Looking at the technologies on which the Group focuses, in particular for the application of the paradigm described by Meliti, these are:
- granulators, shredders, dust collectors and other waste recovery systems;
- storage solutions for raw materials in granular, flaky or powder form;
- crystallisers to convert materials from the amorphous to the crystalline state;
- intelligent dryers to ensure overall process stability;
- fume condensers to condense VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in the process air stream;
- patented activated carbon filters to remove VOCs;
- gravimetric metering units to prepare different resin blends;
- in-line moisture analyzers to measure moisture levels in real time;
- analysis tools to detect NIAS (Non-Intentionally Added Substances);
- monitoring software to track production batches and archive data.

Sustainability is therefore a theme that permeates the Piovan Group's technological development, offering a tangible contribution to the management of the current environmental crisis. On this point, Meliti continues: "Our solutions make the process of post-consumer plastic recycling and the processing of recycled plastic more efficient and effective, both in terms of energy and water consumption, to obtain a finished product similar to that made from virgin plastic. For example, aware that the vapour condenser is often overlooked due to its high energy and cooling water consumption, in 2022 the Piovan Group presented Condenso, a vapour condenser that minimises energy consumption.

A constantly evolving offer 
Condenso uses a series of innovative solutions aimed at reducing consumption and emissions as much as possible, thanks in particular to:
- a heat exchanger that transfers energy from the incoming hot air to the outgoing air, thus reducing the thermal gap with the dehumidifier and lowering both cooling and heating costs;
- the use of high heat exchange coils throughout the cooling system, which can further cool the air with minimal water and energy consumption.

More generally, in 2022 alone, Piovan has launched four other technological innovations dedicated to recycled plastics; these are:
- SoftBoost, Piovan's patented air channelling system; specifically designed for regenerated PET, it reduces the thermal stress of the resin and improves the energy efficiency of the process;
- Vulkano, a portable instrument that measures the presence of TOC released by the recycled plastic in the process air; it allows to maximise the life of the filters and to verify their effectiveness at any time;
- Easypure with Odor Minder technology, a post-consumer plastic deodorisation system with intelligent integration of an 'electronic nose' that monitors the effectiveness of the odour removal process and maximises energy efficiency.

At Plast with a range focused on sustainability
Commenting on the presence at the exhibition of a wide range of Piovan technological solutions, Meliti concludes: "As far as dedusting systems are concerned, at the fair we will exhibit DeDuster, designed and manufactured by Pelletron, which joined the Piovan Group in January 2022. For feeding and conveying systems, there is Easylink+, an automatic sorting unit capable of handling up to 60 inlets/outlets with duct sizes from 40 to 76 mm and a minimal footprint. Among the storage solutions, special attention is paid to the material traceability system for error-free raw material management: using the Winfactory 4.0 monitoring software and a QR code reader, the operator can easily identify, by means of automatic indicators and locks, which silos need to be filled according to the material to be loaded.

Vertical solutions for all production needs
Plast is the occasion to present a series of vertical technologies able to meet the most varied market requirements. 

For dehumidification, the aforementioned Condenso, Odor Minder and Modula, a multi-bin system that automatically adjusts and controls all the operating parameters for each bin, using only the total amount of energy strictly necessary.

As far as dosage systems are concerned, Quantum Q7 is a high-precision gravimetric doser that, thanks to its hemispherical shape and special shaft design, guarantees perfect mixing without any stagnation of the components. Meanwhile, with the Moisture Minder, Piovan will present its solution for real-time on-line moisture measurement in plastic granules.

For temperature control, the Easytherm range includes atmospheric or pressurised water and oil systems.

In the field of industrial refrigeration, visitors will be able to see the Aryacool+ adiabatic dry cooler and the DigitempEvo water-cooled thermorefrigerator. 

Last but not least, digitalisation will be on the agenda to experience the potential of the Winfactory 4.0 supervision software and to discover the Piovan Group's solutions for blown film production thanks to Virtual Reality.