Acmon Systems’ tailor-made batch and cullet solutions have been implemented at glass plants owned by Vetropack, as well as a new container plant in Qatar. Antonis Melas* reports.

Batch house operations are fundamental to the success of container glass manufacturing, where precise batch compositions are essential for producing high-quality glass.

This article examines Acmon Systems technical expertise in designing, implementing, and maintaining tailor-made batch and cullet solutions, highlighting our contributions to plant efficiency and operational excellence.

Batch and cullet solutions
The batch house is a crucial part of a glass manufacturing site, since high quality glass requires a high quality batch, meaning an exact and reproducible batch composition assuring quality and consistency.

We design tailor-made plants according to our customers’ requirements, either from scratch (greenfield) or upon modernisations.

We take into consideration local conditions, such as raw materials availability and weather variety, and are fully compliant with all safety standards and machinery directives.

Therefore, we ensure an on-schedule realisation leading a smooth plant operation, based on downtime reduction (redundancy), low energy consumption and minimum labour cost, while creating a clean and safe environment.

Acmon Systems can also provide effective batch plant modernisation without affecting normal operation.

Additionally, we offer lifetime support, including technical assistance, spare parts, training, audits, preventing maintenance, etc.

Furthermore, our control systems provide full process control for the modern era of Industry 4.0, and are integrated with direct interaction with the entire plant.

Single source responsibility
The foundation of our solutions lies in process engineering expertise.

We conduct feasibility studies and develop engineering drawings, including general layout, plant layout, equipment details and structural and piping drawings.

This approach guarantees compliance with safety standards and machinery directives, providing customers with confidence in the reliability and performance of their batch plants.

(Above) Metallic scaffold and tunnels housing long belt conveyors

Process Engineering Expertise:

► Feasibility study

► Engineering & 3D design

► Process Flow Charts

► Drawings of installation area

► Equipment Specifications

► Process & ID Drawings

► Architectural drawings evaluation

► Electrical drawings

► Steel construction

► Safety rules regarding machinery operation

Efficient Implementation

-Specifying suitable equipment according to the technical specifications

-Development of software / process control systems

Project Management

The project is comprehensively managed to ensure timely delivery, facilitate installation, and streamline commissioning & start-up processes, all while offering training for the entire process flow within the scope.

Maintenance & Service Support

-Troubleshooting /Technical support through VPN remote access

-Cost effective maintenance modules for a trouble-free operation

High quality glass is always dependent on a high-quality Batch Plant

An efficient batch plant plays a crucial role in ensuring the supply of high-quality mixed raw materials, serving as the cornerstone for enhancing overall plant performance.

Raw materials handling: Handling raw materials includes unloading, storage, and delivery and is specifically designed to avoid contamination & minimize segregation.

Material intake: Raw materials can be received in different ways (by railroad car, bulk truck discharge, storage bays, big bags, bag splitter unloading units, receiving hoppers).

Storage and Conveying: Our solutions utilize storage silos of different capacities and conveying systems as vibrating feeders, bucket elevators, screw and belt conveyors, pneumatic conveying systems for transferring the raw materials.

Dosing and Weighing: We guarantee precise and consistent batch preparation, from the supply of key components and control systems to the entire batch plant and cullet return systems. Checking/weighing solutions are considered the heart of a batch plant (scales, loss-in-weight feeders, micro-ingredients dosing systems) and are designed to achieve the desired accuracy. Special solutions are also installed in several configurations/modes for micro-ingredients handling.

Additives Handling & Premix Tech

Besides major raw materials, minor ingredients (such as fluxing or fining agents / colorants or decolorizers) are also part of the glass batching process.

Premix typically refers to the mixing of minor materials and a major batch component.

Dosing and mixing accuracy for minor materials, as well as homogeneous distribution thereof within the batches, are considered crucial factors for the end product to meet quality standards. Micro-dosing in several configurations (linear, semi/circular, or circular), suitability for storage and recipe-controlled metering and weighing are also vital steps during the entire production process.

Acmon Systems Premix technology for better distribution of minor materials is mainly based on the usage of screw, vibrating or belt feeders, double dosing flaps, etc., depending on raw material properties, for efficient dosing / best accuracy, as well as usage of hopper scales for minor ingredients weighing.

Mixing: High efficiency mixers guarantee highest homogeneity within the shortest mixing times, providing the proper mixing of raw materials, as well as the refining of decoloring agents.

Cullet (internal & external) handling: For inbound cullet, via production points within the factory (hot gobs, inspection area) as well as for outbound cullet supplied from external sources.

Acmon Systems’ integrated cullet handling systems have to do with consist of:

  • in-line crushers & receiving hoppers
  • wear resistant belt conveyors for secure transportation to furnace
  • hot cullet scrapers

Automation is another key pillar of our vast expertise.

The core of our control systems is a powerful PLC with a SCADA system (pictured above and below), mainly based on Siemens operating environment (SIMATIC S7, WinCC TIA Portal), including several security interlocks and allowing process-based visualisation, web-based access, recipe management and production data analysis.

That said, we provide high-performance batching via vertical networking, horizontal integration throughout the end-product manufacturing, and virtualization along the entire supply chain.

In this context, we equip our customers with the proper tools to efficiently face the current era of Industry 4.0 (remote access and/or on-site interventions).

Acmon Systems provides full process control and new software or upgrades the existing one, even for high-redundancy systems (if a higher level of operational security is required).

Success stories

Acmon Systems Delivers Batch House Renovation Project for Vetropack Group

Vetropack Group, (one of the largest, most well-known European glass container manufacturers), has chosen Acmon Systems as their trusted Manufacturing solution partner for the renovation of the batch house.

This project marks the first step in upgrading a flint glass production line at Vetropack's Straža glass factory in Croatia, which is expected to be in full operation by November 2024.

The turn-key project involves a complex and challenging upgrade plan.

Acmon Systems will provide new conveying, weighing, and micro dosing equipment, as well as completely new electrical equipment and a process control system.

The control system includes built-in redundancy functionality to ensure uninterrupted raw material flow to the furnaces, even in the event of individual component failure.

It will be seamlessly interconnected with Vetropack's existing Siemens PCS 7 central distributed control system (DCS).

The entire installation is designed to be fully dustproof and built to the highest quality, performance, and safety standards.

Acmon Group's extensive experience in bulk material handling, combined with their expertise in engineering, automation, and process control, ensures a comprehensive and robust material handling solution for the line upgrade.

Acmon Systems' collaboration with Vetropack Group on this batch house renovation project highlights their ability to deliver complex turn-key solutions.

With a focus on quality, performance, and safety, Acmon Systems provides the expertise needed to successfully upgrade the glass production line, meeting Vetropack's requirements and driving their manufacturing capabilities to new heights.

Gulf Glass Factory (GGF) in Qatar has commissioned a new batch plant from Acmon Systems on behalf of the ‘green field’ ‘GIGAZ’ Project

This high-performance mixing Plant of a 440 tpd capacity ensures optimal batch & cullet distribution by supplying two (2) furnaces, whilst its commissioning has taken place within Doha new Industrial area.

The glass plant will have a total capacity of 220 ton/day of container glass on three production lines.

However, the plant is prepared for the future expansion with a second furnace with relevant lines to double the overall capacity.

The whole job, undertaken by Falorni Tech as EPC contractor, will become the first container glass factory in Qatar and we are proud to achieve this milestone as part of Falorni Tech team.

ACMON scope of supply consists of:

  • Batch house capacity study, building architectural layout, metallic building study/erection, equipment detailed engineering, project management, equipment supplies and delivery, erection supervision, commissioning & start up, personnel training.
  • Cullet return system, (internal & external).
  • Batch & cullet weighing & transportation system to furnaces.

Project key factors

  • Silos storage capacity (during 1st step with one furnace in operation) has been foreseen to be more than 8 days, whilst this will set at least at 4 days up, secondary (with both furnaces in operation).
  • Silos volumes vary from 355 m3 up to 10m3 (for minor ingredients) and 1 m3 (regarding small additives), plus 90m3 for cullet.
  • Mixers (by TEKA): 2 units of 2.250 lt each, for running different colours.
  • Controller (SIEMENS) is fully designed “in-house” by ACMON upon a fully automatic mode, meaning minimum maintenance needs.

Scope of delivery includes, therefore: detailed engineering of the process equipment and the steel structure (building) and commissioning -start up and training of the personnel.

*Head of global glassworks, Acmon Systems, Viotia, Greece

www.acmon.eu and www.acmongroup.com