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The cleanest province of the world
Article taken from "Automazione Industriale", issue 109 - September 2003

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Article

Binacchi & Co. is one of the most important companies in the soap business that entrusts the automation of their refinement plants to Fae. Super-Flash, Automa's software for the development of HMI applications, was carefully selected in order to supervise the system.

By Elena Bertillo - Fae Technical Department

If everyday we can not only be fresh and clean but also put pure and clean clothes on, is thanks to few and qualified mechanical companies located in the province of Varese (Italy). In an earth stripe between Gazzada Schianno and Busto Arsizio was built the major part of soap manufacturing machines, which represents the 95% of the international market. The development of this small and important business was possible thanks to local companies' large experience in the mechanical sector. The machines used for soap manufacturing are similar to those used in plastic industries, material considered as the principal resource in the economy of the province.
The most important technologies for soap manufacturing have been developed in this place, including the production of raw materials. The earth stripe between Gazzada Schianno and Busto Arsizio has a total turnover superior to 50 million euros, and multinational customers such as Colgate, Palmolive, Procter&Gamble along with another high-profile companies.
Binacchi & Co. is one of the most important companies that is able to develop complete refinement lines. The basical paste soap is elaborated with raw materials, animal fat and/or vegetable oils to be later mixed with scents, colorants and additives in order to obtain the soap bars used daily.

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Main screen

Soap above everything
In a configuration basis, a refinement line is constituted by a dosage system used for raw materials to later allow them to pass through a blender for a predefined time. The result is unloaded into a refinement extruder where a first soap homogenization is effectuated along with the previously added additives. From the refinement extruder the product arrives through a conveyor belt to a second refinement machine: the lamination machine with three, four or five rollers according to the desired grade refinement. Then the material passes through a conveyor belt to a party-line procedure, compounded in a new and further refinement process to later be involved in the production of a rectangular soap bar model.
The soap bar enters into a shearing machine where the product is cut in various parts, depending on the final soap bar format.
At this point, the cut soap bars pass to a printer to become the final soap bars people uses everyday. The final session of each refinement line is dedicated to the packing procedure. The soap bars, usually, are packed in two paper coats or in boxes to be then loaded into big cardboard boxes in order to avoid damages when shipping them.

Automation does the cleaning
The automation of Binacchi & Co. plants is entrusted to Fae, a company that since 1996 is dedicated to the production of machine tools equipments and to plastic manufacturing. The products and services that the company offers are controlled in order to answer the always increasing customer requirements regarding automation. This company is considered as the ideal partner for those located in the earth stripe between Gassada Schianno and Busto Arsizio because of their high capacity to provide a complete service for the entire automation cycle, and because of their large espertise in plastic manufacturing.

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Trafila Duplex Screen

The refinement lines automation, as described above, is usually performed by a Siemens PLC that manages directly the communication with balances, blenders, refinement and lamination machines, and party-line procedures, through Profibus. Shearing, printer and packing machines, instead, are managed by two FAE PLC connected to the Siemens PLC through an analogical line.
The plant has also some operation panels installed on board. The Siemens PLC communicates, through MPI, with a PC where a supervision system developed with Automa's Super-Flash, has been already installed. Automa's Super-Flash was chosen thanks to its high reliability and flexibility to adapt to different situations, as well as for being easy to use for the development of applications, specially for those that do not have expertise in programming languages.
The supervision software manages the correct operation of the entire plant and permits to show the advanced operation status thanks to the presence of simple and effective screen shots. It also permits people to choose between seeing all machines simultaneously or just one at once. On the other hand, the supervision software manages alarm controls through the use of alarm recipes, and coordinates everything allowing all plant machines to work synchronically, a task not always easy to achieve because of the high number of machines present in a determined plant.
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