The chemical process industry doesn’t think in years, but in decades. Existing systems are continually modernized to keep them state-of-the-art. Take Swiss company Claviag AG, for example: The construction chemicals plant for the dry mortar industry opened its doors in 1968 and has now renewed its pneumatic control technology with hundreds of AV03 series valves.
In 1968, the newly opened chemical plant in Moosleerau in the Swiss canton of Aargau started a minor revolution. Up to that point, tiles were always placed in a mortar bed, a very laborintensive process requiring highly skilled workers. That year, Claviag AG began producing the first redispersable polymer powder, branded ELOTEX®, to date an important component in tile adhesive, among other products. Over the years, they added further dispersion powders to their product range, and Claviag AV now manufacturers thirty different powders for the dry mortar industry.
In the past almost fifty years, Claviag AG has not only improved its formula and process reliability in manufacturing its products, but the company has also continually replaced its technical equipment, keeping its plant state-of-the-art. In the early 90s, Claviag AG switched to Bosch valve systems for its pneumatic control technology, which back then were already electrically operated by PROFIBUS. The valves actuate numerous metering units as well as other actuators in the branched system. After over 25 years in use, spare parts were no longer available. This is why Claviag AG decided to modernize its pneumatic control system and take advantage of the latest technology. The decision was quickly made in favor of the AV03 valve series from AVENTICS – the successor company for Bosch and Bosch Rexroth pneumatics activities established in 2013.
Since several hundred of these valves had to be installed in the plant’s basement, a compact design and simple assembly were a must. The slider’s diagonal arrangement inside the valve allowed engineers at AVENTICS to reduce the valve to the size of a business card.
Conversion itself was complicated enough: More than two hundred air tubes had to be allocated correctly and combined with the corresponding electric control signals. In Laatzen, AVENTICS pre-assembled the valves on aluminum plates according to Claviag’s specifications and then sent the ready-to-install modules to Switzerland. There, AVENTICS specialists provided assistance during conversion.
The AES valve electronics make this task especially easy. While the electronics of the old Bosch valve systems only had space for a maximum of twelve valves, the AES hardware controls up to 64 valves with two coils. This reduces the hardware requirements for electronics by more than 80 percent; AES supports not only PROFIBUS DP but also the PROFINET IO, EtherCAT, DeviceNet, CANopen, EtherNET/IP, POWERLINK, and IO-Link protocols. For the forward-thinking plant planners at Claviag AG, the AV valves offer another crucial advantage: they reliably achieve up to 75 million switching cycles. This means the Swiss engineers can focus on other topics for many, many years. The robust AVENTICS pneumatics won’t be giving them any trouble for the foreseeable future.