Blossom Design Ltd is a small family owned engineering company. Formed
in 1965 as a sub-contract machining facility for local industry and
employing only one person, it now sells its products throughout the
UK and exports into other European countries and America, employing
10 people and with sales of 650 kEur p.a. Over the last 10 years the
company has developed a range of specialised recycling machinery for
application in the recycling of timber, plastics, paper, wires and cables,
and other materials for a wide range of industrial sectors. Generally,
the company's shredders are used to convert bulky materials into a more
compact form appropriate for recycling and the specialist knowledge
and expertise possessed by the company enables it to tailor design the
control system for each machine to suit its particular application.
These recycling machines are marketed through a specialist sales office
(Granutech Saturn Systems Ltd) in Bolton, UK, of which the managing
director of Blossom Design has a share holding.
The control applied to these shredding machines currently is simple,
and consists of the use of various over limit switches and a Programmable
Logic Controller to slow or reverse the speed of feeder rams and shredding
rotor. The wide range of applications that these recycling machines
are applied to means that the control process is not optimal, prevents
the development of a universal shredding machine, requires each machine
to be set up and commissioned in the customers premises by the company
service engineer and often requires the company to develop new control
programs for various applications.
The objective of this application experiment was to apply microcontroller
technology so as:
- To develop an universal shredding machine based on the following
- To allow the selection of control algorithms by material type.
- To increase the number and range of sensors fitted to the recycling
machine, and to select the appropriate range of sensors depending
on the materials being processed.
- To apply more complex control algorithms to improve the productivity
of the machine.
- To provide features for the integration of the system into up and
down stream processing plant.
The cost of the AE was 47 kEur and its duration was 11 months. These
improvements will enable the company to improve their technological
position relative to competitive machinery and allow them to hold their
market share in the growth market place for environmental processing/recycling
machinery. This will result in additional sales, and an expected payback
period of 16 months for the application experiment costs. The return
on investment over a 4 year period will be 600%, or 390% when industrialisation
costs of 26 K Euro are included.