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Procon Engineering has installed a weighing and batching control system at MacDermid’s new 7500m2 factory in Birmingham, UK.

MacDermid makes specialty chemicals and processes for the metal and plastic finishing, electronics and graphic arts industries.

The Procon process-control system includes 12 bespoke control panels, weight indicators and specialist load-cell mounting assemblies fitted to 12 vertical mixing tanks.

The control panels are mounted on the floor above the tanks, which range in size from 4,000 to 10,000 litres.

Each panel also provides automatic temperature control for the tanks’ heaters, together with high and low-level controls and alarms.

Procon has extensive experience in designing and building customer-specific control panels for a range of industry sectors.

The new Birmingham facility, which employs more than 100 people, has enabled MacDermid to integrate four separate production areas onto one site.

It was essential that such a move was carried out with the minimum of disruption to production: the complete transfer of existing plant, equipment and stocks was carried out over an eight-week period.

During this time, the new Procon batching-control equipment was also installed.

The batching processes involve the blending of recipes made up from more than 600 raw materials, including acids and alkalis, to produce a similar number of finished products.

To ensure the highest quality and consistency of finished product, all raw materials are controlled within MacDermid’s strict formulation specifications.

Typical batches range from simple two-part blends up to more complex batches with upwards of 15 different ingredients, while batch times vary from approximately 30 minutes up to four hours.

The majority of ingredients are gravity fed into the mixing tanks from IBCs, together with pre-weighed hand-added ingredients.

Controlled quantities of hot and cold water and ammonia can be added to the tanks via fixed pipe work.

To facilitate cleaning and optimise batch turnaround times, each tank is dedicated to specific parts of the product range.

Finished products are dispensed into 25- and 200-litre drums as well as standard IBCs.

Procon has a long-standing working relationship over the past 20 years with MacDermid, and although it supplied new control panels and weighing instrumentation for the new plant, the existing Procon load-cell assemblies were removed, checked and refitted to the tanks transferred from the existing installations.

This is testimony to the durability and quality of the load cells, which were shown to be in perfect working order.

To meet the harsh working environment, the fully hermetically sealed stainless-steel shear-beam load cells feature a proprietary epoxy coating.

Procon Engineering

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