Wood-plastic composite (WPC) profiles are gaining greater acceptance as building materials, and battenfeld-cincinnati (Vienna, Austria) showcased its latest developments in the WPC sector through presentations, exhibits and the demonstration of a WPC line at its technical lab in Austria. A “Simply Housing” model house from TechWood International UK was exhibited and an H-profile, which is used as a connecting element in the house construction, was extruded at the Applied Market Information Ltd.’s WPC conference in Vienna, Austria.
An innovator in WPC extrusion technology, battenfeld-cincinnati specializes in the design of custom extrusion equipment to meet the special requirements of wood-plastic composites. The company presented its latest machine in the fiberEX series, the fiberEX 93. This parallel twin-screw extruder with a 34D processing length and maximum output of 420 kg/h is equipped with an optimized degassing system. The specially adapted geometry of the gas outlet valve and the screw prevents leakage of melt particles from the processing chamber and ensures high degassing performance with easy access to the degassing aperture during operation.
The complete line was demonstrated in cooperation with system partners for tooling (Beologic, Belgium), material conveyance (EMDE, Germany) and the gravimetric dosing system (ConPro, Germany). The 160 x 30 mm H profile that was manufactured at the event is made from a compound consisting of 72% wood fibers and 28% polypropylene (PP) with additives, said battenfeld-cincinnati’s information.
The material is processed as an agglomerate that is produced in a heating/cooling-mixer system. This solution constitutes a particularly cost-efficient compounding alternative, said the company, since the agglomerate is fed into the extruder simply by using the material’s hydrostatic pressure. A special advantage of the compound used in this application is its high wood content, which ensures a pleasant, well-balanced indoor climate in its final application for houses in different regions. The combination of PP, which is based exclusively on hydrocarbons, and high wood content means that the WPC profiles fall under the Waste Wood Ordinance and can be thermally disposed. If the WPC profiles are used to build hospitals, antibacterial additives can be blended into the agglomerate to minimize bacterial growth, said battenfeld-cincinnati.
“That we have addressed a highly topical issue with our line demonstration has been confirmed not only by the participants of the AMI conference, but also by the fact that both customers and investors have shown very lively interest after the conference,” said Sonja Kahr, WPC Product Manager.
A house made from these WPC profiles can be built for a starting price of about €200 per square meter and is, therefore, very cost-efficient, said battenfeld-cincinnati. Units of about 60 m 2 can be produced in less than one day using this extrusion line. Thanks to an easy-click system, assembly is simple and does not require expert personnel. The profiles are suited for use in temporary housing or hospitals in crisis areas, thus providing answers to many geopolitical issues.
The battenfeld-cincinnati group has production facilities in Germany, Austria, China and the United States, and manufactures energy-efficient, high-performance extruders and complete extrusion lines.