Chinaplas 2015: Energy and output enhancements in oriented film lines

Suppliers of biaxially oriented film lines have had three to four good years of solid sales, particularly in China, and resulting overcapacity in the market will likely see a lull in investment in BOPP lines for commodity applications through until the end of 2016 or even early 2017. For BOPET, meanwhile, the next investment cycle is not likely until mid-2017 according to Markus Gschwandtner, Sales Director at machinery supplier Brückner Maschinenbau.

Brückner's Gschwandtner: today oriented film lines are 40% more energy-efficient that those built 10 years ago.

"We are using this lull to develop new things," adds Gschwandtner. "For example, we've developed a software package that incorporates a preventative maintenance function. This will allow processors to plan ahead and carry out maintenance coinciding with scheduled shutdowns for filter changes." he explains. The package monitors parameters such as bearing vibration and bearing temperature.

In the speed stakes, Brückner previously exhibited a high-speed BOPP line employing a new chain track system that realized an unprecedented speed of 1088 meters/minute at the K Show in 2013 and based on this technology, Gschwandtner says that the company will roll out a production version with line speed of 600 meters/minute in the near future. "Not every BOPP resin grade can be processed at 600-650 meters/second," note Gschwandtner. We have worked closely with several resin suppliers to ensure grades are compatible for high-speed lines."

Energy conservation is another theme high on the agenda at Brückner. "Our latest lines consume 40% less power than those delivered 10-12 years ago," says Gschwandtner. "We've shifted from cascade extruders to twin-screw extruders, which is better or PET resin as you do not need a separate drier," says Gschwandtner. "This alone contributes to a 10% energy saving." Other developments that have contributed to energy conservation, include fewer gearboxes, which also contributes to reduced maintenance costs, and a cooling system that uses tower water wherever possible, automatically switching to chilled water (10-12°C) only when it is necessary, such as on hot days. "With these efforts, we have achieved 80% of the energy savings possible over the past ten years," says Gschwandtner.  "It may take us 10 more years to achieve the remaining 20%."

In other efficiency enhancements, Brückner has introduced a system to directly recovery process scrap and introduce it back into the system without the need to first pass the material through a recycling machine. "Raw material costs account for 65-70% of overall costs," notes Brückner.

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