Plans are afoot to set up a large plastic lumber extrusion facility in Malaysia. Processor Winners Spectrum Sdn. Bhd. plans to install upwards of 10 profile lines, each with an average capacity of 500 kg/h, over the next two years at its site in Klang. They will produce composite profiles based on rice husk and recycled high-density polyethylene or pvc.
pvc-based lumber in particular boasts mechanical properties superior to most soft woods with a 60% rice-husk loading, says Winners Spectrum technical director Richard Lee. It developed a technology for inline compounding of rice husk where a compatibilizer is used to enable uniform dispersion up to loadings of 90%. A heater-cooler mixer from Chyau Long, Taichung, Taiwan, is used for mixing, pre-heating, and pre-plastication prior to compounding.
Winners Spectrum is currently negotiating with equipment suppliers to provide profile extrusion lines for the project. It is considering procurement from multiple sources, as well as the option of designing its own equipment, sourcing screws, barrels and drives, and outsourcing production to local supplier HMG Refec Extrusions, a machinery joint venture of HMG Extrusions, Vienna, Austria, and Refec Extrusions Sdn Bhd, in Kuala Lumpur.
HMG Refec Extrusions, meanwhile, says business is booming for its cost-effective compounding systems that employ key components sourced from European suppliers. Set up in August 2002, HMG Refec Extrusions says it will manufacture 30 single-screw extruders this year for processors in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The company forecasts 25% growth in 2004.
“Our machines are 20% cheaper than equivalent European compounding machinery, but incorporate top-line components such as Henschel gearboxes and Extruserve screws and barrels,” commented Michael Schmidgunst, general manager, in an interview at the recent M-Plas show in Kuala Lumpur. HMG Refec Extrusions currently has one 200-kg/h line installed at Winners Spectrum for process-development work with rice husks.