Battenfeld-cincinnati recently added a multifunctional thermoforming sheet line at its technical center in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany. Equipped with leading-edge machine components, the line can produce sheets and thin boards made from new or recycled materials, bioplastics or combo materials. “The new lab line will enable our customers to develop new types of sheets or optimize their existing products, something that is becoming increasingly important in the context of design for recycling,” said Chief Technical Officer Dr. Henning Stieglitz.
Core components of the lab line are high-speed extruder 75 T6.1, STARextruder 120-40 and the 1,400-mm-wide Multi-Touch roll stack. The extrusion line comprises the two main extruders and a 45-mm co-extruder, each with a multi-component dispensing unit; melt pump and screen changer; feed block for B, AB, BA or ABA layer structures; and Multi-Touch roll stack with winder. Depending on the configuration, the line can achieve a maximum output level of 1,900 kg/h for PP or PS and around 1,200 kg/h for PET, with line speeds up to 120 m/min.
When lab line tests are carried out, the relevant machine components are combined in line with the product specification. The high-speed extruder is used as the main unit when materials such as PS, PP or PLA are processed into sheets. The compact, energy-efficient processing machine has a 75-mm screw diameter and 40 D processing length. High-speed extruders ensure optimum melt characteristics and enable rapid product changeovers.
By contrast, the STARextruder is suited for producing PET sheets from new or recycled materials. The single-screw extruder with central planetary roll section gently processes the melt and achieves exceptional degassing and decontamination rates thanks to the large melt surface in the central section, according to battenfeld-cincinnati. “The STARextruder really comes into its own when processing recycled materials, as it reliably removes volatile components from the melt,” said Stieglitz.
The Multi-Touch roll stack ensures sheet quality regardless of the raw materials used. The special functional principle of this type of roll stack means that the top and bottom of the sheet or board can be cooled almost simultaneously to optimize transparency and flatness. At the same time, tolerances can be reduced by 50% to 75%.
Recyclability is a key issue facing the packaging industry, and monolayer products with a corresponding properties profile, alternative material combinations and bioplastics are among the options being considered in the context of design for recycling, according to battenfeld-cincinnati. “We are confident that the new lab line will not only demonstrate our machine expertise in this sector, but will also provide our customers with a special service, enabling them to work together with us to produce and test optimized sheets under production conditions,” said Stieglitz.