TWWomer & Associates (Edinburg, PA) has developed an innovative plastics micro extruder for 3D printing, laboratory use and academic/research programs. Tim Womer, President, has a mechanical engineering degree from Youngstown State University and has spent his career in the field of plastics specializing in the design of industrial-sized extrusion screws, for which he holds multiple patents.
His most recent innovation, the patent pending TWW Micro Extruder, is for additive manufacturing. Womer has been working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Cincinnati Inc. for the past four years in the area of optimized screw technology and the TWW Ultra Lite extruders for additive manufacturing applications.
The TWW Micro Extruder weighs approximately 15 pounds and can process standard-size or micro pellets using a standard 120-V/15-A power source. The unit can be used as a laboratory test stand or mounted on a gantry for 3D printing. The throughput rate can reach as high as approximately 20 pounds per hour for a variety of resins, including carbon-fiber-filled ABS and PLA.
To reduce the size and weight of the new micro extruder without sacrificing mixing and extrusion speeds for these highly technical applications, “the unit is the first such machine to use a single vertical conical screw to feed and process standard-size plastic pellets. Current extruders for 3D printing of similar size are slow, inefficient and only work with micro plastic pellets,” said Womer.
The new TWW Micro Extruder uses a conical screw design with a helical compressed channel to generate pressurized heat. The unit feeds, compresses, melts and mixes standard-size plastic pellets more quickly and optimally, as the material passes from the input end toward the output end of the extruder’s uniquely designed internal channel.
Immediate uses for the extruder include 3D printing, manufacturing research to develop new materials and processing techniques, laboratory testing, STEM training and more. Commercial units have already been shipped and orders are being taken. More information about the new TWW Micro Extruder can be obtained by visiting R&B Plastics Machinery’s booth W 1891 at the upcoming NPE2018.