New system combines benefits of physical, chemical polymer foaming at industrial scale

ProTec Polymer Processing GmbH (Bensheim, Germany) introduced its Somos Perfoamer physical plastics foaming system at Fakuma in Friedrichshafen, Germany, last week. The system comprises a conditioning and an impregnating unit, where the pellets are processed before being fed to the injection molding machine. The Perfoamer lets plastics processors reap the benefits of the Plastinum Foam Injection Molding process, jointly developed by Linde and Kunstoff-Institut Lüdenscheid, at an industrial scale, said Hans Schnell, Senior Technical Expert, Projects and Processing.

Hans Schnell, ProTec Polymer Processing, at Fakuma 2018
Hans Schnell, Senior Technical Expert, Projects and Processing, at ProTec Polymer Processing showed the company's new polymer foaming system at Fakuma 2018.

The polymer pellets are dried and maintained at the optimal processing temperature in the conditioning unit before being impregnated with CO2 in the adjoining autoclave. An Industry 4.0–compatible PLC ensures consistent process quality. The CO2-doped pellets are stored in a 250-liter tank awaiting output to the injection molder. The Perfoamer system is compatible with almost all injection molding machines.

The underlying Plastinum Foam Injection Molding technology was developed to combine the benefits of chemical and physical foaming. Installation is simple, requiring few to no modifications of the injection molding equipment, and it costs up to 60% less than conventional physical foaming systems, according to Linde.

Most polymers, including bio-based and engineering-grade materials, sheer-sensitive thermoplastics and composites, can be processed by the Somos Perfoamer system. Foaming allows weight reductions of up to 60%, depending on the material, according to ProTec. Also, the CO2 content reduces the polymer’s viscosity, thus improving melt flow and accelerating production, adds the company.

ProTec Polymer Processing supplies material handling, treatment and recycling technologies as well as LFT pultrusion lines to plastics processing companies.

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