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K 2010 Preview: Extrusion & Auxiliaries

Time to prepare for the industry’s largest trade show, K 2010, which starts late next month in Düsseldorf, Germany. For the scoop on how to get there, where to stay, and more, visit our K Channel online at k.plasticstoday.com.

For the scoop on some of the new extrusion and auxiliary equipment that will debut at the show, read on. The following pages represent just a few of the developments but give you a flavor for what you can look forward to seeing there. Our next issue will be devoted to the show and the technology awaiting there, including all of the new materials and additives, even more injection molding and extrusion equipment, blowmolding and thermoforming lines, and much more.

Don’t like to wait? Subscribe to our K Advisor e-newsletter at plasticstoday.com/newsletters to get weekly updates. No matter what you do, be prepared to make the most of this once-every-three-year event. It remains the single most technology-intensive event in our industry.


Extrusion
Reifenhäuser Kiefel’s Evolution 
continues with new film lines

In 2009 Reifenhäuser acquired the film extrusion machinery business of Kiefel, and now the merged company has introduced its first codeveloped machine range, dubbed the Evolution. Although the official introduction of the new range is slated for K 2010, orders from customers already have been fielded, according to Kurt Freye, director of global sales at the company, who spoke during a pre-K 2010 press conference.

Bernd Reifenhäuser, responsible for strategy and one of three brothers who manage the company, said, “The goal from the start [of the Kiefel acquisition] was to combine the companies’ ranges to one modular machine, which we call the Evolution.” Such modularity makes for a flexible system, added Freye. “The lines and dies can handle many different polymers. The entire philosophy is to enable the customer to be flexible with what orders he can accept, at an attractive cost [for the blown film line].”

At its K show stand, the company intends to run one of the new Evolution lines in a nine-layer film configuration, said Bernd Schroeter, head of the technical department at Reifenhäuser Kiefel. Among new features is a revamped operator control system that is so user friendly, said Schroeter, “it’s like an iPhone.”

Officially labeled the RKE Evolution, the system’s centerpiece is its extruder/film blowing die combination. The new Evolution extruder is flexible enough to process polyolefins and barrier materials such as EVOH, PA, and PETG, and it is said to have a wide throughput range at very low melt temperatures. The rheological and thermal design of the die permits processors to consistently produce extremely thin film layers with highly accurate thickness ratios of the individual layers, according to the manufacturer.

The film cooling unit was redesigned and adapted for barrier film requirements so that, says the company, barrier films can be run at throughput rates that until now were only possible with polyolefins. The modular system of the Evolution WP winder means it can be configured for contact winding, center winding, or gap winding, and comes with a range of accessory modules that can be switched on and off as needed. Reifenhäuser, Stand 17C22

New twin-screw extruder boasts 25% higher output
PVC profile processors, take note: The K 2010 trade show will be the official market launch of a new range of parallel twin-screw extruders, said to offer throughput increases of 25% above current machines, while also offering an improvement in energy efficiency.

The new machines are the first joint product development of the new Construction Div. that was created by the merger of extruder manufacturers Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik and Cincinnati Extrusion.

The two formed battenfeld-cincinnati, with headquarters in both Bad Oeynhausen, Germany and in Vienna, Austria. For the K 2010 trade show, the company is presenting a model from this new, parallel twin-screw extruder series. Specially optimized mainly for PVC processing, company officials say it offers users a significant boost in output with a simultaneous increase in energy efficiency.

The new machines, with a 34 L:D processing length, are fitted with screws sized from 78-135 mm in diameter. The four models of this series, which still awaits its own brand name, cover an output range from 100-1000 kg/hr in PVC profile extrusion, an increase in output by about 25% over the models previously offered by both companies.

This boost in performance was realized with the use of a four-shaft drive and by lengthening the processing unit. This drive unit, which the officials say is currently the most powerful on offer in combination with an AC motor, yields a high torque and consequently a high output. The machine’s U configuration allows the drive block to be kept compact, so that the extruder requires no extra space in spite of its longer processing unit.

Thanks to the longer processing unit, a longer preheating zone helps ensure gentle material processing. As standard, the twin-screw extruders come with a metering device that is thermally separated from the filler, so that no additional water-cooling system is required. The screws are coated with molybdenum and the barrels are nitrided. A 19-inch touch-screen operating panel also is standard.

Walter Hader, who heads the manufacturer’s Infrastructure division, said that eventually this twin-screw PVC extruder also would be adapted for pipe extrusion. battenfeld-cincinnati, Stand 16B19

Intelligent web inspection enhances productivity
Turnkey Smash modular inspection systems from ISRA Surface Vision GmbH incorporate new intelligent tools to scan the surfaces of plastic web products quickly and effectively, providing the capability to detect various surface defects. Plastic film, foils, printed flexible packaging, labels, RFID cells, and even flexible solar cells and organic photovoltaics can be monitored using the systems.

One example of such an intelligent tool is an inline inspection system with an event capturing (EC) system that visually records any machine events that lead to production defects, and automatically sends warnings to the production team as well as carries out an automated analysis to identify the causes of defects. Web product manufacturers and converters can intervene quickly, which helps to prevent defects and to increase quality and productivity.

Another K highlight is the Smash sheet process integration tool for evaluating the quality of sheets. When manufacturing individual sheets from web products, once the sheets are covered with a protective film after being cut lengthwise or crosswise, they can oftentimes no longer be automatically inspected. With this tool, however, the quality of individual sheets can be evaluated before being cut to size. ISRA Surface Vision, Stand 10D26

Tenter frame lines highlight 
Brückner’s K 2010 booth
Three new high-speed stretching lines and their capabilities will be the talk of the Brückner Maschinenbau stand during the show. The company is picturing an 8.7m-wide biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) line, which was delivered to a customer in June. This unit is said to offer a 20% higher output than comparable units while churning out web at 525 m/min with a capacity of 47,000 tonnes/year. A second, even larger BOPP line (10.4m wide, 525 m/min, and 56,000 tonnes/year) is claimed to generate less scrap and edge trim. The company says that with such high-speed lines, the specific investment is reduced by each kilogram output by up to 30% if one compares a 4.2- or 6.7m-wide line with a new 10.4m-wide unit.

A third line featured in talks at the stand will be an 8.7m-wide unit with 525 m/min and capacity of 32,000 tonnes/year to produce BOPET. The units also feature the company’s Heat Recovery System to redirect waste heat back into the unit and thereby save power. It also features direct drives in components to avoid losses in the motors and belts. For the BOPET line, the company has selected a twin-screw extruder with degassing to eliminate costly predrying. Special profiling of the melt ensures that the required optical properties are attained and gentle film handing during orientation and winding avoids mechanical surface faults such as scratches that detract from technical web. Brückner Maschinenbau, Stand 3C73


Auxiliary equipment
Peripheral solutions proliferate at Wittmann’s K showing

Whether it’s temperature control, drying, conveying, blending, granulation, or inmold labeling, you’ll find a solution at the Wittmann stand at K.

The WFC 100 mold temperature control, for example, combines a water flow regulator and flow measuring gauge, and up to eight circuits can be controlled. The system can prevent blocked channels or bent hoses due to mold changes, while the flow range is 2-40 liters/min per circuit, the maximum operating temperature 100°C, and the maximum pressure 10 bar. Furthermore, a high measuring precision of 1.5% FS (full scale) limits the maximum deviation to just +0.5 liter/min over the typical temperature range. In addition to the water flow, the temperature is recorded for each circuit.

The new Drymax Aton wheel dryer, meanwhile, brings together the merits of a constant dewpoint with high energy efficiency. The dryer achieves these very incongruous requirements through a completely new wheel structure as well as a patented operating mode known as EcoMode, which is a quasi-two-bed mode. A dewpoint of -40°C to -60°C is attainable under practically all ambient climatic conditions.

In the gravimetric blending field, the Gravimax 14V features a completely new material mixing bowl that prevents static charge accumulation in masterbatches, which can affect blending performance. The new mixing bowl with integrated “charge breakers” produces uniform mixing of components precisely dosed in the previous step by the Wittmann-specific RTLS (Real Time Live Scale) method. Wittmann Robot Systeme, Stand 10A04

Chamber volume and gravimetric dosing combine in ultra-accurate dosing unit
A new dosing unit for injection molding machines will debut with claims to guarantee total accuracy in dosing the smallest quantities, irrespective of external influences. On show at Werner Koch Maschinentechnik, the Exako is fitted with scales that register the actual weight and compare this value with the calculated set weight using a new control system.

The Exako combines the chamber volume-based method of dosing with a gravimetric system. Tiny quantities (1-55g) can be added to a main component. The enclosed chamber volume means that it is possible to add quantities that are accurate to ±3 granules in 1000.

The newly developed control unit is based on a Siemens PLC S7 control component. A touch panel provides menu navigation. It is said to be easy to store the recipes and all other values plus documentation for the dosing procedure.

Koch-Technik will also unveil an enhancement to its range of drying systems. The Comko dryer differs from other drying systems in that it is a compressed-air dryer that has been designed for operation in immediate contact with a processing machine. It is deemed particularly suitable for drying small quantities of hygroscopic materials. It can dry up to 7 kg/hr and the heating output is an economic 0.5 kW. Werner Koch Maschinentechnik, Stand 10A21

Various feed options for beside-the-press granulator
Cumberland Engineering is bringing its sound-attenuated 1000 Series beside-the-press granulator to the K show. On display will be a model from the 1018x Series with optional feed roll.

According to the manufacturer, benefits of the 1000 Series models include top-quality regrind with reduced maintenance costs. The standard design includes integrated rotating end discs for low-heat granulation and reduced frictional wear. Cumberland offers a wide choice of evacuation systems to meet production requirements. The 1000 Series granulator’s integrated rotating end discs provide for low-heat granulation for heat-sensitive materials. Double-sealed bearings are lubricated for life.

The 1000 Series can be used with robot-feed, conveyor-feed, or hand-feed applications. Additional features include a pivoting hopper; drop-down removable screen cradle and machined, bolted cutting chamber to simplify cleaning and maintenance; and a three-knife, open rotor with scooped wings and slant-cut knives combined with counter-slanted stationary knives that provide “scissor” cutting action. Cumberland uses a proprietary process for heat-treating its HCHC knives. Cumberland Engineering, Stand 9D23

Drying with less energy than ever
Loss-in-weight control, airflow management and stabilization, an intelligent regeneration process, and advanced industrial PC-based control combine in an auto-adaptive PET resin drying solution that claims to deliver the lowest possible energy consumption.

A typical resin drying process consumes a large volume of energy, requiring the resin to be exposed to hot, dry air for up to as much as 6 hours. Given the high cost of energy today, tremendous effort is being focused on improving this process to be more energy efficient, according to supplier Piovan (Santa Maria di Sala, Italy), which adds that air flow management and stabilization is key to controlling energy consumption. Piovan has integrated automatic air flow control and adjustment to reduce energy consumption by 35%-55% below today’s conventional resin drying systems.

Another feature of the company’s Genesys dryer is its ability to stabilize airflow in the drying hopper for further optimization of energy use. Because regeneration of the desiccant material consumes tremendous amounts of energy, Genesys recovers almost the entire energy used in this step of the drying process. By doing this, Genesys is able to provide savings of 50%-80% when compared to traditional or current regeneration technology.
 
Piovan says Genesys can provide the lowest energy consumption of any drying technology available today, guaranteeing overall savings of 30% and up. For a system producing PET preforms running resin at 1000 kg/hr, this represents a savings of at least 220,000 kWh per year. A Genesys system consisting of one GP55 dryer equipped with a TN300 dehumidifying hopper will be displayed at K. Piovan, Stand 9C59

Water- and air-cooling innovations to debut at K
Two advances that will reportedly have a major impact on future cooling systems for plastics will be unveiled at the K show by Eurochiller. Energy-saving inverter-controlled compressors are employed in its latest water-cooling system, while a free-cooling function will be introduced for air cooling.

For water cooling, Eurochiller’s NAX Inverter, available in three models with cooling capacity included between 90 and 400 kW, is a new concept. In combination with free-cooling technology in both self-draining and adiabatic versions, the NAX Inverter is said to be able to produce cold energy at low cost, further improving energy efficiency.

For air cooling, the ABF Inverter unit, typically used for the cooling of bubbles in plastic film extrusion, has undergone major changes. New is a system called Airmix Kit. By using outside air when the temperature is lower than that of the required setpoint, the free-cooling function is activated and the compressors automatically stop, taking advantage of a free energy source without losing precision, thanks to control technology developed by the company. Eurochiller, Stand 10A76

Cleanroom conveying calls for 
customized solutions
Despite the existence of standardized cleanroom classifications, there is no general specification for the layout of conveyor belts for transporting parts and sprues that defines what is suitable for the relevant cleanroom class. MTF Technik Hardy Schürfeld GmbH & Co. KG (Bergneustadt, Germany) therefore offers an extensive range of product features in order to meet the most varied customer requirements.

In general, the basic demands are to minimize any kind of abrasion and to ensure easy cleaning of the conveyors. A common requirement is to use belts that are FDA-approved. However, such approval only specifies the surface or the material of the belt. Whether or not belt abrasion occurs depends on other design features of the conveyor, such as groove and V-ledge drive and deflection rollers. MTF Technik says its design does away completely with such abrasion-prone mechanisms, incorporating solely smooth surfaces.

Moreover, in case of angled conveyors, the so-called “lateral stability” of the belt is very important. This stability ensures that belts do not buckle in the bend area and run precisely within the lateral guide rollers. Here the vendor employs a patented method to realize constant belt tension, even with conveyor angles varying between 0° and 60°. Eliminating dead spots or any areas that are difficult to clean is also of paramount importance.

Using standard motors can also be problematic as they often have cooling fans that are difficult to access. In addition, the air swirling that results from motor cooling is often unacceptable. In this case, drive concepts integrated to the belt body or drum motors are the solution. Drum motors do not require any cooling fins and are maintenance-free. MTF Technik Hardy Schürfeld GmbH & Co. KG, Stand 10J04

Single-step size reduction upsizes
Larger granulators in the HB Series from Herbold Meckesheim GmbH are capable of size reduction of whole bales of film, bulk injection molded and blowmolded parts, and bales of foamed plastics, among other formats, in a single step to the required granule size.

To be debuted at the K show, the HB Series features a grinding chamber directly linked to a feed hopper. With the assistance of a PLC-controlled ram, the material is forwarded directly to the rotor. For many materials, a two-step size reduction consisting of a shredder and a granulator is no longer necessary, according to the supplier.

In other new developments to be unveiled at K, the HGM wet shredder has been especially developed for reprocessing of highly contaminated plastic waste such as agricultural film, while minimizing wear and tear normally common with such materials.
Herbold will also show an optimized compactor for compacting films and foams, which can also function as the final component of a washing line for drying thin and stretch film on account of its energy efficiency.

Finally, the new PU 650 pulverizer for fine grinding features a vertically mounted rotor that results in a very compact and easy-to-maintain unit. Herbold Meckesheim GmbH, Stand 9B42 [email protected]

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