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High-speed profile line put through the paces

December 12, 2008

3 Min Read
High-speed profile line put through the paces

One of the world's leading processors of window profiles is putting maybe the world's swiftest large-profile line through its paces, and so far the results have been on target. “We expect to achieve a productivity boost at our location through use of this technology,” said Berthold Lenter, plant manager at processor profine KBE (Berlin, Germany). Using a recently developed PowerTooling dry calibration unit from Greiner Extrusion (Nussbach, Austria), profine is realizing line speeds of 7 m/min. The new calibration table has been in operation for several weeks at profine, processing a single- strand profile.

The PowerTooling concept was developed especially for high-output lines. Haul-off speeds of up to 7 m/minute for triple-chamber profiles and exceeding 5 m/minute for standard 5-chamber profiles are possible. Plastic profile processors can save up to 40% of their calibration system's water consumption with the new closed-water circulation calibration system, according to Greiner. The closed water circulation system protects the water from contact with the ambient environment, thereby preventing the penetration of particles and improving the quality of the surface on a part. The development also facilitates access as there is no need of a water pump, meaning the extruder is easier to operate and more clearly arranged. The line is reduced to a single water connection and a maximum of four vacuum connections.

The new system can be retrofitted to existing PowerTooling devices from Greiner. “Two of our customers (profine and another, as-yet unidentified processor) are already working with the new system. We have got first positive feedback”, says Robert Grieshofer, MD at Greiner Extrusion.

Extruders long have been able to plasticize and pump out sufficient melt to meet such high line speeds for large profiles, but until recently tooling and downstream equipment have limited processors' ability to take advantage of the last years' advances in extrusion technology. Some readers may recall the May 2008 issue of our e-Tech Bulletin on pipe / profile extrusion, in which we profiled a new combination dry-calibration table/vacuum-tank system developed by Michigan Plastics Machinery, a company acquired by Conair last September. This can be configured as a vacuum/cooling tank for conventional tube and pipe sizing, or as a tank plus a dry-calibration tooling bed for profile extrusion.

The new hybrid can be fitted with low-power pumps or even vacuum blowers with variable-frequency drives instead of the standard high-horsepower liquid ring vacuum pumps, and thus lets processors save on energy consumption by up to 50%, while allowing extruders to use all of their existing dry calibration tooling and form guides typically used in auxiliary tanks. With the PowerTooling and Conair developments, and more that are said to be in the works at other die or machinery manufacturers, it could mean a new heyday for profile processors seeking higher line speeds and greater energy savings.

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