Tooling developments allow for versatility, quick changes.

At last fall's K 2010 show in Dusseldorf, Inoex rolled out new technology in PE pipe tooling that permits a wide range of sizes to be made with just one pipe head. The Advantage Evo Tool allows for two-stage orientation of the melt flow, which replaces the need to swap out dies and mandrels during a size change. Orientation occurs in the Maxxflex forming chamber, which is mounted between the die and calibration unit. Adjustments are made by a hydraulic drive. Changes to the melt flow inside the forming chamber change the dimension of the pipe.

Quick-change tooling was also shown by KraussMaffei-Berstorff. Its QuickSwitch extrusion system reportedly makes it possible to change polyolefin pipe diameter and wall thickness in minutes. At the touch of a button, the complete line changes automatically to the new dimensions, reducing the waste normally produced during changeovers.

KM-Berstorff’s newest universal pipe extruders feature a barrel with grooves in the feed section and “partial” grooves along the rest of its length, along with a shear/mixing screw that has a polygon geometry in the main plasticating zone. The supplier says the barrel design improves melt homogeneity, while the screw offers uniform mixing at low melt temperatures. The concept reportedly delivers 33% more output on PP pipe.

Cincinnati Milacron showed FibrePlast, a raw-material preparation system for wood and natural-fiber composites of PP, HDPE, and PVC. The system utilizes high-intensity mixing technology for blending and then cooling and/or agglomerating the finished feed material.

As reported in September, Battenfeld Cincinnati (represented in the U.S. by American Maplan), showed a new series of parallel twin-screw extruders primarily for PVC profiles.