2015 Highlights in Extrusion
Extrusion has often been called a process where technology advances are more evolutionary, then revolutionary.
Extrusion has often been called a process where technology advances are more evolutionary, then revolutionary. With that said, there was plenty of meaningful technology and business news in extrusion covered in the pages of Plastics Technology in 2015.
- An extruded can? Seriously? Indeed. In November global packaging company Sonoco, Hartsville, S.C., introduced the TruVue Can, the latest clear, retorable plastic can alternative to metal. Unlike the injection molded Klear Can developed originally by Kortec (now part of Milacron Co-Injection Systems), Sonoco’s can starts out as a extruded tube, which then goes through vacuum-sizing and spray-cooling tanks before being cut to size by a planetary cutter.
- Tech II, Inc., injection molder, sheet extruder, and thermoformer in Springfield, Ohio, has used Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition to apply a thin layer of silicon dioxide (glass) to the inside of a thermoformed PP tub. The glass layer is only nanometers thick but gives the package a high level of oxygen and vapor barrier. Vapor deposition technology has been used in the past in PET bottles, but Eric Shiffer, Tech II president, believes this is the first time it has been applied to a thermoformed PP container.
- Flat-die maker Nordson EDI came up with two interesting innovations: 1. The SmartGap Lip and Land Positioner, which mechanically links the die-lip gap and the lip-land length to allow them both to be adjusted at the same time at a single-point; 2. The first-ever nine-manifold die, which was commissioned by an undisclosed film processor.
- Is safety good business? Sheet processor Sekisui sure seems to think so.
- Cloeren teamed up with ExxonMobil and Windmoeller & Hoelscher (W&H) on an article aimed at helping processors develop world-class stretch film.
- Speaking of W&H, at a June open house in Lengerich unveiled seven new technologies. Perhaps the most novel of these technologies was displayed on a three-layer Varex II blown-film line producing lamination film. Called Turboclean, this new system is said to reduce the time it takes between product changeovers from 30 min to an astounding two min. It will be available on all W&H Varex II lines and figures to be particularly appealing to processors in North America, where film lines dedicated to running a single product are rare.
- Additive Manufacturing (AM) is being eyed as a technology being explored by many processors. And machine builders in extrusion are ready to help. At NPE2015, Davis-Standard and Conair collaborated on a line to make 3D filament for AM.
- There was plenty of news in mergers in extrusion. This past fall, Maag purchased both Gala Industries and Reduction Engineering Scheer. Milacron acquired Atlanta-based CanGen Holdings Inc. (CanGen), which consists of subsidiaries Canterbury Engineering Co. (screws and barrels) and Genca (dies for wire/cable and tubing). And Davis‐Standard LLC bought blown film equipment supplier Gloucester Engineering Gloucester, Mass. from investment firm Blue Wolf Capital.
- And last but not least, more than 320 attended Plastics Technology’s first-ever Extrusion Conference, held in Charlotte, N.C. Nov. 2-3. Be on the lookout for details soon on the Extrusion 2016 Conference. Also to be held in Charlotte: Dec. 6-8.