} NPE Newsfinder: Extrusion | Plastics Technology
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NPE Newsfinder: Extrusion

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NPE will show higher outputs of practically everything, as advances in grooved feeds, servo drives, screw torque, mixing screws, dies, and downstream cooling, cutting, and handling make everything run faster. Running faster in turn requires a higher level of control, or you can just make a whole lot more bad product faster.

Improvements in closed-loop controls of OD/ID tube dimensions, has made possible what is believed to be the first “lights-out” extrusion system. Similarly, advances in CAD/CAM and CNC milling make free-form curved metal contours affordable for the first time, leading to new die and screw designs that weren’t possible even two to three years ago.

Many extrusion equipment suppliers are bringing new extruders, dies, and downstream equipment for on wood-filled composites. There will also be the first public demonstration of extruding a cyclic olefin copolymer. And for those who have only heard or read about the cone-shaped “Conex” extruder, Nextrom of Switzerland (U.S. offices in Norcross, Ga.) will show it for the first time in North America. Nextrom will bring a horizontal, 15-in.-diam. Conex for wire and cable. Main features are said to be short residence time, low thermal stress, fast startup and color change, compact size, and low noise.


Blown film: dies to watch

Three machine makers are offering new coex dies capable of thermally isolating a sensitive resin. Brampton Engineering Inc. in Brampton, Ont., will show its new Iso-Therm SCD six- or seven-layer coex die for the first time. It’s designed to run PVdC barrier resin at 370° F, together with nylon 6 at 520° F (see PT, May 2000, p. 15).

Reifenhauser Inc., Ipswich, Mass., also offers a new die for five or more layers, including nylon with more heat-sensitive resins. It’s HDS horizontal distribution stack die uses internally heated melt-distribution sections with wide air spaces between sections to isolate resin flows thermally (PT, May 2000, p. 16). At NPE, however, Reifenhauser won’t run the HDS, but a three-layer LDPE/LLDPE line, model BF3067GP, the first of its new BF3000 series machines to be shown in the U.S.

Macro Engineering & Technology, Mississauga, Ont., has yet another new die that isolates PVdC, which is very corrosive, by encapsulating it with a second resin.

Macro will also perform the first demonstration of monolayer blown-film extrusion of a blend of Ticona’s Topas cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) in a 20/80 blend with LLDPE. Adding COC makes the PE stiffer, an attractive property for stand-up pouches.

Several machine suppliers are introducing more compact side-fed dies that provide shorter flow channels, briefer residence times, and more room for IBC. As one example, Hosokawa Alpine American of Natick, Mass., will run a new 4.7-in., 25:1 grooved-feed extruder with a 22-in. die—the biggest die Alpine has ever sold. The monolayer BF 4063K die is its new side-fed vertical spiral, shown for the first time running a low-stalk bubble making LLDPE trash liners at 1300 lb/hr.

Addex Inc. of Hingham, Mass., will show its new Redi die, combining a stack die with unique horizontal spirals (see PT Jan. 2000, p. 15). Davis-Standard Corp. in Pawcatuck, Conn., will launch a new StatPak side-fed spiral die, whose shorter flow channels reportedly give extra versatility to run a variety of PE resins.

Davis-Standard Corp. will also show a new bottom-fed blown-film die for PVC that combines a spider and spiral distribution. Flow channels are said to be 50% shorter than in standard dies.

And Macchi S.r.L. of Italy (distributed in the U.S. by Warner Sales Associates, Hanover, Mass.) will show a new compact coex spiral Flex Die boasting lower profile and shorter residence time.

In addition, expect to find at least a half-dozen new air-rings on view at NPE. Alpha Marathon Technologies in Woodbridge, Ont., will show its new Millennium M-Series model. Brampton Engineering will exhibit its new Eliminator air ring with adjustable upper and lower lips (PT, Feb. 2000, p. 16). Eurochiller SrL of Mortara, Italy, will bring a new air-cooling system, said to control temperature within 0.1° F.

From Future Design Inc., Brampton, Ont., comes a new air-distribution manifold, as well as a new Saturn Escort Conveyor and collapsing system and two new bubble cages.

Plast-Control Inc., Newburyport, Mass., will introduce an automatic air ring called Procon Hi-Flow, said to increase output up to 15%. And Nitech Polysystems Inc., Mississauga, Ont., will exhibit its new Polaris Series air ring for the first time, available in 0.5- to 95-in. diam.


What’s new downstream

Three new horizontal oscillating haul-offs will also be shown at NPE for gauge-band randomizing on three-layer lines. Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering Co., Gloucester, Mass., will show its horizontal haul-off in a special tower design, both exhibited for the first time.

Kiefel Inc., Wrentham, Mass., will introduce a horizontal oscillating haul-off on a three-layer film line, which it will use to demonstrate both high- and low-stalk coextrusion. And Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp., Lincoln, R.I., will show its Nostic hauloff on a new three-layer blown film line, running a 63-in. layflat.

At the booth of Black Clawson Converting Machinery, Fulton, N.Y., will be a three-layer blown film line from Rulli-Standard of Brazil. It recently entered into an alliance with Black Clawson.

Another new NPE exhibitor, Polytech S.p.A. from Italy (with U.S. offices in Fulton, N.Y.), supplies turnkey double-bubble oriented-film systems and cast film lines. It will show a 3-D computer simulation of double-bubble biaxial orientation.

D.R. Joseph Inc., Grand Prairie, Texas, will launch a new blown-film control system with “smart” sensors and an automatic bubble-cage controller, said to change bubble size faster than previous systems. And Plast-Control will show a new rolling capacitive sensor for tacky, optically sensitive film bubbles, as well as a new noncontact absolute thickness sensor for positioning on the layflat.

Three companies will show new corona treaters especially configured for blown film: Corotec Corp. in Farmington, Conn.; Enercon Industries Corp., Menomonee Falls, Wis.; and Pillar Technologies Inc. in Hartland, Wis. All the new systems reportedly offer easier threading and air-gap adjustment on the fly. Enercon is launching a blown-film treater in standard widths from 42 to 72 in. Pillar will launch a blown-film version of its universal Split Box design, which has a removable electrode for off-line cleaning.


News in cast film & sheet

Leistritz of Somerville, N.J., will emphasize its expertise in direct extrusion of sheet from a twin-screw compounder. It will demonstrate direct coextrusion of automotive TPO sheet using an embossing roll.

Welex Inc., Blue Bell, Pa., will introduce new 5- and 7-in. diameters of its Mark III extruder with 30:1 L/D. The 5-in. size can put out 1750 lb/hr of PP sheet. It fits between previous 4.5- and 6-in. sizes. It also has a new swiveling feature: The whole extruder pivots on rollers around a fixed pin at the rear, allowing screws to be pulled from the front without moving downstream equipment.

Macro Engineering will show its new Macroplast extruder with a screw that can be removed from the rear, also without removing downstream equipment or the die.

For direct extrusion into a thermoformer, Processing Technologies Inc. (PTi), St. Charles, Ill., will show its new Trident InLine coex sheet extrusion line with 32:1 L/D. It comes in diameters of 2.5 to 6 in. and can produce up to 50-in.-wide sheet.

Black Clawson will show a new Micro-Layer Feedblock technology, which reportedly provides higher properties while using less resin.

Cloeren Co., Orange, Texas, will also show its new internally deckled ROI-II die, and a new concept for a three-layer, fixed-geometry feedblock.

A new Accuflow adjustable coex feedblock for cast film, sheet, or coating will be introduced by Extrusion Dies Inc., Chippewa Falls, Wis. It is said to control TD thickness more precisely. It uses adjustable “split-body” combining spools to add successive layers on either side of a core layer.

Also new from EDI is a Multiflow VII manifold design. Instead of the flat rear wall of a coat hanger die, it has a rounded back wall to provide higher output of degradable resins like PVC.

Mono-axial stretching equipment, a specialty of SML Maschinengesellschaft GmbH in Lenzing, Austria, will stretch highly filled cast and blown film to make synthetic paper and breathable film.

Randcastle Extrusion Systems Inc., Cedar Grove, N.J., is introducing a new laminating station for narrow webs 8-20 in. wide.

New winders at NPE include a surface winder for up to 12-in. webs with automatic cut-over and core feeding. It comes from Parkinson Machinery and Mfg. Corp., Woonsocket, R.I. A new centerless disk turret winder with closed-loop tension control will be shown by Welex.


Wood fiber & foam

One of the fastest growing materials for plastics is also one of the oldest—wood fiber. Davis-Standard will be showing its unusual Woodtruder, which has been in development for nearly two years and is the subject of several pending patents (PT, Feb. 2000, p. 16). The Model W94 Woodtruder has a tandem single-screw extruder that melts resin and feeds it from the side into a 28:1 parallel twin-screw. Undried wood fiber is fed by a DSC350 crammer into the empty twin-screw and moisture is immediately vented. Melted resin then enters the twin-screw, encapsulating the dry wood fiber. The composite is mixed, vacuum vented, and extruded through a die.

Extrusiontek Milacron, Batavia, Ohio, will introduce a large conical twin-screw, model CM 92HR, with a new V-MEDS (vertical materials enhancement) crammer. It’s designed to process wood-flour formulations with higher moisture content.

Bausano Group in Italy (represented in the U.S. by Tex America, Charlotte, N.C.), is building its first Polywood line for extruding wood-filled profiles at over 700 lb/hr. Bausano has sold Polywood wood/PP sheet lines for over 10 years. The first of the new profile lines will be delivered later this summer. One goes to a North American company to make decking. The second will go to Bausano for trials.

NPE will be the first showing of extrusion dies for wood composite profiles from ESI-Extrusion Services Inc., Akron, Ohio. They are sized for far less die swell than conventional profile dies. ESI will also feature downstream calibrators, sizing units, and spray cooling tanks for wood composite profiles, which are slow to cool.

CDS (Custom Downstream Systems), Montreal, will introduce a new-generation cleated haul-off, traveling saw, and servo-driven fly-knife cutter, all aimed at big wood-composite profiles and pipe.

Foam extrusion will be the highlight of a few displays at NPE. Trexel Inc., Woburn, Mass., will show samples of early commercial products made with its MuCell microcellular foam technology. These include rigid PVC profiles for window blinds and interior cladding.

Mario Calcagni & Sons of Italy (represented by George Meyers, PCI Inc., Dix Hills, N.Y.) will share its booth with custom extruder Extrutech Plastics Inc. of Manitowoc, Wis. Together they will exhibit samples of Extrutech’s foamed PVC profiles made with Calcagni’s specialized dies, which will be displayed for the first time.

Several exhibitors will have new equipment for tandem foam sheet extrusion. Myung-Il Machinery Co. of Taegu City, Korea, is launching new PE and PS foam sheet lines. Battenfeld Gloucester will bring its new Excool screw for the cooling extruder of a tandem line. Davis-Standard, which previously built only foaming extruders, is now offering turnkey systems for foam sheet. It will show a new system with 4.7- and 6.5-in. extruders and new die technology.


For pipe & tubing

Precisely ratioed flow from two melt pumps into a coextrusion die is the basis of new patented Alternate Polymer tube technology that will be introduced for the first time at NPE by Harrel Inc., Norwalk, Conn. The AP-600 system is being tested for catheter tubing made from hard and soft materials. It increases flow of the hard resin from one melt pump while decreasing the flow of soft resin from the second melt pump, and vice versa, making seamless transitions from hard to soft to hard. Precise control of the melt pumps reportedly ensures that total flow to the tube die remains constant. Harrel’s Tubetrol technology also maintains closed-loop control of tube OD and ID.

Other tubing and pipe exhibits will address the extremes of small and large products. On the small side, Gimac of Italy (distributed by Citsco, Lancaster, S.C.) will launch a compact three-layer extruder for microtubing. And On Line Controls Inc., Hudson, Mass., will show its new UltraGage 2000 system for the first time to control micro-tubing dimensions down to 0.0007-in. wall thickness.

Conair, Pittsburgh, will show a new servo-driven puller for medical tubing, Model 4-26. Akron Extruders Inc., Canal Fulton, Ohio, is introducing a line of S-Pak single-screw extruders of 0.75-1.5 in. diameter.

On the big side, Unicor Plastic Machinery Inc., Mississauga, Ont., will show new water-cooled mold blocks for dual-wall corrugated pipe up to 72-in. diam. Hegler Plastik GmbH of Oerlenbach, Germany, will feature a 70-in.-diam. manhole system made on its HP 1200 dual-wall corrugator. Hegler also makes special equipment for in-line belling of dual-wall pipe. Costarelli USA Inc., Miami, Fla., will present corrugating technology for dual-wall drainage pipe up to 60-in. diam. It will show samples made of 100% recycled PE. Also look for a new corrugator from Olmas SrL of Milan, Italy.

Unicor and Karlville Development USA, Miami, Fla., will both show extruded plastic-over-metal composite pipe for the first time. Aluminum tube coated with HMW-HDPE is the European standard for in-floor heating.

Krauss-Maffei Corp., Florence, Ky., which has sold only twin-screw extruders in North America, will introduce its single-screw extruders here at NPE. It’s showing three models for polyolefin pipe: KME1-75-30B, KME1-60-30B with grooved feed, and a small striping extruder, KME1-30-B. Conair is bringing a new vacuum tank for PE pipe, model MT-105-22-5.

For PVC pipe, Genca Corp., Clearwater, Fla., will introduce an in-line spider die and “Tri-Die” for foam-core pipe.


For profile makers

Davis-Standard will bring its new GC-61 high-output conical twin-screw, which boasts twice the torque of competing models of the same diameter. Extrusiontek Milacron will show the new Pinnacle E86 conical twin, capable of up to 2000 lb/hr of PVC profiles. And Krauss-Maffei will introduce a new coex profile line employing two conical twin-screws: KMD90-26 and KMD2-60KK.

Friul Mac, div. of American Jet Stream, East Brunswick, N.J., will introduce R Series conical twin-screws for window profiles and the Estru Series of single-screw profile extruders.

In parallel twins, Davis-Standard will show models GP 114 (28:1) and GP 94 (20:1), both with new screw designs and higher torque gearboxes to boost outputs. Krauss-Maffei will show the largest of its parallel twins for the first time in North America—a 26:1 KMD 164-26 for PVC pipe, sheet, and siding.

Small coextruders suitable for profiles will also be on display. Merritt Davis Corp., Hamden, Conn., will show a new movable 1.5-in. satellite extruder with a special H-shaped frame, reportedly more stable than conventional C-shaped stands. Randcastle will also show a new compact, vertical striping extruder.

In downstream equipment for PVC profiles, ESI-Extrusion Services will introduce a dual-servo flywheel puller/cutter with touchscreen controls. Vulcan Machinery Corp. in Akron, Ohio, is launching larger reel sizes on its SLC Series automatic cut-and-transfer coilers for reels up to 48 in. OD. Meweka Engineering GmbH (represented by PPT/Plastic Processing Technologies Inc., Lake Geneva, Wis.) will show a new intensive-cooling split-bath calibration line. It has a short dry calibrator followed by high-intensity water cooling. Meanwhile, American Maplan Corp., McPherson, Kan., will show its new K402 VA/10.5 dry calibrator. And Conair will introduce its model MSB-HI-3-24-9 spray-cooling tank for heavy profiles like lumber and fencing.

Servo seems to be the way to go in new downstream pulling and cutting equipment. Boston Matthews Inc., Norwood, N.J., will show an updated all-electric servo-driven saw for the first time. RDN Manufacturing Co. Inc. in Bloomingdale, Ill., has a new belt puller series with AC flux-vector motors. G.F. Goodman & Son, Ivyland, Pa., has redesigned its high-precision, on-demand servo cutter series. A new close-tolerance, high-speed flywheel cutter is also new from Goodman. And first-time NPE exhibitor CPM GmbH from Grossfehn, Germany, will introduce its Pro-Cut profile cutter, which is reported to be chipless and noiseless.

Two more first-time NPE exhibitors of downstream equipment are Bobor Plastic Equipment Ltd., Bolton, Ont., and A+G Extrusion Technology GmbH from Parsching, Austria. Bobor makes haul-offs, winders, cooling tanks, and also extruders. A+G makes profile dies and calibrators.


News in screws & barrels

Grooved feed sections are appearing in a wider range of applications. American Maplan will show a new hard-chined grooved feed on a pipe and profile extruder. Its unusual grooves were developed for blown-film extruders by sister company Battenfeld Gloucester. Davis-Standard Egan Film & Coating Systems, Somerville, N.J., will show a 3-in. “g-MAC” extruder with a new grooved feed section.

New mixing sections will abound at NPE. Advanced Technologies Worldwide Inc. in Cape Canaveral, Fla., will show a new Hopscotch Mixing Section. Robert Barr Inc., Virginia Beach, Va., and Glycon Corp., Tecumseh, Mich., will show their jointly developed Barr 2000 screw and new Barr Sleeve Mixer. The latter is a perforated cylinder with barrier dams that float freely around the screw.

The Madison Group, Madison, Wis., and Rauwendaal Extrusion Engineering in Los Altos Hills, Calif., will show new variations on their jointly developed CRD mixing screw. The latest generations, CRD6 and CRD7, are mixing devices for grooved-feed extruders. The CRD mixer has also been adapted to static mixers and to a new mixing breaker plate.

New Castle Industries, New Castle, Pa., will bring its improved Super Stratablend mixing screw and new SuperCarb bimetallic barrel with tungsten carbide/nickel liner. Scientific Process & Research Inc., Somerset, N.J., will display its Left Hook Mixer for the first time. Spirex Corp., Youngstown, Ohio, will show its new V-Mixer screw. Western Feedscrew in Upland, Calif., will introduce a new customized mixing screw, called Nu-Twist. Migrandy Corp. of Merritt Island, Fla., will show its new Millenium Mixer, and Davis-Standard will show a new, patented barrier screw.


New controls and gauges

A rare example of true “lights-out” extrusion will be featured by Harrel. A customer making automotive fuel lines installed Harrel’s Tubetrol OD/ID thickness control system six months ago. The lights-out control package also monitors cut lengths. If production hangs up anywhere, no finished product is detected, so the line shuts down, and the heaters go off.

Several makers of gravimetric blenders are showing new extrusion yield controls. Maguire Products Inc. in Media, Pa., will feature new software for extrusion control. Plast-Control will launch a new GT Series of gravimetric extrusion controls. Colortronic Inc. in Runnemede, N.J., will show its C-2 Mega Touch touchscreen controller and its Ultra-Ex Control.

Upstream Systems & Machinery in Atlanta (a joint venture of Barron Inc. in Atlanta and TSM Control Systems of Ireland) will show integrated gravimetric extrusion and blending control with the Sigmat 9000NT Windows-based touchscreen supervisory controller.

Eurotherm Controls Inc., Reston, Va., is introducing its EM-3 extrusion line controls. The distributed architecture is said to reduce wiring and installation costs. They are also easier to program and customize, the company says.

Meanwhile Eurotherm Gauging Systems, Billerica, Mass.,will show a new System 21 PC-based process-control system. NDC Systems in Irwindale, Calif., will show a new non-nuclear, optical-based gauge for biaxially oriented cast film. It’s said to be accurate down to 2 microns. And Panametrics Inc. in Waltham, Mass., has a new magnetic thickness gauge.

To inspect pipe and profile, Zumbach Electronics will show its ProfileMaster laser contour vision system for the first time in the U.S. It uses three CCD cameras and three lasers to measure profiles in line and compare them with a CAD drawing. Also new from Zumbach is the UMAC ultrasonic system to measure profile thickness under water inside sizing tanks.

On Line Controls Inc., Hudson, Mass., is also introducing new gauges to measure pipe thickness, called UltraGage 3000.

First time NPE exhibitor Pilot Industries Inc., Dexter, Mich., offers low-energy x-ray inspection equipment. Its LERA system for tubing shows OD, ID, and wall thickness, updated every 2 sec.

For film inspection, POCS GmbH/Optical Controls Systems in Germany offers high-speed, camera-based film inspection, including its newest HM-1 on-line haze monitor and GM-1 on-line gloss monitor. Lasor/Systronics Inc., in Norcross, Ga. (resulting from the merger in April of Systronics and Lasor AG in Germany), will launch its newest camera-based inspection system, called SVS2000KF. Also new is Lasor INCAM, an advanced defect classification system.

Nanosystems LLC, Gainsville, Ga., will preview a new low-cost gel counter for blown or cast film and a new “smart” camera for film/sheet inspection. Wintriss Engineering in San Diego will launch the Web Ranger CCD line-scan camera to inspect for high-contrast surface defects.

Betacontrol, Charlotte, N.C., will show the new Micro AWS sensor to measure web speed. Harris Instrument Corp., Delaware, Ohio, will introduce the Scan-A-Mizer web control system to monitor web loop position for blown and cast film lines and converting.

On new temperature gauges, the new Thermalert MP50I-R thermal imager from Raytek Corp. in Santa Cruz, Calif., is said to offer faster and more complete edge-to-edge images.

Low-stalk blown film line from Hosokowa Alpine American is one of several exhibits at NPE with new side-fed spiral dies. At 22 in., it’s also Alpine’s biggest die ever.

NPE will be the North American debut of Nextrom’s Conex multi-layer cone extruder, configured here for wire and cable. It replaces several extruders with a stack of nested spinning cones. Leistritz’s live demonstration of in-line twin-screw compounding and coex TPO sheet extrusion (40 in. wide) will be a first for a trade show.

EDI’s new Accuflow adjustable feedblock promises greater cross-web thickness control. It uses new combining spools to add layers to either side of a core.


Keep Your Melt Clean

At least five firms will show new screen changers at NPE:

Pressure-activated, slide-plate, hydraulic model KSP from Key Filters Inc., Woonsocket, R.I., has a one-piece, leak-proof body.

TSK-SR self-cleaning automatic screen changer comes from Trendelkamp L.P., Norcross, Ga.

Gold Standard slide-plate unit from Beringer LLC in Marblehead, Mass., has a preloaded seal design.

A single-piston, continuous screen changer is new from Maag Pump Systems Textron, Matthews, N.C.

Dynisco Extrusion and Polymer Processing, Hickory, N.C., will show its first continuous screen changer with its unique screw-pull-through capability.

Davis-Standard’s Woodtruder system combines single- and twin-screw extruders and can handle undried wood flour.