Bringing Science to ‘Art’ of Extrusion

Scientific Extrusion among the many topics to be explored at Extrusion 2018 Conference.

Braulio Polanco will be among the roughly 70 speakers presenting at Plastics Technology’s Extrusion 2018 Conference, to be held Sept. 18-20 at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland. On Thursday morning, in the General Extrusion Session, Polanco will present Design of Experiments for Scientific Extrusion.

“Scientific Extrusion?” you ask. “I’ve heard a lot about Scientific Molding, but what’s Scientific Extrusion?’

Related Stories

That’s a perfectly legitimate question, as despite all its advances, there’s still a lot of “knob turning, “secret sauce,” and “black magic” associated with extrusion. But Polanco, a graduate of the Univ. of Massachusetts–Lowell’s Plastics Engineering Program, has started a new training and consulting company whose objective is to change all that. He bills the firm, Systematic Extrusion, Alpharetta, Ga., as “the first company to develop a data-driven systematic approach based on scientific principles that enable extrusion manufactures to produce high-quality product consistently and effectively every time.”

Polanco has worked for several companies in the personal-care, healthcare and medical industries over his career, and recalls none had a consistent way to validate their extrusion process, which created confusion on how to run complicated materials that have inconsistent molecular weights. The key to consistent extrusion processing, he teaches, is “to process at the same viscosity every time.” He elaborates, “In injection molding, you can vary injection speed and monitor pressure to generate an in-mold viscosity curve. Of course, in extrusion you cannot generate an in-die viscosity curve, but there are instruments such as dynamic shear rheometers (DSR) which can accurately measure the polymer viscosity and generate a few curves, so you can develop limits to control the process.”

Now in its fourth year, Plastics Technology’s annual Extrusion Conference brings together the entire extrusion community under one roof. The program is set up so that no matter what you are extruding—film, sheet, tubing, profiles pellets, etc.—there will be plenty there for you to learn. Over the past three years, attendees have told us time and again that they came away from the event with information and tips they can put in place immediately to make their operations more productive. And the networking opportunities—with roughly 70 of the world’s top minds in extrusion as speakers and an anticipated exhibit area of 80 companies—are unprecedented.

Check out the entire program here. You’ll find the exhibitors listed here. Ready to register? Begin that process here. And make sure you book your hotel as rooms fill up fast.

Polanco, meantime, is holding his Extrusion Master 1 course in Coventry, R.I., Aug. 6-10. This course consists of three days of classroom training; one-day demonstration on an extrusion line; and a one-day final exam. In classroom, participants will learn the fundamentals of polymer science, practical polymer characterization and testing, extrusion screw designs, tooling qualification, downstream equipment, processing principals, Scientific Extrusion, critical calibration, process validation guidelines (IQ, OQ, PQ), Center-Lining Concept, optimum equipment cleaning, safety, and much more.

On the fourth day, students will participate on a hands-on demonstration running the equipment and apply Scientific Extrusion using various challenging polymers. Participants are required to pass the final exam with a grade of 80% or better to earn the Extrusion Master Certification.