Canadian Plastics

Profiling new extrusion technology at NPE 2006

By Rebecca Reid, managing editor   



Today's pipe and profile extruders want faster throughput at lower temperatures, increased efficiency, reduced downtime and new methods for differentiating their products from those of their competito...

Today’s pipe and profile extruders want faster throughput at lower temperatures, increased efficiency, reduced downtime and new methods for differentiating their products from those of their competitors.

And with about 130 vendors showcasing devices for this broad industry, the good news is that there will be no shortage of new products and technologies to satisfy these demands at the National Plastics Exhibition (NPE), running from June 19 to 23, 2006, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill.

SAVING TIME AND SPACE

Ren Lanteigne, project engineering manager for Montreal-based Ipex Inc., an extruder of pipe and injection molder of pipe fittings, among other products, anticipates seeing developments that will help increase output, reduce labour, optimize set-up and allow for faster changeovers.

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Randy Pearson, head of Extrusion at Xaloy Extrusion in Hickory, N.C., agreed that show-goers should expect to see bigger, faster extrusion lines. Xaloy will debut its DBC Dual Bold vertical continuous screen changer, which employs dual breaker plates providing for an increased filtration area.

Continuous screen changers can save users from costly downtime, Pearson said, especially for extruders running recycled material.

Xaloy is also unveiling its Fusion II screw, which offers the same faster plastification at lower temperatures as its original Fusion screw, but provides enhanced chaotic mixing for a more homogeneous mixture, Pearson said.

And other makers of extrusion machinery are coming out with extruders that boast smaller footprints but also offer increased output. Erlanger, Ky.-based Cincinnati Extrusion Inc., a division of the SMS Group, will be previewing its new line of Monos single-screw pipe extruders, which have smaller footprints than any of the firm’s previous models.

With an extended processing length of 37 D, Monos can increase output by up to 30 per cent, and accomplishes this at lower speeds and lower temperatures compared to the firm’s Proton series, according to the firm.

Pawcatuck, Conn.-based Davis- Standard LLC, meanwhile, will show its new lines of adjustable and horizontal extruders, which also have smaller footprints than its previous machines. Screw sizes range from 0.75 to 1.75 in., and the extruders use direct drive motors versus belts and sheaves.

And Krauss-Maffei Corp., headquartered in Florence, Ky., will be show-casing its new QuickSwitch for extruders of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe to shorten changeovers, minimizing downtime.

GAINING CONTROL

One of the best ways for pipe and profile extruders to gain a competitive edge is through better automation, and many of the new control systems on display at NPE 2006 will have integrated functions allowing extruders to control numerous operations from one station.

For example, Davis-Standard’s new extrusion control system, the DSC-TPC (touch-panel control), is touted as a single replacement for numerous discrete control devices, which can take on the roles of numerous discrete control systems at the same time. These include, but aren’t limited to, discrete temperature controllers, pressure indicators and drive operators.

Replete with a 12.1-in. colour touch-screen monitor, users also have the option of adding extra heating and cooling zones, additional temperature monitors and melt pump closed-loop pressure control. Plus, it can also be used as a secondary extruder control for small co-extrusion systems.

Norwich, Conn.-based American Kuhne will be showcasing its new Aktive Touch Screen Extrusion Process Controller, which the company is touting as a low-cost system with the functionality of those two to three times its cost, making it an ideal choice for small- to medium-sized extrusion processors.

The Aktive Touch’s features include a single location for setting and adjusting controls, intuitive process adjustment with a graphic touch-screen, computer-assisted creation and storage of recipes, co-ordinated control of drives, real-time monitoring of multiple process variables and trend and alarm logging.

And Cincinnati Milacron Extrusion Systems’ new Ethernet-enabled Mosaic control system with a 15-in. touch-screen display, is not just for extrusion, but for injection molding and blow molding as well.

The Mosaic control is embedded with an operating system and because Mosaic is all-sealed, users do not require a hard-disc drive or back-up power source. Plus users can set up Mosaic to access process data and machine status information via an internal network or over the Web.

WIDENING THE MARKET

Extruders of large diameter pipe will also be receiving a lot of attention from machinery vendors at NPE 2006. This is a market that the Freedonia Group research firm has pinpointed — in a July 2005, report called Large Diameter Pipe — as having the best opportunities in the U.S. pipe market.

For large-walled tubing, West Warwick, R.I.-based Guill Tool & Engineering Co. Inc. is unveiling its 200 series extrusion system to handle sizes of up to 20 in. diameter and up to 2 in. wall thickness.

It includes a proprietary mounted track with a cart for easy handling and maintenance, which is engineered to tilt the die on-the-fly to compensate for the sagging effect caused by gravity as the extrusion products exits the equipment.

It only takes one person to disassemble, clean and re-assemble the system because they only need to slide the modular plates in and out of position with no lifts and no rigging equipment, Steve Blanche, Guill Tool’s national sales manager, said.

Cable, tube or pipe manufacturers requiring large-diameter and multi-layer jacketing will also benefit from the new rapid advanced material flow of the 200 extrusion head and the support system, without the rigging or support equipment usually required by conventional systems, according to Guill Tool.

These features help ensure thinners walls, closer tolerances, which is important for larger tubing sizes where waste or scrap may account for thousands of dollars in lost revenue, Blanche added.

For those interested in improvements in pipe and tube quality, Guill Tool has adapted a technology used commonly in blown film extrusion to build a rotational deflector rotates the melt flow, getting rid of melt lines.

“It helps introduce a much more balanced flow of materials to the die tip,” Blanche explained.

While not yet commercially available, Bic is already using the technology in the manufacture of pens, Blanche said. And although the technology won’t be on display at NPE, interested show-goers will be able to look at the die head.

BUILDING A PROFILE

Lachine, Que.-based Custom Downstream Systems (CDS) is one of the many Canadian firms exhibiting at NPE 2006. At the show, CDS will releasing a servo precision cut-off saw, dubbed the Miter 45, for extruders of window profiles.

“Whereas the traditional method for creating angled window profiles is to use a miter saw offline, the Miter 25 is used online to create the same result,” CDS said.

The Miter 25 is powered by a servo motor and drive, and cuts at two preset angles, usually 45 and 90 degrees, at one or both ends of the profile.

Wood-plastics composites (WPCs) profiles are also a hot extrusion trend being showcased at NPE 2006, and it’s not just decking and fencing that will get all the attention.

Extrusion of WPC profiles with complex geometries, extrusion with humidity balancing and extrusion of a polypropylene (PP) with 75 per cent wood filler is what interested show-goers can see at Cincinnati Extrusion’s booth. The firm will be manufacturing a profile for the furniture industry with a 2.5-mm wall thickness at a calibration speed of two metres-per-minute (2 m/min.), using a 75 per cent wood-filled PP, on its T58 extruder.

American Maplan, a division of the SMS Group, will be demonstrating new tooling designed specifically for with polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-, polyolefin- a
nd engineered polymer-based compounds with a fibre content ranging from 30 to 70 per cent. It can provide outputs of up to 3,000 lb./hr.

This new tooling employs modified spider type die head with a customized profile die set, and because the die sets are interchangeable with the die head, users can reduce downtime from changeovers and eliminate secondary calibration for the profiles.

RESOURCE LIST

American Kuhne (Norwich, Conn.)

www.americankuhne.com; 860-886-7745

RoMark Technologies Corp. (Richmond Hill, Ont.); 905-773-7122

American Maplan — a division of the SMS Group (McPherson, Kan.)

www.maplan.com; 620-241-6843

CDS (Lachine, Que.); www.cdsmachines. com; 877-633-1993

Cincinnati Extrusion Inc. — a division of the SMS Group (Erlanger, Ky.)

859-746-1530; www.sms-k.com

Cincinnati Milacron Extrusion Systems (Batavia, Ohio)

www.milacron.com; 513-536-3320

Accuplast Solutions (Kirkland, Que.); www.accuplast.com; 866 630 0808

Davis-Standard LLC (Pawcatuck, Conn.)

www.davis-standard.com; 860-599-1010

Auxiplast Inc. (Sainte-Julie, Que.); 450-922-0282

Stephen Sales Group (Markham, Ont.); 905-940-5577

Krauss-Maffei Corp. (Florence, Ky.)

www.krauss-maffei.de/k/english; 859- 283-0200

Guill Tool & Engineering Co. Inc. (West Warwick, R.I.)

www.guill.com; 401-828-7600

Extrusion Systems Inc. (Markham, Ont.); 800-633-1861

Xaloy Inc. (Pulaski, Va.); www.xaloy.com: 540-980-7560

Dier International Plastics Inc. (Unionville, Ont.)

www.dierinternational.com; 905-474-9871

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