Archive for October, 2002

Entek: Wood composite direct extrusion system

Thursday, October 24th, 2002

Entek Extruders had a very successful stand at the International Wood Plastic Conference in Austria recently. This was the first time that potential customers in Europe had seen the Entek extrusion system for Natural Fibre Plastic (NFP) Composites and the range of products that could be produced with these extrusion lines. Various samples of NFP Composite were on display, which provided immense interest and a focal point for discussion. ENTEK used the event to show its Direct Extrusion process technology — NFP Composite extrusion. The company has been able to design a unique system that allows Natural Fibre and Plastics to be combined in the extruder to produce a NFP Composite that can be extruded directly through a profile die producing a NFP Composite product or die face cut to produce NFP Composite pellet compounds. In the US, the most popular form of these composites is Wood decking, where there is a vast market. Other profiles have been extruded using the Entek technology, some of which were displayed on the stand, using a wide range of fibre fillers including; Wood Fibre, Rice Hulls, Sugar Beet, Kaolin and Ground Paper, to name a few.

Clariant: Expansion of micronized wax capacity

Thursday, October 24th, 2002

Clariant GmbH begins operation of a new production line for the manufacture of micronized waxes. This will increase the nominal production capacity for the micro powder types of the Ceridust® product group by around 25%, thus securing the leading market position world-wide. The new plant is a classifier mill with quadruple sifter, which can micronize waxes to 4 micrometer using mechanical crushing techniques.

In total, twelve wax pulverizers are now available with differing technologies, permitting the manufacture of over 60 products based on montan, polyethylene, polypropylene, PTFE and amide waxes. In the course of the official opening ceremony, Manfred Neumaier, Manager BusinessLine Waxes, reminded his audience that the most recently installed production plant for wax micronization went into operation just three-and-a-half years ago. “In addition to the positive market development in the traditional application sectors of printing inks and the paint industry, we have also been able to record gratifying growth in the plastics industry as well. Improved rub resistance in the case of printing inks, increased scratch-proofing, a positive matting effect and an appealing feel in the case of paints, as well as a distinct improvement of pigment dispersion in plastics are the outstanding properties of our products”, says Manfred Neumaier.
Furthermore, Ceridust® products are also being used in the areas of cosmetics, beauty-care, lubricants, sealants and adhesives.
The number of micronized grades in the product range has significantly increased in the last five years. Further new developments are to be launched shortly. In particular, these are products for water-based and UV-cured paint and printing ink systems. Manfred Neumaier emphasises that the implementation of many of these innovations was only possible in very close co-operation with the customer. Neumaier sees the basis for the next instalment of the “Ceridust® Success Story“ in partnership-based and constructive co-operation, in the technical service which Clariant provides and in the innovative capacity and backintegration of raw materials.

Xaloy: Screw-making plant in Czech Republic

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2002

Xaloy AG, which earlier this year closed its screw manufacturing plant in Rorbas, Switzerland, announced it will build a 17,800-square-foot plant to make screws in Vrno, Czech Republic. Groundbreaking is scheduled for November, with production expected to start eight months after that.

Sabic: US$281.07 million profit in third quarter of 2002

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2002

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) today announced its third quarter results of 2002. It revealed quarterly profits of SR1.054 billion (US$281.07 million), an increase of 55% compared with Q2 2002. Profits for the year to date are SR 2.039 bn (US$543.73m), a 9% increase over the same period last year.

Total sales for the first three quarters of 2002 were SR24bn (US$6.4bn) an increase of 3% over the same period in 2001. Following the acquisition of DSM Petrochemicals (now SABIC EuroPetrochemicals) earlier this year, these figures have now been consolidated into SABIC’s balance sheet. In Q3 2002 SABIC EuroPetrochemicals contributed SR2.5bn (US$666.67m) to total SABIC sales. This equates to roughly 10%.

Production in the first three quarters of 2002 has increased to 30.3 million metric tons compared with 26.3 million metric tons in the same period of 2001.

Commenting on SABIC’s financial results, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Mohamed Al-Mady said: ‘An increase in sales volumes, petrochemical prices, and oil prices have all contributed to these figures which are the first set of SABIC financial results that have incorporated information from SABIC EuroPetrochemicals. This, our 25th anniversary year, has seen SABIC undergo tremendous change as we continue towards our vision of becoming a leader in the global petrochemicals industry.’

Automatic Gauge Control System

Monday, October 21st, 2002

During its recent Open House, Macro Engineering & Technology successfully unveiled its new ACCUPRO automatic gauge control system for blown film dies. For the Open House the ACCUPRO system was fitted on a 200 mm die, extruding a blend of a 1 ml mLLDPE at 90% with a 2 ml LDPE at 10%. Attendees were impressed by the exceptional clarity of the film produced and its outstanding gauge uniformity. The film exhibited a gauge variation of ±2.0% within 2 sigma or ±2.5% within 3 sigma. ‘The ACCUPRO system is an ideal solution for companies producing printed, laminated and barrier films that require superior gauge uniformity,’ commented Jim Stobie, Macro’s Sales Manager. ‘The system operates on the principle of affecting the down-gauging of the melt by influencing its temperature at the die lip. This solution offers clear advantages over other market alternatives, such as those that affect the air in the cooling ring. The ACCUPRO system does not compromise line output nor does it reduce air ring flexibility.’ Mirek Planeta, Macro’s President, stated that the ACCUPRO system is retrofittable on most existing blown film dies.

Coperion: Werner and Pfleiderer reveals nanocomposite technology

Monday, October 21st, 2002

Coperion Werner and Pfleiderer, Germany, has developed a technology for producing nanocomposites by incorporating nanofillers into the polymer. Developed in co-operation with nanofiller producers, the technology has been successfully tested in the laboratory and on a pilot plant. The research found that by employing small quantities of nanofillers, the properties of the plastic produced can be significantly enhanced. A small percentage of completely exfoliated nanofillers can, for example, provide excellent barrier properties while maintaining good transparency levels. Other benefits include flame retardancy to polyethylene cable compounds. A special screw configuration of the ZSK MEGA compounder as well as a process technology is suited to splitting the nanofillers (nanoclays) into smaller particles by dispersive mixing so that the polymer melt can penetrate into the laminated structure. It also gives uniform distribution of the separated layers in the base material by distributive mixing.

British Polythene: Sale of noncore unit

Friday, October 18th, 2002

Leading European polyethylene film producer British Polythene Industries plc has sold BPI Packaging Service (Automotive), a small unit whose products include plastic car seat covers. The unit, which employs 22 at a single plant in Leominster, England, was acquired for an undisclosed sum by protective products company T.V.I.P (Corby) Ltd. of Corby, England.

Maguire: High-capacity LPD™ Dryer bring cost savings

Tuesday, October 15th, 2002

The largest Maguire (R) Low Pressure Dryer (TM) (LPD) yet to be developed enables users of medium-throughput extruders to achieve the cost savings and product-quality improvements made possible by a fundamentally new method of drying resin, it was announced today by Maguire Europe. The company is introducing the new model, the LPD 200, at Fakuma 2002 (Hall B3, Stand 9045).

Designed to accommodate maximum processing throughputs of 90 kg/hr. (200 lb./hr.), the LPD 200 dryer is 178 cm high, 79 cm wide, and 81 cm deep (70 by 31 by 32 in.). Although it has double the capacity of the next-largest LPD dryer (the LPD 100, for throughputs up to 45 kg/hr, or 100 lb./hr.), the new unit is only 25 cm taller and 10 cm wider.

This dimensional increase is proportionately smaller than would be necessary in going from a 45 to a 90 kg/hr. model of a conventional dehumidifying dryer, according to Robert Tesar, sales manager for Maguire Europe. ‘The LPD dryer is smaller to start with than a conventional dryer of equivalent capacity, and it becomes even more affordable as capacity increases,’ Tesar said. ‘Because of its simpler design, smaller batch size, and shorter drying cycle, the LPD can be scaled up without the substantial increases in the size and weight of blowers and other components required for a dehumidifying dryer. This translates into a smaller increase in investment cost.’

Even greater are the savings in operating costs, according to Tesar, who noted that the LPD dryer makes possible reductions in energy consumption, increases in processing-machine uptime, and improvements in product quality in comparison with a conventional dryer. ‘One of our customers reports that an LPD 100 dryer paid for itself in less than three months simply by reducing the scrap rate for molded automotive headlamp lenses,’ Tesar said. ‘Because the LPD dryer imposes less heat history on the resin and dries it more efficiently than a dehumidifying dryer, the molder produced fewer lenses with splay and other defects.’

In comparative testing on two side-by-side injection molding lines, Tesar added, the same customer used 87% less energy with the LPD dryer than with a dehumidifying dryer.

The LPD dryer differs radically from conventional dehumidifying dryers in two ways: 1) instead of heating the resin and flowing dry air over the pellets to slowly draw the moisture out, the patented LPD dryer uses vacuum to literally pull moisture from within the pellets; and 2) the new dryer carries out heating and vacuum drying simultaneously in separate stations, making possible small batches while in effect transforming a batch process into a continuous one that keeps pace with the throughput of the plastics processing machine.

The small batch size and short drying cycle of the LPD dryer make it possible to shorten Monday morning cold startups from several hours to less than an hour, adding that much more to weekly production time. Also increasing productivity is the three-station indexing system of the dryer, which makes possible color and material changes on the fly, eliminating downtime.

Another source of cost savings is the elimination of desiccant, which, in a conventional dryer, becomes saturated and must be regenerated by a heating and cooling process so it will again be able to absorb moisture. The energy used in this process is lost to the ambient environment. In addition, desiccant degrades over time and must be replaced on a regular basis.

Besides the LPD 200 and LPD 100 units, Maguire also offers the LPD 30, which accommodates processing-machine throughputs of up to 23 kg/hr. (50 lb./hr.).

Ravago: Expansion of polymer distribution activities in Europe

Tuesday, October 15th, 2002

Ravago Holdings S.A., KBC Investco and the management of the new polymer distribution company takes over from BASF some of their fully owned polymer distribution companies and related assets to a new distribution company.
The newly formed distribution company will operate under the name of “Ultrapolymers Group N.V” and will merge the sales and assets of Nordisa in Spain, Margo in Portugal, the plastics business of BASF Trading Chemicals in Italy and Cheadle Colours and Chemical in the United Kingdom and Ireland together with the Basell businesses previously done within the Ravago Group.

Ultrapolymers Group N.V with a distinct ownership structure and management will implement its own strategy to become a leading European polymer distributor, in cooperation with BASF and Basell.

In addition, Ravago S.A. and its daughter EP Compounding will acquire the BASF Styrenic Copolymer Compounding plant located in Tarragona (Spain). This acquisition reinforces Ravago’s position as a European producer of polymer compounds as well as its local compounding presence.

Guill Tool & Engineering: Medical Extrusion Tooling

Monday, October 14th, 2002

A new ultra-low volume crosshead design for multi-layered, thin-wall extrusion accuracy is now available from Guill Tool & Engineering, based in the US. It is applicable for OEM and medical fluoropolymers and can be utilised by thermoplastics extrusion manufacturers. The new MicroFlow spiral crosshead’s engineering advantages include a patent-pending Feathertouch adjustment in the die holder, plus a cartridge-style ball assembly that does not require the loosening of retaining screws to make adjustments. It also has the Seal Right System, which eliminates leakage between the deflectors and is maintained through easy self-adjustments, reducing potential errors during assembly. This MicroFlow spiral model is available in three standard designs — single, double and triple extrusion capabilities. The MicroFlow spiral is fully adaptable to all extruders and is manufactured in stainless steel. A balance flow design offers easy assembly and disassembly of the crossheads. The MicroFlow spiral core size 9.5 mm and the maximum product size is 12.7 mm. The inner layer includes a fixed centre and the outer layer’s adjustable concentricity function utilises retaining screws.