Reifenhauser: Gearless Extruders

Due to the success of its REI-Compakt gearless extruder, Reifenhäuser, Troisdorf, Germany (U.S. headquarters is Ipswich, ma), has decided to introduce a family of units with 300 to 11,000 N-m in torque. More than 30 REI-Compakt units have been sold since the prototype was introduced at K2001. Dieter Thewes, extrusion center manager, says the biggest selling point of the design (Dec 01 mp, 59; mpi, 70) is energy efficiency; it uses as much as 20% less energy compared to traditional extruders. Although the extruder cost is similar to ac- or dc-motor units with gearboxes, energy cost savings reportedly amount to _10,000 over the life of the machine.
The design also substantially reduces maintenance, says Thewes, since there is no gearbox, no ac bearings to exchange after 17,000 h, or dc brushes to replace after 3000 to 7000 h. By every third brush change, a dc collector normally needs replacing, which requires two days of extruder downtime.
The lack of a gearbox makes the REI-Compakt’s footprint 30% smaller than Reifenhäuser’s standard RT extruder line. The linear motor is reportedly at least 17 dBA quieter than the European Union noise limit of 82 dBA for extruders. Since the motor is water-cooled, there is as well no dust or soot filter to clean. The unit can even be used in cleanrooms. It will not overheat in areas with high humidity and temperature, such as the Far East and southern U.S., according to Hans-Peter Krukenberg, extrusion center sales manager.

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