Archive for September, 2003

Davis-Standard: Woodtruder update

Tuesday, September 30th, 2003

The program for the Coast Guard involves the development of a new decking material and retaining wall system as a replacement for pressure treated wood. The AEWC Center recently developed a 5/4-inch by 6-inch decking product installed at one Coast Guard pier and is now working on the retaining wall. A project being funded by a USDA wood utilization research grant is evaluating post die process conditions to determine how cooling rates impact product development. A second USDA funded project deals with the formulation of nylon wood composites. This project is in its infancy with the intention of product development for automotive-type applications. Proprietary work for private companies involves development using a variety of non-wood composites, additives and formulations.
“Our clients have been very pleased with the Woodtruder’s capabilities and performance,” said Doug Gardner, professor of wood science at the University of Maine. “We’ve had even more contracted research than we had originally anticipated, which has been beneficial. The machine has also been an excellent tool for expanding our curriculum and giving students hands-on experience with wood-fiber technology.”
The Woodtruder’s processing range is made possible by its unique tandem extrusion arrangement consisting of a primary 28:1 parallel twin screw extruder and mounted single screw, side-injection extruder. The first section of the primary extruder utilizes a heating and vacuum venting system to eliminate moisture and volatiles from the wood fiber. The side-injection extruder, mounted midway through the primary extruder, separately heats and mixes the desired polymers. Depending on the wood fiber-to-polymer ratio, the polymers are then injected into the primary extruder homogenizing the mixture. Since the polymer joins the fiber in a molten state, it encapsulates the wood fibers, resulting in a thoroughly mixed, high quality composite of up to 60 percent wood fiber.
This set-up enables the AEWC Center to process a wide range of fibers including sawdust, wood (both hard and soft woods), sisal, rice husks, flax, peanut shells, recycled car tires and others, while eliminating expensive wood drying equipment. These materials can be combined with a variety of basic polymers including polypropylene, polystyrene, High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC), which are found in many consumer goods such as milk jugs, house siding and plumbing materials. The Center is also examining wood fiber processes using engineering thermoplastics.
“The expertise of our researchers, our modern facility, and the capabilities of the Woodtruder make it possible for us to investigate and determine the best fiber-polymer combinations for any given application,” added Gardner. “Our Center is fully equipped for prototype development. Each new material produced by the Woodtruder undergoes strenuous evaluation, like being repeatedly stressed to evaluate durability and being exposed to the equivalent of years of ultraviolet radiation, moisture and freeze-thaw cycles.”
For more information about the research and development capabilities at the AEWC Center at the University of Maine, contact Doug Gardner at (207) 581-2846 or at [email protected] For more information about Davis-Standard’s Woodtruder, contact Wendell Whipple at [email protected]

DuPont: High-performance film for food packaging

Tuesday, September 30th, 2003

Montorsi Francesco & Figli SpA, part of the Veronesi Group and an Italian leader in processed meat, has worked with DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers () to develop a new high-performance film for flow-packing AIA brand roasted turkey breast.

This new solution, which is also used by Montorsi to package other food specialities, relies on the proprietary features and performance of DuPont™ Surlyn brand resin. It offers maximum hygiene, an excellent secondary seal with perfect adhesion to the meat, a high barrier against gas, resistance to pasteurising temperatures, and excellent features in terms of brilliance and transparency.

The packaging film, which contains polyamide and EVOH, features a sealing coat made of a special zinc-based Surlyn resin, which has several particularly important properties for this specific application.

“We were looking for a packaging material that could offer the best possible performance in terms of secondary seal,” says Agnese Prete, head of packaging department at Montorsi. “In changing the type of packaging used for several of our products sold to delis and catering businesses, which we protected in the past using heat-shrink packaging, we sought a vacuum flow-pack that would adhere perfectly to the meat. We didn’t want the liquid that can ooze from the cooked meat to move about inside the package. The types of metallocene polyethylene we tested were unable to satisfy this requirement.”

“The film also had to be able to resist pasteurisation without any problems, a treatment that requires temperatures of up to 90 °C. Moreover, it also had to offer a high barrier to oxygen and, of course, be suitable for direct contact with food,” adds Prete. The key to the solution came from a film made with a zinc-based grade of DuPont Surlyn, which yields a packaging film that can be wrapped around the meat like a second skin.

The DuPont material has a high melting point and can stand pasteurisation temperatures without any problems. Moreover, it complies with the standards in force in the European Union and in the US for direct contact with food. Thanks to the use of polyamide and EVOH, this new film is thinner, yet offers the same shelf life as the packaging used previously.

“The entire project to change the packaging started with the decision to maximise automation of the packaging lines,” adds Prete. “Before, the product was manually placed inside the bags and then forwarded to the sealing and heat-shrink phases. Now the process is completely automated: our personnel never directly touch the product, and this means that we can offer one of the highest levels of hygiene in this industrial sector. Another detail that should not be overlooked is the fact that the change has reduced our labour needs and has allowed us to assign these human resources to other areas.”

The aesthetic quality of the new packaging is yet another advantage offered by the DuPont material. The brilliance of the film – a characteristic that has contributed to the success of DuPont Surlyn in this sector – provides the ideal medium for rotogravure, whose excellent performance in turn underscores the high-quality image of the product inside. Montorsi uses the new film above all for packaging roast turkey breast and poultry products to be sold in slices by delicatessens, gourmet shops, catering businesses and the foodservice industry. In addition, it is used to package roasted and spiced pork loin. In this case, DuPont Surlyn offers the added advantage of a reliable seal against contamination. The average weight of these packages ranges between 1.5 kg to 7 kg: the mechanical strength of the DuPont material permits the production of packages that weigh up to 15 kg without any problems. A significant share of these products will be sold on foreign markets.

Valmet: Contract with Indonesian PT Bhineka Tatmulya Industri

Monday, September 29th, 2003

Valmet Converting has completed a contract to supply PT Bhineka Tatmulya Industri of Bekasi, Indonesia, with a General K Series vacuum metalliser, which will be installed for the customer early in 2004. The metalliser will process 3 metre wide cast polypropylene film to be produced on a new film line, which together with the metalliser and other associated equipment represents a major new investment for the company. The machine will process film at speeds of between 600 and 700m/min, with roll diameters of up to 1000mm. The machine has also been configured for the later retro-fitting of a plasma pre-treatment unit, should the customer require this for the improved adhesion of both metallized and clear barrier coatings.
PT Bhineka is an important manufacturer of CPP film in Indonesia, producing more than 16,000 tonnes/year at full capacity in 2002. The new film line investment will obviously lift that even higher during next year.

AEP: Liquidation of Fiap film operation in Italy

Monday, September 29th, 2003

Flexible packaging maker AEP Industries Inc. is liquidating Fabbrica Italiana Articoli Plastici SpA, its PVC film-making operation in Turate. AEP made the decision after Fiap posted a loss of US$4 million in the first nine months of AEP’s fiscal 2003, which began in November.The liquidation is expected to be completed sometime in 2004.

Scientex Packaging: Purchase of five-layer stretch film line

Wednesday, September 24th, 2003

Malaysian company Scientex Packaging Films has purchased a new 3m wide cast stretch wrap line from Black Clawson. This will be the fifth cast film line Scientex has purchased from the US company. To be installed in Scientex’s newest facility located in Port Klang near Kuala Lumpur, the new line will increase Scientex’s total stretch film production capacity to approx. 50,000 tonnes per year. The new 3m net width cast film line will produce five-layer differential cling, high grade stretch films ranging from 12 microns to 60 microns.

Tek-Tube: Investment in extrusion lines for hoses

Wednesday, September 24th, 2003

Americans’ increasing interest in at-home hot tubs and spas is bubbling over into business for extruded hose maker Tek-Tube LLC, which is launching a US$1.6 million expansion to keep up with new orders. The Las Vegas company is adding two extrusion lines to its existing eight, expects to increase its staff to 22 employees from 18 and is adding 25,000 square feet to its factory.

Tek-Tube: Investment in extrusion lines for hoses

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2003

Americans’ increasing interest in at-home hot tubs and spas is bubbling over into business for extruded hose maker Tek-Tube LLC, which is launching a US$1.6 million expansion to keep up with new orders. The Las Vegas company is adding two extrusion lines to its existing eight, expects to increase its staff to 22 employees from 18 and is adding 25,000 square feet to its factory.

Brueckner: Second BOPP line to Russia

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2003

Brueckner Maschinenbau, Germany, has sold a second BOPP film production line to Russia. The deal for the 18,000tpa capacity line was signed by HilltonGate, a UK-based international investment group. The line will be installed at a site in the Moscow region, which has been designed to accommodate another production line with the same capacity. The first line is due to begin production in the first quarter of 2005. Last month, OAO Novatek ordered a complete film line from the machinery maker, to be built at Nowokujbyschew, Samara.

Senoplast Klepsch: Extrusion expansion in Mexico

Monday, September 22nd, 2003

After three years in Mexico, sheet extruder Senoplast Klepsch & Co. KG is preparing to add its second coextrusion line there and increase sales into the U.S. market. The 226,000-square-foot plant in Querétaro coextrudes polyethylene and ABS sheet. The new, five-layer line will be dedicated to PE. The plant could add 15 workers to its staff of 30 once the line begins operating in June.

Enercon: New breed of Flame treater ignites industry interest

Monday, September 22nd, 2003

Converters and extruders who are familiar with flame treatment will want to take a closer look at Enercon’s new Flame Plasma treater. Innovative burner design, expert web handling and surface treatment expertise have led to the development of a new generation of Flame treaters. Equipped with PowerFlame™ burners this new line of surface treaters delivers exceptionally consistent treatment levels while providing users unparalleled control over their flame treatment process.
The product introduction is in direct response to requests Enercon has received by many industry leaders who rely on flame surface treatment. The new system fills the need for a system capable of handling webs reliably at very high speeds- a chronic problem for less robust systems that lack precision manufacturing to maintain roll and web alignment.
The system’s highly sophisticated electronic control system is easy to use and insures that all aspects of the treating process are precisely controlled. This control allows users to produce repeatable results without needing a degree in surface treating physics or combustion control. In fact, controlling this new system is very similar to controlling a standard corona treating system. And the combination of PowerFlame™ technology with this advanced combustion control system ensures delivery of a higher energy flame plasma to the material’s surface and, therefore, a higher level of treatment.
The new flame plasma treatment systems offer a range of options to meet varying application requirements. And each aspect of the system’s design is application-dependent so that the size, type and position of the burners, chilled treater roll, combustion and mixer controls provide the precise level of treatment desired.