Archive for March, 2004

Metabolix: Biodegradable film for food-packaging

Wednesday, March 31st, 2004

Metabolix Inc., USA, which uses biotechnology to develop environmentally friendly plastics from renewable resources, is working with the U.S. government to commercialize biodegradable food-packaging film for the U.S. Navy. The goal is to reduce the environmental impact of waste generated by the Navy. If the project is successful, the packaging film could be adopted by other branches of the military, says the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center in Natick Mass. The U.S. military produces more than 14,000 tons of packaging waste from 47 million food rations annually.
The material in evaluation is Metabolix’s polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) film, which offers barrier properties, stability with hot liquids, and biodegradability in fresh or salt water, soil or compost, and anaerobic conditions. PHA plastics can be rigid or elastomeric, and are suitable for films, moldings, fibers, coatings, and adhesives. The project seeks to develop processing guidelines for the material, determine its performance properties and biodegradation, and evaluate its suitability for use in laminated and coextruded structures. Metabolix,

AMI: Output up for PE film extruders

Wednesday, March 31st, 2004

The number of polyethylene film extruders has fallen over the past five years – but the remaining plants have been more productive. UK consultancy AMI says that in 2003 film producers processed an average 5,800tpa of PE, compared with 5,000tpa in 1999. It also estimates that an average film extruder operates eight blown film lines. Consumption of PE for film extrusion has been growing at a little more than 2% a year in 2000-2003, according to The Polyethylene Film Industry in Europe. But the number of PE film extruders in Europe fell 2.6% from 1,321 in 1999 to 1,286 in 2003. Every country in western Europe suffered a decline; Italy remained the principal producer with 277 extruders operating in 2003. The biggest decline was 14.8% to 161 extruders in the UK, where major players BPI, Britton and Tyco have closed plants in the past two years. Central Europe’s fortunes have been much better, with the number of extruders increasing 21.5% from 205 in 1999 to 249 in 2003.

Barlo Plastics: New Sheet Material Launched

Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

Barlo Plastics has launched a new sheet material — BARLO CAST lumina — that allows designers to use the ‘third dimension’ of their product as a light source. BARLO CAST lumina has special light diffusion characteristics, which effectively illuminate the whole sheet surface as a result of light waves passing through the edges of the sheet. This means that smaller and lower power lighting sources can be installed bringing energy saving and construction cost reduction in such installations as urban furniture and poster frames. Ultra slim profile frames can be specified along with a wide choice of lighting sources, such as fluorescent tubes, optical fibres or LED’s. BARLO CAST lumina will be available immediately in a range of thickness from 6 to 15 mm and in one standard sheet size of 2 m x 3 m. The greatest demand for this product is envisaged to be clear sheet. So far two colours have been produced — red and blue. Barlo prefers to make each colour to order in close cooperation with the client. This process allows complete control of the final appearance of the product, according to Barlo’s technical department.

SMS Folientechnik: First cast stretch line to Russia

Friday, March 26th, 2004

With the installation of the first cast stretch line in Moscow the Viennese machine manufacturer SMS Folientechnik GmbH is strengthening its market leadership in Europe. With the introduction of the new, standardized cast stretch film line concept cast 2020 cost-efficient, high-performance production lines are now available to processors at a competitive price. The Russian Cast stretch film manufacturer REGENT STRETCH recently purchased a 2.5-m wide turn-key line for simultaneous production of five 500 mm rolls.

¡§This line is a state of the art model among stretch film lines, especially in view of its high output and its enormous speed of up to 500 m/min¡¨, David Finnemore, Product Group Manager of SMS Folientechnik, emphasizes. ¡§With a current market volume of approximately 50,000 tons annually in Cast Stretch film and a forecast annual growth rate of 8%, Russia is one of those European countries for which our equipment is tailor-made. Thanks to its flexibility, the equipment will produce film gauged from 10 to 50 ƒÝm, depending on current demand.¡¨

Two 90 mm and two 120 mm Contracool extruders, each equipped with its own screen changer and gravimetric feeding unit for four or five components, ensure a total net line capacity of up to 1,270 kg/h. Of course the line¡¦s standard equipment includes latest technology components, such as the feed block and the automatic flat film die from Cloeren, inline edge trim reclaim, measuring and control devices for total film quality monitoring, and a fully automatic turret winder. Handling is simplified by an automatic core feeding and roll take-off system in addition to the central EXTROL control system for the complete line.

Additional service to customers

The line is equipped with a film testing device from Highlight Industries Inc., U.S.A., for comprehensive off-line quality monitoring. Film testing equipment from this leading supplier ensures effective quality assurance, providing processors with a tool for fast and easy monitoring of all relevant parameters. To offer customers a complete range of services, SMS Folientechnik took over the sole agency for this film testing equipment in the European stretch film market at the beginning of last year. In addition to its sales and after-sales service, the customer-orientated Viennese machine manufacturer also offers training facilities in its modern technical lab, where a seven-layer blown film line and a cast 2020 line are made available to interested customers for exclusive trial production runs.

NFM Iddon: Small Extruder Range

Friday, March 26th, 2004

NFM Iddon, Lancashire, UK has developed a new range of small extruders for use in R&D and co-extrusion applications. The machines extend from 20 mm Ø to 45 mm Ø and can be belt or directly driven via geared motors. The company has just delivered a 30 mm 25:1 L/D extruder to Scapa Polymerics at its new site in Ashton-Under-Lyne. The extruder will process its Megolon compounds for testing in a new state of the art laboratory. The range of co-extruders comprises wheel or track mounted horizontal machines, retractable carriage mounted machines or the company’s new vertically supported design with lockable collar off a vertical column. The co-extruders are all equipped with analogue swivel mounted operator panels, bi-metallic barrels and hinge die support with quick release toggle clamps. All the machines are built at NFM’s premises in Leyland and include machines supplied to US customers through the company headquarters in Massillon, Ohio, US.

Deceuninck: Increased profits in new markets

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2004

PVC windows maker Deceuninck Group recorded increased profits last year after expanding into new markets. Profits for the Belgium-based company rose 17.5% compared with the previous year to EURO 91m. Sales were up 29.9% at EURO 470m. Deceuninck said a strong renovation market helped its performance. The largest growth for the company was in eastern Europe and Turkey. Deceuninck expanded into the Russian market last month and opened an office in Moscow. It employs over 30 staff in the country. Despite its US operations being hit by a weak dollar and high PVC prices, the firm last week started production of wood composite decking boards in Ohio. Deceuninck said it expected to expand into new geographical areas over the next year.

SML: Sleeve-Touch Technique

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2004

The SML-Sleeve-Touch technique combines the advantages of the chill-roll process, with those of the polishing stack technique and the water bath process. The films produced in this way have very good optical and mechanical properties, good flatness, low thermal shrinkage and a high-quality surface finish. By comparison to steel belt systems, the Sleeve-Touch technique permits thinner films to be produced, and a change of sleeve from a high-gloss to an embossing polishing belt can be performed considerably quicker. A switch in the process mode to chill-roll or conventional polishing stack can also be completed within a short period of time. A further advantage over steel belt technology is the fact that the melt emerges vertically from the die, directly into the sleeve gap. It is also possible to switch the production mode between calender/chill-roll/sleeve in less than an hour, due to an innovative roll-stack design with different docking stations. In this way, the change can be made from calendering mode to sleeve or chill-roll mode by simply switching docking stations.

Kuhne: Flat Film Line

Monday, March 22nd, 2004

Kuhne has recently built a flat film line for PET with the possibility of inline coating and laminating. The line is designed for thermo formable film in a thickness range from 200 µm to 1200 µm. A net film width of 1250 mm can be obtained. The capacity of the line is above 1300 kg/h and is extremely flexible as it has the ability to run raw materials like A-PET, PS, PP, as well as foamed PP and PET. Especially for the food packaging industry, the extruders are equipped with the new ‘low emission package’ from Kuhne. This means that the extruders’ motor and gear section are fully enclosed in order to keep the noise level and the heat emission low and to make it easy for the operators to clean the machine. It is possible to supply a coating layer, for example a sealing layer of LDPE or LLDPE by means of an additional extruder, which is positioned above the laminating station. Furthermore a laminating film can be added via a two station unwinding unit. This lamination film can be a printed film, or a film with specific properties, for example a high barrier film.

Battenfeld: Strategic cooperation agreement with Chinese extruder Hebei B&S Group

Monday, March 22nd, 2004

A strategic cooperation agreement between the extrusion divisions of Battenfeld and Chinese processor Hebei B&S Group Co. Ltd., will advance their mutual business interests in the People’s Republic of China. The agreement was signed during the Chinaplas exposition in Beijing last December by Zhou Shan, chairman of Hebei B&S Group (HBS), and executives of the Battenfeld extrusion divisions - Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering, Gloucester, MA, which manufactures film, sheet, and foam extrusion equipment, Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany, and Battenfeld Chen Extrusion Systems, Shunde, People’s Republic of China, a manufacturer of film, sheet, pipe, and profile lines.

Under the agreement the Battenfeld companies designate HBS as a key account and share with the company new designs in extrusion equipment, information on emerging applications worldwide in flexible packaging and pipe and profile, provide technical advice on product development, and keep the processor apprised of global trends in polymer consumption and other relevant market data that can be used to help develop business in China. Battenfeld will also provide HBS with regularly scheduled sales and service calls, training, and technical seminars.

HBS makes the Battenfeld companies preferred vendors for extrusion equipment and will inform them about future projects so they may submit proposals for equipment and technical support. The processor will also share information with Battenfeld on market trends in China for flexible packaging and pipe and profile, product requirements of its end-user customers and other market information, and technical feedback on equipment performance and process needs that can be used in the engineering of extrusion systems.

The Battenfeld companies have been doing business with the Hebei B&S Group for some time. Among the equipment installed are blown film and cast polypropylene sheet lines from Battenfeld Gloucester, several PVC pipelines from Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik, including socketing units, as well as polyethylene pipelines and PVC window extruders. Battenfeld Chen Extrusion Systems has supplied pipe extrusion and multilayer blown film lines to the group.

‘This agreement is extremely significant to the development of business in China for both Hebei B&S Group and Battenfeld,’ says Bill Joyce, Battenfeld Gloucester’s Director of International Business for Asia. ‘Hebei B&S Group has the opportunity to develop a close relationship with Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering, Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik and Battenfeld Chen Extrusion Systems that will give it a huge competitive advantage in extrusion technology and product development. Battenfeld gains greater insight into the product and process needs of China’s growing extrusion business, which will enable it to design more competitive machines for the market.’

‘The deal is all the more notable’, Wolfgang Studener, President of Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik, says, ‘because it affirms the leadership position that Battenfeld has attained in the People’s Republic of China. In the past several years Battenfeld has gone from being a new entrant in China to the No. 1 supplier for a major processor. Our progress in this market demonstrates the competitive advantages of our equipment and technology, and the commitment we bring to customer support and satisfaction.’

Coperion: Pneumatic conveying - Increased Performance and Productivity

Friday, March 19th, 2004

At the end of October 2003 Coperion Waeschle GmbH & Co. KG, Weingarten, staged a very successful pneumatic conveying in-house seminar with company trade fair – around 60 attendees from all branches of industry met at Baienfurt-Niederbiegen, the manufacturing and test centre site of Coperion Waeschle, to be informed on increased capacity and productivity during dilute-phase, strand and plug conveying. The lectures at the seminars focused on
• The different types of pneumatic conveying and the selection of the conveying mode which is most suitable for the respective bulk solid. During plug conveying, which is very gentle to the product, the new self-optimising INTACON® air control system fully automatically adjusts the maximum conveying capacity for each product and then reliably runs with the lowest possible air quantity in the stable range.
• Rotary valves, diverter valves and slide valves as function-critical components in conveying systems. Emphasis was placed on the description of the design and principle of operation of the new ZXQ rotary valve, the first blow-through valve suitable for powder conveying with a differential pressure of up to 3.5 bar. This valve increases the capacity of an existing conveying system considerably without any major modification.
• Measures for plant optimisation with which existing conveying systems can be adapted to suit current and future tasks and demands. These include scraper systems for efficient and inexpensive plant cleaning when the product is changed, product cleaning systems with mobile separators for removing fines, high-standard service in conjunction with thorough training of plant operators and the leasing service.
The presentations at the test centre were a real highlight at the event. At the test centre conveying pipes with various diameters and a total length of more than 2,000 m as well as all facilities necessary for the operation of conveying systems are installed, so that seminar attendees were able to experience ‘hands-on conveying technology’. Dr. Hans Hoppe, Head of Technology at Coperion Waeschle, explained: ‘In our test centre we are able to examine the conveying properties of bulk solids under practical conditions on an industrial scale. We achieve conveying capacities of up to approximately 110 t/h with polyolefins and even 230 t/h with PTA, pipe lengths of up to 800 m and system pressures of up to 6 bar – these values are a world record for test centre performance’.

At the company trade fair Coperion Waeschle exhibited the widest range of rotary valves, diverter valves, slide valves and air control systems in its 103-year history. ‘The exhibits are on show to answer the question why our components are so reliable“, explains Nils Bannat, Head of Component Sales. ‘At the same time they show the experts the important details which make a decisive difference’. The new pillar of the company, Coperion Trading, was also introduced at the company fair. Due to its cooperation with trading partners Coperion is able to supply conveying and compounding systems from one source as overall plants all over the world. Five of the numerous renowned partner companies took the opportunity to present their products.