Coperion Werner & Pfleiderer: The ZSK 18 MEGAlab Laboratory Extruder for Perfect Scale-up

To expand its series of twin-screw compounders (ZSK), Coperion Werner & Pfleiderer GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, has developed a new laboratory extruder with a screw diameter of only 18 mm. The ZSK 18 MEGAlab is designed for developing formulations of plastics compounds, masterbatches, and powder coatings in the test laboratories of production facilities, and for carrying out basic tests and research in universities and research facilities. The ZSK 18 MEGAlab offers two particular advantages for these fields of application:

With a diameter ratio Doutside/Dinside = 1.55, a specific torque of Md/a³ = 11.3, and a maximum
speed of 1,200 min –1, it features the same process engineering characteristics as the rest of
the ZSK MEGAcompounder series. Thus the scale-up of an optimized current process or a process developed for new products to production-machine scale presents no problems.
Reliable basic tests can be carried out due to its extensive performance range, from batches of 200 g up to a throughput of 40 kg/h. This is a deciding point in its favour, particularly with expensive starting products or those available only in small quantities.

Because the design and process engineering of the ZSK 18 MEGAlab matches the larger Coperion Werner & Pfleiderer compounding extruders, its use in basic and advanced training is a
very promising application for the newest and smallest member of the ZSK MEGAcompounder family.
The processing section of the ZSK 18 MEGAlab laboratory extruder can be supplied in two standard models. The version with 10 barrels, i.e. with a screw length of 40 D (D = screw
diameter), is designed for developments in the handling and compounding of engineering plastics as well as of masterbatches of all types. Formulation constituents can be added directly to the melt downstream via the ZS-B twin-screw side feeder, whose flange connection has a quickaction coupling. A shorter processing section with 6 barrels, i.e. with a screw length of 24 D, is ideal for powder coating product- and process development. Various models of the peripheral equipment required upstream and downstream such as feeders, pelletizers, or chill rolls, are available for both versions. For simple, flexible use in product development and research, the ZSK 18 MEGAlab offers numerous other advantages:
The processing section has a modular construction. The 4 D barrels and the wide variety of screw elements can be exchanged as desired. Their 3.2 mm flight depth ensures that pellets
can also be reliably fed and melted.
The very high torque of 2 38 Nm is available via the hammered screw shafts and the optimized involute gear teeth in the screw elements.
The laboratory extruder, which is equipped with a powerful SPS control unit, can be operated easily via a touch screen and is largely self-explanatory; in case of problems, help can be obtained quickly via a modem.
The plug-and-play design ensures a quick, problem-free initial start-up; the only requirements are power and water connections. The integrated construction on a mobile base frame makes it easy to use the extruder in various locations.
Peripheral pieces of equipment such as e.g. a cooling unit and vacuum pump are installed in the base frame.
The quick-action couplings and small size of the extruder enable simple, fast cleaning or change-over of the processing section and thus a quick product change.
Finally, the ZSK 18 MEGAlab, like all the ZSK MEGAcompounders, fulfills all the features of European Patent EP 0 852 533 B1 and thus falls under its protection. The two versions of the
laboratory extruder with the standard lengths of 24 D or 40 D will be available at an extremely attractive price for immediate delivery beginning in April 2006.

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