Archive for May, 2006

DuPont Shanghai: Battenfeld Gloucester 3- and 9-Coextrusion Film Lines

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Two coextrusion lines, including one with nine-layer capability, will enhance market-development efforts of DuPont in multilayer and barrier films at the new laboratory in Shanghai.
DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers has ordered two blown film extrusion lines from Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering Co., Inc. for installation in its new R&D Laboratory in Shanghai, which is located in the DuPont China Re-search and Development Center that opened last year. The blown film lines will be used by DuPont and customers throughout the world to develop multilayer and barrier films for the growing market for the packaging of food and con-sumer products, industrial films and other applications.
The equipment includes a three-layer line that will be used primarily for smaller scale development work, and a nine-layer line for production scale-up that includes com-ponents specified by DuPont to enhance process capabilities and barrier properties. Installation of the three-layer line is scheduled for the summer, while the nine-layer line will be set up in the fall.

Pascal Rechatin, Managing Director Asia Pacific, DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers said at the opening, ‘Our business has laboratories and R&D facilities in different countries and regions globally such as the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. The new R&D facility in China is the latest member joining our worldwide customer development and support network. The facilities all collaborate with one another to help increase competitiveness of our customers. This will help to enhance existing products, and bring new products to market more quickly, efficiently and cost effectively.’
‘Blown film coextrusion is an important market for the barrier resins and specialty ethylene copolymers that DuPont offers globally,’ says Roger Kant, Asia-Pacific Business Development and Technical Manager for DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers. ‘The decision to invest in the nine-layer line is based on our confidence in the industry’s potential for expansion. The line will support our business globally. In-stalling the line in China will also enable us to work more closely with customers there, in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.’
Bill Joyce, Battenfeld Gloucester’s Director of International Business Asia/Pacific Region, says the blown film lines represent a collaborative effort by DuPont and Bat-tenfeld Gloucester to develop the market for barrier packaging in China. ‘The high barrier film packaging market in China continues to grow at a very rapid pace,’ he notes ‘with unlimited growth potential.’
DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers plans to use the equipment to work with its customers to develop multilayer and barrier structures based on its own grades of ethylene copolymers and polyamides, as well as LDPE, LLDPE, metallocene PE, polypropylene, EVA, EVOH, PET, ionomers, liquid crystal polymers and tie layer res-ins.
‘We expect to work with customers in diverse and interesting applications,’ Kant says. ‘These include barrier and nonbarrier films for fresh and processed meats, seafood packaging, lidding structures, personal care products, healthcare products, and films for industrial and electronic markets. The nine-layer line will allow us to simulate structures and process conditions from simple monolayer films to complex barrier films.’
The nine-layer line will be one of the most advanced in China, says Bill Hellmuth, Senior Product Manager for Blown Film at Battenfeld Gloucester. ‘There are very few nine-layer lines running anywhere.’ The line can extrude nine-layer films in gauges of 30 to 250 microns, with a maximum lay-flat width of 1270 mm (50 inches).
Features of the line include gravimetric feeding and blending; nine smooth-bore Con-tracool® extruders with 50 mm diameter barrels and 30 L/D screws; an Extrol™ 6032 microprocessor control system with Extrol Windows-based Pro PC graphic in-terface and Extrol Anywhere, a modem for remote diagnostics; an online beta thick-ness gauge from NDC Infrared Engineering; a horizontal oscillating haul-off with composite roller collapsers; Enercon corona treaters; and two model 1011S, single-turret, center-gap winders with splitting nips.
Among the options on the line is a nine-layer Optiflow™ die, with dual-lip air ring and internal bubble cooling, that can be configured as a 200 mm or 300 mm (8- or 12-inch) diameter die by changing inserts. This will permit DuPont to achieve a wide angle of blow-up ratios and throughput rates.
Another option is a water-cooling system for the primary nip rolls. The chrome nip roll is internally cooled by water; the rubber nip roll is surface-cooled by a separate steel rider roll with an internal water chamber. The rider roll draws heat from the surface of the rubber nip roll. The benefit, Hellmuth says, is that the physical properties and curl of multilayer films are better controlled by maintaining an even temperature on the nip rolls.
The nine-layer line also features a powered splitting station that separates both halves of the bubble to feed separate treaters and winders. Hellmuth says this is an important capability for tacky films, which can require a lot of tension to separate them. The powered splitting station assures a clean separation of webs for subse-quent winding at lower tension. The system includes a post-treat cooling roll to re-duce film temperature prior to winding.
The three-layer pilot line is more basic in design but capable of meeting all research and development needs. Equipment includes: three smooth-bore Contracool extrud-ers with 30 mm barrels and 30 L/D screws; a three-layer, 75 mm diameter Optiflow die with dual-lip air ring; a primary nip assembly with composite roller collapsers; dual-spindle shaftless winder; and an Extrol 6016 microprocessor control system.
The line can extrude film in gauges of 35 to 135 microns, and achieves a maximum lay-flat width of 350 mm (14 inches).
The initial results of development work on both lines could be available later this year. ‘The combination of the expertise of DuPont in packaging and industrial resins and Battenfeld Gloucester’s experience in designing advanced extrusion equipment will create tremendous opportunities for film makers and converters in China, the Asia Pacific region and global customers, while adding to their knowledge world-wide.’

Techmer PM: New Film Clarifier

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Film packages are more popular than ever, thanks to innovations such as stand-up pouches that can be re-closed with built-in ‘zipper’ seals. Another factor sparking the surge in film packaging is the cost savings available with linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). Compared to regular LDPE, LLDPE films provide extra strength and toughness; this is enough of a boost to allow film thickness to be trimmed by as much as 25%.
However, LLDPE also has a major drawback: haze. ‘Barefoot LLDPE films just don’t offer the clarity that’s so important for retail displays and impulse buying,’ says Mark Jordan, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Techmer PM. ‘That’s why some consumer-goods companies haven’t availed themselves of the economic benefits of LLDPE.’
To liberate LLDPE from that shortcoming, Techmer PM has developed a masterbatch additive that cuts haze dramatically. ‘In fact,’ says Jordan, ‘our new PM13199 Film Clarifier can reduce haze by up to 50%.’ For example, he cites one series of tests with 2-mil LLDPE blown films where haze went from 30.9% to only 16.1%, with a 6% loading of PM13199.
‘Our film-extrusion customers can now offer their customers the sort of ‘eye-appeal’ that grabs the attention of shoppers,’ says Jordan. ‘And consumer packages aren’t the only application where PM13199 Film Clarifier can be useful. We’re also targeting films for shrink-wrap bundling and overwrap films-even some molding applications.’
Techmer PM will feature PM13199 at this year’s NPE show, June 19-23, at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Techmer PM will be in the South Hall, booth 774.
Techmer PM is a major producer of valued-added color and additive masterbatches for the plastics and fiber industries. With ISO 9001-certified plants supporting a worldwide customer base, Techmer PM specializes in high-performance applications where quality, technical support, and problem solving are critical.

American Maplan: Co-extrusion Blocks Maximize Performance, Minimize Cost

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

American Maplan multi-layer technology blocks allow multiple material streams to be employed, maximizing product performance and minimizing ma-terial costs in the extrusion of pipe and profile. With this technology, product designers can use materials for specific properties such as weatherability and aesthetics that would otherwise be cost prohibitive.
Recycled material streams can be layered between prime materials to reduce waste. An additional advantage is that the co-extrusion blocks, in both dual and triple wall applications, adapt to most tooling with minimal modifications. In application, the co-extrusion blocks can be used in both pipe and natural fiber composites, and easily incorporate UV additives and colors. Significant product design flexibility is the end result.
Standard features of the co-extrusion blocks include superior layer thickness control with all flow surfaces chrome plated for high output with low operating pressure. Tri-ple wall blocks offer 6 heating zones plus 1 T-C for the monitoring cone for a total of 7 T-C’s. For dual and triple blocks, heating capacity is 6.75 and 14.3 kW, length is 207 and 736 mm and weights are from 115 and 818 kg, respectively.
American Maplan offers optional equipment for even greater flexibility in producing dual wall and triple wall pipe including conversion to three extruder capability and conversion kits for most existing pipe heads.
The ability to customize the blocks to the specific product needs of the customer is another advantage from American Maplan.
Co-extrusion technology allows various combinations of materials to maximize per-formance, economics and aesthetics.

DuPont Performance Elastomers: European Food Contact Approval for Viton® Freeflow™ Z200 Process Aids Food Packaging Films

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

DuPont Performance Elastomers has announced that its Viton® FreeFlow™ Z200 fluoroelastomer process aids have been declared compliant with food contact regulations in Europe for use in finished film-type food packaging materials. The processing additive, which uses polycaprolactone (PCL) as the interfacial agent, has been granted a Regulatory Compliance Statement for Food Contact Materials in accordance with European Directive 2002/72/EC, applicable to EU Member States and to Norway and Switzerland.
This is in addition to existing compliance with US FDA Regulations under 21 CFR 177.1520 § (b), Canadian Health Protection Branch (HPB) and with the Japan Hygienic Olefin and Styrene Plastics Association (JHOSPA) under Japanese Food Sanitation Law, granted earlier.
‘With the addition of EU compliance, Viton® FreeFlow™ Z200 now has food contact approval effective in the major global markets of the world. This will significantly broaden acceptability of the newest PCL-based process aid, and enable film converters to use the distinctive high temperature stability, olfactory and compatibility advantages of Viton® FreeFlow™ Z200 in food packaging wrap products,’ said ---topher Fisher, marketing manager - DuPont Performance Elastomers.
In comparison with conventional and polyethylene glycol (PEG) based process aids, Viton® FreeFlow™ Z200 offers better thermal stability at temperatures up to 300°C, minimal olfactory effects, and less interaction with other additives. The process aid can help increase film line yield and eliminate melt-fracture, leading to a film with excellent clarity, limited haze, high gloss, and robust tear and puncture resistance, all of which are highly important in the food packaging industry.

Kiefel: International Press Briefing

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

At the international press conference of KIEFEL Extrusion GmbH, representatives of Lyondell Chemical Company presented information regarding grades of bimodal high molecular weight polyethylenes that are specially suited for the production of MDO films.

Lyondell’s polymers business, headquartered in Houston, Texas, USA, has established a leadership position in the area of polymer and film structure development for MDO applications. KIEFEL has worked closely with the company on the development of its KIRION® MDO module to satisfy specific material and film property requirements. Lyondell’s polymers business is conducted through Lyondell’s wholly owned subsidiary, Equistar Chemicals, LP.

Lyondell’s polymer research is focused on understanding the structure-property relationships of MDO films, which can be utilized to design film structures containing polymers with bimodal molecular weight distributions that meet both application performance and economic needs. As a result of this work, enhancements in film properties achieved by utilizing MDO were modeled, drastically reducing the time and costs of developing innovative flexible packages. For example, the tear strength, clarity, toughness and stiffness of a polymer film can be tailored to meet a specific application need by incorporating the proper MDO conditions, polymer selection and film structure design.

An overview of both historical and new flexible packaging applications that can utilize MDO films was presented. Markets of interest range from tags and labels to lamination replacements, showing the breadth of opportunities for oriented bimodal high molecular weight polyethylene films. Details regarding market size and key drivers for the incorporation of MDO films were discussed, which further substantiated the reality of MDO technology as the next paradigm shift in polymer film technology. The results of a detailed economic model of MDO film fabrication were shared, which validated the significant financial drivers for the incorporation of MDO into a flexible packaging film line.

Supported by this research conducted by Lyondell’s polymer business and the know-how in the construction of blown film lines of the German specialist at Kiefel, MDO films can now be fabricated that are not only optimized for their specific application, but are capable of reducing material consumption while improving film properties. Furthermore, material costs can possibly be reduced by incorporating standard polymers in flexible packaging applications that have been previously reserved for more costly specialty polymers, blends or co-extrusions. With the availability of a functioning MDO machine module from KIEFEL, Lyondell sees the opportunity for further developments.

Precision AirConvey: Film Scrap Repelletizing Equipment

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

Precision AirConvey (PAC), USA, has entered into a joint venture with plastics recycling equipment maker Plasmac Ltd., U.K. PAC already offers equipment for reclaiming film edge trim, film waste, and offspec rolls. Now it will also offer Plasmac’s line of 21 film-scrap repelletizing extruders. These systems can reclaim edge trim and roll scrap without prior granulation.

Kiefel: International Press Briefing

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

At the international press conference of KIEFEL Extrusion GmbH, representatives of Lyondell Chemical Company presented information regarding grades of bimodal high molecular weight polyethylenes that are specially suited for the production of MDO films.

Lyondell’s polymers business, headquartered in Houston, Texas, USA, has established a leadership position in the area of polymer and film structure development for MDO applications. KIEFEL has worked closely with the company on the development of its KIRION® MDO module to satisfy specific material and film property requirements. Lyondell’s polymers business is conducted through Lyondell’s wholly owned subsidiary, Equistar Chemicals, LP.

Lyondell’s polymer research is focused on understanding the structure-property relationships of MDO films, which can be utilized to design film structures containing polymers with bimodal molecular weight distributions that meet both application performance and economic needs. As a result of this work, enhancements in film properties achieved by utilizing MDO were modeled, drastically reducing the time and costs of developing innovative flexible packages. For example, the tear strength, clarity, toughness and stiffness of a polymer film can be tailored to meet a specific application need by incorporating the proper MDO conditions, polymer selection and film structure design.

An overview of both historical and new flexible packaging applications that can utilize MDO films was presented. Markets of interest range from tags and labels to lamination replacements, showing the breadth of opportunities for oriented bimodal high molecular weight polyethylene films. Details regarding market size and key drivers for the incorporation of MDO films were discussed, which further substantiated the reality of MDO technology as the next paradigm shift in polymer film technology. The results of a detailed economic model of MDO film fabrication were shared, which validated the significant financial drivers for the incorporation of MDO into a flexible packaging film line.

Supported by this research conducted by Lyondell’s polymer business and the know-how in the construction of blown film lines of the German specialist at Kiefel, MDO films can now be fabricated that are not only optimized for their specific application, but are capable of reducing material consumption while improving film properties. Furthermore, material costs can possibly be reduced by incorporating standard polymers in flexible packaging applications that have been previously reserved for more costly specialty polymers, blends or co-extrusions. With the availability of a functioning MDO machine module from KIEFEL, Lyondell sees the opportunity for further developments.

Tecnaro GmbH: Making Wood Moldable and Extrudable

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

A company in Germany has developed a way to make a meltable wood-based polymer that can be extruded, palletized, and injection molded. Tecnaro GmbH in Eisenach is a commercial spinoff from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT) in Pfinztal, Germany. Tecnaro takes lignin, a natural polymer in wood, that has been separated from cellulose in the papermaking process and mixes the lignin with natural fibers such as sisal, hemp, or linen plus additives and colorant dyes. The resulting product, called Arboform, is a biodegradable thermoplastic that can molded into figurines, speaker cabinets, auto instrument panels, chessmen, golf tees, or rifle stocks. Moldable Arboform has been sold since 2000. Now, Tecnaro is pursuing extrusion applications such as artists’ crayons and cosmetic pencils. Tel: +49 3691/621-320, e-mail: [email protected], www.tecnaro.de

Precision AirConvey: Film Scrap Repelletizing Equipment

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Precision AirConvey (PAC), USA, has entered into a joint venture with plastics recycling equipment maker Plasmac, U.K. PAC already offers equipment for reclaiming film edge trim, film waste, and offspec rolls. Now it will also offer Plasmac’s line of 21 film-scrap repelletizing extruders. These systems can reclaim edge trim and roll scrap without prior granulation.

Reifenhauser: New Five-Layer Die-Head

Friday, May 12th, 2006

The newly developed five-layer die-head with spiral mandrels is an extension to the existing five-/seven-layer die-head design HDS (horizontal distribution system), which is focussed on very thin individual layers, for example, EVOH, tie-layer etc. The new five-layer die-head will close the gap between high quality three-layer applications and five-layer barrier film. These are contrary requirements in respect of layer thickness, melt viscosity and very different throughput per layer. The layout of the five-layer die-head is based on the very successful configuration of the new three-layer die-head with central IBC and spiral mandrels. This five-layer die-head can process a lot of different resin types such as Polyolefins (LDPE, LLDPE, Metallocenes, PP, EVA, etc), EVOH, PA and CoPET. This gives the film producer the flexibility to cover both film applications where mechanical properties are a main issue and barrier film for food and medical applications with a low OTR (oxygen transmission rate). This field is interesting for film producers who are newcomers in the barrier film market with different end-users, but are already well established in the three-layer market.