Archive for June, 2006

American Maplan: Total Extrusion Solutions at Open House

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

‘Total Extrusion Solutions’ will be the theme of an open house hosted by American Maplan Corporation at their facility in McPherson, Kansas July 6-9. Three days of machine demonstrations and practical applications will be showcased and discussed in conjunction with the USGA’s US Senior Open Golf Tournament, which will take place in nearby Hutchinson, Kansas.
Two demonstration lines will run each day and groups will tour the plant for up-close demonstrations and small group discussions with engineers, technical service staff and machinists. Compounding with Planetary Extruder System and AMC’s new Sheet Extrusion System will lead off the three day event on Thursday, July 6. Friday, Compounding will again be featured in addition to Polyethylene Pipe with the US premiere of the iNOEX Advantage System. The event will close Saturday with Sheet and PE pipe.
‘This is an exciting opportunity for us to showcase our products live with our custom-ers, allowing them to see the technology, ask questions and express their needs and concerns,’ said Kurt Waldhauer, President and CEO of American Maplan. ‘We are anxious for our customers to see our level of excellence and commitment to the market, while at the same time allowing us to thank them for making us a leader in the industry.’
The iNOEX Advantage System will feature the ability to change pipe dimensions dur-ing operations. This system is used in conjunction with American Maplan’s extruder, die tooling and downstream offering and will provide the processor with the optimum combination of function and economical utilization of extrusion equipment and tool-ing. During the Open House, this line will feature a developmental PE100-PE4710 resin from Lyondell Chemical Company’s Equistar Chemicals business. This resin has been designed to meet the stringent requirements and favorable characteristics needed by modern pipe processors.
American Maplan Corporation’s first public exhibition of Sheet Extrusion Equipment will consist of a 90 mm single screw extruder with output capabilities of 600 kg/hr (PP) and 700 kg/hr (HIPS). It will be running a complete line with a sheet width of 750 mm. The equipment design technology is based on market proven systems in-stalled by its sister company Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik, Bad Oeynhausen, Ger-many. The line will be processing two resins by The Dow Chemical Company that target the rapidly expanding packaging markets - STYRON™ 421 high impact poly-styrene (HIPS) and H314-02Z homopolymer polypropylene (PP) resin. These resins have been generated to help processors maximize their yields, throughput and qual-ity.
The Planetary compounding system will be featuring Shintec, Inc. (Copley, OH) PVC compound designed for the fenestration market. The Planetary system is ideally suited to shear and heat sensitive compounds and therefore provides the maximum homogenization of materials with a minimal amount of shear and heat history. The process versatility of the planetary system has also been exhibited by compounding several different formulations of natural fiber composites (NFC) with varying moisture levels. These NFC compounds can then be used in direct extrusion by American Maplan’s single or twin screw extruders, injection molding machines or other proc-esses. A planetary extruder is also utilized as the backbone of Calendrette lines pro-vided by Battenfeld and American Maplan.
Following the open house each day, customers have the opportunity to attend the US Senior Open at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas. American Maplan will host a private hospitality villa on the 16th hole of the course with exclu-sive access to the events throughout the weekend.

EDI: Dies that Coextrude up to 80 Exceedingly Thin Layers Raise Film and Coating Productivity, Lower Cost, and Boost Performance

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

A potentially revolutionary flat-die system produces films and coatings with an order-of-magnitude greater number of layers than conventional coextrusions, yielding microlayer structures that improve moisture and gas barrier, encapsulate gels and ‘un-melts,’ and enable manufacturers to make more economical use of high-cost materials, it was announced at NPE 2006 by Extrusion Dies Industries, LLC (EDI), which is exhibiting at Booth 4661. Microlayer technology will become widely used in barrier packaging, according to EDI.
The technology is based on a patented ‘layer multiplier’ system developed by The Dow Chemical Company and licensed from Dow by EDI. In a typical configuration, three or more extruders feed melt streams into an EDI-streamlined feedblock, which produces a uniform multi-layer ’sandwich’; this in turn is fed into a layer-multiplier device built by EDI using Dow’s patented design. In this device the layers are multiplied in stages: for example, three layers are multiplied into twelve, which are multiplied into forty-eight. The finished micro-layer structure is then distributed in an EDI coextrusion manifold to the target product width
‘We still do not know the practical upper limit,’ said EDI president and CEO Timothy C. Callahan, ‘but in my opinion it is possible to produce 50-micron film with 80 layers.’
EDI’s microlayer technology integrates the Dow layer multiplier into a complete custom-engineered system that includes the die, feedblock, and other tooling components for distributing the complex structure into a finished extrudate. The company will license the Dow technology to customers. ‘We are establishing relationships with licensees that enable film and coating processors to profit from the production economies and enhanced product performance made possible by the EDI / Dow multiplier system,’ Callahan said.

Microlayer Advantages Are Evident in Coextrusion Process and in End Use
As coextruded structures proliferate well beyond the standard limits of five, seven, or nine layers, here are some of the benefits cited by EDI:
• Enhanced barrier properties. The sheer increase in the number of barrier layers in the product yields an even more ‘torturous path’ for gas and moisture molecules.
• Economizing on costly materials. Because many key properties of a polymer do not decrease proportionately with layer thickness, microlayer technology makes it possible to economize on costly high-performance resins while still achieving target properties. In oriented PET film, for example, layers of more expensive high-intrinsic viscosity (IV) resins can be combined with layers of low-IV grades. The resulting film properties are superior to those of film produced from a physical blend of high-IV and low-IV PET grades.
• Fewer web breaks. The greater the number of layers, the less the likelihood of breakage caused by pinholes in film, particularly in biaxially oriented products subjected to post-extrusion stretching. This is because the large number of layer-to-layer interfaces increases the chances for gels and other defects to be encapsulated and rendered harmless.
• New combinations of properties. The same polymer exerts different effects on end product properties according to whether it is distributed into one or two layers or into many super-thin layers. Layer-multiplier technology makes it possible to produce film that is more flexible, for example, without reducing the overall amount of a rigid polymer used as one of the raw materials. One benefit is greater processing latitude in subsequent thermoforming processes.
‘EDI sees much of the barrier packaging sector adopting layer-multiplier technology in coming years,’ Callahan said. ‘Microlayer coextrusion also promises to speed the incorporation of nanocomposites in food packaging for enhanced barrier, thermal, and mechanical properties.’

Davis-Standard: Solarium de Paris First to Install Davis-Standard XP Express™

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Solarium de Paris of Québec, Canada recently installed a Davis-Standard, LLC XP Express™ sheet system to improve quality control and cost effectiveness for its growing line of commercial sunroom products. The system, installed in March, is being used to manufacture flexible PVC window film in widths up to 34 inches (860mm) in two colors and with a thickness of 0.020 mil. Solarium de Paris is the first company to install the XP Express, Davis-Standard’s new, pre-engineered roll stand with linear roll actuation and capabilities for lamination, auxiliary cooling, slitting and trimming, embossing and protective film applications.
“We purchased the sheet line from Davis-Standard for many reasons,” said Jacques Hébert, Solarium de Paris project manager. “First, we wanted to improve the quality and value of our sunroom windows by ensuring an adequate formulation while reducing production costs. Secondly, we are expanding our product line to include window film for various applications including the production of warehouse curtains. Davis-Standard demonstrated to us that their equipment was best-suited for our product applications and our production goals.”
According to Hébert, the XP Express has enabled Solarium de Paris to improve control over cooling, polishing and thickness of the finished product because of individual roll control. Each roll on the system has individual pumps, heat transfer units, electric motors and compressed air control, which improves consistency and product quality. Solarium de Paris is also pleased with the consistent throughput rates and operator safety benefits such as the straightforward roll change mechanism and hands-free roll gap and load control system.
“The new roll stand is a critical piece of machinery because it gives us a high quality finished product at the right price,” said Hébert. “Davis-Standard took great care in designing this new model and making sure it was suitable for our applications. Even after we purchased and installed the line, they were willing to make adjustments to ensure we have crystal clear PVC film. Davis-Standard is very proactive toward finding solutions, and they stick to what they say and advertise.”
Solarium de Paris is the only firm in the world to offer fully patented sunroom products built with aluminum structures, tinted flexible PVC sheet windows, and accessories made with rigid PVC, flexible PVC, or a coextruded combination of rigid and flexible PVC. The company markets its products to a range of customers through corporate stores and manufacturing facilities, partnerships or individually owned, with a protected sales territory in Canada, the United States and France. According to Hebert, “We set ourselves apart by offering a unique product that is affordable and durable for both homeowners and businesses. We sell a dream that is reachable for everyone.”
For more information on Solarium de Paris, visit www.solarium-de-paris.com or contact either Jean St Amour, president, at [email protected], or Jacques Hébert at [email protected] For more information about Davis-Standard’s sheet capabilities and the XP Express, contact Al ---bacher at [email protected]

Jinming: Sale of film equipment in North America

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

China-based Jinming Plastics Equipment Co. Ltd. sold one monolayer film extruder and one cast film extruder on the first day of NPE and one three-layer extruder on the second day. The company, first to produce seven-layer and nine-layer coextrusion machines in China, licenses winding
technology from German firm Plamex Maschinebau GmbH and uses components from Israeli company Sysmetric, which operates in Germany and Mexico as well. In return, Jinming provides sales and cost-control support to its partners.
Starting sales in North America only in 2005, Jinming has already sold seven lines. One has been running for almost a year, two have been delivered to customers in Toronto, and four will be delivered in a few months. It has a sales agent, Plastic Equipment Co. Ltd. (PEC), in Vancouver.
Dennis Wong, PEC vice president of sales, said: “Compared to Taiwan machinery makers, Chinese companies are late comers to North America. The first and foremost task is to make the brand and products known to people.”

Fong Kee: To build Extruders in China

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Taiwanese extrusion equipment manufacturer Fong Kee Iron Works Co. Ltd. is opening a manufacturing plant in China, its first since it closed down an operation there in the mid-1990s. The company, which is one of Taiwan’s largest extruder makers, is setting up operations there to better serve customers on the mainland, and not primarily as a move to control costs.
The Tainan-based company is opening its 11,000-square-meter factory this month in Guangdong Province, across the border from Hong Kong, where it will make accumulator head blow molding machines, cast film lines for markets like food packaging and extrusion lamination machines.
Fong Kee officials have previously raised concerns about having their equipment copied by mainland firms, but Wei said the company is working with suppliers there that it has long relationships with. The company wants to be on the mainland to provide better service to customers, particularly those who might lose their ability to import machines to the mainland with reduced duties. As well, she said the company views the
mainland factory as a hedge, if political changes in Asia make it more difficult to use Taiwan as a platform to export within Asia.

Buss: Showing flag at the NPE

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

After recently regaining independence, Buss AG of Pratteln, Switzerland will make its international plastics trade-fair debut at the NPE
(June 19 to 23, 2006 in Chicago). “It is of key strategic importance for us to show the flag at this event, the biggest plastics industry trade fair of 2006”, pointed out the ongoing Buss CEO Beat Sturzenegger, “and since close to 20 % of our sales are in the NAFTA region alone, we see substantial growth potential here – not least because our regained independence allows us to concentrate without restriction on our core capabilities”. Thanks to the technical and economic advantages of the Buss Kneader product family, the company can now go ahead with the global expansion of its market leadership in demanding process technology. The quantec® high-performance Kneader to be shown on the Buss stand 5926 in hall B1 plays a key role thereby. Presented for the first time in the USA, this new development beats all other Buss Kneaders with an unequalled throughput to investment cost ratio. After proving itself in PVC compounds and powder paints processing, the quantec® Kneader will be adapted to other applications as well, such as for direct calender feeding. After more than half a century of industrial success, Buss offers customers flexible state-of-the-art production facilities as well as fully comprehensive process technology know-how. As explained by Beat Sturzenegger: “During the last few years in particular, we have progressed from a machine-building company to a solution provider for our customers. Our biggest strength is that we integrate process technology and machine
design to provide the optimal solution for every compounding or processing challenge. That lets us meet each customer’s quality demands and cost-effectiveness requirements at the same time”.
The strategic goal of Buss is to further expand its high existing market share in areas where users can strengthen their positioning with Buss Kneaders, above all with the quantec® high-performance Kneader now presented for the first time in the USA. The company focuses thereby on niche markets of the plastics, chemical, aluminium and food industries. “Indispensable to this end is our ongoing research and development effort, on which we spend about 4 % of our earnings. We can afford this above-average outlay thanks to our highly efficient production facilities, our healthy financial situation and order books, and not least thanks to the full strategic support of our majority
shareholder Fabrel Lotos, Zurich”.

Consol: Sale of two plastics businesses in South Africa

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

South African glass giant Consol has sold off two out of its three plastics packaging divisions – film manufacturer Consol Flexibles and its rigid thermoformed unit Plastform.
Consol Flexibles was bought by Polypak as an ongoing concern for an undisclosed sum with the deal taking effect from 1 May. The board of directors at Consol made a strategic decision to exit the flexibles packaging industry as it was a non core business. Plastform is being bought as an ongoing concern by the Astrapak packaging group. The deal is set to take effect from the end of June but has yet to be approved by the South African Competition Commission. Plastform is a leading South African packaging supplier focusing on the dairy, fast food and fresh food markets. Consol was originally established as a glass manufacturer during the First World War to combat a glass shortage. Glass has grown in popularity in South Africa over recent years as it has been used as a brand differentiator within the food sector. Consol retains its rigid plastics division which supplies plastic packaging for household chemicals, paints, food products, motor oils, swimming pool treatments, cosmetics, toiletries and pharmaceuticals.

Tessenderlo: Plan to cut jobs

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

Belgian PVC maker Tessenderlo Group has drawn up a restructuring plan involving nearly 250 job losses aimed at saving E30m a year by next year.
The company has informed the works councils at its sites today of the programme which affects a number of sites in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe.
The company says that results of its chemicals business “have nose dived at an alarming rate” since 2000, due to cut throat competition and rising costs.
A detailed study involving ten different working groups, which generated a number of proposals, showed that important synergies could be achieved by merging LVM, TC Tessenderlo and TC Ham.
Among the planned changes is the transfer of the Brussels offices to Tessenderlo and the move of the French PVC research activities to Belgium.
Tessenderlo’s three plants in West Limburg employ more than 1,400 people while the administrative centre in Brussels has nearly 200 employees.

Berstorff and Krauss-Maffei: Joint subsidiary in Russia

Friday, June 16th, 2006

MPM Group companies Berstorff and Krauss-Maffei are setting up a joint subsidiary in Russia. The BKM concern has the legal form of a German GmbH, and is registered in Moscow. With the foundation of a joint subsidiary, both companies aim to extend and improve the range of services for their customers in Russia and the neighbouring states, they say. BKM will concentrate on services, such as assembly and commissioning as well as modernisation and repairs. A spare parts stock will be installed at a future date, the partners say. “Our intention is to offer the best possible service on site to our customers in Russia and the other countries of the CIS,” said Dieter Brunner, chief executive of BKM. Berstorff has already been present in these markets for more than 80 years and has delivered numerous tailor-made individual machines and complete production lines for the plastics and rubber processing industries. The Berstorff sales and service office in Moscow was established in 2001. A joint office with Krauss-Maffei has existed since 2002.

American Maplan: Broad Extrusion Capabilities at NPE

Friday, June 16th, 2006

American Maplan Corp. will show a range of pipe, profile and sheet extrusion equipment at the NPE in Chicago, June 19-23. The company is planning five exhibits of its machinery and components, and one of products fabricated with its equipment. The displays will include:
• AMC-92 counter-rotating twin-screw extruder for PVC profiles that combines high throughput and performance with low-cost.
• techBEX modular single-screw extruder for small profiles.
• Two AMC/BEX single-screw extruders for sheet, a new product category for American Maplan.
• PO 250 VSI polyolefin pipe die, a versatile component utilizing the company’s latest die technology.
• iNOEX Calibration Sleeve 250, a component of the Advantage system which simplifies dimensional changes in pipe extrusion
• Static screw display showing American Maplan’s design and engineering capabilities in twin-screw extrusion.
• Samples of finished products, including the largest-diameter HDPE pipe ever made in the U.S.
These exhibits highlight an important component of American Maplan’s capabilities: its working relationship with extrusion specialist Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik, Ger-many which with American Maplan is part of the SMS Plastics Technology Group. American Maplan and Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik combine their engineering and applications expertise in a number of joint-development projects. The resulting synergy leads to innovations in process technology and equipment design that broaden each company’s product line and add value in their respective markets.
High-output extrusion for cost-conscious buyers
One joint program between American Maplan and Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik re-sulted in the AMC-92 twin-screw extruder for PVC profiles. The 92-mm-diameter machine has a throughput range of 750-850 lb. (340-385 kg) per hour. The counter-rotating screws are 28 L/D, longer than screws usually found on 92-mm extruders. The added length assures consistent processing. The machine is robust, easy to operate and economical. In place of oil-cooling systems it features water-filled screws for temperature control and air-cooled barrel technology, both of which help reduce operating costs and lower maintenance.
The extruder has five barrel zones, nine die-heating zones and heating capacity of 52 kW. Screw speed is 21 rpm, drive power is 48.4 kW and total installed power is 119 kW. The unit will be equipped with the newest automation control in American Maplan’s BMC line: the BMCtouch.
Configurable extruder for small profiles
The complete profile techBEX line with single-screw extruder is for small profiles. The line is modular, so processors can configure it for current or anticipated production needs. On display will be the model BCE1-45-25D, a 45-mm-diameter version with a smooth-feed bushing, designed for throughput of 50-75 lb. (22-34 kg) per hour. The air-cooled, unvented extruder is powered by an 18.5-kW AC motor and drive.
Downstream equipment includes a model CT2500/V1 calibration table with 2.5-m (8.2-ft.) clamping table, manual cross adjustment of +/- 50 mm and length adjust-ment of +/- 200 mm. The haul-off is the model B100E with a 90-mm-wide belt, 1200-mm contact length, 100-mm maximum opening and 50-m (164-ft.)-per-minute speed. The model FK63 flying-knife cut-off delivers 600 cuts per minute on profiles up to 50 by 50 mm, at a maximum speed of 30 m (98 ft.) per minute.
Creating sheet extrusion opportunities
American Maplan’s newest product business segment is sheet extrusion lines. Adapting technology from Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik, American Maplan has de-veloped single- and twin-screw systems that process a range of materials - polyole-fins, PVC, polycarbonate, polystyrene and natural-fiber composites. Sheet thick-nesses range from 0.008-1.0 in. (0.2-25.0 mm), widths to 71 in. (180 cm) and throughput to 3000 lb. (1361 kg) per hour.
Technical details are being finalized, but American Maplan reports that two single-screw versions will be at the show: AMC/BEX-1-45 and AMC/BEX-1-75. The single-screw line comes in seven sizes from 45-220 mm in diameter. The twin-screw line is seven sizes from 40-168 mm. Both lines can be equipped with a full range of down-stream equipment, including tooling, gear pumps, winders, shears, cut-off saws and trim saws. The extruders at NPE will also be equipped with the BMC+ control system.
Pipe die designed for high yields and flexibility
The PO 250 VSI die, for polyolefin pipe, is engineered to maintain tight wall thick-ness tolerances, high throughput rates and quality in broad processing conditions. The component utilizes American Maplan’s proven spiral lattice basket design, and incorporates the best properties of lattice basket and spiral mandrel dies. The result is a versatile die that extrudes pipe in a 50- to 250-mm-diameter range at rates to 1540 lb. (700 kg) per hour. The die will be part of a static display consisting of an assembled die head and a spiral lattice basket.
Excellence in screw design
Extruder efficiency is as much a function of screw design as any other factor. Ameri-can Maplan is a leader in designing single- and twin-screw systems for optimum production. The company, which designs screws for competitors’ machines as well as its own, can provide more than 400 different screw geometries for all types of sin-gle- and twin-screw extruders. American Maplan is exhibiting several sets of counter-rotating twin-screws, in parallel and conical designs with molybdenum or tungsten carbide coatings, in a static display that highlights its expertise in screw design for pipe, profile, siding, natural-fiber composite and sheet applications.
Finished products showcase process capabilities
To show what can be done with its extrusion technology, American Maplan is exhibit-ing products that have been fabricated with its extruders and dies. Foremost among these items is a 63-in.-diameter (1600-mm) HDPE pipe that is the largest ever made in the U.S. American Maplan has delivered three lines capable of fabricating pipe this large, and has plans for a line up to 78 inches in diameter (2000 mm). Battenfeld technology was used for the downstream equipment, but the extruders were American Maplan’s design and manufactured by the company at its plant in Kansas. Also on display will be PVC pipe.
Examples of PVC siding and fencing are also slated for the exhibit. The fencing can be fabricated with a special tooling system that assures uniform wall thicknesses and even distribution of capstock for greater process economy.
Another area of interest is natural-fiber-composite profiles and sheet, which continue to post sizeable growth in outdoor applications for the benefits they provide in cost, reduced maintenance and aesthetics. American Maplan offers single-screw and counter-rotating conical and parallel twin-screw extruders for this market, along with die technology and a full range of take-off equipment.