EXTRUSION AND COMPOUNDING AT NPE: Flexibility, Speed, Quality Rule the Day

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Gloucester’s new ExtruTouch control system features no proprietary hardware and is said to help blown film processors reduce operating costs with less (and simpler) maintenance.

Among the products displayed by Gloucester Engineering was the Ultra Cool III air ring, which it says offers payback times of fewer than four months by virtue of increasing film throughputs by 10-20%. The new ExtruTouch control system features no proprietary hardware and is said to help blown film processors reduce operating costs with less (and simpler) maintenance. It also helps minimize operator training time with an intuitive easy-to-use touchscreen, and improves production quality with plantwide data management, event monitoring, and statistics.

Sister company Pearl Technologies introduced seven new products for blown film processors at the show. A new Blue Slat is designed to provide lower friction for blown (and cast) film extrusion. It’s for collapsing frames, gusset boards, turning bars, and Pearl’s roller-less retrofit series to replace spreader rolls, idler rolls and cage-arm rollers. The lower-friction slat imparts less stress on the bubble, leading to better gauge control. It also allows for higher output speeds, as friction and stress are limiting factors in the extrusion process, Pearl says.

Pearl also offered a new “Sail Away” collapsible gusset design that allows processors to run both full gussets and full layflats without having to remove the gusset due to tower obstructions during retraction. Processors will be able to change from gussets to layflats with the flip of a switch. The unit is retrofittable, regardless of manufacturer. The tip has a patented built-in mast that pivots out from the back of gusset to form the very tip of the blade. A low-friction, flexible material is attached to it, forming the tip and sides of the gusset. When the switch is flipped, the mast pops up with the attached material, much like a sail on a sailboat.

Pearl’s new Cross Web Ball and Die system allows for punching holes in the middle of continuous-motion webs using a split punch-and die-system. Three different head designs are offered for a varying range of hole sizes, and an alignment system guarantees the punches are centered over the dies. The system can run at up to 600 cycles/min.

Meantime, Pearl’s new Ultra-Low COF Fixed Idler can dramatically improve idler maintenance for blown film by significantly reducing issues associated with cleaning seized bearings, the firm says. A simple tool-less indexing lever allows rotation of 90° at a time to different COFs, which reduce friction and surface contact without inducing stress on the bubble.

Pearl says its high-definition punching system will achieve new levels of hole quality in even the most difficult-to-punch films, including intermittent webs. Available in four easily changed designs to allow for varying sizes of holes, the punch units can be mounted on existing rails to punch edges of the web or on a cross-rail system to punch in the middle of the web.

Pearl also displayed new gusset-actuation controls, a feature that allows for automation of gusseting process adjustments, something traditionally done manually and mechanically. The control can either be motorized or automated, but both versions allow for independent control of each gusset with separate upper and lower actuator control. The automated control system includes a touchscreen that gives operators a digital readout of locations and even allows storage of specific recipes for enhanced repeatability and reduced setup time and scrap.

Servo-driven Patch Handle Attachment from Pearl is designed to easily reinforce bags. It can be mounted in the intermittent sync section of any bag machine and has independent controls to insert two layers of PE into the top and bottom of the web. The additional layers of material reinforce the handle area of the bag to accommodate heavier loads. The attachment can handle up to 90 bags/min and features an independent heater control as well as optional touchscreen controls, dual unwinds, and tension control.

Read the full article here, as covered by By Jim Callari , Editorial Director at Plastics Technology.

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Taking Control – Film and Sheet Extrusion, May 2015

You can find a link to the full edition here:  http://content.yudu.com/htmlReader/A3nq3l/FSEMay15/reader.html?page=29

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Close control of the m any parameters involved in the extrusion process help to improve part quality – such as by reducing thickness variation. And many control systems are now using off-the-shelf components, rather than bespoke parts, so that they have wide compatibility with a range of machinery.

ExtruTouch, the latest controls platform from Gloucester Engineering Co (GEC), is custom designed to control complete blown film systems, and include vacuum loading, blending, speeds, temperatures and pressures, gauging, profi le control and safety.

It combines the robustness of GEC’s earlier generation controls with the latest technology and enhanced graphics. Based on B&R’s latest X-20 generation PLC, ExtruTouch comes with a large 22in colour touchscreen that uses intuitive, easy to understand graphics. It uses off-the-shelf hardware and has multi-language capabilities, remote access, easy interfacing with other Windows-based applications and OPC compatibility – for connectivity to common third-party analysis tools.

Blown film processors can benefit from ExtruTouch in a number of ways, says GEC. Firstly, it can be retrofitted to any existing blown film line regardless of make or model – and not just GEC equipment. Also, by using a third-party non-proprietary IO, processors know that support and updating will be easy and readily available. This also reduces maintenance costs and the chance of part obsolescence.

A graphical front end makes training easy, saving managers time by training users faster, while there is remote access for 24/7 ability to check processing data and make adjustments if necessary.

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NPE 2015 Wrap-up

Gloucester Engineering and Pearl Technologies received mention in the PFFC Wrap-up NPE blog:  http://www.pffc-online.com/blog/bezigian/12831-npe-2015-wrap-up

Gloucester Engineering had a good sized booth, displaying one of their servo-controlled bag machines, one of their new high-efficiency IBC units (which I was not allowed to photograph, but I can say it is sweet), photos of their blown film equipment, and also a nice display of their newly acquired Pearl Technologies. Gloucester obviously specializes in blown film lines and bag machines, and Pearl specializes in and manufactures downstream equipment such as bubble guides, rollers, spreaders, collapsing tent frames, pre-nip chillers, and airless turning bars (which always require a spreading roll immediately after).  The combination of Gloucester and Pearl are obviously complimentary and seems to be a perfect match. See photos below.

Contact gloucesterengineering.com for more information

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Bubble cooling technology offers quick return on investment

Bubble cooling technology offers quick return on investment

By Michael Lauzon
CORRESPONDENT
Published: March 25, 2015 9:52 am ET
Updated: March 25, 2015 9:57 am ET
Article found here:  http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20150325/NEWS/150329829/bubble-cooling-technology-offers-quick-return-on-investment

Gloucester Engineering says it can boost film output by 20 percent.

Gloucester Engineering says it can boost film output by 20 percent.

Gloucester Engineering (Booth W6744) claims its new, retrofitable bubble cooling technology can boost blown film output by as much as 20 percent, promising a return on investment in fewer than four months.

The UltraCool III system allows less downtime and tighter film tolerance, Gloucester President Carl S. Johnson explained in an interview at the company’s booth. Internal bubble cooling with four, individually adjustable lips can be achieved easily in a retrofit that doesn’t entail replacing the cooling system bottom.

“With this retrofit you get better film faster,” according to Johnson. Retrofitting an older blown film line costs a fraction of a new system to deliver state-of-the-art performance

The UltraCool III’s design improves overall stability of the bubble and allows more cooling air to be applied, increasing output and speeding up quench rate.

Gloucester Engineering also featured its ExtruTouch controls for blown film. The firm said the new controls combine the robustness of its previous generation of controls with the latest technology and enhanced graphics. ExtruTouch promises seamless and fast installation and doesn’t rely on proprietary hardware.

Johnson said his company has patented a new blown film spiral design especially suited to temperature-sensitive materials like ethylene vinyl alcohol and nylon because it minimizes polymer residence time.

Gloucester Engineering displayed several new products in its Pearl Technologies business acquired about two and a half years ago. Pearl focuses on consumable parts for converting and extrusion capital equipment.

New offerings from Pearl include the Blue Slat for collapsing frames, turning bars and other components where film contacts a surface. The slats provide low friction for blown and cast film systems, reducing stress in the bubble for better gauge control.

The new Sail Away collapsible gusset allows for running full gussets or full layflats without having to remove them due to tower obstructions during retraction. Operators can change from gussets to layflats with the flip of a switch. Also new are gusset actuation controls that allow automation of gusseting process adjustments, changes that traditionally have been done manually and mechanically.

Not in evidence was the Future Design brand acquired three years ago. Gloucester Engineering absorbed Future Design’s air ring technologies into its own and discontinued use of the brand name.

 

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Gloucester Engineering to Feature New ExtruTouch Blown-film Control at NPE 2015

ExtruTouch ControlsGloucester Engineering Co. Inc. will feature numerous products at its booth at NPE 2015, including many products designed to help blown film processors upgrade and ‘bring new life’ to their old lines.

One of the featured products at the GEC booth is the new ExtruTouch controls platform. ExtruTouch is GEC’s latest controls platform, custom designed for blown film systems.  It controls complete blown film systems including:

  • Vacuum loading
  • Blending
  • Speeds, temperatures and pressures
  • Gauging
  • Profile control
  • Safety

ExtruTouch combines the robustness of GEC’s prior generation controls with the latest technology and enhanced graphics. Based on B&R’s latest X-20 generation PLC, ExtruTouch comes with a large 22” color touchscreen that uses intuitive, easy to understand graphics.  It utilizes off-the-shelf hardware and includes:

  • Multi-language capabilities
  • Remote access
  • Easy interfacing with other Windows-based applications
  • OPC compatibility for connectivity to common third party analysis tools.

Blown film processors can benefit from ExtruTouch in many ways, including:

  • It can be retrofit to any existing blown film line regardless of make or model, not just GEC equipment.
  • By using a third-party non-proprietary IO, processors know that support and updating will be easy and readily available; also reduced maintenance costs and reduced parts obsolescence.
  • Graphical front end makes training easy, saving managers time by training users faster.
  • Remote access for 24/7 ability to ‘look-in’ at processing data, and make adjustments if necessary.
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