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


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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