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James O. Murphy, President - Extrusion Systems, Davis-Standard
James O. Murphy, President - Extrusion Systems, Davis-Standard
"Green Manufacturing" continued to be the theme at CHINAPLAS 2011. Striving to be more responsible to the environment, a majority of exhibitors are working towards this goal. James O. Murphy, President - Extrusion Systems of Davis-Standard, LLC, explained to CPRJ how the company achieves green production.

CPRJ: First of all, how’s the business in China?

Mr Murphy:
The business is good. Our orders are back to the level before the 2008 recession. In Asia and particularly China, there are many new developments in packaging, and growth in the automotive sector is also very strong. Areas like medical and flat panels all have very good performance. It’s a good market for us.

CPRJ: How can Davis-Standard remain competitive in the market?

Mr Murphy:
You know what your standard is at, then you have to set improvement goals for yourself, to make the equipment better, more cost effective, etc. Our factories have adopted "lean manufacturing" as a model for continuous improvements. As you are in a competitive market, you have to continue to make better machines, try to deliver it faster to the customers, and always be conscious about the cost versus performance. We are not going to be the cheapest, but we are going to be the best value for money.

CPRJ: Regarding "green manufacturing", can you explain Davis-Standard's approach?

Mr Murphy:
We look at it from two avenues, one is about application engineering, and the other is about machine design.

As far as application is concerned, we are very active in developing new markets. For example, we are supplying a lot of film and sheet lines to the solar industry and for photovoltaic cells, as well as films for new battery technologies. We are also working with various packaging companies to develop bio resins - including PLA and PHA - as alternative, renewable resources.

The other bit we are looking at is machine design. We have to be more cost effective. A big part of that is to realize that extrusion uses a lot of energy to create products, so we are looking at the machine design in three critical areas.

First is the development of permanent magnet synchronous motor for extrusion so quieter, cleaner operation is possible while giving you 10-15% energy saving versus traditional AC motors.

The second thing we are doing is developing a new cooling and heating system. An air cooling system actually takes air in and forces it up to the heater. The current system always produces a "chimney effect". We've developed a new system to enclose the heater with a damper system and insulate it to limit radiation and convective losses. All the lab works show a 20-25% energy saving on the heating system alone.

And the last thing we are working on is screw design. A well-designed screw can be up to 20% more energy-efficient than an old screw. For example you have a machine that is 7 or 10 years old. If new screw design technology is applied, you can find much better energy consumption. Overall, if you combine those technologies together, a new machine can be 25-30% more energy-efficient than an old machine. That means a large amount of power when it is seen in a year's time on a big extruder. That's how we are trying to be more sustainable.

CPRJ: When will the new cooling system be released?

Mr Murphy:
The trials are on-going at beta sites with customers. It's not going to be commercially released until the fourth quarter of this year.
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