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Keywords of this article:  injection molding 
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Managing Director, Peter Theobald, has years of experience in developing the China market.
Managing Director, Peter Theobald, has years of experience in developing the China market.
Photo: 12

As long fiber reinforced thermoplastic (LFT) pellets are useful for manufacturing lightweight products, ProTec Polymer Processing has developed its LFT-pultrusion lines to help customers meet the latest technical challenges.

The pultrusion lines can produce LFT pellets with a wide range of polymer matrices and different fiber strengths. The pultrusion optimally coats the fiber strand in the impregnation tool for the production of LFT pellets, which are used in the manufacture of high strength and low weight plastic parts.

According to ProTec, the advantages of LFT are becoming widely recognized, particularly in the automotive parts industry, while significant applications can be expected in various fields, including packaging, appliances, sports equipment and facilities, medical and aerospace components.

In Asia, LFT pultrusion lines have proved to be popular, said Kirsten Hennige, Head of Marketing. "We started to sell in Asia a few years ago, and have sold eight units to China, Taiwan and Korea in less than a year," she said. "Demand for lightweight material continues to rise, especially due to the thriving automotive industry in China."

The fully automated production system is designed for variable formulations. It manufactures LFT in pellet form and as UD tapes (unidirectionally reinforced tapes), with throughputs of up to 1,000kg/h.

ProTec specializes in designing and manufacturing material handling equipment for plastics processing.

It is currently developing a peripheral system which enables straightforward integration of a novel physical polymer foaming process into existing injection molding lines.

The innovative process, recently presented by Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid and Linde AG, involves loading dried pellets with CO2 in a pressure vessel and then feeding them to the injection molding machine.

The process thus combines the easy handling of chemical foaming processes with the high foaming pressure of physical foaming. Good foaming results and thus considerable material savings can be achieved even with thin-walled moldings.

The foaming solution is particularly suitable for manufacturers in the automotive industry wishing to produce lightweight components in order to cut consumption of resources and emissions or to increase the range of electric vehicles. It is also of interest to other sectors where there is a desire to reduce materials usage.

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