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Keywords of this article:  extrusion 
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The latest 11-layer VAREX ∏ blowing equipment from W&H.
The latest 11-layer VAREX ∏ blowing equipment from W&H.
Photo: 123

With the extensive application of plastic products in various sectors, we now have increasingly more processable polymer categories, product structures and product forms and we have increasingly higher requirements on product precision. The general trend of modern extrusion molding technology is high speed, high output, intelligent and Internet-based operation, efficient functionality, energy-saving structure, large size and precision. Now, we are experiencing diversified extrusion molding technologies as well as constant improvement and innovation of extrusion molding equipment and technologies.

As one of the three plastic machinery categories, extrusion molding equipment features the development orientation of high speed, high efficiency, energy-saving intelligence, functionality and specific application.

Multilayer co-extrusion molding

In recent years, multilayer co-extrusion technology is well received by flexible packaging enterprises in China. Currently, composite film for multilayer medical packaging is becoming the second economic growth point for flexible packaging. This market promises not only good prospect but also high profitability.

The next-generation FFS three-layer co-extrusion packaging film production line from Jinming can simultaneously complete five processes of die-making, printing, embossing, insertion and winding. Adopting three-layer spiral central discharging structure, the die-head can assure uniformity for each layer of film. In addition to ordinary film, the 7-layer co-extrusion blowing machine from Dalian Jirun can also produce special functional packaging film, featuring 300Kg/h output, 0.04~0.20mm thickness and ≤±0.005mm thickness deviation. The latest 11-layer VAREX blowing equipment from W&H has made some improvement to produce a variety of film products from 8μm-thick lining film for PE-HD paper bags to 11-layer high-barrier composite film with 1μm EVOH layer. Jiangmen Jianlifeng Machinery has successfully launched their film-blowing unit for HDPE and LDPE film production. This unit can work with 2/4/6 film-blowing systems, featuring 0.008~0.08mm film thickness and 650mm maximum curled diameter. Winpak of Canada produces nylon-based 11-layer medical packaging film, representing the co-extruded film of maximum medical packaging layers in the world today.

Micro-nano laminating extrusion molding

Using micro-nano laminating extrusion technology to produce high-barrier composite materials has become a highlight of research in recent years. Using micro-nano laminating extrusion technology to produce multifunctional composite materials has the following advantages:Excellent barrier property; Reducing the consumption of high-cost materials; Minimizing the defect of product fracture.

A
dopting the “Layer Multiplier” design of Dow Chemical, U.S. EDI Extrusion Die has launched their flat die system suitable for standard thickness complex structure of multiple micro layers. This system can produce 80-layer 50μm-thick film. Currently, 3M is successfully using this technology to produce optical film for use in electronic displays and other products.

Precision extrusion molding

Precision extrusion is a process to achieve high precision in geometrical dimension for products and high uniformity in microcosmic form for materials, mainly including the technical contents of three aspects such as precision plasticizing, precision control and precision molding. Precision extrusion technology has been extensively used for production of biaxially oriented film, precision medical catheter, A/V baseband, photographing film base, communication-grade optical fiber and precision microfoam products.

Microcellular foam extrusion molding

Microcellular plastics are not only lightweight and material saving, but also have some other advantages such as low heat conductivity, good heat insulating property, impact load absorption, excellent buffering performance, sound insulating property and high strength. With outstanding performance and great application potential, microcellular foaming technology has been attracting close attention from developed countries, and many prestigious corporations such as U.S. Trexel (MuCell), Microcellular Plastics Techonology, Axiomatics and Japanese SeKISUI Plastics of Tokyo, are engaged in practical application development and commercial promotion of microcellular foaming technology.

High-speed extrusion molding

Screws for high-speed extruder should have longer melting section and higher L/D ratio (generally L/D=30:1~40:1) to ensure higher output under the same screw rotational speed. For most high-speed extruders, their screw diameter is 60~75mm, generally not exceeding 90mm. Kuhne can provide extruders with 60~72mm screw diameter range and 33:1 L/D ratio. BEX can provide high-speed extruders with 75mm screw diameter range and 34:1~40:1 L/D ratio to optimize machine output. Kuhne high-speed extruder with 72mm screw diameter has been used by Orka/Hipol in their PP and PS sheet production lines and its production speed is up to 900r/min. Faerch Plast of Czechoslovakia uses Battenfeld extruder with screw rational speed up to 1500r/min to mold PP sheets.

Energy-saving extrusion molding

To save energy for the power section, extruders mostly use AC servo motors. GLSS-65×35 extruder from Lesso leverages low-speed large-torque AC servo motors to directly drive screw plasticizing and extrusion such that maximum rotational speed is up to 500r/min, maximum extrusion output is up to 1000kg/h and energy saving is up to15~20%.

UHMWPE extrusion molding

As a new thermoplastic engineering plastic with viscosity-average molecular weight hitting 1,000,000 to 8,000,000, ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) can substitute metal materials such as carbon steel and stainless steel. Based on single screw forced ejection process, Beijing University of Chemical Technology has successfully developed their extrusion equipment for UHMWPE melt extrusion and accomplished batch production. In collaboration with Beijing University of Chemical Technology and UHMWPE high molecular weight chain entanglement technology, Shanghai Research institute of Chemical Industry has completed the development of 2,500,000+ special material for melt extrusion of UHMWPE, where the pipes thus melt extruded have similar smoothness and roundness to and higher efficiency than those from forced ejection process. Currently, extrusion rate can reach 15.0m/h while extrusion speed is 6~10 times higher than forced ejection process.

Super shear plastic extrusion molding

Super shear plastic extrusion molding is based on the transport mechanism of direct stress, where, in operation, material enters through the bigger end of the offset cavity, and is then pushed by propeller to the smaller end of the cavity and extruded to the next unit; in this process, material is ground, compacted, vented and plasticized under the action of direct stress, thus minimizing heating process deviation of materials and effectively improving product quality.

Multi-screw extrusion molding

Multi-screw extruder satisfies the needs of polymer processing in processing quality and output delicacy, serialization, functionality and low cost, thus attracting increasingly closer attention. Specifically, three-screw extruder can have production conditions of similar quality and output without large diameter and high L/D ratio needed for single and twin-screw extruders, thus fully exhibiting the efficient mixing and homogenizing performance, structural compactness and cost-effectiveness of three-screw extruders. The triangularly arranged fully-engaged three-screw extruder developed by Beijing University of Chemical Technology features low specific energy consumption, good blending capacity and outstanding venting performance, and exhibits obvious technical and economic advantages. The three-screw extruder from Shijiazhuang Debeilong Technology exhibits obvious advantages over twin-screw extruders in blending quality, output, energy consumption and venting performance.

Highlight of extrusion molding technology:

  • Composite film for multilayer medical packing is becoming the second economic growth point for flexible packaging.
  • Micro-nano laminating technology finds extensive application prospect in producing composite materials.
  • Precision extruded products feature a geometrical precision 50% higher than that from general extrusion molding.
  • Microcellular plastics are extensively used for sound muffling, heat insulating, anti-freezing, shockproof and lightweight structural materials.
  • High-speed extruder screws can gain higher output with similar screw rotational speed.
  • Energy-saving extruders mostly use AC servomotors.
  • UHMWPE melt extruding equipment from Beijing University of Chemical Technology witnessed success in batch production.
  • Multi-screw extrusion is finding good application in functional plastics and coating.


(
Zhang Yajun, Beijing University of Chemical Technology)

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