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Keywords of this article:  dryer 
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Engineering Plastic 
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pneumatic conveying 
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pelletizer 
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The new BKG pellet dryer for abrasives.
The new BKG pellet dryer for abrasives.

The rapidly evolving material technologies are posing new challenges for handling and processing in the plastics and rubber industry. As high performance materials are often harder to be processed, equipment manufacturers put a lot of effort in developing innovative solutions for pelletizing, and offer compounders better return on investment.

New pellet dryer substantially reduces the cost of wear


Nordson Corporation introduced a new-design pellet dryer for use with its BKG pelletizing systems at NPE 2018. This new pellet dryer meets the challenge posed by the steady growth in use of glass-filled and other abrasive materials, by substantially reducing the production downtime and cost associated with replacing “wear” parts.

The magic of the design is to reduce the number, complexity, and cost of the dryer’s components that are subject to abrasion and makes them more accessible to maintenance or replacement, making it possible for one person to carry out maintenance tasks.

While the new dryer has much the same overall appearance and footprint as a standard BKG dryer and provides the same throughput, there are substantial differences in the configuration of components subject to wear.

The new pellet dryer enables Domo Engineering Plastics GmbH to increase productivity by cutting maintenance times up to 70%. Domo, an initial user of the new pellet dryer, installed the unit on an existing underwater pelletizing line that processes polyamide 6 compounds with up to 50% glass fiber content.

It is now possible to determine concrete maintenance intervals, so downtime becomes more plannable and less unexpected,” said Matthias Köhler, Operations Manager at the Domo Engineering Plastics GmbH facility in Premnitz, Germany.

Some of the design enhancements for reducing wear or simplifying maintenance:

Pellet inlet. As a result of a new design made in accordance with flow simulations, the inlet now enters the dryer housing tangentially, reducing the impact on all parts in the lower part of the dryer, and allowing quick access to all remaining wear parts.

Rotor. Due to the optimized pellet inlet, the rotor has been simplified, especially in the lower area, and wear is minimized by the reduced impact of abrasive pellets. Other measures taken to reduce or eliminate wear from pellet flow include a new cover plate design and countersinking of screw heads. In standard dryers, rotor disassembly/reassembly takes ten hours, while the new design reduces this time to about three hours.

Pellet outlet. The new design includes fewer wear parts, and these are more accessible. Disassembly/reassembly time has been reduced from 6 hours to a range of 1 to 4 hours.

In addition, the design changes that Nordson made to reduce wear lead to significant overall savings per ton of glass fiber filled product. In combination with the reduced maintenance time, the overall operating costs for the dryer are decreased significantly.

Cutter hub with more blades improves pellet quality

Apart from the pellet dryer, Nordson also introduced the new BKG HiCut cutter hub at the show. The new design significantly increases the blade life and improves the pellet quality.

In an underwater pelletizer, polymer strands emerge from the die plate, solidify as they enter the water, and are then cut into pellets by the blades mounted on the cutter hub.

The new HiCut design accommodates up to 100% more angled blades per hub and up to 54% more straight blades. This makes possible an increase in throughput or, alternatively, a reduction in pelletizer RPM, which decreases wear to the die plate and blades.

The blades on BKG HiCut cutter hubs have round edges and smooth surfaces with countersunk screws. This optimizes the flow and reduces swirling, and there is more space between the blades so that pellets do not accumulate, explained Frank Asmuss, Global Product Manager for BKG pelletizing systems.

BKG HiCut designs are compatible with all existing pelletizer systems, and the hub accommodates both angled and straight blades.

Compact design enhances operational flexibility of strand pelletizer

Maag has completed a significant update to its BAOLI Strand Pelletizer product family recently, with the development and introduction of the BAOLI-3 model.

Maag updated its strand pelletizer product family with the BAOLI-3 model. The BAOLI-3 is outfitted with German-made core components and has been designed for use with both hard and soft pelletizing materials.

The noteworthy highlights of this redesign are the new model’s compact design that features height-adjustment, left-side/right-side control capabilities, providing greater operational flexibility, and reduced noise generation during operation.

At the same time it offers easy access for cleaning making it easy for maintenance, material changes, and color changes.

Features and components of the BAOLI- 3 that have been retained from previous BAOLI Strand Pelletizer models include:

an automated cutting-chamber interlock system that guarantees fast handling as well as operator safety;

easy-to-operate machine controls with easily accessible on/off buttons;

wear-protected parts capable of handling highly aggressive glass fiber-filled materials;

upper-feed rollers that are heat-resistant to 170ºC; two-sided bearings that ensure cutting-gap adjustability to within 0.02 mm;

high-performance cutting tools that guarantee throughput rates of up to 3,000 kg/hr for PET and PBT compounds;

a wide range of rotors with varying numbers of teeth and tooth profiles;

all cutting head components of BAOLI-3 are compatible with former BAOLI versions.

The BAOLI- 3 meets all German regulatory standards for safety, and is manufactured in China.

Newly developed conveying process minimizes dust formation

Coperion has newly developed the FLUIDLIFT ecoblue pneumatic conveying process for plastic pellets.
FLUIDLIFT ecoblue helps to prevent the formation of abrasion and deposits of dust within the installation.
Compared to conventional designs, the process generates much less dust and streamers, which improves the quality of the product and reduces waste. Its lower power consumption also allows plastics manufacturers and compounders to reduce costs or correspondingly increase throughput.

Under industrial conditions, this quality and efficiency-enhancing pneumatic conveying process has been possible to reduce the formation of dust and streamers by between 50% and 98%, at the same time lowering the pressure loss in the conveyor system and hence the necessary energy consumption by from 17% to 35%, according to Coperion.

The key to significantly reducing both, attrition and pressure loss (the pressure difference between product feed and product delivery), is a controlled increase in the relative humidity of the conveying gas, Coperion explains.

As said, the primary concern of the extensive investigations which were carried out while developing FLUIDLIFT ecoblue was to prevent any impairment of the end product by minimizing the amount of moisture introduced and subsequently reliably removing it.

The result of this is that granulate can be conveyed at a very low velocity, so friction between the grains and at the wall of the pipe is substantially lower than in previous designs. Ultimately, this new process ensures a dry, almost dust-free end product without any need for complex additional measures.

In general, the process offers an advantageous alternative wherever attrition-sensitive products are conveyed and the generation of dust is undesirable or might even interfere with subsequent processing of the manufactured pellets. This extends the range of applications from bulk plastics to application-specific high-performance compounds.

The new process proves to be particularly advantageous when handling products for upmarket technological applications such as films, high-purity granulates and optical components.

This new process is suitable for both new installations and retrofitting existing systems.

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