Systems for efficient materials handing and economic production of LFT compounds

Bensheim, July 2016 – With the high-performance, energy-efficient plant and systems for pre-processing flowable plastics presented at K 2016, ProTec Polymer Processing now covers the entire process chain from conveying and drying to metering and mixing whether for injection moulding or for extrusion. A second focus of ProTec's presence is its abilities as a one-stop shop supplier of long-fibre-reinforced thermoplastics (LFT) lines covering the full gamut from planning via construction to commissioning. New developments presented for the first time at K 2016 include the SOMOS® Batchmix XL batch metering unit for throughputs of up to 1,920 kg/h and the stationary SOMOS® RDT-200 dry air dryer for moderate throughputs.

The SOMOS® Batchmix XL metering and mixing system is suitable for feeding multi-component mixtures to both injection moulding machines and extruders and is designed to handle up to six flowable components. It can be equipped with SOMOS® suction conveyors for automatically filling material storage hoppers. A SOMOS® control/professional touchscreen controller with a graphical user interface ensures user-friendly operation and is also capable of simultaneously controlling extruder throughput. The Batchmix M for throughputs of up to 240 kg/h and the Batchmix L for throughputs of up to 1,100 kg/h of a homogeneous multicomponent mixture complete this range of gravimetric batch dispensing systems. The new SOMOS® Batchmix unit offers high metering accuracy at an attractive price/performance ratio.

The new SOMOS® RDT-200 stationary dry air dryer has an effective dry air throughput of 140 to 300 m³/h, enabling highly economical processing of material volumes in excess of the throughput capacity of the SOMOS® RDM mobile auxiliary dryers (dry air throughput of at most 140 m³/h). The dry air generator and the drying vessel are also of a new design. The drying vessels, which are square on the outside and cylindrical on the inside, can be fitted together to form a compact modular drying system comprising up to at most six vessels in graduated sizes with effective hopper volumes ranging from 50 l to 300 l. Another new feature is the SOMOS® control excellence dryer controller with its user-friendly touchscreen operation which offers numerous drying parameters tailored to the specific material as well as versatile documentation functions. To minimise energy consumption, the dryer is equipped with the tried and trusted energy-saving technology known from SOMOS® dryers: automatic adaptation of drying air volume to material throughput (ALAV) and the SUPER SOMOS control mechanism which adapts desiccant regeneration to the particular moisture loading of the adsorbent. Drying temperatures of 40 °C to 180 °C at a drying air dew point temperature of approx. -35 °C are standard.

Flexible, versatile LFT technology

ProTec's LFT technology is suitable for producing a wide range of materials with variable fibre reinforcement along the length of the pellets and many different polymer matrices. Even the difficult pairing of carbon fibres with PP can be reliably processed. A high-performance compounding extruder is the keystone of the line, permitting highly flexible production of a broad range of individual polymer matrix formulations directly in the process. Recycled material and additional fillers may likewise be included in the material formulation.

ProTec is capable of designing and supplying turn-key LFT lines tailored to specific requirements from materials development to testing and commissioning on the customer's premises. These lines are capable of handling fibre contents of up to 65 wt.% and throughputs of up to 1,000 kg/h. Any conventional thermoplastics or even biopolymers such as PLA (polylactic acid) can be used as the matrix, while glass, steel, aramid or carbon fibres can be used as the reinforcing fibres.

ProTec Polymer Processing GmbH based in Bensheim, Germany, has been a recognised partner to plastics processing and manufacturing companies for many years. Its service portfolio includes systems for the efficient handling of plastic materials, turn-key systems for solid-state post-condensation of plastics, recycling lines as well as complete systems for producing long-fibre reinforced thermoplastics (LFT pultrusion lines). As a member of the Schoeller Group, ProTec Polymer Processing has access to a global sales and service network and has the ideal infrastructure in place to provide comprehensive on-site customer support.