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March 2013

PROMOTING PET PERFORMANCE THE LATEST TWIN-SCREW EXTRUDERS POLYMER DISTRIBUTION TRENDS GOING GREEN WITH NATURAL FIBRES


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contents PAGE 13

05 Industry news The latest compounding industry news including international acquisitions and alliances, plus new investments and plant openings.

13 Moving materials: trends in polymer distribution PAGE 21

AMI has just completed its latest market report on polymer distribution in Europe. The study’s author, Karla Vittova reveals some key findings.

21 Exploring natural options for reinforcing plastics

PAGE 31

Bio-based fibres are putting down roots in applications where eco-awareness counts. Pat Toensmeier reports on recent developments.

31 Promoting PET performance Peter Mapleston examines the latest additives designed to boost PET in a range

PAGE 43

of applications including packaging, textiles and technical parts.

43 What’s next in twin-screw extruders? Suppliers of twin-screw extruders are racing to develop machines that meet the

PAGE 60

changing needs of compounders. Mikell Knights discusses their recent work.

60 Compounder of the month: Bada 62 Dates for your diary

coming next issue ❙ 50th issue special ❙ Sustainable compounding ❙ Anti-oxidants ❙ Wire and cable applications ➤ Click here to make sure you get your copy

contact us Applied Market Information Ltd AMI House, 45-47 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3QP, United Kingdom Tel:+44 (0)117 924 9442 Fax:+44 (0)117 989 2128 www.amiplastics.com

Head of business publishing: Senior editor: Contributing editor: Designer: Advertisement manager:

Andy Beevers Chris Smith Jennifer Markarian Nicola Crane Claire Bishop

E-mail: abe@amiplastics.com E-mail: cs@amiplastics.com E-mail: editorial@compoundingworld.com E-mail: claire@amimagazines.com Direct tel: +44 (0)20 8686 8139

© Copyright Applied Market Information. No part may be reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher. www.compoundingworld.com

March 2013 | COMPOUNDING WORLD

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news

Tessenderlo selling CTS to Mitsubishi Chemical Tessenderlo of Belgium has

revenues of E120 million 2011.

announced plans to sells its

The CTS group includes four

BASF in US research initiative

has a research and develop-

BASF has teamed up with

ment facility in Belgium.

three leading US universi-

CTS compounding operations

production plants: Cousin-

to Mitsubishi Chemical of

Tessier in Tiffauges, France;

TPE compounds for applica-

American Center for

Japan. The TPE and PVC

Marvyflo in Clerval, France;

tions in the automotive,

Research on Advanced

compounding business, which

TCT-Polska in Sochaczew,

construction, plant equipment,

Materials.

was acquired by Tessenderlo in

Poland; and CTS Automotive

consumer goods, and wire and

the early 1990s, has around

Compounds, which opened last

cable markets.

new post-doctoral positions

360 employees and had

year in Changshu, China. It also

❙ www.cts-compounds.com

at the three universities,

CTS produces its PVC and

ties to create the North

It will create around 20

which are Harvard, the

Coperion makes changes at Pell-Tec Coperion is expanding production of larger strand pelletizing systems such as this SP500HD model

Massachusetts Institute of Technology and UMass Amherst. Scientists will

Coperion has changed the name of Pell-Tec to

work together with engi-

Coperion Pelletizing Technology. It has also

neers within the initiative,

relocated its operations from Niedernberg,

which is initially planned for

Germany, to the Coperion site at Offenbach,

five years. The ideas and topics to

which is around 40 km away. The relocation provides extra space for

be researched will be

expanding production, says Coperion. It is

decided jointly by the

currently developing larger strand pelletizing

researchers. Topics already

systems for output rates above 6,000 kg/hour.

identified include micro-

Coperion acquired the manufacturer of strand

and nano-structured

pelletizing lines in January 2012. Michael Schuler

polymers, as well as

and Bernhard Stern are continuing as managing

biomimetic materials that

directors of Coperion Pelletizing Technology.

emulate nature.

❙ www.coperion.com

❙ www.basf.com

Clariant Masterbatches and Melitek collaborate Melitek, the Danish producer

masterbatches developed to

The companies say that the

of medical compounds, has

agreement, which excludes

address the needs of the

signed a collaboration

thermoplastic elastomers, will

healthcare market”.

agreement with Clariant

allow customers to have a

Masterbatches of Switzerland.

single supplier and point of

Kim Laursen said that the

contact whilst keeping

company’s relationship with

traceability.

Clariant goes back many

Under the agreement, Clariant will sell Melitek’s Meliflex polyolefin and

Melitek’s managing director

years, adding: “By this sales

“The capability to offer a

cooperation, we hope to grow

styrenic-based medical

clear and auditable raw

compounds through its sales

material chain with control of

Clariant’s Steve Duckworth

even further in the colour

network. In addition, Melitek

changes is extremely impor-

says that the agreement will

compound market, offering

will have access to Clariant’s

tant to the healthcare indus-

give customers a wider choice

more customers the advantage

Mevopur masterbatches for

try,” said Steve Duckworth,

use in its Meliflex compounds

head of Clariant’s Global

partnership we can give the

and masterbatches”.

or for selling directly to its

Medical and Pharmaceuticals

customer the choice from a

customers.

Segment. “Through this

wide range of compounds and

❙ www.clariant.com ❙ www.melitek.com

www.compoundingworld.com 

of pre-coloured compounds

March 2013 | compounding world

5


news

Schulman makes bid for Ferro said Joseph Gingo, chairman,

restructuring its business with

offer to acquire Ferro in a deal

nies are both major players in

president and CEO of Schul-

a target of reducing costs by

that it values at $563 million,

the additive and colour

man. “We believe our combi-

more than $50 million over the

or $855 million including debt.

masterbatch markets.

nation will deliver superior

next two years.

The bid has been rejected by

Schulman is also a supplier of

value to our respective

Ferro, which saw its shares

thermoplastic compounds,

shareholders and offer better

ers, which own a 4.3% stake in

rise by more than 30% on

while Ferro’s business also

value to customers, and we

the company, has issued a

4 March, the day that Schul-

encompasses coatings and a

would welcome the opportu-

statement that raises concerns

man’s offer was made public.

wider range of materials,

nity to engage in a mutually

about the performance of

Schulman says that it first

including pharmaceutical

beneficial dialogue with Ferro’s

Ferro board and its quick

ingredients.

board and management.”

rejection of the Schulman bid

A. Schulman has made an

contacted Ferro in November 2012 and expressed its strong

The two US-based compa-

“A. Schulman and Ferro are

The day after the bid was

A group of Ferro sharehold-

rather than engaging in a

intent to acquire the company

both recognized leaders in

made public by Schulman,

in a letter to its board on 13

specialty chemicals with

Ferro issued its Q4 and full

February 2013. Ferro’s board

value-added product lines,

year results for 2012. It made a

story, follow us on Twitter:

has rejected the offer,

similar business models,

pre-tax loss of $264 million for

www.twitter.com/plasticsworld.

believing that the company

complementary competencies,

the 12-month period. The

should remain independent.

markets and applications,”

company says that it is

❙ www.aschulman.com ❙ www.ferro.com

ISO-13485 for Teknor Apex UK

For live updates on this

Masterbatch 2013 conference attracts leading global OEMs AMI has revealed the pro-

regional marketing manager

Teknor Apex has achieved

gramme for its Masterbatch

at Johnson & Johnson.

ISO-13485 certification for

2013 conference, which takes

the production of Medalist

place on 3-5 June in Frank-

conference programme also

TPEs at its Oldbury plant in

furt, Germany. The speaker

includes talks on the latest

the UK.

line-up includes repre-

pigment, additive and

sentatives from Coca-Cola,

machinery developments.

The awarding of the medical manufacturing

Danone, Nokia and Johnson

standard strengthens the

& Johnson.

company’s European supply

The comprehensive

Market trends and strategic issues facing the masterbatch market will be

Vince Voron, head of

addressed by a number of

capabilities for medical

design and associate vice

elastomers – its US

president at Coca Cola, will

presentations including

Medalist production plant

discuss the use of design to

papers from: Andrew

obtained ISO-13485 in 2010.

build brands and engage

Reynolds, research director

customers, while Laurent

at AMI Consulting; Heinrich

Medalist TPEs in the UK

Benoit-Marechal, who is a

Lingnau, business unit

helps Teknor Apex to save

manager for upstream plastic

Coca-Cola’s Vince Voron will

transit time and shipping

R&D at Danone, will address

be at Masterbatch 2013 to

costs in supplying the EU

the use of additives to enhance

market,” said Stef Hordijk,

products.

“Certified production of

strategic market manager

6

negotiation.

discuss the use of design to build brands

director masterbatch solutions EMEA at A. Schulman; and Jacob Scherf, CEO of Polymer Asia. The conference programme

Kirsten Kuehl, Nokia’s

for the Thermoplastic

global head of community and

In another presentation, the

and booking details are at

Elastomer Division of

developer innovation will give

use of appearance, texture and

http://bit.ly/Masterbatch2013.

Teknor Apex.

a presentation on design and

colour to add value will be

Book by 19 April to save E110.

❙ www.teknorapex.com

innovation in mobile devices.

covered by Ahmed Habiba,

❙ www.amiconferences.com

compounding world | March 2013

www.compoundingworld.com


news

RheTech and Braskem to develop bio-based reinforced polyethylene US-based RheTech has 

products have been developed

partnered with Braskem to

primarily for injection

develop a new line of natural

moulding. The company

fibre reinforced compounds

expects them to appeal to its

based on the Brazilian polymer

traditional automotive industry

producer’s bio-based HDPE.

customers as well as indus-

The new compounds will

trial and consumer firms

augment RheTech’s existing

looking for a more sustainable

range of RheVision PP

material option.

compounds produced using

RheTech says its supply

natural fillers and reinforce-

agreement with Braskem

ments, including wood fibre,

“provides for an adequate

flax and coconut shell. A spokesperson for

Braskem’s bio-based HDPE is will be compounded with natural

supply” of bio-PE to meet the

fibres by RheTech

anticipated demand from

RheTech says that the

customers. Braskem is

company plans to offer bio-PE

already has a wood fibre

process of developing a flax

currently the only source of

versions of all of its RheVision

reinforced grade undergoing

fibre compound.

bio-PE resins.

compounds in the future. It

market trials and is in the

The new bio-based RheTech

United Dairy uses aragonite renewable filler in bottles

❙ www.rhetech.com

Germany grows sales of machinery

United Dairy of the US is using

reduce the HDPE used in the

is formed from microscopic

Germany’s exports of

milk bottles containing

bottle by up to 25%.

marine materials such as

plastics and rubber

algae and plankton – more

machinery grew by 2.3% in 2012 to reach a new record

Oshenite, a renewable mineral

Oshenite is an oolitic

filler harvested from the sea by

aragonite that is harvested by

than 20 million tons are added

US Aragonite. Its new EcoJug

US Aragonite from the seabed

each year to the more than

of E536 million, according

one-gallon (3.8-litre) packag-

in the Bahama Banks. The

1 billion tons that are currently

to the VDMA association.

ing contains Oshenite to

high-purity calcium carbonate

in reserve. This is a localised

There were big increases

phenomena caused by the con-

in sales to Canada, up by

United Dairy’s EcoJug

fluence of warm and cold

32%, and the USA, which

contains 25% Oshenite

ocean currents in the area

added 20%. Sales to the EU

renewable filler,

around the Bahamas.

countries also grew by 10%,

which is harvested from the sea

The material is being compounded by Bayshore Industrial, which is part of A.

compounding world | March 2013

America were up 10%. However, sales to East

Schulman and operates a plant

Asia were down by 17% in

in La Porte, Texas.

2012. Deliveries to China

For more details on

8

while exports to South

fell by 16%, while German

Oshenite, see the mineral

machinery exports to Korea

fillers article in the September

and Taiwan tumbled by

2012 edition of Compounding World – http://bit.ly/fillers. ❙ www.oshenite.com

more than a third. India was down by the same amount.

❙ www.vdma.org www.compoundingworld.com


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news

Mondi adds paper pulp to plastics

PolyOne launches colour forecasts and iPad app

Mondi, the international

PolyOne has revealed its first

enables iPad users to evaluate

that help streamline our

paper group, has launched a

Color Inspiration collection of

colour ideas, request colour

customers’ product develop-

cellulose reinforced polymer

colour palettes that it forecasts

samples, submit custom

ment process,” said Fernando

for injection moulding

will be influential next year.

colour requests, and access

Sanchez, global marketing

applications. Called

They are aimed at helping

information about PolyOne’s

director for PolyOne Color and

Fibromer, the new com-

product designers and

colour and additive technolo-

Additives.

pound contains loadings of

developers select colours and

gies. It also include the new

20-30% kraft pulp fibre in

reduce the time to market.

2014 colour forecasts.

PE, PP or PP copolymers.

Developed with input from

“The OnColor Portfolio app

The app can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/OnColor. Details of the Color Inspiration

The resulting material is

design, fashion and global

is just the beginning of our

collection can be found at

said to process easily and to

megatrend experts, the six

ability to leverage mobile

http://bit.ly/CI2014.

offer high strength, stiffness

colour palettes are: ‘The Blue

technology to generate tools

❙ www.polyone.com

and low-temperature impact

Movement’, which celebrates

strength. It also provides

the precious role of water in

reduced density and low

our lives; ‘Solid Foundation’,

levels of odour. The new

highlighting the desire for

compounds also offer better

stability in a world of constant

heat distortion tempera-

change; ‘Global Citizen’, which

tures compared to talc-filled

borrows from influences found

alternatives.

in dynamic, emerging parts of

“Requirements for

the world; ‘Lay of the Land’,

composite materials are

conveying a hands-on feel from

changing; converters and

the use of nature in design;

manufacturers want

‘Heightened Sense’, which

polymers that are not only

brings to life the wonder of

strong and stable but also

design that blends

customisable to a certain

technology, fantasy and

degree and preferably from

reality; and ‘Well People’,

renewable or sustainable

inspiring a connection to

resources,” says Mondi

health and vitality.

PolyOne’s first Color Inspiration collection includes six colour palettes PolyOne’s OnColor

Kraft Paper chief operating

PolyOne has also launched

Portfolio app for the

officer Clemens Stockreiter.

its new OnColor Portfolio app

iPad includes a colour

❙ www.mondigroup.com/fibromer

for the iPad. The free app

selector and its 2014 forecasts

Rockwood takes full control of Sachtleben Rockwood has acquired

ownership of the joint venture

dioxide for a range of markets

Kemira’s 39% stake in their

acquisition, Rockwood’s

provides us with the flexibility

including the plastics industry.

Sachtleben titanium dioxide

chairman and CEO Seifi

to achieve this goal in the time

It acquired certain business

joint venture for E97.5 million.

Ghasemi said: “Given our prior

frame and manner most

assets of Crenox from the

It now has full control of

statements that the titanium

optimal for maximizing

insolvency administrator in

Sachtleben, allowing it to

dioxide business is non-core, it

shareholder value”.

July 2012, taking its total

explore divestment options on

is our key objective this year to

its own. It was reported that

explore and execute on the

Kemira in September 2008,

340,000 tonnes/year from its

both parties were aiming to

best strategic option for

Sachtleben produces anatase

three production plants.

sell off Sachtleben last year.

Rockwood. Attaining 100%

and rutile grades of titanium

❙ www.sachtleben.de

10

Speaking about the

compounding world | March 2013

Formed by Rockwood and

capacity to approximately

www.compoundingworld.com


POLYMER SOURCING 2013 New sources, optimising customer relations and maintaining profitability

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14-16 May 2013 Imperial Riding School Renaissance Hotel, Vienna, Austria

SPECIAL OFFER: Save €210 if you register before 12th April 2013 Organised by: Applied Market Information Ltd.

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European polymer distribution | markets feature

AMI has just completed its latest market report on polymer distribution in Europe. The study’s author, Karla Vittova reveals some of its key findings

Moving materials: trends in polymer distribution Polymer distribution is playing an increasingly strategic role within the polymer industry value chain, providing opportunities for polymer producers to cut costs and improve efficiencies and deliver better service and support to the plastics processor. However, in an industry notorious for its slim margins and in a low growth economy, the successful distributor needs to be rigorous in understanding the cost-to-serve and the value gained from its customers in order to ensure

the distribution industry still has some way to go to

future survival and growth.

recover volumes lost during the 2008-2009 recession,

The new fifth edition of AMI’s Polymer Distribution in

Europe report analyses these changes in detail, examines their impact on polymer producers and distributors, and provides the information required to make strategic decisions in this competitive and fast-changing supply chain. The full 250-page report also includes a spreadsheet with details of the sales volumes of around 250 distribution companies. Over the following four pages, we summarise some of the report’s headline findings. The polymer distribution industry continues to recover from the effects of the financial crisis in 2008, although there was a marked slowdown in the pace of sales growth for 2011 after a strong pick up in 2010. With continued weak economic growth in Europe during 2012, distribution volumes grew at half the rate compared with the previous two years. Furthermore, www.compoundingworld.com

with 2011 sales still more than 500,000 tonnes lower than in 2007. The overall growth for polymer demand between 2009-2011 was 2.5% per year and the volumes sold through official distribution channels grew in the same period slightly ahead of this at 2.8%. Polymer distributors account for approximately 11% of polymer consumed in Europe (the data in the report includes PE, PP, PS, ABS/SAN, PA 6 & 66, PBT, PC, PMMA and POM). In value terms, polymer distribution accounted for revenues of over €6 billion, with the largest contributors being PP and PA. Although affected by the financial crisis, distributors have also been able to benefit from the downturn as polymer majors have rationalised their customer base and bottom-sliced smaller/less profitable accounts, driven by a desire to reduce their credit exposure as March 2013 | COMPOUNDING WORLD

13


markets feature | European polymer distribution

well as cutting sales and marketing costs. The emer-

tries of Western Europe which have relatively little local

gence of new sources of materials outside Europe, for

production and are adjacent to major supply countries.

example from the Middle East and Asia, is also

For example, the Portuguese market is often supplied

presenting an opportunity for distributors, although

from a distributor’s Spanish office, while Ireland is

most of these volumes tend to enter the European market either on a spot or

frequently supplied from the UK, and Switzerland from Germany. Germany and Benelux both have lower

traded basis, or as official volumes for

than average sales via distributors,

the polymer majors.

which reflects the size and strength of

However, fluctuating prices and

the local polymer companies and,

stagnant economic growth are still presenting other challenges to the

probably more importantly, the relative

polymer distribution market. While

size of the local processing industry. The Benelux region in particular is

processors may prefer the reliability,

home to many large-scale processing

guarantee of quality, technical support and personal nature of distribution, when prices go up to the extent that processors are in danger of getting into financial difficulty, they start

companies in pipe, fibre and film, which will typically be direct buyers. Although engineering polymers bring higher margin

looking for alternative, cheaper options through

to distributors due to the technical aspect of the

traders. This is mainly the case for commodities in

processing and services needed, it is commodities

non-technical applications where materials are

which drive the sales volumes, accounting for three-

non-specified.

quarters of sales by distributors. However, engineering

When analysed by country/region, polymer distribu-

plastics will undoubtedly drive the future value of

tion sales are a function of the structure of the local

polymer distribution and will record much stronger

processing industry, plus the structure of local polymer

growth than standard polymers.

production and supply, and historical trading links. For example, polymer distribution networks tend to be

A changing industry structure

more established in Western Europe, compared with

Suppliers looking to optimise their distribution

Central and Eastern Europe where traders are more

networks are more likely to appoint international/

prevalent and where customer loyalty is less strong.

pan-European distributors and reduce the number of

Polymer distributors also tend to account for a

local players per country. Together with consolidation

higher proportion of the market in the smaller coun-

among distribution companies, this will result in a declining number of distribution companies in Europe in the long term. Similarly, distributors are making thorough assessments of their customer base, targeting specific services to their customers’ needs and even terminating cooperation with customers which generate unsatisfactory margins. The effect of ongoing consolidation among the industry plus the increasing importance of pan-European groups has resulted in a relatively high level of concentration in European distribution. This is reflected in the fact that the 10 largest distribution groups account for more than half of all polymer volumes distributed. Major recent M&A highlights include: ● The sale of Ashland’s global distribution business to Nexeo Solutions (April 2011) ● The acquisition of Azelis’s polymer distribution business by Gazechim Plastiques from the 3i private equity group (June 2012) ● Omya’s acquisitions of Spanish distributor Unasa

POLYMER DISTRIBUTION SALES IN EUROPE BY COUNTRY (IN TONNES) 2011

(2011) and Central European distributor Plastochem with offices in the Czech Republic, Hungary and

14

COMPOUNDING WORLD | March 2013

www.compoundingworld.com


markets feature | European polymer distribution

POLYMER DISTRIBUTION SALES IN EUROPE BY POLYMER 2011

set out to grow via a buy and build strategy. It concluded its first acquisition in April 2012, purchasing Atlantic Polymers from Neochimiki. Europe’s leading polymer distributors include A. Schulman, Albis, Biesterfeld, Chemieuro, Febo, Nexeo Solutions, Resinex and Ultrapolymers, although there are a number of other players which have the potential to emerge as new pan-European groups such as KD Feddersen, Ter Hell, Hromatka, Gazechim Plastiques and Omya.

Source: AMI 2012

The changing role of the distributor There are different levels of cooperation existing in the Poland (over 2009-2011) ● The expansion of Spain’s Guzman Group into Italy by

partnership, when a principal and its distributor work

an acquisition of Sabic’s distributor Tecno in summer

very closely together with precisely defined territories

2012.

and customers, through to much looser types of

A number of companies have left the distribution

cooperation. These can even involve direct competition

business altogether either due to bankruptcy, divest-

between a distributor and the principal’s own sales-

ment, giving up distribution as a non-core business or

force in the same market.

due to a loss of the only distribution mandate which was

Polymer

European market today. Ranging from a strategic

The relationship between suppliers and their

not replaced by any other contract. Bankrupt companies

distributors has changed significantly in recent years in

include Dipe (Spain), E&B Polymers (Benelux) and

terms of both the role the distributor plays for the

Kerins & Morrissey (Ireland). In spring 2012, Neochi-

supplier and the nature of the cooperation agreement

miki in Greece divested a number of its subsidiaries,

between them. A distributor increasingly is no longer

namely Atlantic Polymers with offices in Germany and

regarded as just a local merchant which takes care of

Poland and Interallis Chemicals with offices in Roma-

smaller customers that are not important or valuable

nia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia.

enough for the supplier to serve directly. Instead, there

On the other hand, some new offices have been

is a growing trend to develop strategic distribution

distributors

established by existing European players. KD Feddersen

networks, a process which has been accelerating in the

have increased

set up new offices in the UK in 2009 and in Austria in

face of slower economic growth as suppliers look to

opportunities

summer 2012. During 2011, Ultrapolymers established

achieve faster cash generation, lower inventories,

to represent

offices in Poland and the Baltic States, while Plastoplan

shorter supply chains and reduced payment terms.

overseas

and Sirmax also opened offices in Poland, and

suppliers,

Gazechim set up in Spain. During 2012, a new Hungar-

no longer a sole determinant of whether it will be

particularly

ian office was set up by Central European distributor

served directly or via a distributor. Accelerated by the

from the

Radka and Polymix opened a new office in Belgium.

economic downturn, there has been a trend towards

A new player entered the market in 2009 in the

specialisation, with suppliers focussing on strategic

Middle East and Asia

16

shape of Allandis. It established an Ireland office and

COMPOUNDING WORLD | March 2013

The size of a customer, although still important, is

core business. Therefore, focusing simply on the

www.compoundingworld.com


markets feature | European polymer distribution

their customer bases to focus on the larger, strategically important customers and passing smaller, financially unsound or non-strategic customers onto distributors. Distribution is going to grow most strongly in value-added and technical applications for polyolefins, plus technical compounds, particularly in injection moulding (automotive, white goods, electrical sectors). The strongest growth will be seen in Poland and other markets of Central and Eastern Europe, where distribution networks are still growing and where there is the opportunity to export to markets further east, such as Russia, Ukraine and other CIS states.

More information For more information about AMI’s report on Polymer Distribution in Europe and to gain access to details on Moving up a

polymer purchasing thresholds is much less relevant in

sales volumes of some 250 distribution companies,

gear: polymer

an assessment of the polymer distribution market. The

please contact Karla Vittova, kv@amiplastics.com,

distribution is

factors affecting a principal’s decision whether or not

+44 117 924 9442.

expected to

certain customers will be passed on to a distributor

grow at double

include: their strategic fit with suppliers’ business,

ence will take place on 14-16 May 2013 in Vienna,

the rate of

growth potential, cost to serve (for example, credit and

Austria. This forum is specifically created for compa-

polymer

payment history) and where the customer will be better

nies involved at every stage of

demand in the

cared for.

the polymer supply chain. The

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Natural fibres | additives feature

Bio-based fibres are putting down roots in applications where eco-awareness counts. Pat Toensmeier reports

Exploring the natural options for reinforcing plastics Compounders are harvesting a range of production and

engineering credibility that such applications can bring.

Aimplas is

marketing benefits from natural fibres. The materials,

Natural fibres provide a number of benefits for car

developing

which are typically derived from wood, regenerated

makers, notably vibration damping and sound absorp-

cellulose, kenaf, hemp, sisal, flax or jute, can offer

tion. However, their ability to reduce part weight thanks

advantages over inorganic fibres such as glass in terms

to their low density compared with glass fibre – about

of sustainability, recyclability, low density and low cost.

45% lower on average - is a major factor in vehicle use,

Natural fibres can’t match inorganic fibres in overall

and North America. The overall weight reduction in

specific strength and stiffness than glass and deliver

finished parts is generally 6-10%, experts say, though

some performance benefits. In addition, when they are

this depends on the design.

fibres contribute to a fully biodegradable polymer. The use of natural fibres in products is largely driven

Most automotive OEMs have programmes to make natural fibres part of component design. Among them are: General Motors, which has applications in door

by environmental concerns and price. Consumer

substrates in the Cadillac ATF and the rear window tray

product manufacturers especially tap the eco-friendly

in the Buick Lacrosse; Mercedes Benz with rear quarter

image of such materials as a selling point and a way of

panels in the M-Class SUV; Fiat, which is using natural

differentiating themselves and their products from

fibres in the rear load floor of the Fiat 500 electric

competitors that do not use natural fibres. Some firms

vehicle; and Ford, which is using such materials in door

go so far as to make fibres visible in products so that

bolsters and armrests in the 2013 Escape.

consumers can see them. Major applications include

Ford has been a pioneering player in the application

outdoor decking, panelling, wall separators, furniture,

of natural fibre reinforced plastics in car components.

kitchenware and household goods, large and small

For example, it the first automotive OEM to use wheat/

appliances, and automotive components.

straw fibre reinforcements in a vehicle part, with the

The automotive sector is a major target both for the high volume of parts involved and for the design and www.compoundingworld.com

more demanding applications

especially with fuel efficiency targets rising in Europe

mechanical properties, but they can provide higher

paired with a bioplastic like polylactic acid (PLA), natural

natural fibre composites for

third-row door storage bin in the 2010 Flex model. The PP-based compound was developed and tested by the March 2013 | COMPOUNDING WORLD

21


additives feature | Natural fibres

The Ford Flex

Ontario BioCar Initiative, a consortium

was the first

of Canadian universities and industry,

vehicle to use

and then produced by A. Schulman in

plastic parts reinforced with wheat/straw

the US. Ford says that the part has high dimensional stability and provides a 10% weight savings over a glass fibreor talc-reinforced PP compound.

Overcoming limitations Natural fibres typically come with a number of trade-offs, which can include moisture absorption, poor dispersion, limited polymer compatibility and low process temperatures (usually 180-200°C) that restrict

which reduces moisture content from around 10% on

their use to polyolefins and PVC. However, work is

average to less than 1%. Another approach is to

underway to overcome these limitations and improve

compound fibres without pre-drying and reduce

performance. Major developments include techniques

moisture content with high-vacuum pumps and venting

to disperse natural fibres in compounds more efficiently

during processing.

and to enhance their polymer compatibility. The latter is

nanomaterials with polymers to increase resin

that they are used with are non-polar, with the excep-

strength. Alan Rudie, a supervisory research chemist at

tion of bioplastics and PVC.

the Forest Products Laboratory of the US Forest

For dispersion and resin compatibility, progress is being made in the surface modification of fibres by chemical treatments, which can be a relatively costly process, or by the addition of additives such as coupling agents based on maleic anhydride, silanes and titanates among other chemistries.

Thrive cellulose and PP composites at

markets they previously could not enter,” says Vanessa Gutierrez

aerospace, electrical/electronic, sporting goods and medical

also being undertaken

test devices, as well as broader

to develop new screw and barrel configurations to improve the control of process temperatures and shear levels so that they do not

battery holders

might “find their way into new

extruders, work is

automotive such as

As a result of such developments, natural fibres

institute. These markets include

twin-screw

applications armrests and

strength have been achieved in some resins.

Aimplas, Spain’s plastics technology Aimplas

compounding is in is aiming its

Service in Madison, Wisconsin, says that 300% gains in

Aragones, materials engineer at

Since most natural-fibre Weyerhaeuser

Another focus of research is combining cellulose

difficult since the fibres are polar and most polymers

applications in automotive parts. Aimplas works with different types of natural fibres in synthetic thermoplastics and in biopolymers. The institute has recently been analysing chemically modified fibres, notably regener-

degrade fibres. Some researchers and compounders also report that they are achieving good results by pre-drying natural fibres before use,

ated cellulose, which has high purity, less odour generation and reduced discoloration during processing, combined with high batch-to-batch consistency. Such properties are “hard to achieve with conventional natural fibres,” says Aragones. She sees regenerated cellulose fibres as prime candidates for demanding applications in automotive, aerospace (primarily panels) and in high-value building products. The institute has also had success in developing a fire-resistant wood-polymer composite (WPC) compound for panelling and decking, in which additives are metered to the thermoplastic matrix during processing. Aimplas and other research organizations coordinate their work with industry. Their developments in

22

COMPOUNDING WORLD | March 2013

www.compoundingworld.com


additives feature | Natural fibres

The Pacific

formulations, compounding technology and homogene-

Northwest

ous properties are crucial to the reliable and efficient

National

use of natural fibres in different markets.

Laboratory is working on novel methods to reduce the moisture content of natural fibres

Auto suggestions Compounders and suppliers also come up with developments in natural fibres and formulations. Although many markets make use of composites with natural fibre reinforcements, the prime target for compounders and suppliers remains automotive. Among the suppliers targeting this market is Weyerhaeuser. The US forest-products giant recently commercialized a PP-based composite using cellulose fibres called Thrive, which is available as either a masterbatch, with 70% cellulose loading, or in pellet form, where loadings are 10-40%. Thrive composites are used in office furniture and

faster. And because they hold less heat, thick parts are

ment manager Jorge Cortes says that automotive is key

demoulded more rapidly than with glass-fibre rein-

to the product’s success. If the company gets its

forcements. The low density of the composite compared with

will generate momentum for many applications,

glass will be an important way for automakers to meet

automotive and otherwise.

US government CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Econo-

Weyerhaeuser will soon announce an undisclosed

applications

glass-reinforced parts and can thus be demoulded

household goods, but Weyerhaeuser’s market develop-

material specified by an OEM or Tier One supplier, it

Kenaf fibres

fibre-reinforced parts are not heated as much as

my) standards, which are set to rise from their current

interior part for a Ford vehicle, Cortes adds, and it

27.5 mpg to 37.8 mpg in 2016, and to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

expects to supply Thrive grades this year that can be

“As the paradigm shifts in car design owing to the need

moulded with Class-A finishes. The composite currently

for more weight savings, natural fibres will be here to

produces a Class-B finish in parts.

stay,” Cortes says.

Cortes says that interiors are a focus of the com-

Natural fibres are also on average one-quarter to

are being

pany’s automotive work. Targets include trunk-area

one-third the cost of glass fibres, another important

developed by a

parts and undisclosed applications under-the-hood.

point for automakers. “Ford and other OEMs will never

number of

Weyerhaeuser has figured out how to engineer the

agree to substitute natural fibres for glass if they make

organisations,

fibres, feed them for compounding, and prevent fogging

parts more expensive,” Cortes remarks.

including the

and odour issues in finished parts.

Pacific

As with other suppliers, Cortes cites process and

Finally, there are the green marketing benefits: natural fibres are recyclable, sustainable and less

Northwest

marketing benefits for natural fibres. Thrive composites

energy-intensive to produce than glass fibres. “In most of

National

reduce injection moulding cycles by 30-42%, he says,

our plants, we put energy back into the grid,” says Cortes.

Laboratory

depending on part design. This is because natural

With a 3.6 billion lb (1.6 million tonnes) annual supply of cellulose, Weyerhaeuser has no shortage of fibres. The company plans to expand the Thrive line later this year with a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) grade and possibly a biopolymer. The US government is also investigating the impact of natural fibres on automotive fuel efficiency, energy use and part cost. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, works with kenaf compounds for the Department of Energy’s vehicle technology office, says Leonard Fifield, senior research scientist. One area of work involves reducing the moisture content of fibres, which is an ongoing concern. The lab has developed a proprietary process that removes most of the moisture from the hydroxyl groups in fibres and, with the use of additives, improves fibre dispersion

24

compounding world | March 2013

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additives feature | Natural fibres

lead to the use of natural fibres in semi-structural and exterior parts. A company that has installed significant natural-fibre capacity is Polymera. Its plant was opened in central Ohio, USA, in 2011 and it has a nameplate capacity of 60 million lb/year (27,000 tonnes/year). It supplies WPC in its Merablend PVC, HDPE and PP grades for injection moulding and extrusion applications. PVC compounds come in three standard grades based on particle size: 40 mesh, 60 mesh and 80 mesh. Standard fibre loadings are 40, 45 and 50%, though custom orders have as little as 15% loadings. Fibre loadings for HDPE are 30-75%, GeoPellet is developing

and 30-60% for PP.

throughout a resin matrix. The lab is also looking at hybrid reinforcements, in

The company’s vice president and general manager,

applications for

which natural fibres are compounded with glass or

Herb Hutchison says that the fibres line up randomly in

pulp cellulose

carbon fibres to improve mechanical properties. Such a

composites, which improves resin strength. An example

such as this

compound could provide some savings in weight and

he cites is an unreinforced PVC grade that typically has

PVC foam

cost, while expanding automotive applications for

a 450,000-psi modulus of elasticity. With 40% fibre

siding with 30%

natural fibres. Natural fibre reinforced automotive parts

loading, this increases to 830,000 psi.

fibre content

are now typically restricted to interiors where there is

Polymera also extrudes Merawood custom WPC

no exposure to moisture, such as headliners, rear

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window trays, door panels and consoles. Fifield believes

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Natural fibres | additives feature

royalties, if a compounder or producer commits to using

weight,” Schut remarks. In tests, a 100% rigid PVC

Merablend materials.

masterbatch had flexural strength of 1,212 psi and

The company’s main markets are outdoor furniture,

flexural modulus of 374,893 psi. A 50:50 blend of PVC

railings and siding, spas, and extruded profiles for

and pulp cellulose increased flexural strength to 9,998

consumer and industrial applications. Hutchison says

psi and flexural modulus to 992,000 psi. A 60:40 PVC/

demand for WPC is growing, with keen interest from

oak wood blend (40 mesh), in contrast, yielded lower

custom product makers that want to use the com-

results in both areas: flexural strength of 6,805 psi and

pounds in moulded and extruded parts.

flexural modulus of 593,584 psi.

Pulp faction

polystyrene that are reinforced with the reclaimed stock

GeoPellet of Rock Hall, Maryland, USA, has developed

fibres.

The company is pelletizing blends of PVC, PLA and

process technology to exploit an innovative source of

GeoPellet has also experimented with a bio-based

natural fibres. The company uses pulp cellulose fibres

material called polytrimethylene terephthalate, or PTT,

from recycled newspaper and magazine stock in its

which comes in the form of a textile fibre from DuPont

formulations. The benefits, says company president

called Sorona. The polyester-like biopolymer is

Edward Schut, are the material’s low density, high

composed of 37% renewable plant-based ingredients

tensile strength, uniformity and low cost. The reinforce-

(basically glucose fermented from corn starch), DuPont

ments also lack most of the organic volatiles found in

reports. Schut believed its bio-based composition would

natural fibres, as they were originally removed during

work well with the pulp cellulose fibres he was using,

the printed-stock manufacturing process.

and it did. Both materials are polar and thus compat-

GeoPellet processes reclaimed stock into fibres that

ible, which improves fibre wet-out and increases

are 3,000 microns long and 1-2 microns thick. “The

strength. Since PTT is available in fibre form, GeoPellet

fibres provide incredible tensile strength for their

took the fibre from DuPont, chopped it and blended it

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additives feature | Natural fibres

This pulp mill operated by the US Forest Service generates natural fibres for polymer

with the fibres. GeoPellet says that PVC reinforced with pulp cellulose could be used in internal reinforcement bars for window and doorframes. The material, which would replace aluminium and steel, is non-corroding, lightweight, easily machined and welded, and in the case of windows would increase R-value.

testing.

Nano news In the future, compounders may use nanomaterials to improve the performance of natural fibres in formulations. The US Forest Service is working with different techniques to create cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) and cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) that are light, have relatively uniform dimensions, and will significantly increase polymer strength. CNCs that have been produced in the lab are calculated to be stronger than aramid fibre, yet based on molecular modelling would have a density of only 1.5 grams/cm3. This is a theoretical value, since no one has yet been able to assemble a sample and physically test it. The technology is complex and needs to be scaled up before it can be commercially viable. Nevertheless, it demonstrates the potential for desirable properties in a

crystals averaging 10 nm in diameter and 50-200 nm

fibre-polymer compound.

long. This nanomaterial would be interlaced by resin,

One technique for making CNC involves hydrolyzing wood pulp with sulphuric acid, leaving the crystalline portion of the cellulose polymers untouched. The native

yielding a composite with theoretical strength in the range of an aramid fibre-reinforced compound. The potential benefits of this approach include lower

state is a fibril that is about 6 nanometres (nm) in

loadings of reinforcement and high mechanical

diameter and with a length measured in microns,

properties. Rudie believes that the lab’s work with

Cellulose

explains Rudie of the US Forest Service’s Forest Products

nanomaterials could yield commercial products in the

nanocrystals

Laboratory. The salt remaining from the sulphuric acid

near future. Among these might be a disposable

produced by

treatment is removed from the resulting crystalline

medical sensing device for blood work and other uses.

the US Forest

structure with a process that includes membrane

The device could degrade in landfills or can be inciner-

Service are

filtration. This creates a viscous suspension that is 5-10%

ated with no toxic by-products. Longer-term, nanoma-

uniform,

water. To eliminate water, the lab has fine-tuned a

terials could be used to make flexible substrates for

lightweight and

“freeze-dry” process that leaves an aero-solid – a

printed circuitry.

strong

low-density, sponge-like cellulose nanomaterial, with

The performance and potential of nanomaterials assures them of a major role in the ongoing development of natural-fibre compounds. Their reach could eventually extend to mainstream applications and help advance the benefits and performance of bio-based materials. Click on the links for more information:

❙ www.ford.com ❙ http://bit.ly/BioCar ❙ www.aschulman.com ❙ www.fpl.fs.fed.us ❙ www.aimplas.es ❙ www.weyerhaeuser.com ❙ www.pnnl.gov ❙ www.polymera.com 28

compounding world | March 2013

www.compoundingworld.com


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PET additives | additives feature

Peter Mapleston examines the latest additives designed to boost the performance of PET in wide range of applications including packaging, textiles and technical parts

Promoting PET performance PET is widely used in packaging applications because of

lighter weight, highly flexible material and main-

its ability to produce lightweight containers that are

taining packaging clarity,” says Klaas.

clear and strong. But it is not a perfect polymer, and the

ColorMatrix’s Amosorb SolO2 is a combination of

inclusion of additives is often necessary to enable resin

an active oxygen scavenger and a passive barrier to

producers and processors to create premium products.

oxygen and carbon dioxide, making it very suitable

As material suppliers and their customers seek out

for carbonated and non-carbonated beverages. It

more challenging applications, the inclusion of

can be used with any grade of PET for mono- and

speciality additives is virtually essential to enhance the

multi-layer applications. Amosorb technology,

polymer’s physical properties and give it an edge over

which is based on polyester copolymer chemis-

the competition.

try, was originally developed by Amoco Chemi-

“The global PET additives market has never been more focussed on cost-efficiency, flexibility, ease of use

cals, but ColorMatrix now owns the technology. Oxygen scavenger technology has also been

and sustainability,” says Bjoern Klaas, director of

developed by PET bottle producer Constar. Its original

product development and operations at additives

MonOxbar technology was complemented several years

supplier ColorMatrix.

ago by DiamondClear, which it describes as “the

Reducing container weight continues to be a major

industry’s most advanced oxygen scavenging technology

trend in the packaging industry, where PET already

available for PET containers.” DiamondClear offers food

controls a significant segment of the market – nearly

and beverage products many advantages, including

half of the world’s soft drinks are packaged in PET

barrier protection for up to 24 months, and the clarity

bottles today. But the potential for growth in the market

and gloss of glass, Constar says.

still remains enormous. Klaas says improvements in

Constar licenses or sells its oxygen scavenger

barrier technologies are allowing brand owners to move

technologies to converters and brand owners. Its

further from glass to PET.

MonOxbar Single Sack Oxygen Scavenger Resin Blend, for direct addition into the injection moulding machine

Building barriers

or extruder, is available from compounding company

“Effective barrier technologies help brand owners and

Americhem.

converters to overcome market challenges such as extending shelf life, reducing total cost in use by using a www.compoundingworld.com

Engineered clays serve as the basis for another line of development in oxygen scavengers. Nanotechnology March 2013 | COMPOUNDING WORLD

31


additives feature | PET additives

to disperse the active ingredient directly into the polymer during production. It says its technology provides greater versatility and efficiency than competitive oxygen scavenging systems, noting that the effective dispersion maximizes the access to the active system, which ensures minimum reaction time and a very uniform protection of the packaged goods. “The material is immediately active after being added to the packaging system,” notes the company. “These characteristics present significant advantages over systems where additional activation equipment is required.” Typical addition levels are up to 0.25% for catalyst based engineered clays. O2Block can be supplied as a micronized powder or masterbatch. Scavenging NanoBioMatters’ comparison of the oxygen depletion of various oxygen scavengers (according to ASTM F2714-08, immersion in water at 20˚C)

capacity is directly linked to the amount of active ingredient available in the system, and this can be adjusted either by changing the addition level of any one masterbatch or by altering the active clay content within the additive. It is suitable for use with various packaging materials apart from PET, including PE, PP and PLA.

Radiation absorbers NanoBioMatters chief technology officer Pedro Vazquez points out an extra advantage for O2Block: it is a very effective absorber of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Tests indicate that at an addition level of 0.25%, transmission of electromagnetic radiation up to just below 400 nm, which is where the visible spectrum begins, is zero. After this point, transmission levels increase rapidly (see graph). In food and beverages, exposure to UV light can promote oxidation and changes to the taste, odour and rheology of products, affecting shelf life, product quality and aesthetics. Adeka cites a recent case study in Japan, in which its NanoBioMatters’ comparison of the light blocking properties of various PET additives

ADK STAB LA-31 additives was used in green tea bottle packaging. “The addition of the UV absorber in the PET bottle screened the contents from the UV light that

specialist NanoBioMatters recently introduced O2Block

deteriorates the taste and appearance of green tea

for various applications. For use in PET, a modified

contributing to extended shelf life,” the company notes.

phyllosilicate clay is functionalized with a catalyst. For

offers protection up to 600 nm without affecting PET

catalyst, but this affects transparency.

container transparency. Bjoern Klaas says this is

NanoBioMatters says that the use of active engi-

currently the only UV barrier additive for PET recognised

neered clays to produce active materials has advan-

by the Association of Postconsumer Plastics Recyclers

tages such as raw material availability and low cost,

(APR) and the European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP) for

plus relatively simple processability and dispersion.

having no negative impact on the recycling stream.

“Also, the incorporation of active engineered clays into

ColorMatrix also has its eye on the other end of the

polymers could additionally improve the passive barrier

visible spectrum, noting that for PET preforms, an

due to the alteration of the diffusion path imposed by

effective reheat agent can improve processing econom-

the clay platelets in the polymer matrix,” it notes.

ics and part quality. Its Joule RHB is a liquid dispersion

The company claims that the key to the effectiveness

32

ColorMatrix’s Ultimate UV light barrier technology

other applications, iron can be used instead of the

reheat agent that improves the absorption of infra-red

of the system is its use of a purified and layered

radiation of the preform when it is reheated prior to

clay-based carrier, surface modified to make it possible

blowing moulding into the final container. This reheat

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additives feature | PET additives

ColorMatrix’s

capability is retained over repeated processing, which

Joule RHB

delivers further energy gains in the recycling stream,

improves the infra-red energy absorption of preforms during the blowing process

according to the company. It adds that Joule RHB is able to enhance polymer clarity “because it is based on inorganic material, which means it can naturally withstand higher temperatures and is less likely to yellow.” Inherent, natural blue toning properties further reduce the appearance of yellowing, even after long-term recycling. UV and IR absorbers are also available from ColorChem under the Uvaplast and Amaplast banners. ColorChem says its Uvaplast absorbers, which are understood to contain oxazolone and/or azine functional groups, are three to five times stronger than benzotriazole, depending on the grade of Uvaplast and the wavelength. It has three grades, which are also distinguished by different melting temperatures, which range from 165 to over 300°C. ColorChem says they can provide UV blockage up to 400 nm without imparting colour to the substrate. Amaplast IR 1000 and IR 1050 are high-molecularweight IR-absorbing dyes that the company says are suitable for applications requiring strong IR absorption,

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PET additives | additives feature

low haze, and high clarity that include laser marking and

PET by intensive compounding but may coalesce

masterbatch identification, as well as preform reheating.

downstream in the compounder,” Scheirs says. “Functionalized elastomers such as Arkema’s Lotader

Making PET more mouldable

AX8900 [a random terpolymer of ethylene, methyl

Unmodified PET is generally not useful as an injection

acrylate and glycidyl methacrylate, GMA] are excellent

moulding resin in technical applications because of its

toughening agents for PET as they improve interfacial

slow crystallization rate and the tendency to embrittle

adhesion and importantly, reduce interfacial tension,

upon crystallization. PET also suffers from a low glass

thus allowing the formation of smaller rubber particles.”

transition temperature and relatively low impact

Functionalized impact modifiers are available from

strength. Various additives can be used to turn PET into

various other polymer producers, including DuPont

an engineering-grade thermoplastic.

(Elvaloy ethylene copolymers), Ningbo Nengzhiguang

An effective way to enhance the impact strength and

New Materials Technology (Imact ethylene copoly-

to induce a brittle/ductile transition of the fracture

mers), ExxonMobil (Exact plastomers), Asahi Kasei

mode is by the dispersion of a rubber phase within the

Tuftec (SEBS), and Kraton (SEBS). MBS (methyl

PET matrix, says John Scheirs, principal consultant at

methacrylate–butadiene-styrene) core-shell graft

Australian testing outfit ExcelPlas Testing Services.

copolymers such as Dow’s Paraloid are among the most

Reactive compatibilization has been found to be a good

efficient non-reactive impact modifiers for PET,

way of obtaining a finely sized dispersed phase in the

particularly recyclate, according to Scheirs.

PET matrix. Functionalized reactive impact modifiers are

Speed of crystallization, as well as the uniformity of the crystal size, can be improved using nucleating

preferred over non-reactive elastomers because they

agents. Crystallinity is often desirable in moulded parts

form a stable dispersed phase by grafting to the PET

for technical applications, since it increases heat

matrix. “Non-reactive elastomers can be dispersed into

resistance and mechanical stability (it does of course

Best

Conditions for a

Scale Up FED-MTS stands for a wide range of applications Thanks to its modular design, the co-rotating twin screw extruder FED 26 MTS can be extended in just a few steps from 32 D to 42 D, 52 D or more. It is also ideally suited as a laboratory extruder – the technology is similar to that of the larger machines in the series and thus provides the proven gentle incorporation process.

www.feddem.com FEDDEM GmbH & Co. KG · Sinzig – Germany · info@feddem.com · Member of the Feddersen Group


additives feature | PET additives

Adeka’s ADK STAB NA-05 improves the gloss of injection moulded articles. Glassfilled PET is shown without nucleating agent (left) and containing ADK STAB NA-05 (right)

also make PET opaque – consider heat-set PET bottles,

Nanoclay particles by virtue of their particulate nature

with their clear amorphous bodies and white crystalline

are emerging as effective heterogeneous nucleating

necks). PET can be nucleated using heterogeneous

agents for polyesters. The nanoclay particles in PET/

particulates such as talc or by chemical modification of

montmorillonite nanocomposites impart to PET a higher

the polymer itself. PET grades for injection moulding

crystallization rate without the need for expensive

are usually chemically nucleated using sodium salts

nucleating agents. AClyn 285 ethylene-acrylic acid

such as sodium stearate.

sodium ionomers resin from Honeywell has also proven

Adeka’s recently launched nucleating agent for PET,

to be a highly efficient nucleating agent for PET,

ADK STAB NA-05, was granted full EU food contact

according to Scheirs, who also cites DuPont’s Surlyn

approval in polyesters at the end of last year and is

8920 (ethylene-methacrylic acid sodium ionomers) resin.

currently under customer testing in several different

Adeka has other additives dedicated to polyesters (as

applications including bottle preforms, films and injection

well as other engineering plastics), such as high

moulding applications. Adeka describes the product as an

performance heat stabilizers and catalyst deactivators.

“organic salt,” without going into more detail.

It says the use of ADK STAB PEP-36 as a high perfor-

In injection moulding for both glass filled and

mance heat stabilizer has helped customers to

unfilled articles, the use of ADK STAB NA-05 in very low

overcome resin degradation during processing. “Some

concentrations has shown a “remarkable” increase in

of these negative aspects could be related to certain

gloss as well as a reduction in cycle time, according to

catalyst residues,” says Richard Green, area sales

the supplier. The output of preforms has been shown to

manager with Adeka Palmarole, the European affiliate

be more than double in the case of hot-fill containers

of Adeka. “The introduction of a catalyst deactivator

due to the increased rate of neck crystallization speed,

such as ADK STAB AX-71 can efficiently help scavenging

while in film applications, barrier properties (CO2 and

these catalyst residues and prevent any drop in intrinsic

water vapour) are improved. In polyester alloys for

viscosity (IV) and discoloration of PET.” ADK STAB AX-71

automotive, mechanical properties could significantly

could be added at the post condensation stage to

be boosted, Adeka says.

facilitate IV increase and production of high molecular

The flexural modulus and gloss properties of PET both rise sharply with low additions of Adeka’s ADK STAB NA-05 nucleating agent

36

COMPOUNDING WORLD | March 2013

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additives feature | PET additives

Croda says that IncroMax 100 additive makes

weight polyesters. Croda too has a range of additives and modifiers to help improve the processing and/or performance of

no visible

PET. One of them, IncroMax 100, tackles issues relating

difference to

to slip. PET naturally exhibits very high surface friction,

the colour and haze of pure PET. Photo compares PET

especially immediately after processing, the company notes. “This can lead to production issues such as poor mould release, problems with line flow during filling, increased tendency to scratch and mark, difficulties

mouldings

with winding film rolls, as well as reduced packing

containing

density of parts in boxes.” Slip additives can be used to

IncroMax 100 (left) and a rival product (right)

overcome these difficult and costly problems. Echoing Adeka, Croda says it used technical know-how built up from years of experience in the slip additive market for polyolefins to develop IncroMax 100. This additive can help reduce surface friction by up to 60% without impacting the colour and clarity. IncroMax 100 is also available in concentrate form

Progress in flame retardants Stabilization Technologies in Charlotte, North Carolina,

(10% in a PET carrier) as Atmer 7510. Croda says Atmer

which specializes in analytical services and additives

7510 has been found to give other benefits such as

solutions, says it has recently introduced several key

allowing easier processing of PET which results in

products for PET. Director Joe Webster points to “a

energy cost savings and an increased scratch and scuff

successful resolution to the complex story of flame

resistance to help maintain the part appearance.

retardancy for PET fibres.” He says it has proven difficult to find a suitable flame retardant that passes vertical burn tests with no drip. “The nature of PET chemistry limits the use of various additives to provide solutions to problem due to their [acidity] properties or limitations in volatility,” he says. “Molecular weight is key to overall physical properties of textile fibres so maintaining intrinsic viscosity is important for both prime and especially the use of more recycled materials. We have found a solution to this problem and the problem of cross-over contamination by other plastics in recycled PET that destroys molecular weight.” The need for consistent and reproducible flame-

Bar charts compare the kinetic coefficient of friction of pure PET with that of a PET containing 3% of Croda’s Atmer 7510 slip additive and also a rival product (according to ASTM D1894)

retardant polyesters has never been more urgent, Webster says. He claims that the new flame-retardant system can be used at less than 3% in relation to total weight in the polyester fibre and that passes both FAA

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additives feature | PET additives

Sukano has

and NFPA-701 vertical burn tests,

added highly

including instantaneous flame out,

effective black

no smoke and no drip criteria. The

masterbatches

product has no adverse effects on

for PET

short- or long-term physical properties, or on UV durability; causes no discoloration or antagonism with colorants used in polyesters; and has no restrictions on use for the majority of applications for a flame-retardant polyester today in a global market. “The price and economics and cost-

says they enable a “luxurious piano black colour and a shiny hi-tech appearance.” Products made

benefit performance is higher and more

with masterbatches without carbon black are transpar-

consistent than any flame retardant system in use

ent to infrared radiation and are extremely glossy.

today,” Webster claims. The product is offered by Phoenix Plastics, Conroe, Texas, and sold under the

Click on the links for more information:

trade name Cel-Span 789.

❙ www.adk.co.jp/en (Adeka) ❙ www.americhem.com ❙ www.akelastomer.com (Asahi Kasei) ❙ www.colorchem.com ❙ www.colormatrix.com ❙ www.constar.net ❙ www.croda.com ❙ www.dow.com ❙ www.dupont.com ❙ www.excelplas.com ❙ www.exxonmobil.com ❙ www.honeywell-additives.com ❙ www.nanobiomatters.com ❙ www.materchem.com/en (Ningbo NZG) ❙ www.phoenixplastics.com ❙ www.stabilization-technologies.com ❙ www.sukano.com

Webster says he is working on numerous other developments in the field of PET fibre and film technologies, including: a broad UV and IR absorber from 200 to 800 nm and mid- and far-IR absorber, providing permanent long-term protection to PET; molecular modifiers for PET to retain IV and molecular weight; pigment and dye extenders to reduce the need for colorants; and stabilizers to maintain the shade of colorants exposed to UV radiation. Still on the subject of colour, Swiss company Sukano says its white masterbatches for PET applications “have become the gold standard in container applications for their high quality and opacity, their excellent dispersion, brightness and gloss.” Now it plans to repeat the feat in black. It offers Sukano black masterbatches based on PET and PLA, available with carbon black or dyestuff. It


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Twin-screw extruders | processing feature

Suppliers of twin-screw extruders are racing to develop machines that meet the changing needs of compounders and masterbatch makers. Mikell Knights finds out about the latest developments from 10 leading manufacturers

What’s next in twin-screw extruders? Twin-screw extruder manufacturers are developing new

Mc18 model has an optimised Do/Di ratio of 1.55 and its

machines that meet the evolving demands of the global

torque has been increased by 30%, allowing for more

compounding and masterbatch industries. These

material in the screw flights and greater output.

requirements include: higher throughputs; increased

“The more material you are able to put into the

additive loading levels; improved handling of difficult

screws, the lower the average shear that is put into the

and sensitive materials; faster changeover times;

product. This means that at constant screw speed the

reduced energy consumption; simplified machine

melt temperature is decreased by 10˚C or more. But

operation; and more effective processing of bioplastics,

more importantly, the available torque helps increase

natural fibres and recycled materials.

output by up to 75% for certain products,” says Peter

Over the following pages we speak with 10 leading twin-screw extruder suppliers from around the world to find out about their most

Above: Coperion’s latest ZSK Mc18 model offers 30% more torque

von Hoffman, head of Coperion’s compounding machines business unit. Coperion has also developed a

Left: Coperion’s

recent and forth-

special venting unit that helps to

feeders are

coming develop-

process mineral fillers, fine

now offered

ments. They

powders and other low bulk density

with FET to

include Coperion,

materials. The second generation of

improve the

Entek, Feddem, ICMA San

its Feed Enhancement Technol-

handling of low

Giorgio, KraussMaffei Berstorff, Leistritz, Maris,

ogy (FET) incorporates a filter to

bulk density

Sino-Alloy Machinery, Steer and Technovel.

suck out air between the low

materials

bulk density particles and

Coperion ups the torque

increases the friction before

Coperion has developed new solutions for power-limit-

pushing the material into the melt

ed and feed-limited processes, based on its well

flow with the screws.

established ZSK line parallel co-rotating twin-screw extruders. Its latest ZSK www.compoundingworld.com

The unit is essentially a porous barrel with a vacuum March 2013 | COMPOUNDING WORLD

43


processing feature | Twin-screw extruders

Entek is developing new designs that

connected to it , says von Hoffman. It is available as a modification to the side feeder or for open barrels of the main extruder. The porous material is downstream of

can shave time

the feed inlet, positioned at the top and/or bottom of the

off screw

side feeder unit. “The productivity enhancements can be

changes

dramatic; lab tests using certain mineral fillers (PP/talc), yielded a 250% increase in product,” says von Hoffman. “Meanwhile, experience in the field has shown that these increases can be maintained constantly over a period of years.” Coperion has also introduced a new STS Masterbatch die-head for its mid-tier STS machines which are assembled in China to German designs. The new die-head is designed to be opened easily and cleaned rapidly. Flow

of the downtime experienced by all of the process

geometry inside the unit has also been improved for

machinery on a plant floor,” says Dean Elliott, Entek’s

uniform melt flow across the entire die-head to ensure

laboratory manager. Productivity gains are the reward if

that the individual strands are produced at the same

the downtime for colour changeovers can be minimized

rate.

and they can hit their colour specifications quickly.

The new die is at work on two Coperion STS 35

Entek is developing new designs for the screw

compounders installed at FBW, a Germany-based

couplings and the die that can shave time off screw

plastics compounder of pigment and additive master-

changes, and it is also looking at better ways to clean

batches. The company generally produces additive

up vents.

masterbatches containing lubricants, toughening

And for colour houses that prefer to purge their

agents, antioxidants and UV stabilizers, as well as

machine rather than pull the screws, Elliott has

pigment masterbatches for metallic and translucent

developed a recommended purging procedure for

effects in batch sizes from 25 to 300 kg. It also offers a

Entek’s twin-screw machines that is getting a good

special service where customers can order custom-

reaction from customers. It address the best purge

compounded masterbatches in batch sizes upwards of

procedure, how to get the machine cleaned quickly, or

just 1 kg for new developments and pigmentation trials.

how to execute a screw change. The optimised machine

❙ www.coperion.com

designs and purging procedures are being developed and proven in lab tests.

Entek accelerates changeovers

Entek is also looking at a processing enhancement

Entek has been focusing on new ways to speed up

that provides a means for mixing two materials that

product changeovers on its compounding lines. It

have dissimilar melting points. “It is hard to combine

highlights the continuing trend by colour houses

two different materials because as you start to melt one

towards smaller batch runs, with up to 12 different

polymer the second one may degrade,” says Elliott. One

batches run per machine each day. The move away from

solution is to feed a hot melt from a separate extruder

week-long production runs featuring a single colour

into the twin-screw extruder. At present, development

has placed an emphasis on trimming the changeover

in hot melt compounding is ongoing, but the goal is the

time between batches.

development of new material formulations.

“Colour houses are squeezed for time and that

❙ www.entek-mfg.com

further increases the pressure to quickly attain a colour standard after each production run,” explains John

Feddem provides new options

Effmann, Entek’s director of sales and marketing. “If

Feddem has introduced several new options for its

the machine is not cleaned effectively the new batch of

Multi-Task Standard (MTS) line of co-rotating twin-

colour could end up off-spec”.

screw extruders.

Colour formulators either rely on purging com-

44

Its new FSV side degassing (stuffer) unit is designed

pounds or a screw change to facilitate the change, but

for the small- or medium-sized compounder with

can face difficulties. “It is becoming more evident that

occasional applications that required degassing. The

inefficient changeover or cleaning can claim up to 40%

company’s managing director Dieter Gross says: “We

compounding world | March 2013

www.compoundingworld.com


100 %

MADE IN ITALY


processing feature | Twin-screw extruders

Feddem’s new

have designed the FSV with

involving materials or masterbatches that are

FSV side

dimensions and mounting

highly filled with powders. It is positioned

degassing unit

points similar to Feddem’s

opposite but slightly upstream of the feeder and

allows the line

side feeder. The side degasser

vents any off-gases to atmosphere. “Air

to run at higher

can be installed onto the same side

can come out but no powder can come

rates

ports as the feeder, and a user can

out,” says Gross.

reconfigure from a side degasser to a

Feddem has also developed a new

side feeder in just 20 minutes”. It is

Curved Strand Die Plate as a solution

suited to compounding processes

for compounders where the produc-

involving thermoplastic materials like reinforced

tivity bottle neck is in the number of

polyesters or nylons, plus materials that are filled

strands. The new patent pending design improves throughput up to 25%, and is

to a certain extent.

already in commercial use.

Gross says that an advantage of degassing from

“Usually a die plate has a row of so

a side port rather than a top port without stuffer

many holes with a certain diameter and

is the ability to apply a high vacuum that

at a certain distance from each.

does not draw much more than the off-gases out. “If you apply conventional

Output has to do with the diameter of

vacuum on the top of the machine, it can be

the hole, the number of holes, and the pulling speed of the pelletizer,”

that in addition to the gas, fillers or polymer material are also pulled up, eventually

explains Gross. In order to pull a strand of similar

accumulating and closing up the opening of the

diameter but increase throughput, processors may add

portal. This minimizes vacuum power and increases the

holes in one row or add a second row of holes to the die

potential of off-spec material – pulled out of the

plate.

process initially – falling back into the melt stream. To

Just adding holes in one row, or adding a second row

avoid this, users typically reduce their throughput

brings a number of potential pitfalls, adds Gross. These

rates,” says Gross.

include melt flow issues, where the die holes at the

With side degassing, the operating forces of the

edges may be at a different flow distance from the holes

ICMA

twin-screw work against the materials to keep them in

at the centre of the die plate. Strands produced from a

demonstrated

the melt stream. The FSV allows the user to run at

more central hole in the die plate may vary in diameter

recycling lines

higher rates while ensuring the portal for degassing

from strands coming from an outermost hole since the

at its recent

remains open. The unit is said to deliver 20-30% higher

melt experiences different flow conditions. Adding

open house

throughput than a conventional side degassing unit,

multiple rows in holes can make cutting tricky. “If you

combining its

along with the fast changeover capability.

have a strand cut from the upper row, it easily can

extruders

Another new option from Feddem is its FSE side

cause an imperfect or accidental cut of the lower row.

with Filtec

venting unit, which was launched last year. It mounts to

This is a main reason why many avoid a two-row stand

pelletizers and

opposing side ports and also allows for fast and no-fuss

die-head, “says Gross.

Ettlinger screen

installation or removal from the twin-screw extruder.

changers

The FSE is suited to compounding applications

Feddem’s Curved Die Plate allows 25% more holes in one row over a similar width of the die plate, with the same hole dimensions and equal flow lengths from hole to hole. “The compounder uses the same strand pull speed with a higher extruder rate to attain higher throughput with a more stable strand pull, resulting in better pellet quality,” Gross claims.

❙ www.feddem.com

ICMA adds value to recyclate ICMA San Giorgio recently demonstrated the capabilities of it twin-screw extruders for processing recycled materials at an open house held at its facility near Milan last month. The firm, which offers co-rotating twin-screw compounding machinery, partnered with Filtec, an Italy-based supplier of pelletizers for recycled materi46

compounding world | March 2013

www.compoundingworld.com


processing feature | Twin-screw extruders

screw extruder, which is designed for processing highly filled compounds, along with several new technology developments. According to Ralf Dahl, Berstorff’s vice president for twin-screw extruders, this is the company’s first turnkey system to incorporate its deep-flighted high torque ZE-UT-R unit, and its first system to process undried wood flour with up to 12% moisture in-line. The pre-mounted module will produce a special wood-plastic compound with up to 60% wood flour, and will run at rates up to 2 tonnes/hour. “Taking existing and proven technology and processes and recombining them creates an opportunity to enter new markets with new applications,” says Dahl. “Other companies may have installed higher capacity lines, but those systems use pre-dried material, and they don’t go Pinuform is

als, and Ettlinger, a Germany-based manufacturer of

using Krauss-

screen changers and filtration systems, to demonstrate

Maffei Berstorff

advanced recycling and pelletizing of mixed waste

direct degassing in-line, then is sent through an

twin-screw

plastics.

underwater pelletizer, but in the end the product is

extruders to

Two processing lines were used to show how combina-

beyond a 40% loading of wood flour,” he adds. “The wood flour is fed ‘wet’ into the machine with

quite dry, with less than 0.5% of remaining moisture in

produce WPC

tions of equipment from the three companies could be

the pellet. It is bagged and will feed decentralized

pellets and

used to create a value-added product from waste

profile extrusion lines,” says Dahl.

profiles

materials by delivering a high degree of compounding, degassing and extraction of volatile substances. The first demonstration involved the processing of

One company that is making use of KraussMaffei Berstorff systems for WPC compounds and profiles is Pinuform of Germany. It has recently installed one of

mixed-waste packaging containing polyolefins, barrier

the company’s twin-screw co-rotating extruders for the

films, metalized films and printed films. A second line

compounding of wood flour and PP pellets at its

converted ground un-washed PP car bumpers into a

Ammelshain plant near Leipzig. It has also invested in

product modified with thermoplastic rubber and

three Berstorff twin-screw counter-rotating extruders

mineral fillers to improve elastic modulus and boost

for the production of decking profiles using the WPC

sturdiness, respectively.

pellets.

❙ www.icmasg.it

❙ www.kraussmaffei.com

Berstorff boosts WPCs

Leistritz simplifies operation

KraussMaffei Berstorff has developed a new high-

Leistritz says that it has introduced several simple

throughput system for producing highly-filled WPC

enhancements that are bringing big benefits to users of

compounds based on undried wood. The company used

its ZSE Maxx series of machines.

its experience in building complete turn-key systems to develop the WPC line using its ZE-UT-R series twin-

Its new double control panel for strand pelletizing lines is designed to improve process efficiency by

Leistritz is offering a second control panel to simplify the operation of strand pelletizing lines

48

compounding world | March 2013

www.compoundingworld.com


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Twin-screw extruders | processing feature

eliminating the operator’s need to make process changes from the primary control panel on the extruder. Adding a secondary control panel downstream at the pelletizer allows the user to make changes to the line from either end. “Often an operator has to run from the pelletizer back to the extruder to make a process change, then back to the strand pelletizer for an adjustment, and back and forth like this continuously,” says Michael Thummert, head of marketing at Leistritz. Now the user can control the line from either end of the process, which allows for a quicker response to process changes. The secondary touch-screen panel features an

The twin-screw process is continuous, whereas conventional devulcanizing methods using

industrial control system that is not an expensive

chemicals is a batch process. The Maris method with

Maris is using

add-on and it ties in to the process control. A double

twin-screws is not subject to formulation mistakes or

its twin-screw

control panel is in use on two Leistritz lines at a colour

downtime for cleanout or changeovers, and it does not

extruders to

masterbatch producer in Sweden that compounds “top

require side feeders on the unit, since nothing is added

devulcanize

quality materials, but with many formulations and at

to the process. The approach can help to pull more

fantastic throughputs,” says Thummert. The Swedish

scrap rubber out of the waste stream while providing

producer is using double control panels on its ZSE 18

compoundable material for injection moulding or

Maxx and ZSE 27 Maxx machines.

compression moulding applications, says the company.

Leistritz also extended its feed barrel designs with a

“Deactivating the cross polymeric chains of the

new size featuring a 50% larger opening. Introduced at

rubber by means of a co-rotating twin-screw extruder

the end of 2012, the new Leistritz E barrel is designed

is something that has never been achieved commer-

for volume-limited applications. The larger openings

cially before. This is state-of-the-art technology from

are available for the main feeders and the side feeders,

the perspective of a co-rotating twin-screw,” says

and they help to eliminate potential problems in feeding

Revelli.

low-bulk density materials, says Thummert. Leistritz also developed a new masterbatch die-head

Maris developed special screw elements as well as heating profiles for the extruder to create the thermal-

that is easy to open, clean and access the die plates.

mechanical reaction. “The design and composition of

The special LSA masterbatch head is designed to

the kneading elements, mixing elements, and conveying

reduce changeover times.

elements, and their configuration on the screw, in

The company also introduced updated versions of

rubber

combination with a certain temperature setting for the

insulating barrel jackets which help to reduce machine

rubber, along with the length of the machine and the

energy consumption.

screw speed, all collectively create the effect of cutting

❙ www.leistritz-extrusion.com

close to 100% of the cross polymeric chains,” says Revelli.

Maris devulcanizes rubber

Maris says the unit can devulcanize a wide variety of

Maris supplies co-rotating twin-screw extruders for a

rubber types, including EPDM, SBR, FKM, and even

range of technical plastics compounding applications.

mixes between SBR and natural rubber. The scrap

However, in the last four years it has developed a

rubber only needs to be devoid of any textile or metal,

process that takes its machines into a completely new

and it can be devulcanized.

arena: devulcanizing scrap rubber with a twin-screw unit. There are several technologies that devulcanize rubber, but these approaches rely on chemicals or

Each rubber behaves at a different temperature setting within the extruder, so the throughput amounts may shift depending on the quality and kind of rubber. The devulcanized rubber is extruded from the Maris

other agents and additives to cut the cross-links

process in bands. After being cooled in a water tank and

between the material. Maris developed a process that

dried by air knife, the rubber can be vulcanized later

creates a thermal-mechanical reaction within the

using machinery equipment from other manufacturers,

twin-screw extruder that devulcanizes the material

once curing agents and other chemicals have been

without the use of any chemicals or agents, says

compounded with the devulcanized rubber.

Alberto Stephano Revelli, sales & marketing specialist with the company. www.compoundingworld.com 

Maris has commercial installations of devulcanizing lines in Europe and the Americas producing, operating March 2013 | compounding world

51


processing feature | Twin-screw extruders

a rates from 10 to 1,000 kg/hour and

as it does with its co-rotating extruder models.

beyond. It claims that users of the

Sino-Alloy has also launched the third generation of

technology have realized an

its PSQ underwater pelletizer, enhancing the control of

ROI in less than two years.

the cutting blades and redesigning the die plate for

The company supports product testing and trials at its

improved interchangeability. A linear motor now controls the position of the

1,100 m technical centre,

cutting knives, instead of the pneumatic system used by

which has four extruders

the previous model. Users now can adjust the cutting

installed, and it has a presen-

blade position either against the die plate or off of it

tation video about the process

when it is not necessary.

2

on its website.

❙ www.mariscorp.com

The pneumatic design kept the blades against the die face at all times. Being able to adjust blade position extends the life of the blades and die plate. Not having

Sino-Alloy protects the sensitive Sino-Alloy has

Sino-Alloy Machinery, a

introduced

supplier of fully intermeshing

counter-rotat-

co-rotating twin-screws, ventures into

constant pressure against the die face allows for the use of a smaller, more energy efficient motor, says Stephens. The die plate has been redesigned as an interchangeable insert, allowing processors to change from

ing, non-in-

new territory with its first counter-rotating, non-in-

one die hole size to another quickly. The die plates with

termeshing

termeshing unit. The new PSMC targets heat- and

hole sizes ranging from 0.8 to 3.2 mm are offered.

lines for

shear-sensitive materials such as PVC or PET, where

sensitive

intermeshing screws can generate too much shear,

insulation and the heat circulation of the die plate,

materials such

says Donald Stephens, international marketing sales

which helps to prevent die hole freezing while also

as PVC

manager at the company. The parallel screws also

generating a more stable and consistent pellet.

feature a segmented design that allows for different

❙ www.sinoalloy.com/en

Sino-Alloy says it also improved the thermal

screw configurations. “The non-intermeshing and counter-rotating aspect

Steer’s research into the use of natural fibres in the

mixing along with lower shear, while the segmented

compounding of biocomposites has led to the develop-

design broadens the number of potential applications

ment of several screw elements that allow for high

by changing the configuration of the elements,” says

production throughputs without degrading these

Stephens.

shear-sensitive materials.

Sino-Alloy has turned away numerous potential

ing twin-screw extruder for the processing of natural

machine. “We wanted to go into a market that is

materials such as jute fibre, grass, and poultry

completely new for us, and this is a growing market

feathers, the company exploited the fact that shearing

niche we can pick-up by offering new equipment that

isn’t the only force present or able to compound these

challenges competitive models on throughput,” says

materials. “The kneading blocks bring shearing forces,

Stephens.

elongation, kneading, and stirring actions, as well as

diameter screws with 1.57 Do/Di, a machine length of 38:1 L/D, and screw speeds up to 300 rpm. The

innovative

compression and laminar mixing, ” says Robert Roden, Steer’s head of global compounding technology. In addition, having larger gaps between the screws

PLC-based control and motor size is similar to those

and the barrel, and between the screws in the in-

used with the company’s co-rotating series.

termeshing zone can lead to non-uniform shearing

Stephens says the new model will deliver throughput rates some-

through the process, and shear peaks between the screws, Roden adds.

Shovel screw

what close to the rate of its

Steer’s Omega series extruders

element is

PSM 72 co-rotating model,

eliminates these shear peaks

from 20 to 600 kg/hr

by maintaining very tight

overcome

depending on material.

tolerances in these regions.

limitations in

Sino-Alloy will consider

designed to

feeding material 52

When updating the design of its OmegaLab co-rotat-

customers who have looked to them for such a

The first unit built is a PSMC 65, featuring 65 mm

Steer’s

Steer offers natural benefits

delivers higher distributive mixing and less dispersive

Steer has developed several

offering the PSMC in higher

screw element technologies

rpm versions (600 and 900 rpm)

designed to separate as much as

COMPOUNDING WORLD | March 2013

www.compoundingworld.com


M

M A S T E R B AT C H A S I A 2 013

New opportunities and expanding markets

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processing feature | Twin-screw extruders

A quad-screw version of Technovel’s

shear-sensitive biocomposites with no penalty on

WDR extruder is being used for

production or quality,” says Roden.

R&D at UMass Lowell

Twin-screw units incorporating the updated component designs are active in several commercial projects using natural fibres. A US compounder has commissioned a line that will use undried poultry feather fibres with 5-15% moisture content. A large biocomposite processing line in Ontario, Canada, set to launch this month (March) will produce compounds reinforced with miscanthus grass that will be converted into plant pots for sale by several major home improvement stores, says Padmanabhan. Applications to load 40% Jute fibre reinforcements in PP are in development. Steer says the updated equipment for these tasks starts with a possible the different types of forces while

pre-wetting (stirring) step before kneading, shearing

minimizing shear. “Having the correct type of

and elongational mixing.

element in the correct place puts the right amount

Steer adds that it is now offering a version of its side

of energy into the material at the right place and right

feeders with its novel Shovel elements as a way to

time, which improves processing,” says Dr Babu

improve the conveying capability of hard-to-handle

Padmanabhan, founder of Steer. This also allows for

materials. The elements are said to improve rates by

shear-sensitive materials to be processed at much

40-50% when a biomaterial is used. It has been

higher production rates and speeds, he adds.

successfully deployed in programs using biomass

The new elements were derived following the evaluation of other mixing equipment, including roll

reinforcements, ceramics and calcium carbonate.

❙ www.steerworld.com

mills, a roller compactor, counter-rotating twin-screws, dispersive kneaders or Banbury mixers, a Buss

Technovel turns up the rpm

co-kneader as well as existing co-rotating screws.

Technovel’s WDR series high-rpm twin-screw compound-

The developments include: Shovel elements that

is helping to push material dispersion to new levels.

Kneading Blocks (FKB) that bring enhanced melting and

Such a unit is being used to process a range of materials

mixing along with the stretching, folding and squeezing

at the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s new Emerg-

action of a kneader at low shear; Fractional Lobed

ing Technologies and Innovation Center (see Compound-

Mixing Elements (FME) which avoid the effects of

ing World, Jan 2013, p10 - http://bit.ly/Technovel). Robert Whitehouse, associate professor at UMass Lowell, has 40 years of experience in plastics compounding and many decades focused on dispersion. He says that these rpm speeds are at least four times higher than conventional twin-screw speeds, and they break new ground in the arena of dispersion. “It is not an incremental improvement; this is a factor of two or three times better dispersion. I would say that the Technovel WDR twin-screw is providing a totally new platform in mixing energy.” Whitehouse says that typical twin-screw extruder designs tend to degrade polymers when screw speeds edge above 500 rpm, which has prompted many manufacturers to develop higher torque models instead. “When I first saw the Technovel twin-screw model, I did not think that using the high speed offered would be an advantage. No one has really done it because polymer degradation tends to occur at higher screw speeds,” says Whitehouse, who has now

pressure and shear peaks while imparting a high degree of elongational mixing in a constrained space; and novel mixing elements called DSE’s that impart a dynamic stirring action in an unconstrained, open environment. Incorporation of the elements, along with close attention to process settings, has allowed for high production rates of filled materials. Steer said it produced a 40% talc-filled PP at 900 kg/hr with a screw speed of 1500 rpm, torque of 497 Nm, power of 120 KW, a material residence time of four seconds and 0.12 KW/h/Kg specific mechanical energy using a 40mm Omega H class extruder. In another test, using a standard Omega 40 mm extruder in its lab, Steer achieved production rates to 540 kg/hr running shear-sensitive biomass filled PP. This compares with a typical rate in the region of 100 kg/hr when a conventional machine of similar size is used. “We can run our compounders at full rpm, full torque, full screw speeds and at full rates running 54

ing extruder, which is capable of speeds up to 4,400 rpm,

overcome limitations in feeding material; Fractional

compounding world | March 2013

www.compoundingworld.com


processing feature | Twin-screw extruders

masterbatch into EVOH. Low rpm did not alter viscosity or dispersion, but at a higher rpm the EVOH showed a viscosity drop and some drop in molecular weight. When a nanoclay was added it compensated for the slight loss in molecular weight to the EVOH and viscosity actually increased two-fold. “This indicated better exfoliation of the clay – far better than had ever been done in a masterbatch before at a lower speed,” says Whitehouse. He found that the EVOH bound itself strongly with the clay particles, producing a bound rubber layer type technology. Together with several students at UMass Lowell, Whitehouse also looked at incorporating nanoclay into PP. “PP is purely a hydrocarbon, so one would not expect results similar to the EVOH trial. However, at higher screw speeds, the PP did create a bound rubber layer with the clay, showing high and uniform dispersion. Keep in mind that we are processing at 4,000 rpm UMass Lowell

conducted several experiments with the unit and has

with the same screw, same L/D and same geometries;

graduate

come away with a new view.

just changing the motor speed.”

student Melissa

The first experiment processed a straight PP above

Whitehouse is now using Technovel’s twin-screw to

Egan runs

500 rpm. Whitehouse said thermal degradation did

test high-rpm processing of reactive processes. He says

trials using

occur, however that allowed for the material to be

that if the machinery and process can generate that much

Technovel’s

converted from a low melt index PP into a MI 200 PP,

thermal mechanical energy perhaps there is a chance to

high-speed

which is more of a fibre grade. “If we can achieve this

generate radical sites on the polymer itself which will

twin-screw

melt grade without the use of peroxide, then a processor

allow for drafting between two polymer blends.

extruder

has a new, clean way of depolymerizing PP. Essentially you can run it in an inline fibre extrusion process.” When peroxide is used there is a strong residual,

“An idea I am interested in is taking a mixed polymer blend from the waste recycling stream and determining if it can be compatibilized back into commercially viable

sickly odour from the alcohol release which can take

compounds from waste by generating radicals to get

several days inside a hopper drier to eliminate the

some grafting or branching, or to put in some compati-

smell on the product. With the Technovel model running

bilizer to enhance the linkage,” says Whitehouse.

at higher speeds, the material did have thermal

Technovel offers the WDR extruder in twin-screw

degradation but with no odour. When processed through

and quad-screw formats, and it has installed both

the unit at 4,000 rpm, it raised the melt index from 1 up

models at the Emerging Technologies and Innovation

to 200. “We were also able to repeat the results

Center. Both machines use 15 mm extruders and have a

predictability, as we found a correlation with the screw

choice of 45:1 or 60:1 L/D says Diane Fukuda, US agent

rpm and feed rate,” says Whitehouse.

for Technovel.

Whitehouse then ran a program of a nanoclay

❙ www.technovel.co.jp/en

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Download the programmes for these forthcoming conferences Simply click on the brochure cover or link to download a PDF of the full publication

Green Polymer Chemistry GREEN POLYMER CHEMISTRY 2013 International conference on manufacturing conventional plastics from sustainable sources

Stretch & Shrink Film

The second international conference on manufacturing conventional plastics from sustainable sources is being held on 19-21 March in Cologne, Germany. This brochure has all the details.

STRETCH & SHRINK FILM 2013 The business conference & exhibition for the stretch & shrink film industry

10

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19-21 March 2013

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Polymers in Photovoltaics POLYMERS in

Photovoltaics 2013

International industry conference on polymer components in photovoltaic systems

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AMI’s 10th international conference on Stretch & Shrink Film will take place in Berlin, Germany, on 16-18 April 2013. The programme includes detailed market analyses, plus the latest materials, processing and application developments.

Middle East Strategy Seminars

AMI’s international conference on polymer components in photovoltaic systems is taking place in Cologne, Germany, on 16-18 April. Check out the programme that covers new developments in this exciting market.

P LASTICS P ROCESSING I N T HE GCC S EMINAR 2013 A review of challenges and opportunities in the GCC

16-18 April 2013

7th May 2013 Dubai 11th May 2013 Jeddah 12th May 2013 Riyadh 13th May 2013 Dammam

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Thin Wall Packaging USA THIN WALL PACKAGING 2013

The American version of AMI’s Thin Wall Packaging conference returns to Chicago on 18-19 June. This brochure has the full programme which covers the latest developments in thermoformed and injection moulded packaging.

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ICMA: compounding systems

ONE CO-ROTATING HEART IS BEATING IN OUR SYSTEMS

CO-ROTATING TWIN SCREW EXTRUDERS

COMPOUNDING

ADVANCED RECYCLING

NATURAL FIBERS

DIRECT EXTRUSION

LAB SYSTEM

This 20-page brochure from ICMA San Giorgio covers the company’s advanced compounding and extrusion systems. These include special lines for recycling, direct extrusion, reactive compounding, and processing natural fibres.

C.A. Picard: extruder technology EXTRUDER TECHNOLOGY

OUR PEOPLE MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

www.icmasg.it

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Reduction Engineering: pelletizers This brochure covers Reduction Engineering’s Bullet Series of strand pelletizers. Aimed at both laboratory and production users, these pelletizers have been developed to be easier and faster to clean and service.

This 12-page brochure from C.A. Picard International covers its high-quality replacement parts for extruders, mixers and kneading machines. These include screw elements, kneaders, screw shafts, barrels, cylinders and baffles.

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Entek: WPC lines Extrusion Solutions for Wood-Plastic Composites

This brochure covers Entek’s complete turn-key extrusion lines for the production of wood-plastic composite (WPC) decking. The lines are built around the company’s E-MAX twin-screw extruders.

Bullet Series Strand Pelletizer Granulador de Hebra Serie Bullet

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Steer: EPZ screw elements

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PlasMec: PVC mixing/cooling

This 20-page brochure from Steer Engineering features its wide range of screw elements including many innovative designs developed by the company. It also covers replacement barrels and shafts.

This brochure covers PlasMec’s HEC High Efficiency Horizontal Cooler for the production of rigid or plasticized PVC dry-blend. Available in sizes up to 8,000 litres, it delivers high levels of efficiency, throughput and quality.

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compounder of the month

Bada Head office location: Date founded: CEO: Ownership: No. of employees: Sales 2012: Plant locations: Production 2012: Profile:

Product line:

Product strengths:

Bühl, Germany 1997 Andreas Schettler Privately owned Approximately 120 Approximately €70 million Bühl, Germany, and Huesca, Spain 24,000 tonnes Bada is a customer-focused specialties compounder based in Bühl, BadenWürttemberg, Germany. In addition to this site, it has another compounding plant in Huesca, Spain. New production lines are being added at both facilities this year, increasing annual capacity by around 4,000 tonnes. The company’s technical thermoplastics and thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are exported to more than 70 countries in Europe, Asia, America and Africa. Bada offers a range of engineering plastic and TPE compounds including Badamid (PA), Badadur (PBT), Badaflex (TPE-S), Badalac (ABS), Badaprene (TPV), and Badatron (PPS). Bada supplies materials to a wide range of industries, including the automotive, electrical/electronic, sports/leisure, construction, furniture, medical technology and household goods sectors. Bada sees itself as an innovative compounding specialist, providing flexibility, quality and reliability. Its highly qualified team and sophisticated technology enable it to meet a wide range of customer requirements.

Forthcoming features The next issues of Compounding World magazine will have special reports on the following subjects: April 50th issue – celebration special Anti-oxidants Wire and cable applications

May Anti-stats and conductive additives Clarifiers, nucleating agents & processing aids Chinaplas 2013 show preview

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Catch up on our recent issues for FREE Simply click on the cover to see the full magazine, or download the issue in the relevant Apple or Android app Compounding World – Feb Compounding World’s February issue is packed full of features on thermallyconductive compounds, additives for polyolefins, materials handling systems, changes to EU patent legislation, plus costmanagement for plastics processors.

Compounding World – Jan The January edition of Compounding World covers developments in foaming additives and the formulation of polyolefin foams. It also takes a look at coupling agent innovations and pelletizing technology. ➤ Click here to view

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Injection World – Jan/Feb This edition of Injection World covers automotive composites, IML developments, reinforcing fibres and additive manufacturing, plus it has three practical features on cost management, developing multi-shot products and understanding moulding variables.

Wind Turbine Blades 2013 The first edition of Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturing magazine looks at trends in the wind energy market, reviews developments in reinforcing fibres and core materials, and reports on the world’s longest blade. ➤ Click here to view

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dates for your diary

Global exhibition guide

3-5 April

Plastex Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

www.plastex.ite-uzbekistan.uz

3-6 April

Tiprex, Bangkok, Thailand

www.tiprex.com

10-11 April

PlastTeknik, Malmo, Sweden

www.easyfairs.com

10-12 April

7-10 May

Plastic Japan, Tokyo, Japan

www.plas.jp/en

PlastPol, Kielce, Poland

www.plastpol.com

14-16 May

Plast-Ex, Toronto, Canada

www.plast-ex.org

20-23 May

Chinaplas, Guangzhou, China

www.chinaplasonline.com

20-24 May

Feiplastic, Sao Paolo, Brazil

www.feiplastic.com.br

6-8 June

Plastics Printing Packaging Tanzania

www.pppexpo.expogr.com

18-19 June

PDM, Telford, UK

www.pdmevent.com

18-20 June

Plastec East, Philadelphia, USA

www.plasteceast.com

19-22 June

PlastExpo, Casablanca, Morocco

www.plast-expo.com

20-23 June

InterPlas Thailand, Bangkok

www.interplasthailand.com

3-6 September

Applas, Shanghai, China

www.applas.com

5-7 September

Plasti & Pack, Lahore, Pakistan

www.pk-plastipack.com

16-23 October

K 2013, Düsseldorf, Germany

www.k-online.de

AMI conferences

18-20 March

Masterbatch Asia, Singapore

19-21 March

Green Polymer Chemistry, Cologne, Germany

7-8 May

14-15 May

Polymers in Cables, Miami, FL, USA

14-16 May

Polymer Sourcing, Vienna, Austria

3-5 June

Masterbatch, Frankfurt, Germany

4-5 June

Profiles, Philadelphia, PA, USA

4-6 June

End of Life Plastics, Cologne, Germany

13-14 June

Bioplastics Compounding & Processing, Miami, FL, USA

Fire Retardants in Plastics, Denver, CO, USA

10-12 September

Polyolefin Additives

17-18 September

Medical Grade Polymers

12-14 November

Fire Resistance in Plastics, Cologne, Germany

19-21 November

Polymer Foam, Hamburg, Germany

For information on all these events and other conferences on film, sheet, pipe and packaging applications, see

www.amiplastics.com

Don’t miss a single issue Register now for your free subscription at:

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Compounding World March 2013