Companies tout size, portability, control innovations for PPT lines
Pipe, profile and tubing extrusion technology is evolving in many ways, as was demonstrated by several companies during the K show. One company took a completely different tack, eschewing computer-controlled technology for one of its product introductions and getting back to basics.
CORELCO EXTRUSION LINES
Corelco Extrusion Lines, Manziat, France, focused on corrugators for many of its innovations. Amidst all the fanfare over Industry 4.0 and related technologies, the company introduced the Brava, a corrugator that is ideal for applications such as the electrical conduit market, without a PLC or other computer technology.
“Easy and reliable technology; that’s the target,” the company says in its promotional materials. Simple, versatile, robust and scalable, Brava is geared for use on pipe or tubing sized from 8mm to 50mm.
Sales and marketing director Joe Vitello said one customer’s experience with some significant, unexpected downtime on a cable extrusion line prompted Corelco to design such a machine. The downtime came about because the software used within the extrusion line and corrugator needed specialized attention.
“In the past, a good electrician was capable of fixing the machine,” he said. “Now, with PLCs and related technologies, you need an engineer to fix an issue — and a good one. That was our starting point. The Brava is for basic production, for those companies starting out or for smaller companies. There is no wide touch screen, no Internet connection. Our other thought was that we have to do something for this share of the market. On the mechanical side, the design has lost nothing. It’s still designed with the same steel, heat treatment, etc. We kept the mechanical side; we optimized the design, and it has the same reliability and same warranty. Then we made, on the electrical side, made it very simple. There is no PLC. Anywhere around the world the normal electrician can fix this.
“There is no special setup,” he continued, noting that installation of the machine takes only two to three hours. “It’s almost plug-and-play. We have to bring what we need to where we need it.”
The machine is built in France and has an integration kit for a wire-feeding device or guillotine-cutting system. The control panel is located at the foot of the machine.
“It is free-standing; it is not fixed on the corrugator frame,” Vitello said.
Models designed to perform either blowing or vacuum production are available. The BR 50 is the blowing version and the BR 50V features vacuum production, which allows an operator to change the thickness of the tube inline, for example.
EVERPLAST MACHINERY CO. LTD.
Everplast Machinery Co. Ltd., Tainan, Taiwan, showcased its EMS-115 precision medical tubing extrusion line, which won the first-prize award of excellence for design and innovation in plastics and rubber machinery at Taipei Plas in 2016.
The biggest design achievement was to pack a lot of performance into a small footprint. An extrusion line typically includes four or five machines, and that requires a significant amount of space. But space is a special concern for medical product manufacturers due to the cost of clean-room installations. The concept of Everplast’s design is to unify machines into a single, small unit.
The machine is built in accordance with Industry 4.0, featuring servomotors applied in each part of the machine to provide enhanced stability. The pressure detector, vacuum pressure and synchronizer potentiometer, and laser detector, are all equipped with a data-collecting function, allowing users to gather and analyze data provided by each unit, the company said.
Inoex LLC, Lancaster, Pa., used the K show to highlight beta versions of its terahertz measurement products, marketed as Warp. The company’s core business is measurement and control equipment for pipe extrusion. It now is offering its Warp products in a portable format. Inoex said that a steady, continuous stabilization of the extrusion process is required for efficient line production, and so a technology is needed for measurement and control.
John Mann, president of Inoex LLC, said that the technology is based on a new electronically generated terahertz frequency, developed exclusively by Inoex. It has an accuracy of within 10 micrometers.
“It’s an absolute measurement. This technology makes the measurements of plastics portable, absolute and independent of material and process temperatures,” he said. Warp provides wall thickness data for up to 38 positions and can determine whether 100 percent of a wall is uniformly thick. It also provides measurements for layer thickness, interior and exterior diameters, eccentricity, ovality and mass throughput with gravimetry.
As of the end of January, Inoex was preparing to mass-produce the portable equipment. The stationary system will be available at the end of this month; the portable system will be available at the beginning of May. Although the technology primarily has been used in pipe extrusion, it now is starting to be used in injection molding, Mann said.
The product comes in a number of stationary models. Warp 4 measures in four spots. Warp 8 measures wall thickness on eight measuring spots, while simultaneously directly measuring diameters in four axes. Another model, the Warp 100, is designed for measuring 100 percent of walls, especially those in gas pipes and pressure pipes. It performs direct measurement of diameters in 19 axes. Warp XXL is designed for large-diameter pipes, measuring wall thicknesses of 150mm and larger.
KraussMaffei Berstorff, part of KraussMaffei Technologies GmbH, Munich, showcased several pipe heads for polyolefin (PO) and PVC.
“Our pipe heads are designed to guarantee a uniform layer distribution, optimal adhesion of layers, as well as low specific weights for high mechanical stress,” said Peter Roos, president of the extrusion technology segment of the KraussMaffei
Group and managing director of KraussMaffei Berstorff. “In production of multilayered pipes in particular, the important factors are precision and cost-efficiency.”
The company displayed the KM-3L RK 42 pipe head, for the production of PVC multilayer pipes. Its KM-RK 20 S PVC pipe head is geared for small diameters of 12mm to 63mm, and its prototype is being further developed to increase pipe quality and production reliability for future use with various customer formulations worldwide, the company says. Its KM-5L RKW 01-40 model produces five-layer PO pipes that are used in floor and ceiling temperature-control systems.
In the Industry 4.0 arena, the company introduced its BPCTouch machine control system, which can link the order and production systems. The K show marked the launch of BPCTouch for the company’s ZE BluePower, ZE UTX and ZE Basic twin screw extruder series.
Angie DeRosa, managing editor
Corelco Extrusion Lines,
Everplast Machinery Co. Ltd.,
Inoex LLC, Lancaster,