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Twin-screw compounders | machinery feature

Twin-screw extruder manufacturers are experiencing growing demand

for turn-key compounding lines, not only from emerging economies but also from established markets. Jennifer Markarian reports

solutions for twin-screw extrusion


Demand for turn-key compounding lines is on the rise. In recent decades, such systems have sold well in emerging markets such as Asia, South America, North Africa and the Middle East where new start-ups have relied on the expertise of machinery makers to supply and assemble complete lines. However, in recent years an additional and some-

what unexpected market has delivered rapid growth for turn-key systems. Many extruder manufacturers are reporting large increases in the sales of complete lines to the developed markets of North America and Europe. It was a common topic of discussion at last month’s

NPE show in Orlando, Florida, USA. Suppliers explained that it is happening because many compounders have lost their most experienced engineers in recent years, either through retirements or through redundancies made during the economic downturn. As a result, they have become more reliant on the abilities of machine suppliers and system specialists to specify and assemble complete turn-key lines on their behalf. Most twin-screw manufacturers and suppliers offer

turn-key lines on a bespoke basis. These include the twin-screw compounding extruder, upstream materials handling and feeding equipment, plus downstream pelletizing systems. The essential ingredient is the engineering expertise to bring these elements together to form an optimised line, typically integrating control

systems that are becoming increasingly sophisticated. There are also specialist contractors who do not

manufacture any equipment, but will select an extruder and all the related components to configure and assem- ble a complete custom-made line on a client’s behalf. It is also possible to buy complete “off-the-shelf”

compounding lines from certain suppliers, with a pre-selected extruder, feeder and pelletizer. For straightforward applications, they can provide a low-cost and tried-and-tested option. In a traditional turn-key arrangement, the customer

has one contract with the turn-key supplier, who is responsible for providing the entire working line, including equipment and installation. The main advantages to the customer are the time savings and the assurance of having an expert do the work. “In today’s compounding systems there are many pieces of mechanical and electronic equip- ment that make up the process. The turn-key approach places electrical and mechanical integration into the hands of the extruder supplier or engineering firm special- izing in compounding,” says Jeff West, engineering manager at Apex Engineering. This US-based engineer- ing and design company does not manufacture individual items of equipment


Coperion tests modular

compounding plants at its Stuttgart

facility prior to shipping

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