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machinery feature | Twin-screw compounders K-Tron, known for its feeders, also offers turn-key

systems engineering. Dr. Jaime Gomez, K-Tron’s business development manager for plastics and chemicals, notes that a systems perspective is impor- tant, because all parts are inter-related. “Although the extruder is the most important piece of equipment in the plastics transformation process, it is not a magic wand. Solid handling operations upstream of the extruder must be geared to produce and supply the extruder with a reliably consistent, on-spec formula- tion,” says Gomez. He notes that K-Tron has an inclusive view to designing a system, and underscores the need for the tightest possible integration of pre-conversion system elements. At this year’s PlastIndia exhibition, Steer Engineer-

This Feddem turn-key line installed in China is built around its FED 72 MTS extruder

in 2009. The group also includes Akro-Plastic which produces technical compounds in Germany and China, so Feddem benefits from Akro’s compounding expertise and machine operating experience. “Small companies sometimes like to work with us

because we also are small, but have many experienced people and can also call on our company group,” says Dieter Gross, Feddem’s managing director. The company offers standard turn-key lines with up- and down-stream equipment from its partner companies, but can also source customized lines with equipment from other suppliers. A recent Feddem client in North Africa requested not

only a turn-key plant, but assistance in selecting laboratory equipment, training personnel, and develop- ing compound formulations, which Feddem was able to provide with the assistance of Akro’s expertise. At its Compounding Workshop, which took place in

Germany in November, Leistritz discussed several turn-key systems, including lines for producing glass-fibre reinforced polyamide, and a multi-purpose engineering plastics compounding line built around its ZSE Maxx extruder. The company also partners with other machinery

suppliers to provide integrated turn-key systems for both producing and processing compounds. For example, it works with the injection moulding machine maker Engel to produce integrated lines for compounding and moulding long-fibre thermoplastics (LFTs). In addition, it collaborates with extrusion specialist Kuhne to create turn-key lines for producing PET cast film and sheet. These use a twin-screw extruder to process and dry the recycled or virgin resin. For more details on this technol- ogy, see Compounding World, February 2012, page 47.


ing introduced a complete “off-the-shelf” turn-key compounding line. Its SPL 40 includes a 40-mm twin-screw extruder fitted with a Steer-made volumet- ric feeder and a strand pelletizer developed for flexibility in small-lot production. The SPL 40 line is designed to be a “total solution”

for a company that needs a basic compounding-pelletiz- ing production machine, says Dr. Babu Padmanabhan, founder and managing director of Steer. “This line is a great value for a company that wants a basic, standard- torque machine,” adds Mike Millsaps, director of sales at Steer America. Start-up companies and moulding companies that

want to back-integrate, for example, can benefit from the simple, low-cost, but high-quality machine that comes ready-to-run. Millsaps says the line uses the same processing zone, high-torque gear box, and AC motors as Steer’s Mega TSE extruders, and has basic controls that are pre-wired and mounted to the machine for quick start-up.

Modular moves Turn-key twin-screw extrusion systems can be either traditional systems built on-site or modular systems that are designed and built at the equipment supplier’s facility and then sent to the end-user for installation, typically in a short timeframe. The Apex Engineering Modular Extrusion system is designed in a skid format that allows each component to be shipped in standard sea crate and then assembled using a “plug and play” approach. “The trend behind modular designs is the ability to quickly install and gain capacity in strategic markets, and once the capacity is met, move the system to a new, emerging market, with 100% recovery of assets” says West. He notes that there are several other advantages to modular systems, including 25-30% lower costs

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