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machinery feature | Lab compounders

blends, shear-sensitive materials, fibre-grade polyester or PE masterbatches. Three sizes are offered – the Omega 20, 25 and 30 – featuring 1.71 OD/ID, 1,200 rpm screw speed and throughputs ranging from 5 -100 kg/h. The OmegaLab is offered with special screw

configurations for handling a range of renewable resins, reinforcements and fillers. For example, Steer was awarded a contract in North America to develop and commercialize a manufacturing process for a product compounded from chicken feathers and PP. Proprietary mixing elements help the OmegaLab line to achieve the required mixing, while avoiding excessive shear levels, says Roden. “You cannot put too much energy in a biopolymer too

Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Process 11 is the company’s smallest twin-screw co-rotating extruder

Steer has introduced a second model into its OMicron line of laboratory twin-screw extruders designed to process special, high-end polymers in batch sizes as small as 15 g. The new OMicron 10 has a screw diameter of 10 mm and joins the existing 12 mm model. It has a 1.55 OD/ID ratio and throughputs range from 0.15 to 1 kg/hr. The machine is typically supplied with an L/D ratio of 30-36. Steer’s OMicron models are offered with a clamshell design that allows processors to stop the process, open the machine and immediately inspect what is happening to the material at any point in the process. Traditional segmented barrel designs are also offered for process- ing materials under high pressures or for running liquids.

The OMicron line employs special screw geometry

created by the company to improve material processing at low volumes. For example, Steer’s proprietary ‘shovel’ elements, which assist the processing of difficult-to-feed density materials with low bulk densities, are available for its laboratory machines as well as its production lines. Quick change features with this model allow the user

to go from operation to screw removal in a matter of seconds, says Robert Roden, technology manager at Steer America. The company plans to add this ease of accessibility and ease of cleaning technology to the other lab lines. The Omicron is the smallest of Steer’s four lines of

laboratory extruders. The AlphaLab series comes in two models with 18 or 20 mm diameter screws, a 1.46 OD/ ID ratio, 1,200 rpm screw speed, and throughputs from 5-40 kg/h. They are designed for processing specialty polymers, alloys and blends, mineral-filled polymers, additive- and colour-masterbatches and flame retard- ant compounds. Steer also offers its OmegaLab series, designed for applications such as automotive compounds, polymer

44 COMPOUNDING WORLD | December 2012

fast so you need the machine length to gently heat it. Some think a long residence time burns the material, but it is really about the amount of energy put into the mix,” says Janit Panchal, who is taking over the technology manager role at Steer America as Roden is transferring to Steer India in Bangalore to focus on new equipment development. The fourth of Steer’s lab lines is the Mega series, designed to handle more conventional polymer blends and colour compounds, as well as short fibre reinforced thermoplastics. Three models are offered - the Mega20/ Lab, Mega25/Lab and Mega 32 – featuring 1.55 OD/ID and throughputs from 5 to 100 kg/h. ❙

Thermo Fisher Scientific recently introduced its Process 11, a new bench-top twin-screw co-rotating extruder for small-scale experiments. It has 11 mm diameter segmented screws and can deliver through- puts from 20 to 2,500 g/h. The space-saving unit, which is the smallest from

the company, has a user-friendly touch screen with integrated feeder control, and all electronics reside in the extruder housing. A removable top barrel half allows users to stop and inspect material along the screw shaft and enables them to modify the screw design with individual screw elements in order to optimize the process. The removable barrel also simplifies screw and barrel cleaning, and offers optional barrel designs to suit the application. Atmospheric venting ports are standard with an

option to add a vacuum stack. Due to the small dimensions of the unit, top feeders are used in place of side feeding. Split feeding from a secondary or tertiary feeding port is possible. Process results and conditions generated from the

Process 11 can be successfully scaled up to Thermo Fisher Scientific’s 16 mm and 24 mm lines. ❙

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