the weight of new compounds for the car industry and continuing the development of metal-replacement compounds. Sustain- ability is another common research area and recent examples at Dr Collin include a

project for a customer looking to produce com- pounds containing up to 70% fibre content and installation

Above: Flexibility and reproducibility are key requirements of lab

compounding equipment such as the Compounder E, according to Dr Collin

of a compounding extruder in a 9-layer flat film line. Verstraten adds that future developments will include new technologies allowing the use of fibres with very low bulk densities, as well as working with technical polymers, high temperature materials and fluoropolymers. The company also has initiatives in the pharmaceutical and medical sectors.

Right: Farrel Pomini’s CPeX lab processor is well suited to feasibility trials and formula- tion studies

Compact developments Farrel Pomini has made a number of improve- ments to its CPeX laboratory compact processor. Launched in 2016, the CPeX is a laboratory version of the company’s compounding system — a continuous mixer that discharges into a single screw extruder for pelletising. Continuous mixing technology features two counter-rotating and non-intermeshing rotors and is claimed to be a good alternative to twin screw extruders for compounds and masterbatches with high filler loadings, for abrasive (high wear) materials and for temperature-sensitive materials that require intensive mixing while maintaining low processing temperatures. The company adds that, as a two-stage machine, the output rate of the extruder differs from a twin screw machine in that it is independent of mixing. The laboratory machine has the same fully functioning orifice as the produc- tion-sized machines to control fill level, which regulates the specific energy input to the material. According to the company, the CPeX is designed to take on feasibility studies and other laboratory work and is targeted for

22 COMPOUNDING WORLD | December 2018

production rates of 10–30kg/h. It is said to be particularly useful for training centres and universi- ties and is well suited for processing a variety of compounds and colour concentrates. The CPeX is designed to allow interchangeabil- ity between Farrel Pomini’s standard CP rotor and its XL rotor, which has a longer ratio (10:1) and offers tighter temperature control and increased residence time. The company says that the two rotor configurations each have benefits and now can be compared side-by-side for a given material. While most customers use the standard format, the comparative capability will allow determination of when the CPXL rotor would be more beneficial. Enhancements made to the CPeX in the past few

years are primarily in the areas of the control system and reporting, as well as the addition of features that allow the CPeX to mirror production Compact Processors more closely. The CPeX control system is now configured with selections for the major feeder brands and the customer can choose up to three gravimetric feeders to accommodate full size resin pellets, fillers and additives. Both the feeder and mixer are pre-configured with integrated wiring and piping for ‘connect and go’ operation. The PLC-based control system and touchscreen

HMI are designed to be easy to use and provide optimal viewing control. A web-based supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) function, which enhances analysis and recipe building, is included and the control system now includes the ability to capture process parameters within any interval and generate reports. There is also a new historical data export feature that includes individu- al process parameters in addition to the process parameters of the entire machine. In terms of scaling up, the CPeX has the same

temperature control capability as the company’s production size machines. Two melt tempera- tures are monitored — one at the mixer discharge and the other at the extruder die. The mixing chamber has all the process features of production size machines, includ- ing mixing dams, liquid injection

segments and venting ports. Farrel Pomini says it

is important to know how much heat is being imparted to the polymer during the mixing process

and that most of the time, it is not desirable to add heat during pumping



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