‘added’ to the compounder but shall be part of the design from early concept phase.” Communication and data acquisition are also

important fields of progress within the develop- ment. “The challenge here is not to simply measure and log as much data as possible, but to approach the design from the direction of what information is relevant and then implement the necessary technol- ogy,” says Kudrass. “For the Compeo 44 we intend to implement the option of spectroscopic analysis of the compound as a form of inline process monitor- ing. This will provide feedback of variables such as degradation, dispersion, dosage elevations, colour change and compound homogeneity.” The Buss view is that a lab compounder should perform well in two, somewhat opposing, ways, Kudrass says. “Firstly, it should allow for the development of new polymer formulations at very low throughput rates, which reduces development cost. Secondly, the lab compounder should allow for a reasonable scale-up to a pilot or production plant, which means it can’t be too small and has to exhibit all the main features of a production machine. We believe that the chosen shaft dimen- sion of 44mm provides a good compromise with an estimated throughput rate of 30-120 kg/h, depending on the compound.” In contrast to Buss’s previous lab compounder, the MX30, the Compeo 44 will feature a much greater degree of flexibility and lend itself better to up-scaling a developed process to a larger Com- peo compounder, says Kudrass. “However, we intend to continue supplying the MX30, as it allows for lower throughput rates ranging from 5-25 kg/h. Such low throughput rates can be advantageous for some recipe development applications. “For this reason, we are considering extending the Compeo series by another, even smaller lab machine once the Compeo 44 design is completed.”

Continuous solutions Farrel Pomini’s CPeX is the laboratory version of the company’s full-sized compounding system made up of a continuous mixer that discharges into a single-screw extruder for pelletising. The technol- ogy, which features two counter-rotating and non-intermeshing rotors, is an effective alternative to twin-screw extruders for compounds and masterbatches with high filler loadings, abrasive or high wear materials and temperature-sensitive materials that require intensive mixing while maintaining low processing temperatures. The laboratory machine has the same fully functioning orifice as the production-sized ma- chines to control fill level, which regulates the

22 COMPOUNDING WORLD | December 2019

specific energy input to the material. It is designed for feasibility studies and other laboratory work and is targeted for rates of 10-30 kg/hr. Farrel Pomini says it is vey well suited for processing a variety of compounds and colour concentrates. The CPeX allows users to switch between the

standard CP rotor and the XL, which has a longer ratio (10:1) and offers tighter temperature control and increased residence time. It has the same temperature control capability as production size machines. Melt temperature is measured twice, once at the mixer discharge and again at the extruder die for maximum heat and energy control. The mixing chamber has all of the process features of production size machines including mixing dams, liquid injection segments and venting ports. The mixer discharge orifice coupling the mixer

to the extruder allows for molten material to be diverted for evaluation prior to discharging into the extruder feed zone. This “close coupled” design also eliminates the exposure of the molten polymer to air, minimising oxidative degradation risk. The company says this makes it particularly suitable for trials processing reactor supplied powder resin and additive masterbatch. Farrel Pomini has been making a number of enhancements to the CPeX, primarily in the areas of the control system and reporting, as well adding some features that allow the unit to more closely mirror production-scale Compact Processors. For example, the control system is now configured with feeder selections for major brands; users can choose up to three gravimetric feeders to accom- modate full size resin pellets, fillers and additives. It also now includes the ability to capture process parameters within any interval and generate reports. And there is a new historical data export feature that includes individual process parameters in addition to the process parameters of the entire machine.


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