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MIXERS | MACHINERY Mastering the mix Batch and


continuous mixers have an important role to play in production of plastics blends, compounds, and masterbatches. Mark Holmes reports on some of latest developments


Whether for PVC dry blends or highly loaded pigment masterbatches, certain polymer compounding operations require specialised mixing techniques. These can be either batch or continuous solutions and may be designed to operate as stand-alone activities or to integrate seamlessly into a compounding operation. In all cases, mixing equipment developers are working to provide more effective mixing with improved plant utilisation and, since the emergence of the Covid pandemic, improved remote access and monitoring. Batch mixers are widely used in the PVC industry


but are extending their scope of application into a broader variety of plastics compounds, according to MTI Mischtechnik International General Manager Ulrich Schär. “The company’s core business is the production of heating/cooling mixer combinations, which are typically used for dry blending of rigid and soft PVC, as well as for natural fibre compounds including wood, cellulose, hemp and rice husks, for example. We also see a trend for mixers in the development of bioplastic applications and the use of other bio raw materials, such as starch. However, price is currently limiting the number of applications.”


www.compoundingworld.com


Improved operational efficiency ranks highly in most users’ list of demands. In addition to development and design of new and more effective mixer types and applications, MTI sees remote access solutions for mixing becoming essential — a requirement accelerated due to restrictions resulting from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “Modern mixing plants can only work efficiently and with maximum availability if they are commissioned by experts and, in the event of a malfunction, faults are rectified within the shortest possible time,” says Schär. “In these Covid times, with significant travel restrictions and visiting bans, remote access to the machine is of vital importance.”


MTI says it has been implementing remote access on its machines for some years and adds that all of its equipment is provided with modems to aid identification of operational issues. “A large number of system issues are caused by electrical components, software errors or simply incorrect operation. While the ‘technician on site’ is irreplaceable in the event of mechanical problems, controls and their components, as well as electrical drives with speed regulation, can now be checked and reset remotely, if necessary,” he says.


Main image: Mixing


equipment lies at the heart of many plastics compounding operations and holds the key to efficient production


� November 2020 | COMPOUNDING WORLD 49


IMAGE: COPERION


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