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ALTERNATIVE EXTRUDERS | MACHINERY


From kneaders to multiple-screw extruders, there are alternatives to the twin screw extruder in compounding. Mark Holmes looks at some new developments in the area


Compounders – the alternative options


The twin screw extruder may be the workhorse of the compounding industry today but there are alternatives. Kneader extruders are well established in the market, while conventional single screw machines can also be turned to specific com- pounding tasks. Other compounding extruder options include designs with up to twelve screws, while planetary rollers extruders have a role in niche applications and screw-within-screw types have been developed to meet particular market needs. The common driver behind the develop- ment of all these alternatives appears to be the need to better handle the most challenging compounding demands. “Increasing demand for end products with


improved properties is driving polymer develop- ment towards higher strength, improved scratch resistance, improve flame retardancy, better UV resistance, less weight and more resource saving,” says Dr François Loviat, Head of Process at Buss. “As the tuning of compounds properties through polymer chemistry is already widely exploited,


www.compoundingworld.com


further improvement of those properties has to be increasingly achieved by mixing in more and more sophisticated, sensitive and expensive additives. In our opinion, this is where intensive mixing of sensitive ingredients supersedes the requirement for ever higher throughputs. This kind of reliable mixing and precise control of the temperature profile are traditional strengths of Buss kneader technology.”


Multifunctional demand Loviat says the trend towards smaller production lots and more frequent product changes also continues. “This increases the demand for multi- functional compounders, and compounding lines capable of processing a wide range of formulations without changes of the process geometry. In addition, new health or environment related regulations generate new constraints to the compounding industry, such as the ban of hazard- ous additives, and replacement of established materials through less efficient, more sensitive and difficult to handle ones, for example, glass fibres by


Main image: The Compeo extruder from Buss features a new screw design supporting elements with between two and six kneading elements


October 2018 | COMPOUNDING WORLD 17


PHOTO: BUSS


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