Right: WPCs are commonly used in

decking in place of traditional wood products

supplied with or without Struktol’s stabilisation package. The capstock compounds can be tailored to address the customer’s needs. The company also introduced TPW 720, a capstock additive that allows further modification of properties – such as gloss and scratch resistance – based on the customer’s specific requirements.

Automated production Materials handling specialist Azo has helped UPM Biocomposites in Germany to automate its produc- tion of WPC compounds. Azo combined automatic mixer feeding with vacuum weighing systems, to streamline produc- tion of the compounds. The finished compounds also had to be conveyed and stored in day bins – from which they were supplied to several extruder lines.

UPM currently produces 15 different basic

formulations in six colours on these mixing lines. “From the outset, we wanted a concept for the

material fllow that would not restrict us in any way,” said Marc Reich of UPM. “This means that we were able to transport all components on all mixing and extrusion lines.” The Flexidos feeding system used in this plant is very versatile. It is typically used for flexible feeding of extruders with new materials, masterbatches, additives and regrind, for making high-quality products. It is suitable for lower and average rates of throughput. Pneumatic vacuum conveyors convey medium and minor components to the surge bins. Individu- al components are metered onto the scales in accordance with the formulation and weighed accurately. Depending on the use, the main components can be metered in coarse feed, although the remaining components are weighed with gramme accuracy and added, depending on the proportion, in coarse and dribble feed. Advance weighing can be carried out in parallel to the weighing of bulk components. Key benefits include: consistent quality, thanks

to precise weighing of all components; traceable formulations, with verified formulation composi- tion; and the ability to withstand fluctuations in bulk density.

In addition, the vacuum weighing system handles discharge, metering, conveying, combin- ing and weighing. Bulk components and medium and minor components can be delivered to the mixer using the vacuum weighing systems. Here, components are suctioned onto convey- ing scales with an electromechanical weighing device and accurately weighed. The core element

16 PIPE & PROFILE EXTRUSION | November/December 2019

in the system is the multiport valve, developed by Azo. This allows several conveying lines to con- verge at one point.

Trex expansion US-based Trex, a leading manufacturer of WPC decking and railing, has broken ground on a new manufacturing facility in Frederick County, Virginia. Trex is adding a new decking plant next to its

existing production site to meet continued growth and projected product demand. The new facility is expected to create more than 150 jobs. “This is an exciting time for us with all signs pointing to continued growth and escalating demand,” said Jim Cline, president and CEO of Trex. “We’ve been planning this for some time and have been eager to break ground and welcome new talent.” The new Virginia capacity will begin to come online in early 2021, says the company. The new facility is part of a US$200 million capital investment programme that will allow Trex to increase production output for future projected growth. In addition to expanding capacity in Virginia, Trex is also installing extra capacity at its Nevada site that began coming online earlier this year. The new lines are scheduled to come online in the second quarter of 2020.


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