Film & Foil A brand new cooling processwith significantly lower energy consumption

Combining economy and sustainability is more of a challenge for cast film manufacturers than ever before


he energy consumption of a cast film extrusion line has a major influence on economy and sustainability. On

one hand, energy efficiency is an important aspect of sustainable production. On the other, it also represents a major cost factor, particularly in view of the constantly rising electricity prices. The melting process consumes the largest

portion of energy during cast film production and cooling is a close second. “The energy consumption during the melting process is a physical constant and there is only minor potential for improvement, explains Torsten Schmitz, head of cast film extrusion lines at Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H). “In contrast, cooling technology has the greatest potential for optimisation. The intelligent and automated cooling technology that we offer with the FILMEX II cast film extrusion line can reduce the energy costs for cooling by up to 70 per cent.” The new approach consists of a combination

of a free cooler, a system using low external air temperatures and a chiller. The system is controlled centrally via the Procontrol operator panel of the FILMEX II. An automatic mode always selects the optimum operation. “Our new approach is to recognise the system as a whole. All of the parameters ranging from process temperatures to the outdoor temperature are centrally captured to create an intelligent control system. This enables us to consistently achieve the best energy eficiency,” explains Simon

24 September 2017

Haselmann, development department, W&H. A free cooler requires less than one fifth of

the energy of a chiller. The challenge lies in the fact that the free cooler can only be used when the outdoor temperature is lower than the required process temperature. Up until now, the lowest required temperature was always the limiting factor. Schmitz explains: “The casting roll is generally run at a higher temperature than the chill roll for both stretch and barrier films. However, these different requirements could not be addressed separately because only one circuit supplies all of the elements. This resulted in unnecessary cooling, wasted energy and additional costs.” The new approach from W&H resolves this

problem through the use of a second cooling circuit. As a result the system can now handle different process temperatures. “Thus, for normal stretch film production, the casting roller can be cooled entirely using the free cooler even at an outdoor temperature of 30°. At outdoor temperatures up to 10°C, the system is cooled using various combinations of the free cooler and the chiller. At temperatures below 10°C, the free cooler handles the entire cooling process. On the whole, the free cooler is utilised far more often as a result of the additional cooling circuit and intelligent networking. This saves energy and, thus, money. The chiller itself also operates more efficiently because networking the components means that the water is only

cooled down to the extent necessary for the film extrusion process,” adds Haselmann. The cooling equipment is controlled centrally

via the system’s Procontrol operator panel. The machine operator can easily view and intuitively control all of the parameters. In automatic mode, the machine selects the most eficient operating state by itself on the basis of the parameters, consistently safeguarding the highest eficiency. “The investment in the additional cooling

circuit and a free cooler for a stretch film system in central Europe pays for itself after around one year. We have not even factored in the added value of sustainability, which can be used as an extra sales point and as a benefit for the customer’s own brand," says Schmitz. By offering the intelligent cooling circuit, W&H

continues developing the Filmex II as an intelligent machine. The new generation of the cast film extrusion line was launched at the K 2016. The Film Performance Monitor was the highlight, a system that enables integrated data processing throughout the entire process chain from the extrusion to the application and ensures consistent quality. The Company’s offers are the result of a comprehensive development approach, explains Schmitz, “Both developments reflect our vision of Packaging 4.0: intelligent machines, integrated processes, intuitive operation. Alongside the FPM, the new cooling circuit is another product that further enhances our customers’ production eficiency.”

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