FLORENCE, KY. — KraussMaffei Corp.'s open house drew about 200 people to Florence June 13, where they saw a coextruded window extrusion line, recycling equipment and injection presses molding packaging and automotive parts.
The attendees also heard technical presentations and toured Mauer USA, a packaging molder in Hebron, Ky.
KraussMaffei Corp. CEO Paul Caprio said a U.S. open house is important, even in a K-show year, since many U.S. processors do not send people to the world's largest plastics trade show, in Düsseldorf, Germany.
"This is for our market. That's what this event is — to show how technology can move the industry forward," Caprio said as the one-day event wound down.
Caprio said more Americans are attending the K show than in the past. Twenty years ago, maybe 10 KM customers from the United States would journey to show in Germany. KM expects 100 to 200 of them will go over for K2013, set for Oct. 16-23.
Caprio said the K show offers an unparalleled chance to look ahead and see "the next big thing," since machinery companies show future models that may not even be commercial yet. Exhibitors also show brand new technology.
"The K is really kind of the race to new technology," he said.
Open house attendees in Florence got a taste of coextrusion technology from KraussMaffei Berstorff to make vinyl windows with an outer layer of virgin PVC and inner profiles — those unseen by the end customer — from recycled PVC. The machinery company has sold the line to Atrium Extrusion Services Inc.
The coextruded window technology is popular in Europe, where regulations call for window manufacturers to take back all old PVC windows and recycle the material into new windows, said Matt Sieverding, general manager for KM's extrusion division in Florence. The inner material also can use highly filled materials, such as calcium carbonate, to cut costs.
At the open house, the company ran window profiles of virgin and recycled PVC, using a conical KMD 43 K/P twin-screw extruder to extrude the virgin visible portion of the window. That was paired with a parallel twin-screw extruder, a KMD 75-32/P. Greiner Extrusion GmbH provided the coexrtrusion manifold and die.
The KMD 43 was equipped for quick adjustment up and down, to move the extruder into the proper position to feed the manifold.
In another extrusion demonstration, a ZE 60 A x 40 UTXi used a K-Tron feeder to run recycled polypropylene bottle flake through a special dewatering section to remove moisture, then down the twin screw extruder and through an Ettlinger rotating melt, and finally through a Gala underwater pelletizer, then to a Witte classifier.
Sieverding poured water into feeding area, to demonstrate how the dewatering section can handle recycled plastic material with up to 50 percent water content. The machine squeezes out the water, which exists as steam and also a flow of water out of a chute to a storage bucket.
Martin Mack, vice president of extrusion research and development, said co-rotating twin-screw extruder using venting, to run recycled post-consumer plastics, reducing the need for separate pre-drying. In a presentation, he said a process called "upcycling" is turning a base recycled material into a finished product in a single step, without having to repelletize the material.
"It's more than park benches," Macks said. He cited applications like plastic pipe. Plus, the twin-screw format uses modular screw elements that can be arranged to run the specific application.
Noah Grade, an extrusion application engineer in the Florence facility, gave a presentation about directly adding calcium carbonate at the feedthroat. You need a special twin-screw feeder and a stirring unit. The filler can dramatically reduce costs, since three-fourths of the cost of any PVC profile is the vinyl resin and additives, he said.
Direct addition allows much higher filler loading and flexibility in formulations. "And you have a stable process, which is what it's all about," Grade said.
He said five companies have formed a group dubbed the "More Chalk Network" to figure out how to add more calcium carbonate. They are: KraussMaffei, Greiner Extrusionstechnik, calcium carbonate supplier Omya GmbH and Baerlocher GmbH, which makes PVC stabilizers and lubricants.
Extrusion did not get all the attention as the open house, as presentations also examined injection.
Sean Brolley described Tool Stats, which maintains a central, web-based database of injection mold information, such as production history, changes, the bill of materials, maintenance recorda and service reports. Each mold gets a metal plaque with a scannable QR code, or you can get on the Tool Stats website, said Brolley, business development manager of the firm in Warren, Mich.
John Williams presented a new technology for multi-component injection molding, the Flexi-Cube mold from GB Boucherie NV of Izegem, Belgium. He is president of Boucherie USA Inc. in Knoxville, Tenn.
In spinning-cube molds, a center multi-based mold rotates between two or more injection units. But on the Flexi-Cube, the central cube remains fixed. Instead, a series of transport-arm part holders move the parts to the different mold faces. The servo-driven transport holders ride on tracks around the mold, through several molding steps, cooling and part ejection.
On the KraussMaffei shop floor, visitors saw four running injection molding machines: a KraussMaffei GX wide-platen hybrid molding closures; a KM CX equipped a Single rapid mold heating/cooling unit to mold an automotive light cover; another CX press ran the RocTool heating/cooling process to mold a car grill section; and a Netstal Elion press with 320 metric tons of clamping force making a PP 402-size lid.
The Elion ran a four-by-four-cavity stack mold at a dry cycle of 3.5 seconds, said Netstal General Manager Mike Sansoucy. He said the high-speed Elion 3200 has a hybrid drive, using an electric screw drive and clamp and hydraulic injection, with an accumulator.