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RheTech buys TriVolution for biofiber compounds

By: Bill Bregar

October 23, 2013

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — RheTech Inc., a maker of biofiber compounds in Whitmore Lake, Mich., has purchased a TriVolution reciprocating kneader from B&P Process Equipment and Systems LLC (Hall 13/B 91-34) to make its new RheVision reinforced polypropylene material.

Kneaders use a screw in a barrel with pins between mixing flights, to aid in the kneading action. B&P President and CEO Laurence Slovin said the TriVolution kneader gives a high throughput at slower screw speeds than a traditional kneader. That means it uses less energy and imparts less of a heat history in the melt, with less shear.

That's important for companies that use bioreinforcements and fillers. RheTech serves the automotive, truck, construction and consumer markets with a line of biocomposites that use wood, rice hull, flax, agave and coconut shell waste as reinforcement. Those exotic materials are sensitive to shear and excessive heat during kneading, Slovin said.

The TriVolution makes three reciprocating strokes for every revolution of the screw. Slovin said traditional kneaders do one stroke per revolution. And, he said, a single-screw kneader with pins has more distributive and dispersive compounding — and takes up much less space — than conventional twin-screw systems.