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New process makes multilayer PVC floor coverings

By: Bill Bregar

April 23, 2014

KraussMaffei Berstorff has developed a lower-cost process to make multilayer PVC floor coverings, referred in the trade as Luxury Vinyl Tiles.

Traditionally, LVT is made in a multistage process using calenders or belt presses. The KM Berstorff method uses a single cycle and only heats the material one time.

The tile is composed of a highly filled core layer, usually with an integrated glass mat, plus decorative film and a layer for wear protection. The glass mat gives strength and dimensional stability. The core layer provides flatness and impact sound insulation. The PVC sheet is filled with up to 60-70 percent mineral additives.

Similar to roofing sheets, the three-layer floor covering is made on two twin-screw Berstroff extruders and two smooth calenders. The first extruder — used for plasticizing and a PVC compound — is equipped with a side feeder to incorporate a high mineral filler share, and additional additives. The material leaving the extruder is guided through a second smoothing calendar to apply the PVC compound — which was processed on the second extruder — to the other side of the glass mat.

It’s important to make the tile inline, especially because PVC is heat sensitive, KraussMaffei Berstorff officials said.

Downstream from the second smoothing calen der, the three-layer core material is provided with the decorative film and the wear protection layer. The entire composite then passes through an embossing station and a temperature control section, before it’s cut to size.

“Experts forecast unparalleled growth rates for LVTs in Europe and North America in the years to come,” said Hilmar Heithorst, division manager for sheet and foam extrusion lines at KraussMaffei Berstorff. “The growing demand is based on the specific benefits of LVTs in terms of unlimited and appealing design options that range from natural wood to stone optics of any color.”

In other news from the Hannover, Germany-based Berstorff extrusion company, KraussMaffei Berstroff ran a demonstration of weatherproof sheets using ground rice husks and PVC, at March 12 open house in Munich. About 60 international customers watched production of Resysta sheets on a twin-screw extruder. The sheets, which look like wood, are mainly used for outdoor applications, such as facades, outdoor furniture and the decks of ships.

The manufacture is Resysta International GmbH in Taufkirchen, Germany, near Munich.

KraussMaffei Berstorff’s U.S. operation, KraussMaffei Corp. is in Florence, Ky.

Tel. 859-283-0200, email sbaker@kraussmaffeicorp.com.