DUSSELDORF, GERMANY - Windmoller & Hulscher at K'95 unveiled a novel new film-measuring device, a winder and a back-to-basics strategy that has it offering simplified, less-expensive versions of its standard blown film system and, eventually, of its cast film system. W&H of Lengerich, Germany, featured at its K stand a Varex three-layer blown film line that was running Exxon Chemical Co.'s Exact 4011 metallocene-catalyzed low density polyethyelene as one of the layers.
The demonstration line, capable of speeds up to 1,100 pounds per hour, included the firm's Optifil P-2, a second-generation, automatic film-gauge profile controller; and its new, modular Filmatic M winder with a winding shaft extracting assembly. Most importantly, noted a company spokeswoman, it featured W&H's noncontact, oscillating, in-line thickness gauge based on the capacitive principle.
The firm claims the system, now being field-tested by an undisclosed film producer, is the first to allow noncontact control of the film thickness profile - even of difficult-to-measure tacky films or materials of high ethylene vinyl acetate content. A sensor, ``floating'' on an air cushion, rotates around the bubble, collecting thickness profile data.
W&H also introduced at the show its Varex Basic concept.
``This,'' the spokeswoman explained, ``is the first time we've offered such a basic, simplified line. It has a standard die and extruder, but without the automation, and a simpler gauge and winder.''
Given that the system is modular, users can upgrade models or add automation later.
Basically, W&H is offering a stripped-down blown film line to give it a competitive price in the lower-cost arena. The Varex Basic is now available both as a single-layer and three-layer system, with working widths ranging from 32-84 inches. One of these basic systems can cost roughly a third of one of W&H's more-sophisticated, fully auto-mated systems, which include up to six-layer barrier film lines with widths up to 132 inches.
The spokeswoman said W&H plans to extend this back-to-basics concept to its Filmex cast film line, as well, though such models are not likely to be available until later next year. Designated Filmex Basic, the lines will be offered both as mono- and coextrusion systems, with working widths between 44 and 56 inches and achievable output of more than 880 pounds per hour.
Current Filmex cast film lines can produce up to seven-layer barrier films, in widths up to 120 inches.