CHICAGO — Gala Industries Inc., a maker of underwater pelletizers and centrifugal pellet dryers, introduced its pneumatically adjustable cutter at NPE 1997, held June 16-20 in Chicago.
The PAC incorporates a method of manual blade control for simple and clean pelletizing, Gala President David Bryan said in an interview at the show. It also features a patented, self-aligning cutter hub. The ball- and-socket arrangement keeps pellets round with no tails and extra attachments.
PAC, shown for the first time at the show, was designed by Jurgen Spelleken, lead engineer at Gala's Xanten, Germany, plant. The machine allows for high initial pressure at the time of start-up, after which the air pressure can be shut off and spring pressure can be used. This process provides additional blade force initially, then reduces it during normal operation for optimum blade wear.
The pelletizer processes any kind of material from engineering resins to thermoplastics.
The firm shipped between 150 and 200 machines last year. Gala offers six pelletizing models, plus micropelletizers. Micropellets are used in rotationally molded products.
``We're niche-oriented and market-specific with the underwater pelletizers,'' Bryan added. ``We have the ability to take equipment to both ends of the spectrum, as far as our technology goes.''
Customers include resin manufacturers Shell Chemical Co., Exxon Chemical Co., BASF Corp. and Bayer Corp., as well as compounders.
``Most of our machines are less than 4,000 pounds per hour, but we range up to 12,000 pounds per hour,'' Bryan said. ``We get most of our business from small compounders.''
The privately held company experienced most of its early growth by word of mouth. Now it said it has nearly 2,500 pelletizers operating around the world.
Last year, Gala shipped $25.5 million in equipment, up from $12.5 million shipped in 1991. In addition, the German division will ship about $8 million worth of equipment this year.
During the past two years, the company has expanded its Eagle Rock, Va., facilities to 144,000 square feet. Some 18,000 square feet were added for laboratory and partial assembly, with another 18,000 square feet for inventory and assembly.
Gala also purchased $1 million in laser equipment to cut stainless steel.
``Basically, we've put the money we've earned back into upgraded machines and increased quality,'' Bryan said.
Gala has 260 employees and five labs, one of which handles pelletizing of post-consumer recycled material worldwide.
The company was founded in 1959. This September, the German plant will celebrate its 10th anniversary.