A new higher-output continuous mixer is helping to raise the profile of the low-key Lehighton, Pa., company, Technical Process & Engineering Inc.
The company said its new Extended Free Rotor Mixer can turn out 15-20 percent more material than its standard Free Rotor machine.
H. Slayton Altenburg, who founded Technical Process in 1979, visited Plastics News in Akron, Ohio, to explain the new mixer. The counter-rotating continuous twin screw mixer is comparable to a Banbury mixer.
Altenburg, a mechanical engineer, worked at machinery maker Farrel Corp. and then for compounder Ametek Inc. He left Ametek to found his own machinery company in Lehighton.
Initially, Technical Process & Engineering machined spare parts for compounding extruders and rebuilt older machines.
"Then we started to put together complete machines and brought out the free rotor," Altenburg said.
Today the company manufacturers mixers, single screw extruders and dies.
The Free Rotor name comes from the fact that the two mixing rotors — which are similar to the screw on an extruder — are set up "free" between two spline couplings on each end of the shaft. Features of the machine include three temperature-control zones, for improved mixing of heat-sensitive additives such as foaming agents, flame retardants and organic pigments. On larger machines, a clamshell design allows quick, 20-minute rotor changes without dismantling the machine.
For the new Extended Free Rotor design, Technical Process added two extra conveying flights to the mixer. According to company literature, that acts like putting the ram down on a Banbury mixer to push more material through.
Altenburg said the extra flights reduce the axial rotation of material and boosts the shear between the rotors. The result: Instead of turning in circles with the screw, the melt flows down the shaft.
Another improvement is a larger feed throat, which accommodates fluffy or hard-to-feed materials.
Altenburg said his company employs 20 people and has sales of $2 million to $3 million a year.
Tel. (570) 386-4777, e-mail [email protected]