Extrusion systems maker Processing Technologies Inc. has shipped a six-layer sheet line to Visteon Corp., for Visteon's thermoformed automotive gas tanks.
Aurora-based PTI shipped the line to Visteon's plant in Milan, Mich. The line will feed cut sheet to a large, twin-sheet thermoforming machine, which forms the gas tanks.
PTI said Visteon has ordered multiple sheet lines, but the machinery supplier declined to say how many, or give the price paid. PTI also declined to give screw diameters for any of the five extruders that make the sheet.
The extrusion line makes sheet from high-molecular-weight high density polyethylene, with a barrier layer of ethylene vinyl alcohol. Scrap generated in thermoforming is incorporated back into the sheet.
PTI said the six-layer sheet uses the same resins and layer configurations as Visteon's blow molded fuel tanks. Thermoformed tanks exhibit the same mechanical properties as the blow molded ones, the company said.
Thermoforming allows Visteon to put fuel-system components, such as the fuel pump, level sensor and a vapor-release valve, inside the tank, and then form the plastic around them. That means fewer holes are required through the tank wall, reducing emissions that could escape through seals and connections. PTI also claims that extruded sheet can be held to a tighter-tolerance thickness, producing a lighter tank.
PTI announced its involvement with the thermoformed tanks in January. The company said the system is the first of its kind in the United States to go into production as part of a twin-sheet thermoformed fuel-tank operation.
The company sourced equipment from several suppliers to put together the sheet extrusion system. Extrusion Dies Industries LLC of Chippewa Falls, Wis., provided the coextrusion feed block and die. Atlanta-based Process Control Corp. supplied the feeding and blending system. NDC Infrared Engineering of Irwindale, Calif., provided the sheet-thickness measurement system. An in-line shear came from the Famco Machine Division of Belco Industries Inc. of Kenosha, Wis.