Ãcole Polytechnique de Montreal is expanding its film production research department by spending about C$8 million (US$5.9 million) on advanced equipment.
A new line will develop cast films with micro-porous and nanocomposite properties as well as general film and sheet products. Students and companies will apply the research to medical, hygiene, packaging, construction and other markets.
Davis-Standard Corp. of Pawcatuck, Conn., helped plan and design the sophisticated system. It includes a coextrusion setup of three Davis-Standard single-screw extruders, two Coperion co-rotating twin-screw extruders, a five-layer Cloeren feedblock, a Cloeren 48-inch single manifold coextrusion die and a 24-inch, three-layer multimanifold die. Other features include a multipurpose web-forming unit, an in-line machine-direction orienter and a Eurotherm gauging system for in-line web measurement and control.
Project manager and laboratory director Luc Parent said the new line dramatically extends his school's ability to do film research. It now runs a Brampton Engineering blown film line and a small sheet line in its Montreal laboratory. The school, affiliated with the Universite de Montreal, has been doing film research for more than 10 years, Parent said in a telephone interview.
Parent said the new line will be installed at Lavergne Group's facility in the Montreal suburb of Anjou. Lavergne, a PET recycler and compounder, will lease 10,000 square feet of space for the project, but it will not be directly involved in research.
Cost of the project will be shared by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Quebec provincial government and private investors.
By the end of the year the line should be up and running, making as much as 770 pounds per hour. The line is one of the most advanced of its kind, according to Steve Post, Davis-Standard's business area manager of cast film systems.
``The in-line compounding capabilities for breathable hygienic, nanocomposites and synthetic paper films are truly unique and create a new model for economic viability,'' Post noted.
Post's company and other component suppliers will have access to the line several times a year for demonstrations and process development.
The Montreal area has a high concentration of academic plastics research. McGill University in Montreal and the National Research Council's Boucherville laboratory are among the leading institutions. Ecole Polytechnique also has a small injection molding program and a new materials and blends program, and does rheology studies for process modeling and composites.