Bangkok-based Labtech Engineering Co. Ltd. has licensed a Japanese technology for a new type of pelletizer using a fan-shaped cutting wheel that cuts strands sideways with a scissors action - and the results will be on display at K 2004 in Dusseldorf, Germany, Oct. 20-27.
Labtech recently signed a worldwide manufacturing and marketing agreement with Tochigi, Japan-based Hoshi Plastic Co. Ltd. to manufacture Hoshipla's patented Sidecut strand pelletizer.
Because of the gentle shear cut, Labtech said that even highly filled and brittle strands can be pelletized without causing dust and shattering the pellets. The Sidecut also can pelletize very soft thermoplastic rubbers, the company claims.
Another benefit is the Sidecut can produce extremely small, perfectly cut micropellets with diameters as low as 0.3 millimeter.
Labtech said a traditional pelletizer with a rotating cutting knife can have problems cutting soft or brittle compounds, so the alternative has been to switch to die-face cutting or other methods that cut the strands while hot on the extruder die face, cool them with a special water system, then dry them.
About 300 of the Sidecutters have been sold in Japan for several years, under the name Fan Cutter, but the technology is not well known outside of that country. Labtech started producing the Sidecutter in August, and it will show its first one at K.
Labtech makes laboratory-size processing machines for plastics and rubber, including twin- and single-screw extruders, two-roll mills, presses, mixers and lines for making blown film, cast film and sheet.
Labtech has two representatives in the United States: XtruTec Engineering Co. Ltd. in Denville, N.J., and A.W. Enterprises of Coarsegold, Calif.
According to Labtech, Hoshi founder Tadaichi Hoshi was a farmer who started a compounding firm 10 years ago with no engineering background.
After getting frustrated with conventional strand pelletizers, he used his farm experience of cutting with shears and came up with the new method of pelletizing.