Century Inc. has retained a specialty extrusion technology after selling its twin-screw extruder business to CPM Holding Inc. of Waterloo, Iowa.
Century will continue making 12-screw extruders for the general market and will use the machines to develop proprietary compounds for military and other markets.
``We will continue to expand our technology and sales investment'' in Century's trade-named 3+ 12-screw ring extruders, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William Janis said in a Jan. 31 news release.
The Traverse City, Mich., firm said the 12-screw extruder technology offers niche market opportunities. For example, Century is in the midst of a two-year development program for ballistic-resistant composites for the Department of Defense, said Charles Janis, general manager of 12-screw extruder product development. In the longer term, the technology could lead to new fuel-cell material technologies, he said in a telephone interview.
Charles Janis said 12-screw extruders offer superior mixing and devolatization because of the high surface area in the machine. As a result, his firm has been able to produce ceramic/fiber composites that might be applied to protect Humvees and other military vehicles.
Such composites could find use in personal body armor, Janis said. A metal matrix composite under development might be suited to the commercial trucking industry and Abrams M1 tank tracks.
Century would consider manufacturing the specialty composites it develops, Charles Janis said. Meanwhile it continues to sell 12-screw machines and now has two in production for undisclosed customers.
The ``3+'' dates back to early development work when the target was to develop machines with more than two screws. The word ``ring'' refers to the 12 screws arranged in a ring around a fixed core.
Century continues to be the exclusive licensee in North and South America for the technology from the patent holder Extricom GmbH of Lauffen, Germany.