At NPE 2006, Entek Extruders (Booth S1304) will emphasize a new E-Max 40-millimeter twin-screw extruder, technology improvements for carbide-lined extrusion barrels and its capability for turnkey production systems.
The self-contained 40mm extruder has redesigned heaters, straight leads, air-operated cooling-system valves, Velcro heat-blanket closures covering controls, a gearbox from Henschel Antriebstechnik GmbH and a motor and drive system from an ABB Ltd. unit, said Steve Gates, Entek lead design engineer.
The extruder draws features from other Entek models and replaces a 36mm unit that was among Entek's oldest designs.
The machine introduces smart controls with a Pentium 4 computer, a 17-inch flat-screen display and a rugged keyboard with a built-in mouse, said Bret Ray, Entek controls group manager. The unit has an Allen Bradley compact programmable logic controller with a compact flash card and controllers for 45 heat zones.
The controls are undergoing beta tests on two machines at Entek International LLC, also of Lebanon, and at a customer site.
In another new development, Entek Extruders uses a proprietary spherical carbide/nickel matrix to make carbide-lined extrusion barrels, said Craig Benjamin, design engineer for extrusion components.
According to Benjamin, the product has 25 percent better wear resistance than barrels of angular carbides, three times longer life than tool steel, superior corrosion resistance, thicker wear surface and metallurgical bonding of the carbide to the base block for more apex strength.
The process avoids use of weld lines in the barrel and eliminates splitting, chipping or premature wear through broad carbide material coverage throughout the bore profile, the company said. Entek Extruders will offer the carbide barrels for use on all its extruders and those from original equipment manufacturers.
At the top of the material ladder, Entek is making a spherical tungsten carbide barrel with a smooth, rounded finish and higher hardness than traditional angular carbide powders, said Sean Eastin, special projects leader.
Operations at Entek Manufacturing have evolved over the years from designing equipment and processes to creating turnkey systems for 20 manufacturing plants, President Larry Keith said during a May 18 news conference and plant tour in Lebanon.
Since 1997, Entek Extruders has built more than 100 extruders, with about 85 operating in North America, said Kirk Hanawalt, vice president and chief operating officer. The others are in Belgium, England, Ireland, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia and some undisclosed countries. Each machine can be reached via modems and dial-up connections, Hanawalt said.
The firm custom-blends powder metallurgy, pulls titanium-nitride-coated broaches through soft material in bimetallic barrel cores and builds control systems.
In current work for a control system on a pelletizer going to a Canadian customer, Entek made shroud-cutting changer parts and added a cutter head and other parts from Gala Industries Inc. of Eagle Rock, Va.
Nearby, technicians prepared a 73mm extruder for a plastic-wood application, Hanawalt said.
About 30-40 percent of Entek-built parts are sold for use on extruders manufactured by others, he said, but ``that is getting to be a smaller percentage as the Entek base grows.''
In early results of a lean-manufacturing initiative, Entek Manufacturing recorded 2005 productivity improvements of about 12 percent vs. 2004 on the basis of parts cut and materials used, Hanawalt said. The lean effort began in late 2005 and is expected to log higher improvements this year. The company also emphasizes safety. Entek Manufacturing's last lost-time accident was in January 2004.
``Our approach to projects is inherently different'' than other extrusion equipment makers, particularly with broad Entek proc- essing windows, said Mark Mulone, Entek eastern sales manager. He cited the experience of custom compounder Penn Colors Inc. of Hatfield, Pa., which can change screws on Entek extruders in a half hour - instead of hours - for each of multiple color changes daily.
Customers note Entek Extruders' cooperation.
Needing to increase production volume, Louisiana-Pacific Corp. of Nashville, Tenn., looked for help and now uses several Entek 103mm extruders for wood-plastic composite LP WeatherBest decking products at plants throughout the United States, said Lowell Suderman, Entek large-project manager.
A demonstration on a laboratory extruder produced decking during the plant tour. The 53mm corotating twin-screw extruder with a melt pump cranked out as much as 1,600 pounds of decking profiles per hour.
Another customer, Plantic Technologies Ltd., makes biodegradable packaging products from plant materials, typically cornstarch.
In its Oregon laboratory, Entek ran nine pilot trials with 100 formulations for Plantic.
Plantic principals ``needed to know it was possible to make sheet'' for thermoformed applications, said Rulande Henderson, who led the research effort as Plantic vice president and continues as a Plantic consultant. Now, Plantic in Altona, Australia, is using three Entek extruders of 27, 53 and 103mm. The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, a Plantic technology collaborator, is operating a 27mm Entek extruder.
Entek Manufacturing occupied 100 square feet at NPE 1997. The company's NPE 2006 booth covers 1,250 square feet, said John Effmann, director of sales and marketing. The industry veteran joined Entek in March 2005.