The builder of some of the largest compounding equipment in the world has developed a tiny compounder to help researchers develop tomorrow's materials.
Coperion Group (Booth N5521) displayed an 18-millimeter twin-screw ZSK machine at NPE to simplify scale-up to production quantities in laboratories developing plastic compounds, masterbatches and powder coatings. It features similar engineering characteristics - such as diameter ratio and specific torque - as its line of ZSK Megacompounders.
The ZSK 18 Megalab can carry out reliable tests for batches from 200 grams up to 40 kilograms per hour. Coperion is making the machine's North American debut at NPE after selling several earlier this year in Europe.
The processing section of the lab extruder is available in 10-barrel and six-barrel lengths. Formulation ingredients can be added directly to the melt downstream through a ZS-B twin-screw side feeder with a flange connection for quick-action coupling. The main power train is rated at 15 horsepower while the side feeder provides about a half HP.
Coperion points out the modular construction of the processing section allows a wide variety of screw elements that are easily changed. High torque is ensured through hammered screw shafts and involuted gear teeth in the screw elements. A powerful SPS control unit allows easy operation via touch screen.
The company claims the plug-and-play design provides quick, easy startup. The mobile frame base means it's easy to move to desired locations. The small extruder size and quick-action couplings make cleaning easy.
In a presentation at Coperion's booth, officials included an annnouncment that Coperion Werner and Pfleiderer GmbH agreed with Stratek Plastics Ltd. to commercially develop new technology for processing polymer melts. The TekFlow technology is patented worldwide. Stratek is based in Wallingford, Conn.
TekFlow involves periodic application of shear and extension flow cycles to disentangle polymer chains partially. This gives lower melt viscosity and melt temperature. The process is reversible without altering molecular weight or properties.
The process makes melts easier to process, especially those with high viscosity. TekFlow is applicable to most processes, including injection molding.