Kiefel Inc.'s machine-direction orientation line made its first public debut at NPE in Chicago, held June 19-23.
The firm ran the Kirion MDO production line at its booth to demonstrate enhanced film properties provided by the system.
Kiefel Inc. President Bob Hawkins, interviewed at NPE, said there is ``tremendous interest'' in the technology. His firm's system reduces edge trim compared with competing systems, allowing processors to make truly flat films rapidly and in broad widths.
The firm was running three-layer polyethylene film at its booth. Heftiest is an inner layer of bimodal high-molecular-weight high density PE, comprising 56 percent of the film's weight. Outside layers comprise linear low density PE. The line can run up to 1,000 feet per minute and stretch the film by a factor of 10, Hawkins said.
MDO treatment reduces film thickness, cutting costs, and increases film stiffness and strength. Orientation also can boost gas and vapor barrier properties. Optical properties like transparency and gloss are greatly improved, he said.
Because of their properties, MDO films can lead to innovative food packaging and efficient production of conventional films for hygiene, labels, shrink labels and stand-up pouches. MDO concepts have been around some 30 years, but technical developments make the technology more viable than ever, according to Hawkins. Better materials are available; drive technologies have improved, and fine temperature controls are available for rollers, he said.
Kirion MDO has individual servomotors for rollers that contain separate heating and cooling systems. Film is stretched between two stretching rolls with an adjustable gap. Nip rolls prevent slipping. Properties are fine-tuned in the annealing section. A Kirion control console operates all the line components.
Kiefel marketing manager Eugen Friedel said the Kirion MDO was unveiled to the trade press in Germany in April. But NPE marks the MDO line's first public introduction. Hawkins estimated a line would cost about $1.5 million to $2 million and require six to eight months of lead time for delivery.