Milacron Inc. of Cincinnati is now selling a radiant barrel heater made from ceramic fiber insulation, through its ServTek parts and service unit.
ServTek TCS is an improvement over standard heater bands for precise, highly energy-efficient heating and cooling of barrels for injection and blow molding machines and extruders. The TCS stands for temperature control system.
ServTek TCS is available as an option on new Milacron-brand machinery or as a retrofit on any company's equipment.
Milacron is pitching the barrel heating and cooling system under its “earth-friendly technology” portfolio. In many states — including Wisconsin, where Plastics Encounter was held — utilities offer rebates for using the ceramic radiant barrel heaters because they consume less electricity than heater bands, the company said.
Ritch Waterfield, ServTek product manager, said ServTek TCS can result in 30-50 percent energy savings, with as short as an 18-month payback time.
A series of radiant heating elements totally encapsulates the barrel. In radiant heat, all of the heat goes directly into the barrel. The heat stays there, reducing burns to workers, since the outside of the insulated barrel is cool to the touch.
Heating sections, strapped together by Velcro, can be easily removed and replaced. Wires of the heating element run inside the ceramic fiber-shaped sections. It controls the temperature along the entire length of the barrel.
Also, ServTek TCS cools the barrel back down faster, by drawing air directly across the barrel.
REX Materials Inc. of Fowler¼ville, Mich., manufactures the heaters to the specifications of Milacron, which will offer the technology in the Americas.
REX is a longtime maker of ceramic fiber heaters for applications such as water heaters, boilers, furnaces, die-casting and molten metals manufacturing.
REX got into the plastics machinery market several years ago, when it licensed the concept from Insul-Vest Inc. of Tulsa, Okla., which makes insulating blankets to go over heater bands.
But in the plastics industry, REX was not a household name. Milacron is, and the Cincinnati-based plastics machinery manufacturer plans to promote the technology aggressively.