AURORA, ILL. Extrusion equipment maker Processing Technologies LLC will introduce its first global brand of sheet production lines dubbed the Globaline range at trade shows next year.
The Globaline will emphasize flexibility to make smaller lots of sheet in key materials such as polypropylene, polystyrene, PET and polylactic acid, the bioresin known as PLA.
``It's a platform that permits putting modules together to create different configurations to target the international markets, but it'll also be able to be sold into domestic markets,'' said PTi President Dana Hanson.
The Aurora-based machinery maker currently generates about 15 to 20 percent of its $35 million in annual sales from exports outside of the U.S. market, Hanson said. ``Our goal is 40 percent over the course of the next three years,'' he said.
PTi officials outlined their global growth plans in an interview during an Aug. 6 and 7 open house held at the plant.
A large Trident coextrusion sheet line dominated the factory floor at the open house. It will turn out polystyrene sheet for shower and bathtub enclosures at a rate of 5,000 pounds of material an hour.
The machinery maker sold the big sheet line to American Shower & Bath Corp. for its factory in Lapeer, Mich. American Shower & Bath will extrude the sheet, then thermoform it into the bathroom enclosures. The machine can coextrude sheet 108 inches wide, using two water-cooled Trident extruders, with screw diameters of 7 inches and 4.5 inches.
Cloeren Co. supplied the flat die and feedblock. The line can turn out PS sheet in either two or three layers.
Other downstream equipment allows American Shower & Bath to modify the sheet by adding a hot-melt laminated film, when required for special surfaces, such as anti-slip. Also, a protective sheet lamination can be added to the top and bottom, before shipping the enclosures.
The sheet line includes a PTi Revolution vertical upstack takeoff with 36-inch-diameter rolls that have a 120-inch face width.
PTi officials were preparing to ship the big Trident machine to American Shower & Bath in late August. But their strategy to extend the company's global reach is centered on the Globaline.
Globaline is a key part of a worldwide strategy for growing sales in countries such as Russia, Eastern Europe, South America, China and India, said John Chalmers, vice president of sales and marketing. Food packaging is a fast-growing business in those countries, he said.
``We've identified that in these developing markets, customers aren't able to dedicate their production to one particular product. This Globaline will allow them to run multiple products efficiently on one machine,'' Chalmers said.
Globaline will be available in two sizes a line that makes sheet 1 meter wide and can run 500 kilograms of material an hour, and a larger machine that turns out sheet 1½ meters wide at a rate of 1,000 kilograms an hour. The sheet lines will be available in single-layer extrusion and coextrusion.
PTi will kick off the formal introduction of Globaline in 2009, marketing the brand at Interplastica trade show in Moscow in January; Plastindia in New Delhi in February; and Chinaplas, set for May in Guangzhou, China. The first public showing of an actual world machine will be at NPE2009 in Chicago next June.
Although PTi already is a global company, it has not had a specific world sheet line until the Globaline.
``We're taking a proactive stance to develop a machine that's going to address the needs of these developing markets overseas,'' said Chalmers, who joined Processing Technologies in June, coming from Orange, Texas-based Cloeren, where he was director of global sales.
PTi also made control news at its open house by showing the Titan Plus, a greatly expanded unit from its Titan controller. Both are based on the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix software platform and the PanelView operator interface.
Titan Plus comes with three control screens at the operator station. A machine-mounted pendant displays the same information. Beefed-up computing power gives the Titan Plus expanded capacity for storing and displaying historical production information. The operator also can view manuals and drawings on the screen.
A color printer is built into the unit.
The three screens also allow the operator to more easily make changes on the machine, according to David Dorosa, electrical engineering manager who handles controls at PTi. One example is adjusting the gap on chill rolls. A live video feed from cameras on the machine can roll on one screen, while the operator can make gauging adjustments and see the results on the other screens.
The controller can be set to page key people if the machine goes down or is running out of correct parameters, as defined by the technician.
And if you hear the Titan Plus speaking to you, it's not the result of working a long third shift. The alarm system includes a human voice that comes on to explain exactly what is going happening.
PTi plans to offer the voice system in English, Spanish, Russian and Chinese, in what officials claim is an industry first.
PTi will demonstrate Titan Plus at the SPE Thermoforming Conference, Sept. 20-23 in Minneapolis. Also, Hanson and Tom Limbrunner will give a presentation on advanced controls.