WindmÃ¶ller & HÃ¶lscher KG announced its entry into the water-cooled blown film machinery market at an open house in November.
The exhibit drew about 1,200 people from 70 countries to W&H headquarters in Lengerich, Germany. The visitors saw several new technologies and the world premiers of the Aquarex water-cooled blown film line; the Optimex blown film line, designed as a simpler version of W&H's main range of Varex lines; and the Opticool air ring.
The company ran three-layer versions of the Aquarex and Varex.
There was a huge amount of enthusiasm for the Optimex and the Aquarex, said Andrew Wheeler, vice president of the German company's North American headquarters, Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp. in Lincoln, R.I. Wheeler said about 70 guests from the U.S. and Canada attended the expo.
Aquarex directly applies water to the bubble to cool it. The line is arranged upside-down, a reversal of the arrangement that blows the film bubble upward. On Aquarex, the extruders are on top of the tower and the film is blown downward. The film passes through a water calibration ring. Water is then suctioned away so the film is dry when it is wound. An oscillating haul-off is on the bottom.
Water cooling enables Aquarex to make high-end film at extremely high outputs, Wheeler said.
Water quenches the film and freezes the film almost immediately, so the clarity is unbelievable, Wheeler said. The film also is very soft to the touch, so W&H is targeting the machinery at makers of medical and barrier film.
At the open house, an Aquarex was running polypropylene film for infusion blood bags a replacement for PVC bags. Wheeler said the film's softness also makes it a good candidate for thermoforming film for packing bacon, sausages and other foods.
Also at the Expo, W&H ran a high-clarity laminating film on a new Optimex, which company officials dubbed the little sister of the high-end Varex blown film system. The Optimex line was equipped with newly designed components such as extruders, gravimetric weighing and dosing as well as a film sizing cage and the Maxicone C die.
W&H also unveiled the Opticool air-ring system, which the company said can achieve outputs even higher than a double-deck air ring. Wheeler said it can handle 2,200 pounds an hour on a 16-inch die. At the open house, the Opticool was running a three-layer automated packaging film.
Also new from W&H is the Filmatic N film winder, which will replace the Filmatic R and Filmatic M winders. The Filmatic N is available for film widths of up to 144 inches. The winder on display had a working width of 104 inches and can run in center, gap or surface winding.
W&H also demonstrated a new standalone stretching unit to make machine-direction-orientation, or MDO, film.
The company also showed a 17-layer Filmex cast film line, with a micro-layer feed block from Cloeren Inc. One feature was a special new winder with fast, automatic core handling and roll removal, for turning out smaller rolls of stretch film used for hand-wrapping.
Copyright 2010 Crain Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.