Nordson Corp. (Booth W6263) is bringing together, for the first time in the Americas, its full range of polymer processing technologies in one exhibit.
Nordson has made several acquisitions in the past four years and now counts Extrusion Die Industries, BKG, Xaloy and Kreyenborg as key brand names in its plastics businesses. In an interview before the show, John Keane, Nordson's vice president for polymer processing, explained how the businesses fit together within Nordson.
Each business fits Nordson's worldwide approach to service and support. Nordson EDI, Nordson, BKG, Nordson Xaloy and Nordson Kreyenborg each have established, different global footprints but they mesh well with Nordson's longstanding global outlook. Nordson has operations and support offices in more than 30 countries and 70 percent of its sales are outside the United States.
The technologies begin with plasticization, the specialty of Nordson Xaloy. Nordson acquired Xaloy in mid-2012, a few months after the previous NPE show. Filtration of contaminants in the melt stream is the focus of Nordson Kreyenborg. For downstream technologies, Nordson EDI is a flat die specialist for sheet extrusion and coating, and Nordson BKG makes high-output underwater pelletizing systems.
“This is the first time trade show attendees will see our entire plastics portfolio in America,” Keane said. Each of the businesses has new technologies on display.
Nordson EDI is debuting a breakthrough that speeds up changeovers for die thickness. SmartGap also extends the range of thicknesses possible while enhancing quality.
SmartGap is a new, patent-pending system using a single-point adjustment mechanism that changes the lip gap while at the same time modifying the length of the lip land to provide optimal conditions for the newly adjusted thickness. By mechanically linking the two variables, SmartGap ensures proper set-up of the die and cuts out much of the time and guesswork to achieve sheet properties.
Nordson EDI claims SmartGap, designed for new dies, can reduce changeovers to a few minutes vs. a couple of hours usually required for conventional approaches. The system also overcomes previous limitations on thickness range due to the complexities of die modification. The system encompasses die gap adjustments over a range of 0.4 inches, allowing a processor to efficiently make multiple product changes per day. Sheet quality benefits from keeping the lip faces and lip lands parallel while thickness changes are made.
SmartGap eliminates “the uncertainties and compromises that have often accompanied significant changes in thickness,” explained Nordson EDI chief technologist Sam Iuliano in a pre-show news release.
Smaller lip gaps mean less draw-down to get to the target gauge and therefore less sheet orientation that can cause shrinkage problems. SmartGap provides tighter tolerances and better lay-flat. Good thickness control leads to better appearance. SmartGap slides the lip components instead of flexing them through an arc, thereby improving external deckle performance.
Nordson EDI is also presenting a new extrusion-coating die that enabled a Korean packaging producer to eliminate die lines and leakage on a line applying low density polyethylene onto aluminum foil. The customer also found the new Edge Profile Control die can fight edge beading and its resultant wastage of the coating polymer and the substrate. The EPC die also helps keep the process on specification, reducing coating weight variation by 50 to 60 percent.
New Xaloy products
Nordson Xaloy's exhibit features a new plasticizing unit for enhanced quality melt and higher output in high-speed, thin-wall injection molding. The Quantum system includes a barrier screw that boosts plasticization of unmelted material while minimizing shear forces on plastic already in a molten state. Included with the Quantum is a poppet-style non-return valve that helps prevent polymer degradation and whose rapid shut-off provides shot-to-shot consistency.
Quantum processes melt at a rate that reduces screw recovery time by 10 to 15 percent, allowing it to keep pace with the short cooling times in high-volume production of thin-wall parts.
Nordson Xaloy also is highlighting how its abrasion-resistant screw and barrel materials reduce wear for compounds with up to 50 percent filler loading.
X8000 screw encapsulation material developed by Nordson Xaloy has high nickel content to fight corrosion and tungsten carbide to cut down on wear. The company fuses the alloy to the parent metal of the screw to give an extra-strong bond.
X800 barrel inlay material is also a nickel-based alloy with tungsten carbide to give more wear resistance than typical iron-based, iron-chromium and nickel-cobalt alloys. It provides exceptional abrasion and corrosion resistance when processing highly-filled and high-temperature engineering polymers.
Nordson Kreyenborg will present benefits of its melt filtration equipment at two processors' plants.
A European recycling company replaced two 300-millimeter slide plat screen changers with 200-millimeter V-type screen changers from Nordson Kreyenborg. The customer, a producer of post-consumer polyethylene pellets for blown film, found it only had to change screens once a day instead of every eight minutes with the old equipment. This is because the new V-type changers automatically self-clean. The backflush sequence begins automatically when contaminant buildup causes the differential pressure to reach a pre-set value.
Another European company with a high-output PET recycling line found a Nordson Kreyenborg screen changer cartridge resists deformation and enhances polymer flow. The K-SWE-4K-75/RS screen changer is located between the extruder and underwater pelletizer in a Starlinger recycling line. Filter life lengthened from eight to 72 hours. A large filter area in the cartridge and elimination of stagnation zones cuts down on pressure variations that affect pellet quality. Less material is lost in backflushing and metal impurities are eliminated.
Showing new pelletizer designs
Nordson BKG's Master-Line underwater pelletizers are offered with a new, optional belt filter for the temperature-controlled water system. The filter has a finer mesh — 150 microns — than standard filters. It is modular, allowing upgrading from standard systems through retrofitting. The continuously rotating filter screen is cleaned by spray nozzles at one end and a scraper at the other end. Fines are collected in a catch basin beneath the belt. Master-Line can pelletize up to 4,400 pounds per hour of polymer in compounding or recycling.
New-design cutter hubs and blades for Nordson BKG's underwater pelletizers increase throughput, simplify cutter assembly and provide new options for reducing wear on die plates and blades. In the new design, there can be twice as many angled blades per hub or 54 percent more straight blades versus standard cutter hubs and blades.
Keane said Westlake, Ohio-based Nordson would look at more acquisition opportunities but candidates would be related to its current melt technologies. Now its polymer businesses are part of its adhesive dispensing systems division when it segments its financial results. Nordson's other divisions are advanced technology systems and industrial coatings systems. Nordson equipment can be found in packaging, nonwovens, electronics, medical, appliance, energy, transportation, construction and other markets.
“Nordson's been managing and dispensing thermoplastic materials since 1964, during development of hot-melt adhesives,” explained Linda Ray, Nordson's global business director for polymer processing. “With our expertise in melting, blending and dispensing molten materials, the polymer processing businesses are a natural extension to our adhesives-related business.”
Nordson's total sales grew 5 percent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. Sales were $379 million in the three months ended January 31. Net profit rose 23 percent to $43 million. The polymer businesses account for about 40 percent of the adhesives division sales, which in total were $194.2 million for the latest quarter.
Keane said there is some weakness in extrusion markets early in 2015 due to capacity overhang but he expects sales to improve in the second half of the year. Injection molding has been a more buoyant market in recent months. Last year total sales for Nordson, founded in 1954, reached $1.7 billion, up 10 percent from the previous year.