Friedrichshafen, Germany — An industry leader in compounding and extrusion, feeding and weighing, bulk material handling and service, Coperion GmbH exhibited at Fakuma 2018 with, as director of global marketing communication Bettina König describes it, a relatively small stand.
"We are here to meet our customers," she said.
The highlight at the stand this year was a Coperion ZS-B side feeder equipped with the company's patented Feed Enhancement Technology (FET) that increases the material intake capacity in the processing of feed limited products by up to three times, through a gas extraction process achieved by applying a vacuum to the feed zone by means of a porous, gas-permeable wall. This considerably boosts throughput rates and makes the use of finer/noncompacted fillers possible.
The available booth space ws too limited to showcase the company's flagship twin-screw extruders, König said. However, the Stuttgart, Germany-based company has no lack of customers: The company — across almost all 10 of its business units — this year has been experiencing yet another excellent first six months.
"Up to the end of the first half of the year, we have been experiencing an eight-year high," said Peter von Hoffmann, general manager of the compounding machines, engineering plastics and special applications business unit. "We've seen eight straight years of sales remaining either at stable levels or showing growth. Both the big extruders — up to 420 millimeters in diameter — for polyolefins and the smaller ones used for engineering plastics are booming."
The polyolefin side used to be a feedstock-driven business, he continued; in other words, it was heavily influenced by the price of oil.
"However, that no longer seems to be the case. Plastics also make money. Plus, the development of the shale gas industry in the U.S. has also been a major driver," von Hoffmann said. "Also, the prices of engineering plastics are rising, leading many to invest in new equipment."
The materials handling business is also doing extremely well, while demand for turnkey installations is also on the rise.
In addition, the company is exploring recycling, a new market for Coperion. The company sees very good opportunities for its twin-screw technology. The recycling industry is expanding rapidly due to legislative developments in the EU and the Chinese ban on plastic waste imports, among other factors. For several years, Coperion has been collaborating with Erema on that company's Corema system.
"It's their front end and our twin-screw," von Hoffmann said. "The Corema system processes post-consumer and postindustrial recycling streams, and it's there that the twin-screw offers extra benefits. Twin-screw extruders have big benefits in terms of quality, degassing and output."
Degassing removes the low molecular weight components, leaving the long-chain polymers in the melt, which enhances the quality. With upcycling becoming more and more important, customers look more to twin-screw technology, von Hoffmann said, as twin-screw extruders are more efficient in degassing.
He added that especially when recycling multilayer film, twin screws resulted in a "nice, molten, homogenous product that was suitable for use as the middle layer in multilayer film."