Lebanon, Ore-based Entek Manufacturing Inc. introduced the first product in a new series of co-rotating twin extruders with an online unveiling of a machine that was three years in the making to deliver more torque density and open the door to a new market.
The HT72 twin-screw extruder — HT as in high torque — has a robust construction and a large motor for 24/7/365 production in not only the packaging and home building markets but commodity compounding and masterbatch, too, particularly for glass- or talcum-filled polymers.
Entek officials also introduced a new vacuum feed technology (VFT) during the webinar on June 8, which is the same day a patent for a VFT flow sensor went public.
The online presentations took the place of product launches at the NPE2021 trade show, which was scheduled for May 17-21 but canceled by the Plastics Industry Association because of the pandemic.
The HT72 was designed to provide high throughput for continuous production of large batches of materials and is Entek's first machine to enter the market for high-output commodity and masterbatch compounding, according to Linda Campbell, Entek's vice president of sales.
Campbell has been waiting more than a decade to get into those markets. During the webinar she held up a list of companies published by Plastics News in 2011.
"It's the top North American compounders and concentrate makers," Campbell said. "I've had my eye on that list, not every day, but I promise I read it at least once a week. That's my vision and focus and who we will be meeting with to make sure they know about this new technology."
The torque of the HT72 is 18 new meters per centimeter cubed compared to roughly 14 Nm/cm3 torque density of Entek's QC3 extruders, according to Dean Elliott, Entek's technical processing manager.
"This kind of blows the rest of our fleet out of the water," he said.
The HT72 also features the newly patented sensor that detects vent flow, which is an upset to process conditions caused by molten polymer coming out of the extruder through a vent or getting into the vacuum system.
"It creates a big mess and it's a fire hazard," Elliott said. "The sensor looks for vent flow before it happens so you can alert the operators. They know the problem is happening before they see the physical evidence."
In addition, the HT72 has a dashboard for overall equipment efficiency data that can be accessed at the machine or remotely as well as mistake-proof screw elements and shafts.
"When the team is assembling a screw shaft they don't have to worry about whether the screws are oriented in the right direction because they can only go one way," Campbell said.
Other HT72 benefits include a low-decibel, water-cooled motor; real time vibration monitoring; real time oil quality monitoring; an easy access offboard cooling system; full stainless-steel shroud for easy cleaning; insulation blankets to retain heat; point of use tools; quarter-turn, standardized retained fasteners; and hinged guards for quick access.