Using the motto "Inspiring Xxtrusion," Leistritz Extrusionstechnik GmbH unveiled its updated ZSE 27iMAXX extrusion machine at K 2019.
The new extruder has undergone what Managing Director Sven Wolf described as a "face-lift," with all operational components, including the processing unit, now housed under a steel cover. "So far, this is unique," he noted.
"With this machine, we are demonstrating how to make the extrusion process more efficient and flexible," he added. "It's a key part of driving the circular economy."
Anton Fürst, also a managing director at Leistritz, observed that the 27iMAXX is "very gentle" on the extruded material. This low-impact processing means that material can be recycled up to six times without any loss in performance.
"The 'i' in the model name stands for 'integrated,'" Sebastian Fraas, product and application manager, noted. "This applies to all major components, including the temperature control system."
The 27iMAXX also features a series of sensors, supporting both machine function and finished product quality.
"The gearbox is a critical component of the extrusion line," Fürst said. "A failure can shut down production for several weeks, costing time and money."
Also key to longevity is reducing vibration, which is measured by a dedicated sensor.
Other optional monitoring features include the Leistritz elongational rheometer. Using patented die geometries, the sensor can complete measurement of the shear viscosity. To perform this measurement, a small sample of the melt flow is directed to a bypass system and passed through the rheometer slot die. Then details are displayed on the control panel and the sample material is returned to the melt.
To help reduce operating costs, Fraas explained that the barrel of the 27iMAXX is electrically heated. To retain that heat and reduce running costs, the barrel now has additional insulation.
The machine is also designed for ease of maintenance. In one example, the barrel heat cartridges can now be replaced by removing the terminal box cover.
"This is a job which in the past could take up to an hour but now takes minutes," Fraas said.
Die heads are also easy to change, which, according to Fraas, supports multiple color changes.
"The dies, the screw, are easily accessible. This helps with cleaning and ensuring true color is achieved in the final product," Fraas said.
To ensure white material remains white, the 27iMAXX extruder can also be fitted with a color sensor from Colvistec. This directs the material to return a 'p' value, which demonstrates deviation from true white.
"Over time, the material can degrade and carbonate, which shows as yellow in the finished mix," Fraas explained. "This new probe measures near-infrared light, which, in addition to confirming color, also can detect water levels in the melt."
In addition, polymer types have respective spectra in infrared light. As such, the probe can also test the melt for material percentages.
The 27iMAXX extruder features the Maxxtorque synchronous motor. Developing torque up to 15 newton-meters per cubic centimeter, the machines are described as being among the world's most powerful co-rotating twin-screw extruders.
This supports a high-volume output while also delivering a high standard of material homogenization for a comparatively low energy input.
Wolf noted how the new 27iMAXX extruder addressed the wider concerns of the plastics industry.
"This machine can detect imperfections in the extruded product. This means less waste, which helps to improve sustainability," he said.