Düsseldorf, Germany — SML Maschinengesellschaft GmbH says its PowerCast XL cast film extrusion line shown at K 2019 is the largest machine of its type ever shown at the event in Düsseldorf.
"PowerCast XL is one of a series of machines we offer for production of stretch films," Thomas Rauscher, product manager for cast film extrusion, said.
The machine on display at K was assembled in just 14 days. Standard build time for the extruder would be six weeks. Parts for the PowerCast XL were moved from SML's Austrian headquarters to Düsseldorf on 17 trucks. Total weight of the assembly is 167 metric tons.
The PowerCast XL is the second-biggest line in the SML range of cast film extruders, which includes MiniCast (1.5 meters maximum material width), EcoCompact (2 meters), SmartCast (3 meters), PowerCast (4 meters), and PowerCast XL (4.5 meters).
At the top of the range is the MasterCast machine. The largest of its type in the world, this produces films with a maximum width of 6 meters.
The PowerCast XL follows from the standard PowerCast machine which was unveiled at K 2016. Speaking about the new launch, Rauscher said that the XL was developed "due to customer demand" for the wider film rolls.
The machine delivers material through extruders via a Cloeren Reflex die. There is a double turret W4000-4S winder, which features four shafts per turret. Maximum roll diameter is 1,600 millimeter.
When in operation, it had the largest energy draw of any equipment at this year's K fair.
"This is the fourth time we've had such a machine at the show, so we know how to set them up. The organizers are always surprised that we need more power," Rauscher said.
"The machine uses 0.38 kilowatts per kilogram, but the full installation, including security, has 2,400 kW." At full output, the PowerCast XL can produce 3,400 kg. of film per hour.
SML will be marketing the new PowerCast XL worldwide, to support a stretch film market estimated at 3.4 billion metric tonnes of material each year.
Asked what the sales target is for such a machine, Rauscher replied "about three or four," but he said the company has already sold seven machines. This, despite the global slowdown. SML sold two of the machines, which have a ticket price of about 5 million euros each, at this year's K show.
Both machines sold at K 2019 were built specifically for the event. A 13-layer version will be delivered to a customer in Brazil, while a 67-layer model will be delivered to a company in Turkey.
The number of layers helps to improve the quality of the finished film product. "We bring the melt together in a feedblock and then that is separated into channels which is used to create a material matrix," he said.
PowerCast XL is touted as being as economical to operate as a smaller machine, in terms of labor.
"The same number of people needed to run a smaller machine can also run a larger machine," Rauscher said, which helps to the negate the perception of larger machine/ higher cost.
The films are produced using polyethylene, from virgin through to 100 percent recycled material. "It helps to support the circular economy," Rauscher added.
SML also launched a newly developed foamed sheet for hot-fill applications. Produced in partnership with Kiefel, the three-layer PET has a foamed center between two rigid layers.
"We developed the material for customers in countries where polystyrene was no longer a material choice for these applications," said Rupert Becker, product manger for sheet extrusion at SML. In addition to Kiefel, other project partners included masterbatch and polymer company Granic and mixing specialist Promix.
In production, the sheet is extruded and then CO2 is injected into the central portion of the material. The gas is injected at between 100 and 200 bar. The final product can deliver a weight saving of up to 50 percent over standard PS.
According to Becker, the customer for which the foamed sheet was developed is now looking to start production of the material, but must first check that their customers can work with the new material.