Measurable Flatness, Increased Sustainability and Progressive Digitalization
Reifenhäuser at K 2019
As already known since the previous K, “EVO Ultra Flat” from Reifenhäuser Blown Film GmbH, Worms, Germany, improves the flatness properties of blown film. A new laser-measurement system now enables the improvement to be quantified precisely: laminating and barrier films are up to 40 % flatter while sagging is reduced by up to 90 %. The measuring unit records the topography of the fine film web and then sets the correct production parameters. Reifenhäuser will be demonstrating at its booth how this ultra-flat measurement with integrated closed loop control functions.
Aside from improving flatness, stretching can also increase sustainability, as shown by Reifenhäuser Blown Film Polyrema GmbH & Co KG, Troisdorf, Germany. Bio-based plastics offer a way of using plastics in a more sustainable manner. However, due to several challenges posed by differences in the composition of film packaging materials and especially by the costs of the materials, market growth has so far been slow. In addition, the mechanical properties of bioplastics are usually not very high. According to Polyrema, however, this problem can be resolved with the “Ultra Flat Plus” inline stretching unit. Down-gauging the bio-film while it is still warm boosts its strength and rigidity while yielding a 30 % thinner film.
A further increase in sustainability is made possible by the already well-known “EVO Ultra Stretch” system, which makes a previously non-recyclable film composite recyclable. The stretching process allows the hitherto PET content to be replaced by stretched polyethylene, which also confers the necessary film stability. Stretching is conducted in the haul-off area to exploit the residual heat which enables the plastic to be stretched to four-to-six times its area. The result is a recyclable film that offers improved sealing properties but does not require PET.
Reifenhäuser Cast Sheet Coating GmbH & Co. KG, Troisdorf, will also be demonstrating its prowess in the extrusion of multi-layer flat film. The machine manufacturer has integrated measuring systems into a feed block that continually measure layer thicknesses during the process and adjust them autonomously. According to the manufacturer, this allows individual layers to be produced which are one to two micro-millimeters thinner. On one hand, this increases profitability, as raw material costs and fossil energy can be saved and, on the other, the Reicofeed can produce layers so thin that all functional layers together account for less than 5 % of the total film mass. Thus, according to the definition of the central packaging register office, the film is even suitable for recycling.
Purchasing modern equipment is not the only way to boost production efficiency. Reifenhäuser is also promoting optimization as an alternative to making new purchases. In May 2019, it founded Reifenhäuser Extrusion Systems, Troisdorf, to overhaul and improve existing equipment such as flat and round nozzles, screws, cylinders and film dies, and to adapt extruder components independently of the manufacturer and boost production output.
The IoT gateway from Reifenhäuser Digital, Troisdorf, enables new and old systems to be connected to the company’s software solutions irrespective of make. The digitalized systems harvest individual data and key metrics which are analyzed to assess the scope for process improvement. In addition, says Reifenhäuser Digital, machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI) can be applied to the data gleaned from automated systems to fully exploit the potential for raising productivity and product quality. At the same time, fewer resources are consumed because scrap levels are reduced.
K 2019: Hall 17, booth C22; hall 11, booth B22 (extrusion systems: screws, cylinders, extruders); and hall 1, booth E40 (extrusion systems: flat dies)
Reifenhäuser GmbH & Co.KG Maschinenfabrik
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