Application requirements for Thermoplastic Elastomer compounds continue to push the performance envelope with respect to, for example, improved compression set, modulus vs. elongation at break, heat deflection temperature, surface quality, flow characteristics and cost to name a few. For the manufacturer to meet these requirements and still make a profit, the compounding line needs to operate efficiently with maximal output, a high onstream factor and minimal off spec product.
The co-rotating fully intermeshing twin-screw extruder continues to be the primary technology for TPE compounding. The most significant reason is that is has not become a mature technology but has continued to evolve during the intervening years since it was commercialized in 1957. For example, in the past 20 years several significant developments have been introduced. These include a) the implementation of high torque (power) designs, b) the use of increased screw rpm in conjunction with high torque for improved operating flexibility and productivity, c) a breakthrough technology for feeding difficult to handle low bulk density materials and d) new geometry elements for improved melting and mixing. In addition to mechanical related advances, drive and control systems have also improved over the years. DC motors and drives have been replaced by more efficient AC systems. RPM and temperature controls have migrated from analog to digital. Hand written data sheets have been replaced by data acquisition systems capable of real time system performance analysis. Some offline QC, such as Melt Index, can be integrated into the compounding line. The above is a partial list of advancements in the 60 plus years since the twin-screw was introduced, but what about the future. What compounding technology advancements will occur over the next ten years.
This presentation will present ideas about the design and capabilities of the compounding line in 2030, but first will highlight some of the most significant advancements in co-rotating twin-screw compounding technology that have led to the compounding line of 2020.
Paul Andersen – Process Technology Consultant: Coperion, 2016-present
Director, Process Technology, Coperion Corporation, 1987-2016 (retired). He was responsible for Process Engineering and New Technology Development for Twin Screw Extrusion/Compounding.
Paul has 40 years industrial experience.
Paul is a past-president (2009-’10) of the Society of Plastics Engineers.
He also serves on the Editorial Board of Advances in Polymer Technology, and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Polymer Processing Institute.
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