Overcoming Compounding Challenges When Developing New Materials
Developing new compounds presents unique challenges. When trying to do something that has never been done before, you never know what to expect. Customers come to the Polymers Technology Center with their ideas for compounds that they have never run before. Information about the material is limited, and the process is unknown. Ideally, the customer would have all the right equipment for every trial; however, that is not realistic due to the unknown nature of the process and limited budgets for development.
At the Technology Center, we have a strong foundation of the essential compounding equipment and the expertise and creativity to make it all happen. Our equipment include state-of-the-art extruders/compounders, feeders capable of handling a variety of materials and downstream pelletizing. Our staff include experienced people with a strong understanding of the compounding process and a lot of ingenuity.
Take a look at the creative measures we have taken to successfully run trials for new compounds.
The customer came to the Polymers Technology Center for help to compound and pelletize polypropylene and a powder additive; they needed a small amount to injection mold test bars.
We utilized our 21mm twin-screw with downstream strand pelletizing and our loss in weight feeders.
The Problem: The day of the trial, we learned that the additive is water soluble, so water cooling was not an option.
The Solution: For cooling, we used a 3 roll stack, air knives, and a water bath without the water to lift and air cool strand to the pelletizer. The resulting material injection molded fine and the customer was pleased. They have scheduled a second trial.