ProTec acquires LFT manufacturing systems specialist, PolymersNet

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Bensheim, Germany-based ProTec Polymer Processing takes over PolymersNet GmbH starting from June 26. The Lampertheim-based company specialises in design, construction, and commissioning of powerful systems for manufacturing of long-fibre reinforced thermoplastics (LFT) using the Pultrusion Technology. ProTec, which previously distributed these systems exclusively as a sales partner, also acquired Polymers Net assets. In addition to patents, experts and the supply chain, these include the LFT production line that had been used up to now for process and material developments and for specific customer trials in Lampertheim. This facility will now be set up in a specially designed technical centre at the ProTec headquarters, where it will also be upgraded and extended.

ProTec’s Managing Director Peter Theobald said thatthe LFT system at the Bensheim technical centre will also be made available for customer-specific trials, adding that the new system will be equipped with a twin-screw extruder of the latest design. The control system will also feature fully automated operation of all process steps. The modernised LFT production line in Bensheim will start its operation by mid-August.

The LFT pultrusion lines are customised for the economical production of high-quality thermoplastics with fibres of pellet length. Long-fibre reinforced thermoplastics with fibre lengths (pellet lengths) of 7 mm to 25 mm are the usual industry standard. The fibre strands – made of either glass or carbon fibres – are isolated to create the filaments before being uniformly coated (impregnated) with the polymer melt in the impregnation die. After a cooling process, the fibre-polymer strands are then pelletised. Fibre content of up to 60% by weight and plant sizes with throughputs of up to 1,200 kg/h can presently be realised.

Long-fibre reinforced thermoplastic parts produced on injection moulding machines result into high-strength and lightweight components that also offer excellent surface quality. ProTec system technology is designed for the production of a broad range of materials with different types of fibre reinforcement and very diverse polymer matrices. The technology has now developed to the stage where it can also be used to extract LFT reliably from carbon-fibre-reinforced PP – a material combination that was previously extremely difficult or impossible to produce.


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