KraussMaffei Berstorff and Greiner Extrusion supply plants for window-profile production in China

Kappes Environment Technology (KET) started up its first manufacturing plant in Bengbu (in the Anhui province, China) at the beginning of this year. Now, KraussMaffei Berstorff and Greiner Extrusion are providing the equipment for production of a new, environmentally friendly window, with production planned for August 2014. The windows – made from a composite containing wood-fibre and HDPE recycled material – will be marketed in China under the brand name ECOLIFE.

The raw material, containing up to 50% wood-fibre, various additives and a PO recycled material, which has partly been extracted from household waste such as shampoo bottles, will be mixed on a modular compounding plant with the ZE 130 R twin-screw extruder. "Our modular plants have the big advantage that they are integrated into functional individual packages that only need to be connected to the mains, water supply and compressed air on site," explains Ralf J. Dahl, Head of the Twin-Screw Extruder Product Group at KraussMaffei Berstorff in Hanover. "However, for this project, we had two challenges to overcome; firstly, the plant is designed for an extremely high throughput of over 1500 kg/hour, and secondly, it has been designed to be more compact as we had to take the limited ceiling height into account," explains Dahl further.

The fully automated modular plant encompasses the entire process from raw-material tasks through to bagging the finished compound. Using gravimetric metering appliances, the extruder is coated with thermoplastics and additives, which must be melted on the front part of the 50-D-long processing unit. A side feeder meters the wood flour that is not pre-dried. Two degassing units extract the humidity that can reach up to 12%. Together with the atmospheric degassing, a water ring pump ensures that high steam levels are dissipated. Combined with the high level of free screw volume, the 6-D-long venting port with special WPC inserts ensure the humidity is removed efficiently and reliably.

"KET benefits from the two-stage process provided by KraussMaffei Berstorff because the customer can use our plants to produce a window profile of the highest quality from the compound in a downstream extrusion process," reports Peter Oswald, Head of Product Management at KraussMaffei Berstorff in Munich. For this reason, KraussMaffei Berstorff has installed a total of three production lines with co-extruder combinations for WPC processing – combined with tools and downstream units supplied by the partner company Greiner Extrusion. "We are using two co-ex combinations with a KMD 90-32/WPC main extruder and a KME 38-30 B/R co-extruder, which were designed on columns as it is easier to position and more flexible to handle with the main extruder," explains Oswald in more detail. This combination produces the main window profile, while additional profiles are produced on a third combination consisting of a KMD 75-26/WPC and a KME 38-30 B/R. Oswald stresses that "the key advantage to our extruder is the processing concept that has been specially designed for WPC processing." He goes on to explain: "With tungsten-carbide protection of the screws and bi-metal lining of the barrel bores, we ensure optimum wear resistance; an absolute "must-have" when processing natural fiber-reinforced materials." The machines require minimal maintenance and offer significantly longer service lives – depending on the formulation.

In a further processing step, the manufactured window profile is encased in a thin layer of aluminum on the inside and outside, which makes the window resistant to extreme weather conditions.

Since it was founded in 2007, KET – a German-Chinese start-up company – has focused on developing and manufacturing an environmentally friendly and resource-conserving generation of windows. The first patent was awarded in China in 2008. Using its modern and energy-saving system – both in terms of manufacture and use – the company first wants to open up the Chinese window market. Additional manufacturing plants near Beijing, Shenyang and Chengdu are already being planned. After successfully launching on the Chinese market, KET is already aiming to expand into the global window market.

This start-up company's intentions have been further buoyed when it won an award at the GreenTec Awards (Europe's largest environmental awards) on May 5, and was awarded second place at the WPC Innovation Awards.


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