Reifenhäuser: Extrusion Technology at K2019

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Against the back of reduce, reuse, recycle and replace, German machinery maker Reifenhäuser will present extrusion technologies for taking plastic as a material into a sustainable future. "We are facing up to our responsibility as part of the turnaround in how we use and deal with plastics," commented the Group's CSO, Ulrich Reifenhäuser, recently.

Plastic is an ideal material for a lot of applications. But it can't always be recycled, says the family-run company based in Troisdorf.

Reifenhäuser adds, “This is why we have tackled the key parameters, and have further developed our extrusion technologies to improve and develop plastic products that are perfect solutions for circular economy.”

Honing into biobased packaging film

It will hone into bioplastics and says that due to its different material composition, a few challenges in manufacturing biodegradable packaging film have emerged, which have been inhibiting market growth, above all, the material costs. Bio-plastics are approximately four times as expensive as PE. In addition, concessions in terms of mechanical properties have to be made with conventional processing methods. The material's lack of stiffness means that the finishing process is longer, for example when manufacturing compostable bio-plastic bags.

The Ultra Flat Label

According to Marcel Perrevort, Sales Director at Reifenhäuser Blown Film Polyrema, “We believe in the future viability of bioplastics as a real alternative in the circular economy. This is why we have developed Ultra Flat Plus: a solution for our customers that increases economic efficiency and significantly improves processing properties.”

Reifenhäuser is currently the only company offering this technology. Using the unique inline stretching unit on the haul-off, a 30% thinner film is achieved. Downgauging the still-warm bio-film increases its strength, meaning that the finishing speed also increases – to a level comparable with that of PE films.

Stretching the film with Ultra Flat Plus haul-off is more energy efficient, saving users or customers additional resources. "This small upgrade enables high-quality bio-blown films and bio-winding films to be produced with a simple mono-layer line. The tool's control system is very quickly and intuitively integrated into existing processes," stated Perrevort.

And since the flatness properties of blown film play a crucial part in its processing performance. Things become particularly difficult if a film – made from PE, for example – is meant to be fused with another substrate. In conventional manufacturing processes, typical sagging and flatness defects can be expected as a result of the necessary lamination.

This is where the EVO Ultra Flat haul-off, available since 2016, provides a remedy. The haul-off system enables the manufacture of significantly flatter films, as the film is stretched and smoothed when its residual heat is still above 50°C. This produces energy-efficient flatness results that make secondary processing easier. Flatter films achieve higher finishing speeds, require less adhesive in the lamination process, and reduce the edge trimming through improved curvature. The resources saved not only increase economic efficiency, but also contribute to sustainability.

Evo Ultra Flat Plus

EVO Ultra Flat improves the flatness of laminating and barrier films by up to 40% and reduces sagging by up to 90%.

Reifenhäuser says it knows that because the film's performance is measured by a new laser measuring system, which records the topography of the fine film web in order to then set the optimum production parameters. "Until now, each film manufacturer had to rely on the experience and precision of its own production technicians. By developing the laser measurement system, we can offer our customers more process reliability regardless of the operator. The optimisation to pre-set parameters happens automatically in a closed control loop," explained Eugen Friedel, Sales Director at Reifenhäuser Blown Film.

"Manufacturers can gain a decisive competitive edge as a result," added Friedel. The film topography that is fine-tuned with laser accuracy, thus, represents a new quality level, adds the company.

Reifenhäuser will be at Hall 17, Booth C22. Plus, it will also have an in-house fair at its technology centre in Troisdorf from 17-22 October


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