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Pultrusion lines and peripherals for producing high-quality LFT compounds

News 29.03.2018
PT 201609 RDM 70
RDM-series resin dryer (Photo: ProTec) 

At this year's Chinaplas in Shanghai, ProTec will be presenting pultrusion lines for economically producing high-quality long fiber reinforced thermoplastics (LFT). These lines are capable of fully automatically processing numerous materials and have aroused considerable interest in China and right across Asia.

They can be combined and networked at will with components from ProTec's comprehensive materials handling range. ProTec will also be showing its flexible RDM-40 resin dryer at booth 2J11 as a representative of the wide range available. This mobile auxiliary unit has an Industry 4.0-capable controller, is particularly efficient thanks to its energy-saving features and is easy to clean. The RDM series from this German one-stop shop plastics processing supplier covers moderate throughputs from 5 kg/h to 150 kg/h and drying temperatures from 60°C to 140°C.

LFT pultrusion lines for numerous fiber-polymer combinations

ProTec's pultrusion lines are capable of manufacturing LFT pellets from many fiber-polymer combinations, even difficult to process pairings such as carbon fiber and polypropylene (PP).

Pultrusion involves continuously drawing fiber strands through a polymer melt and wetting them uniformly with the polymer. After cooling, the LFT strands can be chopped into pellets of the desired length. The matrix can be any conventional thermoplastic, while glass, steel, carbon or aramid fibers are used as the reinforcement. The LFT pellets can be converted into particularly light-weight, high-strength components by injection molding, for example in automotive construction, in the electrical, packaging and sporting goods industries and in aerospace applications.

A happy customer: plastics processor HCJH from Suzhou

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64 strand pultrusion line from ProTec (Photo: HCJH) 

Suzhou Hechang Polymeric Materials Ltd. (HCJH) from the city of Suzhou in Jiangsu province is one of ProTec's Chinese customers who are delighted with their ProTec LFT pultrusion line. This regional supplier of modified plastics has over 200 staff and predominantly supplies businesses in the automotive and domestic appliance industries. HCJH's ongoing R&D activities ensure the continuous development of LFT pellets which it produces from polypropylene (PP), polyamide (PA), acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and polyesters (PBT), predominantly in combination with glass fibers.

ProTec's pultrusion line has been in service at HCJH since August 2017. ProTec offers not only standard systems with throughputs of up to 1,000 kg/h but also complete custom solutions which include planning, construction and installation from a single source. HCJH opted for a 64 strand line and a SOMOS Gramix gravimetric dosing and mixing system, also supplied by ProTec.

LFT pellets for various sectors

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Front-end module from LFT pellets (Photo: HCJH)

HCJH uses the line to produce LFT pellets with a variable polymer matrix and different fiber contents for processing in various sectors. One focus is the automotive sector, for example for manufacturing front-end modules, instrument panel carriers and sliding roof frames. "We help our customers cut costs, improve material performance and gain a competitive edge", explains Shi Yaoqi, R&D engineer at HCJH. Pellets 10 to 12 mm in length are produced at a line speed of 30 to 35 m/min. Fiber contents of up to 65 wt.% and line speeds of up to 50 m/min are possible, depending on the polymer and fiber content involved.

"We are very happy with our pultrusion line", adds Shi Yaoqi enthusiastically, "it is very reliable and performs entirely as expected." Advantages he mentions include its extremely uniform impregnation of the fibers and the consequent high quality of the LFT, the flexibility of the line and the possibility of fully automatic operation. A central line controller automatically coordinates all line modules, if for example line speed or pellet chopping length vary.

About ProTec

ProTec Polymer Processing GmbH is an international one-stop shop supplier to the plastics industry with a focus on injection molding, extrusion and blow molding. Its range of services covers components, solutions and turn-key systems for efficient materials handing, treatment and recycling of plastics and for manufacturing long fiber reinforced thermoplastics using LFT pultrusion lines.

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