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Converting featured strongly at K

Visitor numbers and exhibitors' reports heralded an improvement in the plastics converting business. Pauline Covell reports from Düsseldorf

There was clearly a very positive mood among the 2,914 exhibitors at K 2004 (2001: 2,872). Companies reported not only an unexpectedly large number of new contacts, but also a greater readiness to invest – which in many cases over the fair’s eight-day run translated into solid deals. And visitor numbers went up to 230,000 (2001: 228,000) with 115,000 from overseas travelling to the fair from over 100 countries. Half were from outside Europe. Compared with the event three years ago, the Asian contingent rose noticeably to some 23,000 visitors, up from 18,000. Interest in the fair in Central and Eastern Europe grew substantially with 7,300 visitors coming chiefly from Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Russia.

Ulrich Reifenhäuser, chairman of the K 2004 exhibitor council, said: “K 2004 has not only far exceeded expectations, but generated new impetus and, best of all, new business for all sectors of our industry.” Added Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, president and ceo of Messe Düsseldorf: “With these attendance figures, K has surpassed predictions. All my discussions with exhibitors echoed a resounding vote of confidence not only in the number of visitors, but also notably in their marked decision making powers, broad international profile and keen readiness to invest.”

The Reifenhäuser stand featured a three-layer blown film line – the Filmtec 3-1700 IBC, equipped with three gearless REItorque extruders said to conserve space and energy. The compact film blowing die head is said to produce a broad range of complex film structures with good basic tolerances. The company announced a new line for extrusion coating of flexibles including paper, aluminium and plastics films. On the stand the company demonstrated the heart of the system – the laminating unit – simulating the process with coextruded film with changing layer distribution. The primary focus was on the flexibility of the roller infeed and the contact pressure for various substrate materials. The entire extrusion coating line was demonstrated in the Troisdorf R&D centre during the exhibition.

Launched at the show, LEMO Maschinenbau’s CAPmat-Slider bag maker features a computerized, ‘user friendly’ interface and special conversion modules which allow converters to reduce change-over downtime by up to 25 per cent when switching between the production of standard side weld bags and other bag formats. This new technology makes it easier for complex production lines to incorporate Zip-Pak’s QuickZip Slider zippers (said to be the first economical, high performance slider for LDPE bags).

The diversity of bag types that can be produced with the equipment suggests a wide variety of applications including bakery, frozen food, snack, pet food and household products. “We were eager to introduce our new machine with Zip-Pak technology because it combines the high quality resealability and cost effectiveness that our customers demand,” said Sabine Zanders, regional sales and marketing manager at LEMO. “Also, with Zip-Pak’s new production facility in Winschoten, The Netherlands, European customers will be able to obtain the materials they need with great efficiency.” The new bag maker also features a digital processing system providing simplified data storage for repeat orders.

Efficiency, productivity and flexibility of film production lines were the focus at Brückner. Said to be the market leader in film stretching lines (putting in 15 lines in China alone in 2003/04 – for PP, PET and PA) the company demonstrated its comittment to safety and efficiency with the launch of its Speedy Threader, which removes the need for manual handling of the film from the pull roll to the automatic winder. The patented system carries the film into the winder then returns on a belt ready for the next threading requirement. Says Karlheinz Weinmann: “The system makes threading faster, productivity is improved and it allows improved process observation. In addition installation is easier and there is a reduced investment as there is no longer a need for a heavy framework.”

Featured on this month’s cover, Macchi’s towering extrusion blown film line certainly attracted the visitors to hall 17. So much so that the company reported sales of five lines from the stand and the start of several other projects during the exhibition. Film produced was based on a challenging 95/40/90 per cent metallocene content. Optical quality of film produced (haze 4.5 per cent on a 30 micron gauge) and a 2sigma thickness deviation of 3.5, obtained in the harsh stop-and-go conditions of a fair are claimed to confirm a successful engineering process.

The production of precisely wound rolls of any width requires reliable and highly efficient web guiding, stressed Erhardt + Leimer. It claims its innovative Elguider DRS 31 web guiding systems assure even product quality on blown film and flat film extrusion lines.

Integrated ultrasonic sensors automatically detect the position of the web edge. In a job change the new sensor positioning support (with optimized scanning point) automatically positions the sensors to the actual web width. And the compact pivoting frame systems provide for “trouble-free operation in tight space conditions”. Thanks to CAN bus, all components are networked. Operation is by serial/parallel interface or by a self supporting operator panel.

Leading blown film line supplier Kiefel reported excellent business including the sale of a nine-layer line to the USA in less than one hour after the opening of the fair. The company went on to sell a further seven lines and several retrofit packages for existing systems. CEO Edgar Gandelheidt said: “We have achieved a significant breakthrough in the North American market with the sale of this line from our Kirion programme.” It is designed for the production of demanding barrier packaging, laminating films and thermoforming films. The equipment includes nine smooth bore extruders that enable “outstanding processing of thermally sensitive materials and guarantee optimum homogenization of the melt”.

With a patented die design including a diameter of 600mm, it is set up for layflat widths of up to 2,200mm. A surface/centre/gap winder completes the modular line.

The three-layer line shown at the fair was ordered by the US plastics processor Raven Industries from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Palamy, in Le-May-sur-Èvre, France, placed orders for a mono- and a three-layer line. The machines should start producing speciality film, printed carrier bags, and wicketted bags by April, reports Keifel.

DCM owned Holweg revealed that it plans to launch a new press with demonstrations due at the beginning of next year. Well known in the past for its CI Colorado range, it is understood that the latest eight colour offering will feature sleeves and web widths of 1.35–0.85m.

During K Windmöller and Hölscher launched an innovative edge encapsulation on a five-layer Filmex cast film line in the open house at the rebuilt and modernized extrusion technology centre. Economical cast film production is largely dependent upon scrap rates caused by unavoidable edge trimming. When film comes out of the feedblock it necks in, becoming thicker at the edges. The new system allows for encapsulation of the web edges using inexpensive resins. When trimmed, some 70 per cent of the edge trim is single-resin and it can be recycled in-line or off-line, making a significant saving of waste.

The edge encapsulation feature was demonstrated on a 1,800mm PP cast film web. Edge encapsulation is also possible when producing barrier films.

New from Kampf is the attractively styled Unislit 11 high performance roll slitter designed for BOPP, BOPET, BOPA, and metallized films. “Speeds are between 800 and 1,200m/min and the rewind has been increased from one metre to 1,200mm. Finished roll weight can be 3,000kg,” said general sales manager primary slitters Uwe Fischer. The modular structure allows different slitting systems to be used and whereas in the previous model positioning was semi automatic, now fully automatic positioning is possible.

Tension separation between the unwind and slitting allows different materials to be slit exactly without wrinkling, boasts Kampf. The rewind unit is said to produce perfect roll quality through the linear movement of the winding stations. In this way, argues the company, the winding geometry remains constant and is not influenced by differences in web tension.

K’04 was the platform for Mamata Machinery’s Vega 610 combination pouchmaker. Capable of producing a three-side seal pouch or two-side seal plus bottom gusset style, it also demonstrated the ability to make a two-side seal pouch with zipper reclosure applied in line. Zipper material was supplied by Supreme Plastics. Mamata’s Sanjay Amin said: “The line may be configured for the customer – for the webs and the pouch type he wants. For example, it can handle Tyvek, co-extruded multi layered materials, PE films and paper.

“The machine is fully servo controlled.” Speed is up to 210 cycles/min. “A zipper style will run at 100 –110pouches /min,” he added.

The next K in Düsseldorf will be staged from October 24-31, 2007.



Contacts

Brückner Maschinenbau
Tel.: +49 8662 63 268
DCM/Holweg
Tel: +33 03 8847 8484
Erhardt + Leimer
Tel: +49 (0) 821 2435 629
Kampf
Tel: +49 2262 81 359
Keifel
Tel. +49 (0) 6241 902 117
LEMO
Tel: +49 (0) 2284591425
Macchi
Tel: +39 0331 827717
Mamata
Tel: +91 79 8109800
Reifenhäuser
Tel: +49 (0) 22 41 481 0
Windmöller & Hölscher
Tel: +49 5481 14 0
Zip-Pak
Tel: +31 76 522 0941





External weblinks
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Brückner Maschinenbau
DCM/Holweg
Erhardt + Leimer
Kampf
Keifel
LEMO
Macchi
Mamata
Reifenhäuser
Windmöller & Hölscher
Zip-Pak