Manufacturers of pigments and similar chemical-based products often struggle to properly size component particles to meet specific flow characteristics.
A global manufacturer of extruded metallic pigments needed to compound their pigment into a wax or resin carrier for use in a plastic molding compound.
The Customer Challenge
The manufacturer’s extruder used for compounding was able to produce a noodle-like extrudate of a specific length but it had minimal ability to adjust this extrudate length.
The noodle they were producing was too large and it tended to interlock in the pigment feed system, restricting and stopping the flow.
The manufacturer had turned to using a vibratory screener to size these noodles on their discharge from the extruder. The screener filtered acceptably sized noodles which was yielding a low 40% acceptable material rate. The remaining 60% had to be recycled back through the extruder, adding unnecessary processing time and cost.
The application was made especially difficult because the extruded pigment was very heat sensitive and prone to melting. Additionally, the manufacturer needed to eliminate the generation of unwanted fines or undersized particles.
The Quadro Solution
The Quadro® Comil® was provided to the customer for evaluation. Quadro suggested integration with the extruder’s discharge outlet in place of the vibratory screener. Once it was adjusted to the optimum operating speed and the perfect combination of screen and impeller was chosen, the exact noodle length they needed was quickly achieved.
Added to this, thanks to Comil’s low heat operation, no re-melting of the noodles occurred even after extended operation, and very minimal fines were produced in the size reduction process.
The Quadro® Comil® solution was deemed a total success as the manufacturer was able to increase production efficiency by 60% and produce a specialty pigment product. The end use of the pigments are molded decorative plastic parts used on large appliances.