Press releases
03.05.2024
5284

NPE 2024: Reifenhäuser presents solutions for sustainability, digitalization and productivity

Technology

The Reifenhäuser Group will be represented at America's largest plastic trade show, NPE 2024, from May 6 to 10 in Orlando (Florida, USA). Under the Reifenhäuser motto "The Time is Now", the extrusion specialists will show producers of plastic films valuable solutions for the three major topics of the industry: sustainability, digitalization and productivity (Booth W6751).

The highlights range from production systems for fully recyclable barrier films, EFSA/FDA-compliant food contact films made from 100% recyclate to performance-enhancing components and digitalization solutions. Reifenhäuser will also outline its North American sales and customer service, which includes U.S.-based project management, technical support, ready-to-ship spare parts inventory as well as a local production site for its popular highly wear-resistant Reiloy screws and barrels.

“We are pleased to present our U.S.-based services as well as the global portfolio of the Reifenhäuser Group at the NPE. Our goal is to empower plastics manufacturers with know-how and immediately applicable solutions - to turn challenges into opportunities,” explains Steve DeSpain, Vice President Reifenhauser Incorporated.

Making sustainability a driver for success

Sustainability not only benefits the environment. Plastics manufacturers who invest in the right production technologies now can also gain a competitive advantage.

The use of Reifenhäuser’s patented EVO Ultra Stretch stretching unit enables blown film producers to produce all-PE mono-film - e.g. for barrier food pouches. The necessary barrier effect is achieved with an EVOH content of less than five percent and thus meets all the requirements for complete recycling. EVO Ultra Stretch increases the barrier effect of the EVOH and thus reduces the necessary share of EVOH content while maintaining the barrier effect. The all-PE mono-film can be further processed and converted without any problems. Thanks to the patented position of the stretching unit directly in the haul-off of the blown film line, the film is stretched at the ideal time and from the first heat, which makes the process particularly efficient and stable.

Reifenhäuser EVO Ultra Stretch enables the production of mono-material composites (all-PE film) for fully recyclable flexible packaging.

With EVO Fusion technology, Reifenhäuser now offers blown film producers a technology that makes the previously impossible possible: Turning any recycling content – even lowest quality – as well as production scrap such as PET/PE film into sellable blown film. To reconnect PET and PE after melting despite chemical incompatibility, the line makes use of twin-screw technology, breaking down and distribute the components of the input material much better than single-screw extruders. EVO Fusion also masters degassing from printing ink. Twin-screw extruders offer a significantly larger free surface in the outgassing zone than single-screw extruders. The surface is also renewed much faster, so that a high degassing performance is achieved. It is sufficient to completely remove the interfering components of the printing ink.

EVO Fusion enables blown film manufacturers to use readily available, cost-effective film waste and even printed laminates directly as raw material.

When it comes to flat films Reifenhäuser will be presenting its EFSA/FDA approved PET sheet line to the NPE audience. This production process enables PET recyclate to be processed directly into food-safe films without pre-drying. The process meets the criteria of both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The process uses a co-rotating twin-screw extruder and a specially developed high-performance vacuum system that enables producers to process PET recycling material directly. Processors thus save the investment in an additional line component and avoid additional energy and maintenance costs, which leads to significant savings. Fast material and product changes are also possible, for example between post-consumer PET bottle scrap (PCR), post-industrial PET production waste (PIR) and virgin PET. The end product, for example a meat tray, meets the highest hygiene standards and can be used safely in direct contact with foodstuffs in accordance with the criteria of the authorities.

Reifenhäuser PET Sheet lines produce sustainable PET film from up to 100 percent PET bottle flake for direct food contact (according to EFSA/FDA).

Profit from digitalization

Reifenhäuser pursues the approach that - regardless of the company size – plastics extrusion manufacturers should benefit from digitization without becoming dependent on either specialists, systems or vendors. The core of the Reifenhäuser digital solution is the so-called c.Hub, a middleware that ensures the secure exchange of data between different IT systems, applications, extrusion machines and line controls. This includes Reifenhäuser systems as well as third-party systems. The c.Hub becomes the single point of truth for all production-relevant data by merging and harmonizing production data streams.

To enable customers to easily connect all their equipment in production, Reifenhäuser offers out-of-the-box connectors for the most important industrial protocols. They enable fast and complete acquisition of all production data. The associated ExtrusionOS software provides user-friendly applications and dashboards that help monitor, manage, store and analyze this data. Line operators can, for example, monitor the condition of their connected equipment and adjust it optimally based on the knowledge gained. They also have the option of monitoring defined thresholds and KPIs and, if desired, receiving notifications when thresholds are exceeded. c.Hub and Extrusion OS is developed by RE: GmbH, a tech start-up of the Reifenhäuser Group, specialized in digital solutions for the plastics extrusion and packaging industry.

The c.Hub Middleware connects, gathers and harmonizes data from ERP/MES systems and assets as well as peripherals of different ages, types and vendors.

Getting the best of installed assets

Productivity is essential for success. Of course, it is about higher, faster, further, about innovation. But it is also about good service, well-trained staff, and digitalization, so manufacturers can become as productive as possible. Reifenhäuser offers a broad portfolio of components and services to help its customers get the best out of their installed systems.

Reifenhäuser will be exhibiting at NPE its latest automation option PAM (precise, autonomous, mechatronic) for flat film extrusion lines. PAM calibrates coextrusion adapters and dies automatically for best comfort, quality, and productivity. The high level of automation makes the machine operator's work significantly easier, thus increasing line productivity and film quality. Reifenhäuser will show at its booth how the PAM adjustment works fully automatically and mechatronically - precisely controlled on a die. Once recipes have been set, they can be stored and recalled at the push of a button - even by inexperienced line operators. PAM also offers a decisive advantage in terms of occupational safety, as the operator does not even have to touch the hot parts of the extrusion line. In addition, energy consumption is significantly reduced compared to an automatic thermal expansion bolt system, as the actuators only need to be supplied with power during the adjustment process and not permanently.

The PAM automation option simplifies operation of the line. Waste and energy consumption are significantly reduced and product changeovers succeed in the shortest possible time.

As a special highlight Reifenhäuser will be exhibiting Kdesign technologies for blown film at NPE for the first time. Kdesign is part of the Reifenhäuser Group and offers market-leading technologies in the areas of cooling, measurement, and calibration. At the booth the KARAT air ring, which is well known for maximum output, narrowest film tolerances and easy handling, and the CENTRO-Freeze secondary cooling unit will be showcased. CENTRO-Freeze is a secondary cooling unit against blocking effects that enables blown film producers to increase their output and save anti-block additives - especially at high ambient temperatures. CENTRO-Freeze is installed immediately before the lay flat and is a supplementary cooling system. The air blow-out elements cool the film tube evenly around the entire circumference and thus decrease the film temperature by up to 16 degrees Celsius, reliably preventing blocking of the film. Kdesign customers benefit from over 20 years of experience in retrofitting existing blown film systems and equipping new OEM systems.

CENTRO-Freeze secondary cooling enables blown film producers to increase their output and save anti-block additives.

Engineered in Germany, made in America

The Reifenhäuser Reiloy highly wear-resistant screws and barrels regularly sets benchmarks in terms of quality and performance. The components are available for Reifenhäuser and third-party lines offering a demonstrably longer service life, precise matching of raw materials and additives, exclusive alloys developed in-house, and process-optimized surfaces. Manufacturers of injection molded and extruded products thus benefit from the best cost-benefit ratio in the industry. Higher resistance to wear is provided by special iron-based alloys and nickel-based alloys that match the raw material being processed. The decisive factor here is the composition of the alloys, because wear protection depends not only on the hardness of the layer. Thanks to the Reiloy production site in Maize (Kansas), Reifenhäuser offers fast delivery times and local support for the American markets. Reiloy USA's years of plastic processing experience in many environments combined with metallurgy knowledge affords an integral understanding of the materials available. This expertise enables the ability to offer customers the best solution to fit processing needs.

Reiloy screws and barrels from Reifenhäuser regularly set benchmarks in wear protection and offer proven longer lifetime..

Pictures: Reifenhäuser

About the Reifenhäuser Group

The Reifenhäuser Group together with its highly specialized business units is the leading provider of innovative technologies and components for plastics extrusion. Founded in 1911, the company is a global supplier of high-tech solutions. With its technologies and the know-how of its 1,750 employees, Reifenhäuser has the world's largest network of expertise in plastics extrusion technologies. The CEO of the Group is Bernd Reifenhäuser.

More Information about Reifenhäuser at NPE 2024: https://npe24.reifenhauser.com/