When starting up an extrusion line and changing products, many manual adjustments to the coextrusion adapter or die were previously necessary. This is why Reifenhäuser has developed an automation option that enables manufacturers to maximize their good production and use resources efficiently: Thanks to PAM (precise, autonomous, mechatronic), the feedblock and die can be adjusted automatically and mechatronically - precisely controlled via the line's operating panel.
PAM is available for Reifenhäuser's Pro coextrusion adapters and for various die types. PAM is optionally available for new feedblocks and dies, but can also be retrofitted to existing lines.
The feedblock and die can be adjusted mechatronically much faster than by manually, and the line operator can also already make the next work step during this time. As a result, the PAM option enables faster startup of good production, higher output, and improved overall equipment efficiency (OEE).
At the same time, automated adjustment is more accurate and objective, as it is not based on manual measurements and adjustments by the line operator. This means that layer distributions and thicknesses can be optimally adjusted. This in turn reduces scrap and material usage.
Recipe memory for precise reproducibility
Recipes can be stored and retrieved at any time. They can thus be reproduced exactly and depend less on the experience and qualifications of the individual line operator.
Digital fingerprint for improved traceability
The PAM option not only saves the setting parameters for future production runs, but also facilitates the tracing of individual products and provides proof to buyers.
Increased work safety for line operators
The feedblock and die are operated contactlessly via the line control system using the PAM option. This means that the line operator no longer has to work on the hot components. This reduces the risk of injury.
Save energy without thermal expansion bolts
Compared to dies that are converted with thermal expansion bolts, the mechatronic PAM option significantly reduces energy consumption. This shortens the payback period - especially in times of rising energy costs.
The Coextrusion Adaptor Pro is the only coextrusion system on the market that allows individual layers to be profiled while the line is running. Unlike conventional solutions, this does not require time-consuming removal, processing and reinstallation of elements located in the adapter. Instead, the profilers can be flexibly controlled individually or together during operation via a central adjustment. "The PAM option goes one step further," says Hanna Dornbusch, application engineer at Reifenhäuser Cast Sheet Coating. PAM automates the setting of the layer distribution and simplifies adjustments and optimizations through integrated recipe management.
With the PAM option, an automated screwdriver makes the settings based on a stored recipe. Programming and operation is carried out via the classic plant HMI, which virtually displays to the operator which opening gaps are currently occurring in the feedblock. This enables the operator to control and adjust the individual profilers to within 0.01 mm. "Compared to manual adjustment by a machine operator, automation saves about half an hour of changeover time, depending on the number of profilers to be adjusted," says Dornbusch.
Extruding barrier films more effectively
Setting the layer distribution optimally for rheologically demanding barrier films usually takes a lot of time and experience. The Coextrusion Adapter Pro with PAM option makes the job easier for line operators and improves overall line effectiveness.
The PAM option for the Coextrusion Adaptor Pro is particularly worthwhile for manufacturers of films with many layers. "For simple 3-layer composites, the coextrusion adapter is adjusted in a few steps, but for eleven layers, such as barrier composites, 70 profilers may have to be adjusted," explains Tim Bänsch, product manager at Reifenhäuser Extrusion Systems. The automated system also brings advantages for products with high demands on layer distributions.
With the PAM option you produce significantly more barrier film per year, because you can change both the die and the coex system during operation.
Faster changeover when changing the width of a cast application with internal width adjustment.
Change from thermal expansion bolt to PAM protects the environment and saves money. Example based on a 3000 mm wide wide slot die.
How PAM works with dies
The quality of films, sheets or tapes can only be as good as the quality of the molding. "Our flat dies impress with the highest manufacturing quality and match the respective application perfectly," says Bänsch. "With the PAM option, we offer our customers a convenient solution for setting the die that is also economically worthwhile." PAM enables autonomous and mechatronic adjustment and control of the flex lip conveniently via the system control. Depending on the die design, autonomous adjustment of the dust bar, width adjustment and lip opening is also possible via adjustment of the lower die lip.
The PAM option is suitable for dies for cast film production, for the production of flattened film, and for dies for extrusion coating and sheet extrusion. "It is particularly worthwhile for manufacturers of very wide films, because here the adjustment takes a lot of time and in the case of frequent product changes," explains Dornbusch. For example, when changing widths in a cast application with internal width adjustment, PAM is 78 percent faster than the conventional system. In addition, PAM does not require thermal expansion bolts, thus saving energy. For example, on a 3000 mm wide die, switching from thermal expansion bolts to PAM saves 130,500 kilowatt hours per year.
The PAM option can be selected independently for coextrusion adapters and dies - but it is only when they interact that the automated components develop their full strength. "We are one of the few machine builders in the market that manufacture everything ourselves - extruder, feedblock, die," says Bänsch. "Because of this hot part expertise, we know the process technology interfaces very well and can design everything to match one another accordingly - PAM takes it all to a new level."