Cleaning Granulates Supporting the Development of Staple Fibre Specialities
With the Dreyclean LT high-performance cleaning granulates, Dreychem has developed a mechanically acting cleaning granulate that is able, even without any abrasive ingredients in the recipe, to eliminate particularly stubborn incrustations and other deposits very effectively.
IFG Asota in Linz, Austria is the R&D centre of the Industrial Fibres Group (IFG), a leading European manufacturer of melt-spun staple fibres of PP, PE and PA. Due to the different in-house and customer-oriented challenges in the development of specialities, increasingly from biopolymers such as PLA (polylactide) and PBS (polybutylene succinate), product changes are frequent on the semi-industrial pilot plant installed there. Thorough cleaning of the two extruders keeps the time needed for this and the amount of material required to a minimum and also contributes considerably to the high quality of the produced fibres. Dreyclean LT high-performance cleaning granulates from Dreychem have proved to be an optimum choice for this.
With the fibre diameters down to less than 20 µm, even the tiniest contaminants in the melt can cause production problems. Especially when the machine has been idle for a certain time due to capacity utilization aspects, rinsing with the usual polymer is not enough to reliably remove all the deposits and agglomerates. This applies all the more to biopolymers, which rapidly tend to thermal degradation at elevated temperatures.
Here, the cleaning granulates have proved to be so efficient that, since the company started using them, it has had significantly fewer problems such as fibre breakages. Apart from that, the firm’s experience shows that, following their use, processing temperatures in the extruder of up to 20 °C lower are sufficient for achieving the same throughput. This improves the quality of the biobased fibres and lowers the energy consumption, states IFG Asota.
Another particular benefit of using the cleaning granulates, is the much lower material loss compared with rinsing with the original material, adds the firm. Biobased plastics such as PLA are very much more expensive than conventional thermoplastics used for melt spinning. This, plus the company’s overall shorter running times per batch, make the material losses until a stable process is reached a significant economic factor. With the cleaning granulates, the firm has been able to cut this start-up time by more than half, mentions the company.
With the cleaning granulates, Dreychem has developed a mechanically acting cleaning granulate that is able, even without any abrasive ingredients in the recipe, to eliminate particularly stubborn incrustations and other deposits very effectively indeed. The standard range of application extends from polyolefins through PET to TPE and TPU at processing temperatures of 180 to 320 °C, in extrusion and also when cleaning injection moulding machines and tools. The company is delighted that the product’s application at IFG Asota now also proves the beneficial effect when processing biopolymers.