PTi showcases thin-gauge “dryerless” PET/PLA sheet system

At NPE2015, Processing Technologies International (PTi; Aurora, IL), a leading global manufacturer of high-performance sheet extrusion machinery, is showing its dryerless sheet extrusion system at booth W-4182. It’s described by Matt Banach, Vice President, Sales and Marketing as “an eco-conscious manufacturing solution that delivers major energy and cost savings.” The system offers a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of virgin and recycled PET sheet production.

The NPE line is an 85-mm/52D HVTSE extruder with a GCH661824 horizontal roll stand that is capable of producing 57-in.-wide PET/ PLA sheet at thicknesses down to 6 mil or PP sheet at thicknesses down to 11 mil. The GCH661824 three-roll horizontal system permits greater flexibility and significantly reduced downtime for system modifications.

PTi

“The new G-Series horizontal facilitates the production of some of the thinnest PET and PP thermoformed sheet in the market,” according to Banach. “The roll stand was developed in response to market demand for high-quality, thin-gauge sheet for the production of lightweight packaging.”

The system, available subject to prior sale, operates at 2,300 lb/hr or a total of 18 million lbs of annual PET production. It will be the fourth installation in the last six months, and, in addition to the units sold from the 2011 launch, will represent a theoretical installed capacity of 390 million lbs of annual North American PET production.

“We initially thought that the energy savings and process simplification of the dryerless technology would be the selling points. However, we’ve quickly seen that the equipment’s resin versatility has been the primary driver,” said Banach.

Systems ranging from 85 to 170 mm are capable of processing PET at rates ranging from 2,300 to 5,500 lb per hour (1,045 to 2,500 kg/hr), and can convert a variety of resins including postconsumer and industrial PET/PLA, PP, HDPE, HIPS and more. The energy-efficient process relies on High-Vacuum Twin-Screw Extruder (HVTSE) technology, which allows virgin or recycled PET to be processed without the need for raw material drying and crystallizing.

In terms of sustainability advantages, the HVTSE process provides a reduction of about 80 to 85 kW/1000 lbs in energy consumption versus conventional PET processing. “This savings equates to more than 31.6 gigawatt hours of annual power consumption, when factored across our 390 million pounds of theoretical installed HVTSE PET capacity base,” said Sushant Jain, Senior Scientist at PTi. “The resultant energy savings could mean a reduction in CO2 gas emissions of more than 23 million pounds per year from fossil-fuel burning power plants.”

PTi has a demonstration line at its headquarters in Aurora, IL, where customers can run production-scale trials using their own virgin and recycled materials.