Composites Today

Magazine For Composites Professionals

Composites manufacturing technology integrating re-compounding to additive processing

ZE BluePower twin-screw extruder – The perfect solution for the production of premium-quality recompounds from recycled materials.

The pellet-based powerPrint large-format 3D printer with thermally insulated enclosure enables printing of large-format components with build volumes of up to 2 m x 2.5 m x 2 m.

KraussMaffei, the plastic machinery supplier (Germany) informs that it can provide manufacturing solutions covering entire process chain-from material preparation to 3D printing of composites components. At the recently held Compounding World Expo Europe, in Essen, Germany, KraussMaffei showcased a unique bar height table printed with the pellet-based powerPrint large-format 3D printer. The highlight of the exhibit at the trade show was not the table itself, but the raw materials based on recycled plastics it was made from, and the fact that the entire machinery involved in the process – from the compounding line with ZE BluePower twin-screw extruder to the additive manufacturing solution and the film and sheet extrusion line for the table top – provided by KraussMaffei

According to KraussMaffei announcement, high-grade raw materials are key to delivering premium-quality finished products in plastics processing applications. If the input material is based on recycled plastics, the process adopted in manufacturing re-compounds is of particular importance. Compounding lines for the production of high-quality re-compounds based on recycled materials are one of KraussMaffei’s chief specialties.

In particular, the well-established ZE BluePower twin-screw extruder – with its ideal ratio between screw volume and screw torque – provides optimum melt homogenization as well as perfect incorporation of additives and, as required in this case, glass fibers. And, to complete the processing section of the ZE BluePower extruder, there are appropriate metering systems for solid and (if used) liquid additives, as well as vent ports through which moisture, volatile components and odor build-up can escape when processing recycled materials. With KraussMaffei’s in-depth mechanical engineering expertise and extensive knowledge of formulations, the re-compounds required for additive manufacturing can be produced to ideal quality specifications, based on different material types and different proportions of recycled materials with glass fiber or carbon fiber reinforcement and the appropriate color masterbatch.

Sustainable and efficient component manufacturing

The pellet-based powerPrint large-format 3D printer, which debuted on the market at K 2022 trade Show, has several special features for industrial manufacturing of components. Direct processing of the pellets made in the compounding line eliminates the need for filament production, which not only enhances process flexibility, but also results in a more cost-effective and sustainable process. Furthermore, the powerPrint enables printing of large-format components with build volumes of up to 2 m x 2.5 m x 2 m. The closed, thermally insulated enclosure makes for reliable printing (with excellent process stability) of, for example, casting molds for tool and mold making, autoclave components or pipe ducts and conduits. This means the large-format 3D printer is a fast, dependable industrial solution for efficient production of near-net-shape components.

As an extrusion-based system, the powerPrint enables direct processing of pellets while offering outstanding flexibility in terms of the raw materials that can be used at temperatures up to 400°C. Owing to KraussMaffei’s wealth of expertise in extruder engineering, the processing unit boasts superior wear resistance at high production speeds. Customized designs can be provided whenever requested. The table demonstrated at the Expo, printed with the powerPrint 3D printer, impressively showcases the scope for manufacturing large components based on compounds from recycled materials.

Table tops made from recycled materials

The announcement continues that, a table not only needs a base, which in this case comes from the 3D printer, but also a top. As with the base, the table top can also be made from recycled materials. KraussMaffei offers the right processing machine for this application. The unique feature of the table top shown at the Expo is that it is actually a 5 mm thick floor-covering manufactured on an in-line compounding and laminating line. Another highlight is that the floor-covering is a mono-material solution that can be easily recycled again. While the laminated decorative film is made of pure PP, the core sheet of the table top consists of PP with a chalk content as high as 80%.

Leave a Reply