At the recently concluded Chinaplas 2012, Windmoller & Holscher (W&H) focused on solutions for packaging production with efficient use of energy and raw materials. Cutting-edge technology in blown and cast film production, gravure printing and woven sack manufacturing puts profitability in harmony with the environment. In China W&H is represented by Windmoeller & Hoelscher Asia (Hong Kong) and Johs. Rieckermann (Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing).
At first glance, film extrusion does not seem to be the perfect process for energy conservation. On closer inspection, however, the machine can in fact be improved, if technology is put to work properly.
The VAREX universal blown film line from W&H operates on one of the lowest specific energy consumption levels in the industry. With 0.3 – 0.35 kW/kg, VAREX is about 30% more energy-efficient than its closest competitor. The individual components of the line are optimally tuned to each other to deliver an absolutely constant bubble circumference. When producing flat film, this does away with the need for trimming the film, resulting in significant savings in material and / or energy for reprocessing.
Each Varex line features OPTIFIL P, the innovative thickness profile control system. Better film gauge with lower thickness tolerances permits production of thinner films without sacrificing mechanical strength, resulting in substantial savings of plastic resin during film extrusion. Each kilogram saved need not be processed. Add to this the fact that resin production is many times more energy intense than extrusion, it becomes clear that raw material saving is a vital source of overall energy conservation in film production
But Varex takes this approach even further. Its automation module Easy-Change eliminates the need to stop the line for size changes, thus saving around 100 kg of resin per changeover. Profile Booster quickly narrows down film thickness tolerances after line start-up, reducing both time needed to reach full production levels as well as waste generated by 60%.
The Aquarex blown film line addresses yet another environmental aspect. Multi-layer, high-clarity film, produced with an upside down water-quench process, is a perfect substitute for PVC- film, widely used for the production of infusion bags (IV-bags). However, some countries, including China, have banned PVC infusion bags to avoid health risks arising from the content of plasticizers. PP-film produced on the AQUAREX is a much safer material for IV-bags than PVC.
If you would prefer “green” options in cast film production, the Filmex line has much to offer. The substitution of co-extruded PET film for laminated PET structures is but one example of an effective raw material saving strategy. Co-extruded PET film of 250μ from the Filmex cast film line can perfectly replace much thicker laminated structures in deep-drawn tray applications.
Windmoller & Holscher is an international leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of machinery for the flexible packaging industry and is based in Lengerich, Germany. The product range includes flexographic and gravure printing presses, blown and cast film extrusion systems, multiwall equipment, plastic sack and bag making machines as well as form-fill-seal machinery.