Polymers are one of Materia Nova's main fields of research, together with surfaces and interfaces, with biotechnology, nanocomposites, surface treatment processes, such as coating and printing, and biopolymers. The centre is researching not only production of biopolymers, but also their processing to compounds. The KraussMaffei Berstorff twin-screw extruder will be used for research in both these areas and for contract research for customers. In polymerisation, ZE A 60 UTX output is between 30 and 60 kg/h, while in compounding output can reach 300 kg/h.
The company engineered the extruder to meet Materia Nova's specifications. With its modular engineering, characteristic of all ZE machines, the extruder provides flexibility for many diverse applications. A processing length of 56D ensures the long residence time essential for the polymerisation of PLA, for example, and also for gentle incorporation of mineral, or fibre, fillers when used in compounding tasks. A side-mounted feed unit ensures optimal metering of the fillers.
Two, easily exchangeable screw sets make it a simple matter to swap production over from polymerisation to compounding and vice versa. The metering units can feed dryblend, pellets or liquids. The system also includes two pelletisers; for maximum flexibility, Materia Nova ordered both an underwater pelletiser and a strand pelletiser. The latter can be combined with an air-cooled metal grid-type conveyor belt.