New-to-the-market compounder Heroplas in Spenge, Germany, specializes in the manufacture of Polypropylene (PP), Polyetheylene (PE), Thermoplastic Elastomeres (TPE), Thermoplastic Vulcanizates (TPV), and their polymer blends in very small batches. Heroplas, who groups these tailor-made specialized products with the term “Technical Polyolefins”, has outfitted its production with two Coperion ZSK twin screw extruders for this endeavor. Both the ZSK 26 Mc18 and the ZSK 45 Mc18 stand out with high flexibility in configuration and very comfortable operation. Together, they form the basis of short setup times for frequently occurring recipe changes, ensuring Heroplas can efficiently manufacture specialized compounds, even in spite of the minute quantities involved.
Heroplas is a joint venture between Sitraplas GmbH in Bünde, Germany, and KRS Kunststoff Recycling & Service GmbH in Spenge. The specialty compounder Sitraplas has been successfully manufacturing minute lots of high-quality Engineered Plastics compounds for many years and is assuming Heroplas research and development projects. Production takes place in Spenge in eastern Westphalia.
ZSK extrusion technology for maximum flexibility and safe, secure scale up
Polyolefins stand out for their easy handling properties and outstanding chemical durability. Their development and manufacture in small and minute quantities for specialized applications places high demands on Heroplas. In order to economize efficiently, not only must the company’s internal processes be optimized for the large number of small quantities; production machinery must be designed for frequent recipe changes as well, all the while guaranteeing very high compound quality.
The ZSK 26 Mc18 laboratory extruder, as well as the ZSK 45 Mc18 with a 45 mm screw diameter, are both ideally suited for these requirements. Both Coperion extruders can be combined with underwater and strand pelletizing in wet and dry cut. Thanks to its modular construction, configuration for a variety of different process variations is possible.
Numerous quick-change features on Coperion extruders ensure comfortable, efficient operation with only a few hand movements. Quick-release clamps on feed hoppers, degassing domes, and atmospheric venting are but a few examples of features than enable quick system reconfiguration, resulting in short setup times for recipe changes. Compounder downtimes are markedly reduced.
“Short setup times are essential for us”, explained Heroplas’ Managing Director Tim Hencken, who truly values ZSK technology from Coperion. “Regular product changes require regular system adjustments and the downtimes that come with them. We develop and produce Technical Polyolefins in order quantities of 1.5 tons on average. Our extruders’ simple, flexible operation really accommodates our needs in this regard. We achieve very short downtimes with them, in spite of numerous recipe changes. Moreover, Coperion’s ZSK extruders ensure very high product quality for us with no fluctuation. Our customers value us for that reason.”
Since all process parameters across the entire ZSK series are constant, Heroplas can transfer recipes that have been developed on the laboratory system to the larger Coperion extruder with no difficulty. This reliable scale up provides Heroplas with additional flexibility in processing orders.
Clear company goals at Heroplas
Development and production of Technical Polyolefins, in particular formulations of application-specific compounds in the areas of PP, PE, TPE, and TPV, as well as blends thereof, are Heroplas’ focus. Using targeted modifications, Heroplas develops customer-specific products for various areas of use, such as medical technology, the automotive sector, or even in household devices, sporting equipment and the electronics industry. Heroplas works closely with Sitraplas on conceptualizing plastics, with the benefit of direct access to Sitraplas’ comprehensive expertise in the fields of color adjustment, analysis, and process technology.
In other business areas, Heroplas follows the lead of its sister company as well. Sitraplas, for example, has placed great importance upon environmentally sustainable production for many years. The company has markedly reduced its CO2 emissions – a goal that Heroplas will pursue at its Spenge location as well.