Hosokawa Alpine has been working with the Polish film manufacturer ELA for many years. Now the customer is venturing into something new: a modern MDO line with a vacuum roll is being used to produce laminating films in full PE design, thus opening up a new market.
ELA Wyrób Folii i Opakowań, based in Ostrów, Poland, has been in business for more than 40 years and sells mainly in Germany, Poland and Eastern Europe. It specializes in the production of polyethylene films for the food, rubber and home industries, as well as flexographic printing. For example, it produces bags for frozen foods, hoods for pallets or films for fertilizer packaging. ELA was one of the first customers for Hosokawa Alpine on the Polish market. Since then, the plant park and business relations have grown steadily: "We attach great importance to a uniform and harmonized machine park so that we can implement optimizations and new approaches directly in all our machines. Hosokawa Alpine has been with us from the very beginning, and its high-quality solutions have helped us grow as a company and offer our customers the best quality," explains Kornel Laskus, Chief Executive Officer at ELA. ELA already has five blownfilm lines with different layflat widths in operation. Another winder of the AWD series is coupled with an embossing line for flexographic printing. In 2022, the customer is now taking a new approach: with the 5-layer line with a layflat width of 2800mm and integrated 3000mm inline MDO film orientation unit from Hosokawa Alpine, ELA intends to produce laminating films in full PE design and thus open up the field of environmentally friendly circular economy. "We are pleased to have been able to contribute to ELA's growth with our machines and service in the past. Now we are happy to support the customer with our MDO technology as they enter the forward-looking full-PE market," says Andrzej Olcha, Area Sales Manager Poland at Hosokawa Alpine.
MDO technology for optimized film properties
Hosokawa Alpine MDO (Machine Direction Orientation) technology is based on monoaxial orientation of blown film. In this process, the film is drawn between two rolls that rotate at different speeds. Depending on the application, the film passes over eight to twelve rolls, two of which are stretching rolls. After heating to the optimum temperature, the film is brought to the desired ratio in the stretching phase. "The stretching process reduces film thickness while improving optical and mechanical properties. These include barrier properties, stiffness, transparency or machinability. Overall, the process can reduce raw material requirements in are source-conserving way and increase efficiency," explains Andrzej Olcha. The stresses created during stretching are reduced in the subsequent annealing phase. Finally, the film cools down and compensates for the thermal shrinkage. The TRIO system (Trim Reduction for Inline Orientation) integrated into the line reduces neck-in by up to 50 percent. At the same time, the flatness of the film is optimized, and a uniform thickness profile is produced. The vacuum technology used by Alpine also ensures high process stability and excellent properties for further processing.
Mr. Andrzey Olcha, Area Sales Manager of Hosokawa Alpine Poland Sp.z.o.o. with the blown film line of the customer ELA
Trend-setting technology forthe circular economy
The customer ELA is making itself fit for the circular economy with the new plant, as MDO technology is a key component for the production of high-performance monomaterial composites made of polyethylene. To generate certain product properties, composites previously had to be produced from different materials that could not be fully recycled. A more environmentally friendly concept is full PE packaging solutions, i.e. films made from pure polyethylene composites. These can be fully recycled after their original use and reused in the circular economy for end products without material loss. Thus, sustainability and resource conservation are combined. "Hosokawa Alpine is the technology and market leader in this field and we are pleased to be able to continue our successful cooperation and add a new, future oriented element. Alpine Support is available to us virtually day and night - we are sure that with this reliable partner at our side we will meet the requirements of the circular economy in the best possible way," says Kornel Laskus.
ELA produces laminating films on the Hosokawa Alpine line in Ostrów, Poland