Thursday, December 17, 2009

Leading sporting goods manufacturer banks on a ZE 25 A UTXi laboratory extruder for product development

Using the right material does make the difference!

Hanover, December 15, 2009 – Perfect plastics are a key factor when it comes to maximum comfort and functionality of sports shoes - Primasens-based Framas Kunststofftechnik GmbH has been aware of this correlation for many years and adopted the right strategy. Just like athletes striving for best performance again and again, Framas succeeds in continuously improving its products. In order to continue on this course, Framas has recently invested in a ZE 25 A UTXi laboratory twin-screw extruder delivered by Hannover-based KraussMaffei Berstorff GmbH.

It is no coincidence that Framas counts among today's leading suppliers of plastics components for the sports industry worldwide. With a headcount of 2750 all over the world, the company supplies renowned brand manufacturers like adidas, Nike, Puma and Reebok. About 400 single-component and multiple-component injection-moulding machines are currently used to produce mainly lasts, soles and bootlegs for sports shoes. As early as at the beginning of the seventies, Framas started to apply plastics instead of wood for shoe production in the headquarters in Pirmasens. With the migration of sporting goods manufacturers towards Asia, Framas has also established production sites in Far East. Today, the group comprises manufacturing facilities in China, Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam.

As Framas intends to additionally improve its products in the future, the company promotes material development in close cooperation with Kaiserslautern Technical College. For this purpose, the processor ordered a ZE 25 A UTXi twin-screw extruder with KraussMaffei Berstorff and placed it at the disposal of the Technical College on a loan basis. The development activities are focussed on materials providing weight reduction combined with enhanced stability and improved damping properties. Thanks to the sophisticated equipment, the laboratory extruder is particularly suited for this task. In addition, it supplies all data required for the scale-up to a production line and ensures low operating cost owing to easy maintenance and highly efficient wear protection.

Extruders of the ZE-A series produced in Hannover exhibit an outside/inside screw diameter ratio of 1.46 and thus feature an optimum relation between intake volume and torque. The UTX version of this extruder type achieves screw speeds of up to 1,200 rpm, which make this series an ideal solution for high-performance compounding. Thanks to the processing section length of 42 D, additives can be injected at any position along the barrel and the melt can optionally be degassed, which implies that the ordered extruder offers maximum flexibility. Finally, the extruder is equipped with a drive unit in Ultra-Glide version that allows the screws - even when completely filled with melt - to be removed from the stationary processing section towards the back, so that the melt quality can directly be evaluated.

Additional highlights of the ZE-UTX series that immediately convinced Framas are the rectangular housing elements with high-performance heating cartridges and highly efficient counter-flow evaporation cooling for optimum temperature control, the patented C-clamp system providing time savings of up to 70% during barrel replacement as compared to conventionally screwed flange connections and - last but not least – the KraussMaffei Berstorff Process Control Advanced system for perfect process control and monitoring.

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