Reifenhauser Group’s sustainable solutions at K 2022

Reifenhäuser Extrusion Systems, a part of the Reifenhauser Group, and Maku AG announced a strategic partnership at the K Show that was held from 19-26 October in Dusseldorf, Germany. The aim of the cooperation is the joint marketing and further development of the automation system designed by maku for coextrusion adapters and slot dies.

The so-called PAM system (precise, autonomous, mechatronic) is available immediately and exclusively as an automation option for new Reifenhäuser dies and adapters, as well as for aftermarket dies across all manufacturers. 

PAM enables producers in the field of flat film and sheet production as well as extrusion coating to precisely control the entire hot part (coextrusion adapter and die) via the line’s control panel. This is significantly faster and more accurate than conventional control by hand or expansion bolt automation. It enables faster start-up of good production, higher output with lower energy consumption, and thus significantly improved overall equipment efficiency (OEE). The advantage lies in the use of motorized manual adjustment bolts that replace conventional thermal expansion bolts. Reifenhäuser presented the system for the first time at the K 2022.

Reifenhauser Group’s main booth at K 2022 Photo: PSA
Reifenhäuser Group’s big footprint at K 2022

The Reifenhäuser Group had four stands at K 2022. Under its motto for this year’s K, ‘The Time is Now,’ the extrusion specialists showcased producers of films and nonwovens valuable solutions for the three major topics of the industry – sustainability, digitization, and productivity. At the main Reifenhäuser stand in Hall 17, the company talked about blown film, flat film, nonwoven lines, service, digitalization, and sustainability.

In Hall 11 stand C16, Reifenhäuser presented screws, barrels, and extruders, while at its stand in Hall 1, the company showcased flat dies and coextrusion adapters. The company’s fourth stand was at the Circular Economy Forum where it talked about R-Cycle.

EVO Fusion blown films

In addition to the aforementioned PAM system, the company presented several other solutions at the show. One of the highlights was EVO Fusion, a process that allows the processing of plastic waste into films for applications such as biodegradable or recycled refuse bags, biodegradable fruit and vegetable bags, construction films, and biodegradable mulch films. The technology allows the use and processing of even low-quality input material such as plastic waste without regranulation.

EVO Fusion lines permit direct fluff-to-film production without cost- and energy-intensive regranulation and predrying as well as the inline compounding of bio-materials. The fusion of blown film technology and twin screw technology makes it possible.

Using a special twin screw extruder for recyclates, Reifenhauser showed several films with the EVO Fusion blown film line. These included, instance, the PE/PCR/PE 30 micron film using 65% PCR made for trash bags, accepted by the German household waste collection system.

Another of the samples shown was produced on the EVO Fusion blown film line using 65% post-consumer recyclates. This film structure of 50-micron thickness uses PE/PCR/PE for mailing bag film that is also accepted by the German household waste collection system. 

Solutions – digital, new recyclable barrier pouches and Ultrathin coating

Reifenhäuser also presented a new digital solution for carbon footprint calculation at K 2022 called ‘The Carbon Footprint Dashboard. This enables film and nonwoven producers to see how the carbon footprint changes in ongoing production and identify how they can reduce their emissions. 

Also on display were fully recyclable pouches with barrier effects against oxygen and water vapor that are suitable for food packaging. This solution is a further development of the all-PE mono-pouch already established on the market. 

Another highlight was a production process termed Ultrathin Coating, in particular for the sector of medical protective clothing. The process will permit customers to produce particularly lightweight film/nonwoven composites with greater cost efficiency and, as a result, more competitively. It cuts film grammage by 66% while material consumption in the overall composite is reduced by 28%. The company says this process can slashes costs by up to 34% compared to conventional semi-finished products used for personal protective gear.

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