February is looking like a month for dry ice blasting in the plastic extrusion sector. 30 hours of jobs pre booked with 4 new trials to be performed.
The plastic extrusion and injection moulding process involves turning plastic beads into molten/liquid plastic via a friction technique. This uses a screw which is turned under pressure until the plastic melts then is forced out of the extrusion head and into a mould.
As you can imagine, after a while the extrusion screw, extrusion head and die can get clogged up with old debris and remnants of the process. The contaminant could be in the form of gels, resins from a previous formulation, fibre contaminants, or additives such as talc, calcium carbonate. These have to be removed or the quality of the finished product can become tarnished. This also applies to the moulds used to make the finished product. Release agents deteriorate and the drag of plastic sticks to the mould causing defects.
Dry ice blasting is an effective way of removing the contaminants from extruder screws and extruder heads, whilst the machinery remains in situ. No lengthy dismantling or reassembly required. No chemicals, no water and no dust.
Optimum have extensive knowledge of the process and have cleaned a variety of sizes and removed a large cross section of contaminants from basic polyethylene to more hardened acid copolymers and nylon extruders and moulds.
We find that the world of dry ice blasting seems to have surges in certain sectors and February is certainly the plastic sectors turn.
It will be interesting to see what March has in store!
By Ian Reynolds