Plas Mec: giant mixer for Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE)

3 April 2018

PLAS MEC recently delivered its biggest mixer for TPE compounds to a Customer who is global player in the thermoplastic elastomers. The mixer will be used mainly for the European market.

PLAS MEC is a very well-known Italian Company manufacturing mixing systems for plastic powders, mainly PVC, but also PE, PP, ABS and technical and special polymers like PA, PC, PU, PET, PTFE etc; moreover powder coatings resins, wood-plastics composites, masterbatch, additives, pigments as well as TPE compounds.

Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are compounds made from a hard thermoplastic materials in combination with soft rubber material often incorporating additives like plasticizer oils and fillers, to make them soft and flexible. Although they can have a rubbery feel and are sometimes called thermoplastic rubber, they are not made out of rubber. Unlike thermoset rubbers, these plastic compounds can be recycled, that’s why TPEs compound market is growing significantly.

There is a wide range of different thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) types:

  • TPE-O – Thermoplastic Olefins (co-continues hard/soft blend)
  • TPE-S – Styrenic SBS, SEBS or SEPS Compound
  • TPE-V – Vulcanized PP/EPDM Compound
  • TPE-E – Copolyester compound
  • TPE-U – Thermoplastic Polyurethane
  • TPE-A – Thermoplastic Polyamide

The TRG mixer is completely designed, manufactured and assembled inside the PLAS MEC factory.
It is composed by a vessel specifically designed to mix homogenously the components (resins, polymers, plasticizer, fillers). The shape of the vessel is based on the long experience of PLAS MEC in this field.
The mixing tool is definitely the core of the mixer, with a geometry design which has been optimized over the years and guarantee a very good mixing of the polymers with the plasticizer oils.
The vessel is made in stainless steel with high hardness in order to guarantee a long life despite the use of fillers which can create high wearing. The mixing tools is also made of stainless steel, but with special tungsten carbide coating applied with thermal spray process on the surface most subjected to wearing, and then dynamically equilibrated, to avoid any vibration at high speed of mixing.
The internal of the vessel, as well as the mixing tool, are very fine polished to allow a quicker and easier cleaning when it is necessary to change the recipe and avoid contamination.
The mixing tool is driven by an electric motor with high efficiency and suitable to be driven by a frequency converter to set different speeds for the various phases of the mixing process. The transmission from the motor to the mixing tool is with pulleys and high capacity V-belts.
The mixing tool shaft is supported by two high load roller bearings and perfectly sealed from the vessel.
The mixing process of TPE compound often requires external heating, therefore the vessel is built with a double jacket for heating oil circulation, to be connected to a thermoregulating device. To prevent heat dispersion and for safety reasons, the vessel is thermally insulated with ceramic fibres covered with a stainless steel liner.
The cover is also made of stainless steel polished inside, it is equipped with silicone foam seal and thanks to the pneumatic cylinder and three manual locking clamps, it closes perfectly avoiding any leaking of powder outside the vessel. The cover includes several openings, five for powders loading, one for a filter and one inspection port.
Because safety is always at the maximum level on every PLAS MEC equipment, the control system includes a device which enables to open the cover only when the mixing tool is completely stopped.

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