FP: What kinds of changes are film extruders seeing?
Nunes: Margins are razor thin and there is no room for error, and pressure for quick deliveries remains high. Newly developed materials require ultimate flexibility from film extruders. End-users no longer tolerate any inefficiencies in the blown film process.
FP: How has that altered the industry overall?
Nunes: Film producers need to operate at higher throughputs than ever before, with impeccable quality, zero tolerance for waste or downtime, and with maximum flexibility. High cost barrier materials need to be processed with exacting distribution to allow for thinner layers.
FP: What new development(s) have come about in the film extrusion arena? How have those changes impacted the extruding business?
Nunes: To meet and exceed the rigorous demands and expectations of the blown film industry, all phases of the extrusion process need to be optimized. Multi layer film dies are designed for quicker job changes, exacting layer distribution, higher outputs and better gauge. Cooling systems have been developed that drastically increase throughputs and improve bubble stability. Control systems aid in quick start up and improved resin control.
FP: What innovations do you see coming down the pike?
Nunes: Improved internal bubble cooling (IBC) and gauging systems may eliminate the need for oscillating haul off nips. Materials will continually be developed to improve performance at thinner gauges. Quicker job changes will be required as resin and production time becomes more precious. All phases of the extrusion process will continue to be incrementally improved.
FP: What kinds of developments/changes is your company making to provide the best service to its customers?
Nunes: Alpine has always placed an extremely high level of emphasis on customer service and support to keep our customers’ lines running and profitable. Continuous advancement of our domestically designed control systems gives the operator the tools to produce the highest quality products at maximum efficiency and uptime, with repeatable, easy and quick job changes. Open data acquisition capabilities allows for complete quality control. Additionally online troubleshooting capabilities for both process and equipment issues without having to waste time and money on travel further increases customers’ uptime and production. Alpine’s job is to increase our customers profitability and we continue to improve our service and support systems to do just that.
Alpine American Inc.