|Reifenhauser's Evolution 60 extruder.|
Q: Have you had any installations of a blown film machine being installed at a company that was primarily extruding rigid plastic? (In your own personal experience, have you seen any companies shifting from rigid to flexible film manufacturing at all?)
A: No we have not had any installations like this; however we do have several customers that do both rigid and flexible packaging. We do offer our new MT-Stack for thermoforming sheet lines that have the possibility to downgauge to 140 microns or less on a sheet line, leading some rigid manufacturers looking at this for new opportunities in flexible packaging.
Q: Have there been any recent major developments in blown film extrusion or the extrusion equipment sector?
A: As mentioned, we offer our new sheet stack that allows much thinner products – the Ultra Flat and Ultra Stretch devices which give processors the ability to flatten or stretch film easily in-line, giving many benefits to the end user such as downgauging, faster press and converting speeds and improved properties.
Q: How has business been for Reifenhauser this year? Has the re-focus on the US/NA market helped propel business?
A: Business is still strong worldwide, particularly in China right now, but we have seen business increase and opportunities increase with our focus on the US/NA market. We have completed our move to Wichita, KS and have hired several new people in the parts and service department to better support our customers here. We have invested in new machine tools to increase our capacity to serve the screw and barrel market here, and we feel that being part of a German company having a US-based manufacturing site really shows the commitment to this market from our parent company.
Q. As of late, what has been the most common request from customers?
A: 3-layer is still the most requested type of line being quoted; but we see the change to 5-layer for polyolefin films to offer flexibility gaining momentum. Output and flexibility are always things that processors look for and demand, and always without sacrificing quality.
Q: Are there any new developments or new machinery releases set for the near future?
A: We have plenty of things in the pipeline that are currently in testing phases in Germany; one that really has promise is our Fusion line, which combines twin screw technology with a blown film line, allowing for the ability to extrude calcium carbonate directly into the process, eliminating the need to purchase pre-compounded master batch offering huge material savings. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We have an internal plan called 2020 that has us working on developments well into the future, including more energy efficient machinery, along with many other exciting things to come.
(978) 412-9700; www.reifenhauser.com