Extrusion Lamination is getting increasingly popular over adhesive lamination owing to myriad benefits it offers such as: alleviation of solvents/ compounds used in adhesives; ruling out white base ink-printing of the ensuing laminate by using master-batch in the extrudate that renders it white thereby bringing immense cost savings to the convertor; enhanced bond strength; consistent/ continuous production of laminate owing to auto-splicing feature of the extrusion laminator; no curing required as in the case of adhesive lamination thereby enhancing production throughput and much enhanced barrier properties as compared to adhesive lamination.
Taking cognizance of the popularity of extrusion lamination as a process, Engineering Business of India’s largest multinational flexible packaging materials and solution company Uflex launched EL-1300 Extrusion Lamination Machine in 2016, which was very well received by the Indian convertors’ fraternity. In wake of sustained demand, the company has been incessantly carrying out value-engineering to develop co-extrusion and tandem extrusion variants of the machine.
To meet the principal application of extrusion coating / lamination, Mono Extruder is good enough. However, considering the running costs and flexibility to play with various polymers, Co-Extruders are gaining traction. In addition to economising the costs, Co-Extruders also play an important role towards enhancing barrier properties owing to multi-layered combination. Tandem Extruder is also being developed so as to execute multi-layered jobs in single run for saving upon the process time.
The Fully Automatic Co-Extrusion Lamination Machine offers the following benefits:
(a) Attainable lamination speed of 300 m/minute;
(b) Automatic thickness measurement and control;
(c) Corona treaters to seamlessly integrate treater into flexible packaging extrusion coating & lamination lines;
(d) Independent drives for all segments of the machine;
(e) Heavy Duty (sturdy) structure;
(f) Motorized three axis movement of carriage for air gap setting;
(g) Chamber type doctor blade for anchor coating;
(h) T-Die with internal duckling & lip opening up to 1mm;
(i) Unique design of lamination drum to maintain even temperature across the width;
(j) Sleeve type coating nip as optional;
(k) All three winders with turret auto-splicing and having edge position control;
(l) AC vector grade motor with digital AC vector drives.
This machine comes equipped with a back-pressure control system which enables to manage polymers of different MFI (Melt Flow Index) so as to maintain the homogeneity of the extrudate.
Uflex has developed co-extrusion laminators for the flexibility it offers towards using different combinations of co-polymers suiting the requirements of the customers in terms of better bond strength and barrier properties keeping in mind the overall characteristics of the substrates to be laminated. Co-extruder combined with a suitable feed block enables the convertor to alter polymeric combination for the 3 layered extrudate dropping. The combinations can be changed according to the needs of the ensuing laminate. For instance to get better bond strength one could use acid co-polymers on the two side layers and low cost additive in the central layer. The co-extruder that Uflex has exhibited at PLASTINDIA 2018 can offer combinations like ABA, AAB and ABB.
Uflex is proceeding going step by step. Initially the Company developed a co-extrusion laminator with attainable speed of 250 m/ minute followed by the one with a speed of 300 m/minute that is on display at PLASTINDIA. In the times to come Uflex shall enhance the speed to 350 m/minute and subsequently graduate to 400 m/minute.
In the field of laminated flexible packaging no other Indian manufacturer makes these types of extrusion lamination machines. There is clearly a big need gap for Uflex to tap this market. There is an increasingly encouraging demand for extrusion laminated packaging by multinational food and beverage brands in India and overseas alike. Uflex has a good order pipeline and expects to sell at least 6-8 machines in the coming year for this application.
Uflex has tied up with a subject matter technical expert from the western world having over 35 years of luminary experience in designing and running world class extrusion lamination machines for that market. This will help Uflex make great strides in the international market as well.