EDGEMONT, Pa., Oct. 16, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Plastrac, the Edgemont, PA-based manufacturer of easy-to-use blending systems, has developed a remarkable, new patent-pending approach to the continuous blending of color and other additives with pelletized base resins for injection molding and extrusion processes. Dubbed ColorStream™, the system delivers a variety of benefits, from safety, to reduced capital equipment and operating/maintenance expenses.
ColorStream began as a customer service request by a major cable and wire manufacturer to eliminate the need for employees to climb ladders or stairs to clean and change out additive hoppers that are mounted high above the floor to the sides of the main component loader. At the same time the customer didn’t have sufficient floor space to accommodate a large floor mounted blender along with the central loader receiver to source it with virgin material.
According to ColorStream’s inventor and Plastrac President, Ken Bullivant, “We developed this unique approach to streaming colors and other additives by rethinking all the components and operation of our traditional blending systems. An evaluation version of ColorStream was successfully tested in our customer’s facility over the past few months. Not only did it solve a customer problem, it is going to save them a lot of money for years to come.”
Plastrac sought to separate the metering of additives from the system handling and feeding of the main component resin, by locating it at floor level. It needed to ensure that cleaning and color changes occur at floor level, which requires that all ColorStream components above floor level be self-cleaning. To be practical, the additive transport system needed to be nearly maintenance-free and a minimal consumer of energy. For added convenience, Plastrac put the system on a compact cart, mounted on casters, so it can be moved to create access when the process machine requires maintenance.
The cart can support one or more additive feeders (up to four) arranged radially around a collecting funnel for discharge of the additives into a vertically mounted, custom-made venturi that discharges downward into a transport hose. Unlike conventional venturi, which require use of high-pressure compressed air from the factory central system, ColorStream uses low-pressure air supplied by an electrically powered regenerative blower located on the cart. These blowers can operate continuously for more than five years and deliver clean air because there are no contacting parts requiring lubrication. The venturi and transport hose are small enough to deliver sufficient air velocity to keep transported granules entrained in the air stream even when using a small energy efficient blower.
At the upper end of the system, a compact but exceptionally sturdy baffle box mounts to the inlet flange of the plastics processing machine. The top flange of this box typically supports the customer’s central loader receiver and buffer hopper, which supply virgin material to the process. A cyclone type receiver inside the baffle box separates the additives from the transport air, which is routed out of the baffle box laterally. A metal screen between the cyclone and the exhaust duct guarantees that stray additive granules cannot escape with exhaust air. Additive granules do not clog the screen, because its much larger open area reduces air velocity below that is required to lift the granules. All surfaces are scrubbed by the transport air or by impingement of additive granules, so that color changes do not require cleaning of the hose or baffle box components.
ColorStream will be officially unveiled at K 2019, October 16-23, 2019 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Plastrac will be exhibiting the system in Hall 11, at the company’s German subsidiary, Stand B17.
For more information, contact: Plastrac, P.O. Box 1067, 3928 Miller Road, Edgemont, PA 19028, 610-356-3000, Fax: 610-356-7022, www.plastrac.com.