Purging with benefits – getting opportunity from the Aquapurge Challenge…

The best plastics processing businesses undertake a pre-emptive approach to their manufacturing; preventing crises, bottlenecks and break downs via regular systems of monitoring and planned maintenance – with regular purging sessions included.

More typically, however, Aquapurge will be called in to deal with situations at customers where problems have arisen and can be put off no longer. Depending on the exact nature of the problem (and its longevity) these problems may also involve much more than matters of efficient polymer throughput.

A leading French blow moulding customer, for example, was experiencing severe difficulties in managing colour changes – changing over from running red high-density polyethylene (HDPE) to natural polymer. The production line was typically running the red material through three machine heads at 185 to 190 C and then changing over to natural HDPE at a temperature of 215 C.

The problem was that at least 600 kg of HDPE were required in order to effect a successful colour change since red colour was streaking through subsequent natural production which contained large chunks of degraded colour. Not only was the production line thereby shut down for at least eight hours, but the added cost in wasted polymer and wasted product was also affecting the company’s profitability.

The company, therefore, decided to take the Aquapurge purging compound challenge: Firstly the mandrel and screen were removed from the blow moulding line. It was then discovered that there was a faulty heating element in the third head farthest from the screw. This heating element was first repaired and 100kg of Aquapurge Poly Clear HMEX was applied through the system in order to effect a curative and remedial action. The time taken for this successful operation was 1hr 30mins. Subsequent to this, 60kg of Poly Clear HMEX has been applied – taking just 1hr to achieve successful and fast colour changes and also keeping the blow moulding machine heads clean at all times.

Etienne Quinot was the Aquapurge sales engineer involved: He says that ‘part of the enjoyment of the job is revealing to our customers just how much waste and downtime they can avoid through regular use of our purging compound.

Another great part of the Aquapurge challenge is the creativity that is often involved in problem-solving and re-engineering and repurposing processes that perhaps have not had attention for some time.’

Etienne adds that ‘any production review at a manufacturer is bound to throw up a number of issues that go beyond the simple purging compound parameters. At Aquapurge we are happy to have these in the mix and to help these customers to great productivity and fault-free mouldings.’

Aquapurge’s European continental sales now account for two third of the company’s growing business and business in France is developing at a double-digit rate this year.

Aquapurge’s move into its double-sized new factory in Hayes, Middx, is already assisting expansion and ready for further demand generally and within the Italian marketplace