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Laurel BioComposite has made its second major capital equipment investment in its new production line with the purchase of an Amtek Microwave system from Cellencor.
According to Laurel, the system offers the capacity to dry up to 1000 lbs of Bio-Res PE per hour with the flexibility to adjust moisture levels from 35% to 5%. Equipped with two 100 kilowatt microwave generators and a 52 inch by 12 foot stainless steel double door drying cavity, Laurel say the system’s design features reduce energy consumption while providing higher quality Bio-Res PE for enhanced performance characteristics in finished plastics.
The microwave dries Bio-Res PE before the material is milled and sent to the extruder to be made into pellets. The ability to successfully control moisture content is a critical component for Laurel. Laurel explains that they recently demonstrated this capability with the production of a 14 ft kayak with 20 percent Bio-Res PE. Laurel exhibited the kayak for the first time at the International Plastics Showcase in Orlando, US.
“It made sense to show a product application where the increased stiffness and associated potential weight reduction gained by including Bio-Res PE combined with low moisture uptake were advantages,” says Tim Bearnes, CEO for Laurel. “Roto-Moulded products such as those represented by the kayak require large amounts of resin so the ability to use a superior, more cost-effective material that can also create a strong bond with other substances is important. Displaying the kayak demonstrated an additional and exciting new use for Bio-Res PE. The kayak was a show stopper, clearly validating the ability to incorporate 20% bio-material in a roto-moulded watercraft.”
Laurel says that Bio-Res PE is able to cost-effectively raise the renewable or “green” content of plastic products by as much as 40%. The new bio-material is available in a pellet form which Laurel claims blends easily with polyethylene, polypropylenePLA and PHA matrices. The product has been tested to replace 20 to 40% of the neat resin reducing traditional petroleum-based resins in a variety of manufacturing processes for plastics by as much as 40%. Superior flow characteristics make the material unique in the bio additives market for thermoplastics. Bio-Res PE is especially suited for use in a range of industries including shipping, lawn and garden, agriculture and automotive applications.
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