For many plastic pipe manufacturers, refurbishing an existing extruder can be an economical investment over purchasing an entirely new plastic pipe extruder machine. Upgrading your extruder or retrofitting new components to an existing one, will help you improve production capacity and quality without breaking the bank. In this article we present the 5 most important ways of upgrading your extruder machine, along with their key benefits.
1. Replacement of Old Parts
Any worn down or aged parts in your extruder, contribute to it breaking down and working inconsistently. This in turn can result in stops for maintenance, off spec product, and delivery delays. That’s why replacing aged extruder parts is a surefire way of upgrading your plastic extruder machine, and secure reliable operation without depleting your budget. Replacing a gearbox, or the electronic controls as well as screw or barrel can add a decade or more of life to your existing extruder. Moreover, since extruders are modular systems that can work with a variety of components, there’s surely a part choice to fit your specific needs. That’s why DRTS offers a variety of extruder components, suitable to replace any type of aged extruder part.
2. Improving Production Capacity
When a company is experiencing growth and an increase of production output is required, the main consideration should be to identify the “bottlenecks” of their current extrusion production line. Plastic extrusion production lines consist of several machines working in tandem, and it’s not uncommon for the extruder machine to be the bottleneck of the line. This means that all other upstream and downstream equipment and machines in the production line (feeder, cooler, inspection equipment, puller, cutter, coiler, etc) can operate at higher speeds but are limited to a lower speed setting due to the extruders lower capacity. In this case, great opportunity and ROI can be found in improving your extruder machines capacity, so that you can utilize your production line’s full potential. And depending on your specific case and needs, improving extruder capacity could mean something as small as upgrading to a new screw & barrel or extrusion die head, to as big as installing an entirely new plastic extrusion machine.
3. Upgrading Your Extrusion Die Head
In many cases, just upgrading your extrusion die head can offer the desired results. One example is upgrading to a multi-layer extrusion die head such as the DRTS 3-layer pipe extrusion cross head. This technology allows the use of scrap, recycled, and off spec raw materials for producing up to 80% of the plastic pipe, and using the more expensive virgin raw materials just for the 20% of the pipe plastic at the external layers. This provides great advantages and makes much sense in terms of ROI. Upgrading the extrusion die head is an investment with low capital requirements and quick turnaround time. And results include both economic as well as environmental efficiency, which is precisely what many companies are after.
4. Integrating Smart Technologies
Becoming more connected and digitized offers many advantages for today’s plastic extrusion manufacturers. Oftentimes when you don’t need to change your machine’s operational characteristics but need to benefit from smart technologies, a good option is to integrate or retrofit smart PLC’s to your existing machine. This way you can have more modern controls on your existing machine, real-time operation monitoring, remote control options, or advanced connectivity options. These PLC’s can work standalone or in tandem with your machine’s PLC, and provide a great way of modernizing operations without requiring a high investment. For a full review of the benefits of Smart Technologies, download the DRTS Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing in Pipe Extrusion Guide.
5. Upgrade Your Old Extruder
At the risk of sounding like stating the obvious, the most straightforward way of upgrading an extruder is to replace it altogether. What’s not so obvious is that by purchasing the right new extruder, the investment can practically pay for itself and greatly help you improve your factory’s overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) across all metrics. A new extruder can be fast, work without stoppages or long changeover or setup times, and produce a minimal amount of off spec or scrap material. And on top of that, it can offer great material savings options through multi-layer extrusion. Moreover apart from fulfilling your current requirements, investing in a new extruder can also future proof your production for decades to come. DRTS offers a wide range of standalone configurable extruders to fit any type of pipe or other plastic extrusion application.
By now it should be apparent that upgrading your plastic extrusion machine cannot be simplified down to a “one size fits all” situation. It heavily depends on the specific technical characteristics of your existing equipment, as well as on the current state of business and your desired outcome from such an upgrade. Save up on time and resources, by getting help from the experts. Contact DRTS today for a free consultation with an extrusion specialist, to receive advice and a price quote specifically tailored to your needs.