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3 Areas to Improve Efficiency for Compounders

3 Areas to Improve Efficiency for Compounders

Improve efficiency for compounders

All processes have areas to improve, but today we're going to specifically  talk about compounders. The three basic areas all compounders should pay close attention to are scrap, resin, and energy. These are relevant to all processors but are particularly important in compounding.

1.) Scrap-Yield Ratio

This is easily monitored and is the single most looked at metric in the industry.  We all want high yield/low scraps, but not all of us are getting it. There are a few tips and tricks to improving our yield-scrap ratio. The easiest one is figuring out what a typical changeover is and determining wasteful motions. One way to improve the wasteful motions is to acquire all the necessary tools and make them readily accessible for the job. This can be done with tool boards, workstations, or even tool carts.

Reducing changeover times will inevitably increase yield. Often, I find compounders not using the tools available for their purging portion of the changeover. We have solutions that make the screw pulls easier and the task less daunting. Consult with your purging compound supplier and have them select a grade for the application. Having a fast and thorough changeovers will give you a great scrap-yield ratio.

2.) Resin

We all want to get our raw materials at the lowest cost possible and sell our finished product for as high as possible. Why not use that valuable material at start? This can very easily be bled back into the final product and cause no issues down the road. Thermoplastics can go through more than one heat cycle while retaining most of their properties. Additionally, recycled resins are a viable option as well. This is cost effect and can be a positive move to reducing your carbon footprint. If you are currently doing either of these suggestions and have any issues with carbon build up, consult with your purge compound supplier. They may offer you some great suggestions.

3.) Energy

The last topic is an area that can be overlooked deals with energy.  Consider both how much and how efficiently it's being used. Have you ever wondered what portions of your process could be optimized? If you are running product that is dried before production, use it while it is still above room temperature. There is energy generated by the process that can be used to aid in the melting of resin. Screw design also could play a large part in this equation. Parallel twin screw extruders are known for their ability to thoroughly mix materials (almost even homogenizing them). Often this is done sooner than the last mixing section. Reducing the number of left-handed elements and replacing them with neutral elements can also ease the amount of energy put into the final product. When a machine is down, often compounders will lower the temperatures and leave machines idle. This can be extremely wasteful considering machines heat up quickly and cool down slowly. Furthermore, if machines remain idle they might also create issues upon start up. Consult with your purge compound supplier for solutions or to learn about the benefits of sealing with a purge prior to shutdown. 

While directed towards compounders, any processor would benefit from these tips. We are all trying to run better parts in less time. By keeping track of these areas, you will set yourself up for more successful runs.

Ready to reduce your production downtime to protect your profits? Learn more about how purging compounds and process efficiency work in tandem.

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