Whether you're involved in blow molding, sheet, compounding, or blown film extrusion, all single or multilayer processors face a common challenge: the inevitable need for a manual tear-down due to contamination buildup. Beyond this, maintaining clean equipment is the second central challenge I often encounter. Let's delve into the optimal solution I call "The One-Two Punch."
Step 1: Initial Deep Clean with Asaclean EX
When dealing with contamination, the first step involves disconnecting the extruder. We recommend using Asaclean EX, a mechanical, highly glass-filled purge compound. Separating the extruder from downstream components is essential, as using a glass-filled material isn't advisable for melt pumps, static mixers, or the die.
The effectiveness of Asaclean EX is undeniable. It thoroughly cleans both the screw and the barrel. Maintenance professionals have a penchant for EX due to its efficiency. Post-cleanup, the screw slides out effortlessly, and you can remove the purge from the flights and root of the screw akin to peeling a banana. For a clearer visual of what to anticipate, consider watching our 90-second explanatory video.
Step 2: Comprehensive Purge with Asaclean NCR
After ensuring the screw and barrel are pristine, it's time to reconnect the extruder. While maintaining the extruder at its standard processing temperature, raise the heat on all downstream components, including the die, to between 500-550F. With temperatures stabilized, purge the entire system with Asaclean NCR.
Asaclean NCR is a heat-activated chemical purge that efficiently expands into negative flow regions and stagnation areas. Operating at 500-550F ensures you're working within NCR's peak performance range. For best results, run it at a minimal rpm for a 15-20 minute "soak cycle." Depending on the extent of contamination, multiple purges might be required. Remember, once the system is clean, the goal shifts to maintaining that cleanliness.
Looking Forward: Preventative Maintenance with Asaclean NCR
From this point forward, Asaclean NCR will be your go-to. As part of a preventative maintenance routine, it aids in minimizing transition time, scrap, and associated costs. Here are occasions when you should consider using NCR:
- Transitioning from dark to lighter or clear colors.
- Shifting between different resins.
- Extended line shutdown periods.
Address contamination proactively in its early stages. When you get out in front of contaminants forming, it makes maintaining clean production more manageable and avoids expensive and time-consuming tear-downs.
Remember, efficiency in extrusion processes isn't just about having the best equipment. The best machines in the world underperform if you fail to keep them clean. Purging compounds, like Asaclean EX and NCR, are pivotal in ensuring smooth operations and reduced waste.
Learn how to reduce machine downtime with five quick purging compound tips for your injection molding application.
Chris Melchiore, serving as Business Development Manager at Asaclean Purging Compounds, excels with his specialized knowledge in Chemical Purging Compounds and Concentrate Grades. His industry journey, extending over two decades, includes a notable 16-year stint at NOVACHEM before joining Asaclean in 2015. Beyond his core role, Chris is actively involved in speaking engagements at webinars and tradeshows, showcasing his expertise and contributing to the broader industry dialogue. His insights and experience make him a pivotal figure in both business development and educational outreach for Asaclean.