Purging Compounds for Compounders

 Asaclean® is the purge of choice for several extruder manufacturers and dozens of compounders.  We know what you’re dealing with and have the products and experience to make your process run smoothly.

Here’s why Asaclean® Purging Compounds are the preferred choice for the best compounders worldwide.

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Compounders rely on twin-screw extruders due to their superior performance and customizability. You process almost all resins and allow for different additives and fillers to be combined to achieve different pellet sizes and shapes with an impressive array of possible properties. 

While the possible end-product has endless combinations, these factors dramatically increase the chance for contamination issues. 

Why Asaclean® is the Best Choice for Compounders

Compounders are laser-focused on the product specs of their customers. Any possible variant to the process, especially contamination from a previously run or unexpectedly degraded material, can throw off the process and create delays in production due to off-spec product.

When compounders call us, they usually have 4 things in mind:

Changeovers, contamination, screw pushes, and extended downtime.

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If you’re reading this, these are probably some of your concerns as well.

Fortunately for you, Asaclean® offers affordable, high-performance options optimized for compounders’ needs.  Regardless of your processing issues, we have solutions for you.

“I’m absolutely amazed with the performance of Asaclean®. The polymers/fillers that I’m mixing in our small compounder really stick to the equipment, and we can only get about 80 – 90% out of the mixer post-run, so it’s quite a mess. Put Asaclean®, mix for a few minutes, and the mixer body is immediately clean.”

Robert R. , Director of Materials Development, Compounder, Ohio
53%

On average, Asaclean®’s compounding customers save 53% on reduced scrap & downtime.

We specialize in helping single & twin-screw extruders purge the most challenging resins & additives

Once we identify your needs, we will help you choose the best grade of Asaclean® for you.

For compounders, Asaclean® grades:

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With the world-class R&D team of Asahi Kasei in Japan, Asaclean® offers incredible cleaning performance coupled with expert technical & product support.

There’s a reason extruder manufacturers and compounders alike rely on Asaclean® for cost savings. The products really work for single and twin-screw applications.

“Here at Brabender, we’ve used Asaclean® for many years. We run the most exotic material combinations and thanks to Asaclean®’s high temp and strong-cleaning products we clean up quickly and easily. EX Grade is our favorite due to the high scrubbing capabilities at even higher temperatures. Some in-person customers were so impressed that they use Asaclean® for their own needs. Asaclean® gets 5-of-5 stars from our team.”
Christoph Pielen , President, CW Brabender, Extruder Manufacturer, New Jersey

For compounding, we generally recommend a combination of Asaclean®’s legacy line of Mechanical Purging Compounds and N-Series line of Chemical Purging Compounds.

Both mechanical and chemical purge types can help twin-screw processors maintain their machines contaminant-free. Mechanical purge compounds do an excellent job of safely scrubbing screw and barrel surfaces. However, the cleaning performance is restricted predominantly to the surfaces where material flows through with a decent amount of pressure. For twin-screw machines that use simpler screw types and mixing elements, a mechanical purge can work perfectly.

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However, to administer proper cleaning in low-pressure areas (like near vents) or in hard-to-reach areas (found on more complex screw mixing elements), a chemical purge gives a better result. Chemical purge compounds like NCR Grade achieve cleaning by a measure of a chemical reaction that is contained in the machine during a soak period. The chemical reaction creates gases that quickly get into hard-to-reach areas that can be considered low-pressure or low-flow (commonly known as dead zones or dead spots) that otherwise may not be directly and physically scrubbed by a mechanical grade.

Work with your Asaclean® Purging Expert to find the best solution for you.

Our Team Understands the Needs of Compounders

Asaclean® Technical Service Representatives offer a unique level of service in areas the industry.  Many of our Purging Experts used Asaclean® as customers themselves before joining our team.  Your point-of-contact isn’t a salesperson. They are a processor.

With over 200 years of combined processing experience, we understand the challenges compounders face, and are here to help.

When you work with Asaclean®, you have access to free ongoing consultations with a subject matter expert.

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Six Cost-Saving Purging Tips for Twin-Screw Compounders

1. Don’t Use Resin, Regrind, or DIY-Purge to Clean Your Extruder

Production resins are not designed to clean machines and are not a substitute for Asaclean®. Purging your extruder with the next resin or regrind is time-consuming, and ineffective at removing color and carbon contamination. Many compounders take this approach to save money, but the move usually backfires.

“I’ve seen many processors use low-melt PE to displace engineering resins. These resins inevitably break down and form a lot of carbon deposits. You may try to use fillers to help clean the barrel, but if the base resin tends to form carbon, it will happen regardless of what you fill it with. Save yourself the headache and embrace using Asaclean®.”
David Krueger , Process Engineer, Asahi Kasei Plastics North America, Compounding, MI

Compounders cannot afford surprises.

Purging with resin or DIY purge lead to unpredictable downtime. 

Asaclean® will clean your machine.

But if you’re a processor just looking for consistency, Asaclean® helps with that as well.

Our products will help you achieve repeatable, standardized changeovers.  If you can confidently know exactly how long a particular changeover will take with Asaclean®, you save considerable time and aggravation. The resin you are compounding makes a significant difference in cleaning and/or changeover times. Asaclean® Purging Compounds help you achieve consistent changeover times regardless of whether you’re running super-engineering resins, olefins, or anything in-between.

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Asaclean® customers save an average of 67% vs. Purging with In-House Purge.

When you use regrind or virgin resins to purge, the material creates another layer over any existing resins, color deposits or carbonized material within the barrel and on the screw. In time, these layers become additional sources of contamination, making purging even more difficult. Once your machine returns to production, carbonized materials eventually break free and contaminate your product. Twin-screw extruders cannot afford material or carbon contamination. Fortunately, these issues are easily avoided by selecting the appropriate purging compounds for your specific needs.

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2. Practice Preventative Purging

Contamination will occur regardless of your screw design.  Adopting preventive purging practices not only saves your facility from machine downtime.  It also reduces your scrap rates, customer rejects, and line shutdowns. You can’t afford to wait to run purging compounds until the last minute because, by that time, you’re already suffering from contamination issues or color streaks.

Using a purging compound at regular intervals prevents contamination from the beginning. 

Typically, it only takes 1-2-barrel capacities of purging compound to prevent contamination. Preventative purging saves time and money through efficient use of capacity and prevents unplanned downtime.

There are three main benefits to implementing a preventive maintenance program and purging process at your facility:

  1. Preventing the buildup of carbon and color contamination 
  2. Reducing excessive purging time and material waste at the end of production runs 
  3. Limiting the frequency of screw pushes and minimizing the time and effort required to pull and manually clean your screw

3. Understand Your Mixing Areas & Screw Design

Earlier we touched upon how twin-screw extruders need to be incredibly customizable.  They are modular to allow for screw combinations and feature unique mixing sections and some rather exotic machine settings.  These factors, as well as the resins, additives, etc. are a perfect storm for contamination issues.  If your line has additional feed streams, these issues occur even faster.  

Because compounding is a continuous process, scrap occurs very quickly and often requires a teardown.  Be conscious of your settings and collect data to understand how changes impact the MFR and processing temperatures of what you’re compounding.  Extrusion is a low-pressure process so processors can’t manipulate pressures as they can in injection molding.  Pay attention to venting.  Plugging vents can help with purging. Pay attention to your settings and follow proper purging procedures to make sure you’re getting the best performance from your Asaclean®.

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Also, we hear from many compounders who think that their screws are self-cleaning.  Self-wiping is not the same as self-cleaning.  Screw design does not have a significant impact on removing contamination.

4. Implement an Asaclean® Purge Program at Your Plant

Introducing a purge program can easily help compounders cut downtime by 50-75%. But when it comes to cleaning twin-screw extrusion equipment, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all process or purging-compound solution. Carbon builds up in your machine’s dead spots: mixing sections, dies, downstream equipment, etc. These are low-flow areas that would benefit from a chemical purging compound. But if you are dealing with frequent teardowns, a strong cleaner might be needed as well.

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Without the right purging compound and procedures, you run the risk of increased reject rates. However, determining the proper purging compound grade is not simply about eliminating color and carbon contamination—it’s also about the impact on your bottom line. Taking a holistic approach will help you improve efficiency and profitability.

Request your free 10-minute purging consultation with an Asaclean® Purging Expert and set yourself up for success today.  When you reach out to a purging expert for a free consultation, they will look at several key things to consider in order to select the right grade and quantities necessary to choose the best purging compound for your system.

5. Optimize Your Screw Pushes for Quicker & Easier Teardowns

Sometimes a change in product requires you to swap out a screw element, and this can be time-consuming if the screws are not in an ideal condition for removal. Asaclean® has several large compounding customers who run several resins or the same resin with different additives. Often compounding different resins requires different screw designs or the compounder is required to pull screw to ensure processing resins don’t mix. Most polymers by nature tend to adhere to screw surfaces, and these layers present challenges not only for screw cleaning but also for screw removal.

A typical compounder may pull a screw four to five times a week. Those producing color masterbatches are likely to pull screws every day. Some plants may carry duplicate screws, but these can cost tens of thousands of dollars in additional capital expense. For most compounders, pulling a screw and cleaning it may be the only option to get back into production. This process can be labor-intensive and incredibly costly since downtime can cost upwards of $1000 to $1200/hr.  It’s not uncommon for compounders to struggle with 8-12-hour screw pushes.  Built-up material on screw flights is very difficult to remove.   You need a solution that removes the need to clean the screw by baking it in an oven, by using wire brushing, torching, etc. These secondary processes also raise the likelihood of injury or of accidentally breaking an expensive screw component.

Compounders push screws for three main reasons:

  • They may be required to ensure 100% no polymer cross-blending
  • Changeovers require a different screw design
  • Severe contamination cannot be removed by normal purging.

Although screw pushes might be necessary in your plant, that doesn’t mean they need to be time-consuming, profit-sucking headaches. There are purging compounds specifically engineered for screw pulls/pushes. Screw pushes using Asaclean® EX Grade often save processors 75-90% on downtime.

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6. Seal Your Machine With Asaclean® During Every Shutdown

Aside from regular and preventative-maintenance purging, use a heat-stable purging compound like Asaclean NCR Grade for temporary or extended shutdowns and sealing, especially over weekends or holidays.

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During a shutdown without purge, oxidation occurs which causes contamination, delaying startups and resulting in extended machine down. NCR creates an
“air-tight” time and scrap environment in the barrel and promotes further cleaning during the shutdown.

Request your free 10-minute purging consultation with an Asaclean® Purging Expert and set yourself up for success today.  When you reach out to a purging expert for a free consultation, they will look at several key things to consider in order to select the right grade and quantities necessary to choose the best purging compound for your system.

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