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Lightweight materials: acquisition of a tandem extrusion line for foamed polymer development.


Today, environmental concerns play an increasingly central part in all the sectors of activity (building, transport, energy, …). In that respect there is an increasing need for more performant and lighter materials. For that purpose, foamed polymers are very interesting materials thanks to their thermal insulation property, lower density, mechanical properties and competitive price. Foamed polymers are found virtually everywhere and are used in a wide variety of applications such as packaging, cushioning of furniture, insulation, structural parts in automotive …
Certech recently acquired a full tandem extrusion line for low density foamed polymer development. This set-up comprises a primary twin-screw extruder used for polymer melting and mixing with the foaming agent, connected to a secondary single-screw extruder where the melt temperature will be lowered while maintaining melt pressure in order to obtain subsequent efficient foaming. This equipment allows chemical foaming or physical foaming.
For a specific project dealing with the development of bio-based sandwich panels, this tandem line is equipped with a die and a conformation bath allowing the continuous production of 3 cm thick and 30 cm wide foamed boards which will constitute the core of said panels. In this case physical foaming is carried out using supercritical carbon dioxide as non-inflammable foaming agent.

Tandem extrusion set-up in Certech: the twin-screw primary extruder (right) connected to the single-screw secondary extruder (back, left) at 90° angle.