Product changes are frequent on the semi-industrial pilot plant installed at the R&D center of IFG Asota in Linz/Austria a member of International Fibers Group (IFG), Danderyd/Sweden. Thorough cleaning of the 2 extruders with Dreyclean LT high-performance cleaning granulates from Dreychem GmbH, Moormerland/Germany, keeps the time needed for this and the amount of material required to a minimum and also contributes considerably to the high quality of the produced fibers. Using Dreyclean LT has made it possible to cut start-up time by more than half.
With the fiber diameters down to less than 20 µm, even the tiniest contaminants in the melt can cause production problems. Especially when the machine has been idle, rinsing with the usual polymer is not enough to reliably remove all the deposits and agglomerates. This applies especially to biopolymers, which rapidly tend to thermal degradation at elevated temperatures. Here, the product from Dreychem, a supplier of cleaning granulates with a mechanical, chemical or combined effect, have proved to be very efficient.
Since using them, IFG have had significantly fewer problems such as fiber breakages. Furthermore, processing temperatures in the extruder of up to 20°C lower are sufficient for achieving the same throughput. This improves the quality of the biobased fibers and lowers the energy consumption.