Everything about Rowmark LLC's new extrusion line for custom sheet and rollstock is very big indeed, but this is one giant that is fast and agile. Nicknamed "The Beast" by Rowmark, the line is nearly as long as the new 175 by 75 ft. (53 by 23 m) facility built to house it. At its heart is a 120-in. (3,050-mm) triple-manifold Ultraflex® die custom-built for Rowmark by Extrusion Dies Industries, LLC (EDI). The 14,200-lb (6,440-kg) die is designed to produce one- to three-layer sheet from 0.100 to 0.375 in. (2.5 to 9.5 mm) thick.
But for a custom processor, equipment versatility is as important as size. "The three-layer capability of the die enables us to combine materials that deliver strength, for example, with others that provide surface aesthetics, color, UV-resistance, or other properties," said Eric Hausserman, Rowmark's Vice President of Manufacturing and Technology. "Since the gauge uniformity of each layer is critical to us, EDI designed the die with three manifolds so that each layer can be fine-tuned before the layers are combined, and so that we have maximum versatility for varying the thickness of each layer."
To assist Rowmark in changing from one job to another with minimal downtime, EDI equipped the die with its FastGap™ system for single-point adjustment of the lip gap, which correlates with overall sheet thickness. The FastGap system makes it possible to adjust the position of the movable lower lip of the die, varying sheet thickness within a range of 0.250 in. (6.4 mm) without taking the die off line. An additional 0.100 in. (2.5 mm) is available with the flexible top lip of the die, which controls the transverse gauge profile. Together, these capabilities provide a range of gap adjustment by as much a 0.300 in. (7.6 mm).
"EDI's service technician was here for the entire startup process, working alongside our people and training operators," said Hausserman. "Since then, EDI has provided invaluable support by using its flow simulation software to determine how a certain construction would run and identifying the optimum process parameters, so that going into a run we know what to expect."
Working with polymers such as acrylic, ABS, and thermoplastic polyolefin elastomers, Rowmark produces sheet and rollstock for use by thermoformers. According to Hausserman, the size and versatility of the new extrusion line will increase Rowmark's inroads into transportation, agricultural, and other heavy-duty sheet markets, bringing in new business for truck, trailer, recreational vehicle, all-terrain-vehicle, tractor, and other applications. One growing market cited by Hausserman is that of wind deflectors, the bottom skirting on semi-trailers.
About Extrusion Dies Industries, LLC
Extrusion Dies Industries, LLC is one of the leading international suppliers of flat dies for sheet, film, extrusion coating, fluid coating, and pelletizing. The company designs and manufactures dies, feedblocks, deckling systems, vacuum boxes, and related equipment. Its subsidiaries include EDI GmbH in Reichshof-Wehnrath, Germany, and EDI China in Shanghai. In the U.S.A., Germany, and China, EDI operates facilities dedicated to reworking its own dies and those built by other suppliers, and it has licensed a fourth rework facility in Japan. Headquartered in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, U.S.A., EDI is focused on supplying the global market.
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