By Kevin Hietpas


-What type of barrel cooling is best for your extruder?


Air cooling is ideal for process that does not require high energy removal. It is less expensive for the hardware, easier to maintain, has lower operating costs, and requires less space compared to fluid cooling. Air cooling provides for slower changes in temperature compared to water cooling.


Water cooling is best suited for processes that require high energy removal. Compared to air cooling, the equipment is more expensive, requires higher maintenance to prevent fouling, and requires more space, a chiller system and a water pump. Thermal instability can also occur if the cooling water flashes to steam. Large thermal gradients produced by water cooling can also contribute to excessive thermal strain and stress in the extruder.



-Heat can be added or removed from an extruder barrel with air or water cooling.

          Throughout the manufacturing process, energy is lost due to equipment inefficiency as well as mechanical and thermal limitations. Optimizing the efficiency of these systems can result in significant energy and cost savings and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Understanding how energy is used and wasted can help plants pinpoint areas and ways to improve efficiency.

            One of the ways we at Sure Controls can assist you with this is by changing out your liquid cooled heating systems to a very efficient means to heat and cool the barrels of plastic extruders. They provide cooling efficiencies equal to or better than conventional liquid cooled cast-in aluminum band heaters. They are engineered and perfectly matched to offer thermally efficient heating and air cooling characteristics. Better heat response and a more even temperature profile both dramatically improve the performance of the machine but also save energy and may qualify for Focus on Energy Rebates.

           Another way to save energy is to have the entire machine come up to the set temperature at the same time. There is no need to have the barrel zones up to temperature until the die zone is ready. Heating is typically only needed to preheat the barrel zones prior to start-up and once production begins very little heat if any is required to maintain temperature. Being able to reduce the wattage of the barrel zones will reduce energy demand and prolong heater life.

          Maintaining lower watt densities not only increases the heaters efficiency it also extends the heater life this translates to better heat response and a more even temperature profile. Longer life means fewer heaters purchased over time, a decreased change-out costs and less production downtime.


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