Golden Eagle Extrusions is willing to find ways to invest in new equipment to expand services to its customers. With a little help from the 2009 stimulus package, the company recently purchased a new Nordmeccanica Super Simplex SL Laminator. The machine is designed to handle a 60-in.-wide web at speeds of 1,300 fpm.
The primary structure Golden Eagle Extrusions will produce on the equipment is lidding film for fresh-cut produce used by food service operations. The machine combines an oriented polypropylene (OPP) with a cast PP. The resulting construction provides optical clarity and the heat resistance required for lidding applications.
VP Chad Weikert cites the system's relatively small footprint and easy-to-use interface as key features that made the installation and startup process go smoothly. He also was impressed with the machine's communications capabilities, which allow it to connect to the Nordmeccanica plant in Italy should a service issue arise.
Golden Eagle Extrusions' OPP/CPP laminations are constructed on a Super Simplex SL from Nordmeccanica.
High Definition Corona Treaters
Polymer films used in the laminating process generally are chemically inert with non-porous surfaces and low surface tensions. Each film type has an inherent surface energy (dyne level) that can be increased through corona treatment at the time of production. This is called pretreated film, and it is recommended for laminating applications.
However, this level of treatment diminishes over time. Within a few days or weeks, the film can lose sufficient surface energy and become unreceptive to bonding. That is why it has become the industry's best practice to install corona treaters on both the primary and secondary unwinds on laminating machines. Controlling the surface energy of both substrates ensures stronger lamination bonds.
To ensure those bonds are as strong as possible, Golden Eagle Extrusions purchased two high definition corona treaters from Enercon. One is mounted at the primary unwind, and the other is mounted on the secondary unwind. The treaters are designed specifically to integrate with the Nordmeccanica laminator both electrically and mechanically.
Each treater features a proprietary combination of high-powered ceramic electrodes and special roll coverings. A cooling system that doubles as an ozone removal system reportedly maximizes the electrodes' capabilities. The surface treater's design is said to virtually eliminate film wrinkling, puckering, pin holing, and backside treatment.
The high definition treaters raise the surface energy of the OPP and PP substrates to optimize the bonding surfaces for laminating. Supplying power to the corona treaters are two Enercon Compak 2000 Deluxe power supplies. The power supplies feature watt density control, which automatically adjusts power levels to compensate changes in line speed, thus ensuring the films receive consistent treatment levels. Weikert says, "The treaters have a very easy-to-use interface, and with the watt density control feature, we just power it up and let it do its job."
Since it was the company's first experience with surface treating, training and startup assistance were essential. Weikert says, "Enercon sales representative Bob Newmann of Milestone Sales in Howard, OH, was instrumental in ensuring a successful startup. Bob provided on-site support and basic training on corona treating for our entire team."
As part of the company's quality control process, dyne test pens are used to do quick dyne level checks of the substrates before and after treatment. Dynes are a unit of measurement used to measure surface energy and generally provide a good indication of wettability and bonding success.
Weikert says the company is excited about its expanded lamination and surface treating capabilities. He adds, "We're able to offer our customers a broader range of services and product configurations." With that kind of customer focus, the future looks golden for Golden Eagle.