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Long-fibre reinforced plastics by pultrusion

Join Date: 2018-12-14

The pultrusion process is used to make pellets of long-fibre reinforced plastics

German machinery manufacturer ProTec Polymer Processing will be demonstrating its new generation of ProTec tumble reactors in the production of long-fibre reinforced thermoplastics (LFT) by pultrusion at the Chinaplas trade show in Shanghai, China, in April.

The SSP (solid-state, post-condensations) reactors are claimed to improve the properties of flowable plastics including pelletised polyesters (PET, PBT, PEN) and polyamides including PA6 and PA66.

The “upgraded” materials can be converted into bottles, fibres and industrial yarns, for instance. But the use being demonstrated at Chinaplas is the production of LFT pellets for injection moulding. LFT compounds with fibre reinforcement along the length of the pellets result in components which combine high strength and light weight with very good surface quality. LFTs with a fibre length of around 12mm are suitable for further processing.

Different combinations of fibre reinforcement are possible, including the pairing of PP with carbon fibres. ProTec has a pultrusion line at its Bensheim headquarters that can be used for application-specific customer testing and basic process and materials development.

A key feature of this line is a high-performance compounding extruder equipped with a Somos Gramix S gravimetric dosing system capable of dosing and mixing up to nine components. Recycled material and additional fillers may also be included in the material formulation.

Producing LFT compounds by pultrusion involves the continuous pulling of fibre strands through a polymer melt, to saturate the individual fibres with the polymer matrix. Once the resultant fibre/polymer strands have cooled, they are pelletised.

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