Blown Film Extrusion Introduction

Blown Film Extrusion Introduction
Blown film extrusion is a technology that is the most common method to make plastic films, especially for the packaging industry. The process involves extruding a tube of molten polymer through a die and inflating to several times its initial diameter to form a thin film bubble. This bubble is then collapsed and used as a lay-flat film or can be made into bags. Usually polyethylene is used with this process, and other materials can be used as blends with these polymers. A diagram of a polyethylene chain is shown in Figure 1 to the right.
Background Theory on Polymers

In the cooling step of blown film extrusion, the amorphous, transparent melt crystallizes to form a translucent, hazy, or opaque film. The point where opacity begins in the bubble is known as the frost line. 
Fig 1: Model of polytheylene chain frompolyethylene Wikipedia article.The frost line height is controlled by several parameters: the air flow, film speed, and temperature difference between the film and the surroundings. Properties of the film, such as tensile strength, flexural strength, toughness, and optical properties, drastically change depending on the orientation of the molecules. As the transverse or hoop direction properties increase, the machine or longitudinal direction properties decrease. For instance, if all the molecules were aligned in the machine direction, it would be easy to tear the film in that direction, and very difficult in the transverse direction.

The Film Blowing machine Process

Fig 2: Schematic of set-up from User:J.Chiang.

Typically, blown film extrusion is carried out vertically upwards, however horizontal and downward extrusion processes are now becoming more common. Figure 2 shows a schematic of the set-up for blown film extrusion. This procedure consists of four main steps: The polymer material starts in a pellet form, which are successively compacted and melted to form a continuous, viscous liquid. This molten plastic is then forced, or extruded, through an annular die. Air is injected through a hole in the center of the die, and the pressure causes the extruded melt to expand into a bubble. The air entering the bubble replaces air leaving it, so that even and constant pressure is maintained to ensure uniform thickness of the film. The bubble is pulled continually upwards from the die and a cooling ring blows air onto the film. The film can also be cooled from the inside using internal bubble cooling. This reduces the temperature inside the bubble, while maintaining the bubble diameter. After solidification at the frost line, the film moves into a set of nip rollers which collapse the bubble and flatten it into two flat film layers. The puller rolls pull the film onto windup rollers. The film passes through idler rolls during this process to ensure that there is uniform tension in the film. Between the nip rollers and the windup rollers, the film may pass through a treatment centre, depending on the application. During this stage, the film may be slit to form one or two films, or surface treated. Advantages Blown film generally has a better balance of mechanical properties than cast or extruded films because it is drawn in both the transverse and machine directions. Mechanical properties of the thin film include tensile and flexural strength, and toughness. The nearly uniform properties in both directions allow for maximum toughness in the film.
Blown film extrusion can be used to make one large film, two smaller ones, or tubes that can be made into bags. Also, one die can make many different widths and sizes without significant trimming. This high level of flexibility in the process leads to less scrap material and higher productivity. Blown films also require lower melting temperatures than cast extrusion. Measured at the die opening, the temperature of cast film is about 220 C, where as the temperature of blown film is about 135 C. Furthermore, the cost of the equipment is approximately 50% of a cast line.

Blown Film Extrusion Disadvantages Blown film has a less effective cooling process than flat film. Flat film cooling is done by means of chill rolls or water, which have significantly higher specific heat capacities than the air that is used in the blown film cooling process. The higher specific heat capacity allows the substance to absorb more heat with less change in the substance temperature. Compared to cast film, blown film has a more complicated and less accurate method to control film thickness; cast film has a thickness variation of 1 to 2% versus the 3 to 4% for blown film. The resins used for casting typically have a lower melt flow index, which is the amount of polymer that can be forced through a standard die in 10 minutes according to a standard procedure. The melt flow index for cast film is about 5.0 g/10 min where as for blown film it is about 1.0 g/10 min. Consequently, the production rates for cast film are higher: cast film lines can reach production rates of up to 300m/min where as blown film lines are usually less than half this value. And finally, cast film has better optical properties, including transparency, haze, and gloss.

Common Problems Air entrapment between film layers and rollers – this may cause film scratching or wrinkling, or processing problems when winding up the film due to reduced friction. Possible solutions to this is using a vacuum to remove entrapped air or by using winding rolls with a diamond shaped groove in the rubber cover to increase surface area and decrease amount of entrapped air in the film. Large output fluctuations from the die – this causes thickness variations, and can be prevented by keeping the extruder clean and by using more consistently shaped pellets in the extruder. Melt fractures – these appear as roughness or wavy lines on the film surface, and can be eliminated by lowering the viscosity of the polymer melt. This can be done by increasing the melting temperature or by adding an internal lubricant to the material composition. Thickness variations in the film – this can be avoided by centering the die in the extrusion line before every run, adjusting the air speed of the cooling system, or by using heated die lips. Die lines on the surface of the film – this defect reduces the aesthetic appeal of the film, reduces optical properties, and weakens mechanical properties such as tear strength. This can usually be avoided by routinely cleaning the inner surfaces of the die and by refinishing scratched or roughened flow surfaces. Gels – these defects are small, hard globules encapsulated in the film or stuck on the film surface and reduce the aesthetic appeal of the film and cause stress concentration points which may result in premature failure. These are caused by overheating to the point of polymer degradation in the die, and can therefore be avoided by cleaning the inner surfaces of the die on a regular basis. Optimization of the Process Coextrusion One way to improve the line efficiency of blown film extrusion is to implement coextrusion. This is the process of extruding two or more materials simultaneously through a single die. The orifices in the die are arranged such that the layers merge together before cooling. This process saves time because it extrudes two or more layers at the same time, and it provides a method with fewer steps to produce multilayer films. The production rate for a coextruded multilayer film of three layers is about 65m/min, and the production rate for a single layer of blown film is about 130m/min. Thus, in order to produce 10 000m of a three layer multilayer film, it would take almost 4 hours using a single layer blown film process, and only 2 and a half hours using the coextrusion process. Furthermore, the film produced from the single layer process would require an extra step to glue the layers together using some sort of adhesive. Coextrusion is the least expensive means of producing layered films and the coextrusion system is capable of quick changeovers to minimize production line down time.

Minimizing the Melt Temperature
The efficiency of blown film extrusion can be improved by minimizing the temperature of the polymer melt. Reduction of the melt temperature causes the melt to require less heating in the extruder. Normal extrusion conditions have a melting temperature at about 190 C despite the fact that the temperature of the melt only needs to be about 135 C. However, it is not always practical to decrease the melting temperature by that much. By decreasing the melt temperature 2 to 20 C, the motor load can be decreased by about 1 to 10%. Furthermore, reduction of the melt temperature causes less need for cooling, so there is a reduced use of the cooling system. Moreover, removing heat from the bubble is usually the rate-limiting factor in this extrusion process, so by having less heat in the polymer to remove, the rate of the process can be increased, thus yielding higher productivity. A way to maintain the melt temperature at a minimum is to choose an extruder that is matched to the specific processing conditions, such as the material of the melt, pressure, and throughput.

Heated Extrusion Die Lips
Typically, solutions to melt fractures involve decreasing the output or increasing the melt temperature to decrease the shear stress in the extruder. Both of these methods are not ideal because they both reduce the efficiency of the blown film line. Heated extrusion die lips can solve this problem. This targeted heating method allows for film extruders to be run at higher production rates with narrower die gaps while eliminating melt fractures. Direct heat is applied to the surface of the polymer melt as it exits the die so that viscosity is reduced. Therefore, melt fractures, which are caused when trying to extrude too much of the polymer at one time, will no longer act as a limiting factor to increasing the production rate. Furthermore, heated die lips use less energy than increasing the melting temperature because only the surface of the melt is heated and not the bulk of the liquid. Another benefit of using heated die lips is that thickness variations can be controlled by adding heat to certain areas along the die circumference to make the film at that position thinner. This would ensure that no excess material is used.
Determine how much energy each of these processes can save per given volume of material. 

Above article from www.appropedia.org

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A growing number of companies are popping up and providing payday loans. Pay day loans are little personal loans based on your receipt of direct downpayment of a typical salary. This is deemed a short-phrase bank loan. These personal loans ought to be considered momentary and just utilized in a genuine situation condition.

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Online payday loans work as a valuable strategy to understand monetary urgent matters. However, the terms and costs for that personal loan aren’t likely to be perfect. By taking everything here into consideration before you take out that loan, then you should know what exactly you’re acquiring into.

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Smart Cards and Their Wide Applicability

Of late, digital cards have become a growing industry. They have immense uses in the present time and are used extensively in almost every domain of life. These electronic cards have gained popularity due to their wide application. They have made their presence felt in almost every field including payphones, banking and retail, communication, security control and many more. With the use of Internet and e commerce, smart cards have gained momentum and there are a plethora of usages.

In this day and age, it has become quite impossible to move out, shop or even eat without having a smart card. Digital cards have indeed become an integral part of our lives since they are easy to carry along and use. These portable cards have made life much easier than it used to be before. They serve as reliable identification cards and are absolutely safe to use. In this article, we will throw light on the prime uses of smart cards, which are mentioned below:

Payphones

There are several countries where payphones are well equipped with card readers. Their benefit to the phone companies is that they are not required to collect coins and also they get timely payment in the most convenient manner. People like to use their electronic phone cards at payphones, because they need not keep their eyes on their wallet every time to see if they have adequate money or not.

Banking and Retailing

Smart banking cards have multiple uses. They can be used as debit cards, credit cards or store value cards. Smart bank cards also serve as a good personal identification proof. There is an intelligent microchip on the smart card as well as on the card reader that secures the interest of users, merchants as well as bank. Of late, these cards have given impetus to loyalty programs.

Security Control

Every organization whether school or private firm needs some form of security control. Though there are several kinds of security control measures, but smart id cards are considered to be better than the rest, as they operate offline as well. A smart id card authenticates a person’s identity and is extensively used in schools and offices nowadays. It also gives an access to individuals such as students in restricted areas. They can easily enter computer rooms by showing their smart id cards on the smart card reader.

Mobile Phone Communication

Smart cards have great use in the field of mobile phone communication. For GSM digital mobile phones, these cards make a wonderful identification device. They store every bit of information to bill the user. Also, these cards enable the user to make calls from any phone terminal.

Health Care Services

Smart health cards give accessibility to the patients’ case history. Information is properly stored and can be accessed at any point of time. Health care professionals access patients’ information, which is stored on their smart cards, and update the same in their official records. Smart medical cards also pave way for instant insurance processing. In fact, nowadays doctors and nurses also carry smart identification cards that enable them to do multi level information accessing.

E-commerce

Digital cards are widely used for performing a host of electronic commercial transactions. You can buy articles of your choice over the Internet. You can get the tickets booked via Internet by means of a smart card. You can order flowers, birthday gifts and do a lot more by using your smart card as a credit card or debit card. Smart cards have great use in service industries, as you can easily make payments online for services provided by the other party.

To conclude, smart card has become the buzzword in present times and almost every person has at least one type.

Pros and Cons of a Smart Car

When people are thinking about making an expensive buying decision, especially with something as new and unusual as the smart car, they often want to know the pros and cons of the various options they are considering. This article will examine the pros and cons of a smart car.

There is no doubt that the smart fortwo car has its passionate supporters. Before it arrived in the United States in 2007, it had already enjoyed wild success in Europe over several years. But with its small size, there are also a number of concerns.

Pros of a Smart Car

There are many benefits to be considered; don’t let its small size fool you!

  • Environmentally-friendly. Not only is this small car fuel-efficient, averaging around 40 mpg, but it has several other environmentally-friendly features as well. The smart fortwo car uses innovative energy-efficient and recyclable materials in its construction. In fact, 95% of the vehicle is recyclable and the dash material is made from recycled synthetics.
  • Easy to park and drive. The smart car has a very small footprint. At less than 9 feet long, it’s nearly 3 feet shorter than the already diminutive Mini Cooper. Of course, a big reason for that is that it’s only a 2-seater. But the short size means this car is super easy to park, especially in tight spots or short spots where other cars wouldn’t fit. It’s also got a great turning radius that makes it very maneuverable.
  • Appearance. No one can argue that the smart fortwo car is not unique in its design and appearance. See one, and you will never forget it, whether you like it or not! Many people’s first impression is that it is just so darn cute. When Mercedes Benz brought the smart fortwo car to the United States, they updated its image to be more cutting edge, with more chrome, a bit longer hood section and updated headlights and dashboard area. You can also change out the plastic body panels to give it a whole new color, or purchase a car wrap with some kind of unique print or design on it.
  • Safety design. Most people’s first reaction when they see this tiny car is something along the lines of, “How could such a small car be safe on the road” However, what make the smart car so unique is Mercedes Benz attention to safety. From the innovative tridion safety cell, a sort of safety cage, to its 4 airbags and advanced braking system, the smart car is built for safety. Crash tests have consistently proved Mercedes’ safety claims. Anecdotal evidence, as published on the safeandsmart.com website, also supports those claims.
  • Surprisingly roomy inside. Another surprising benefit of the smart car is its interior roominess. There is plenty of leg room for both driver and passenger. Head room is great too, with men as tall as 6’6″ fitting in the driver’s seat comfortably. The cargo area is also quite roomy for a small car. We fit a 50-pound black lab and 2 other dogs in our hatch when we go hiking. And we’ve toted home as many as 8 grocery bags and a case of soda when we go food shopping.
  • Perfect commuter car. The smart fortwo car was originally designed as a “city car” for crowded European city-dwellers, and that is its greatest value in the United States, as well. It makes a great commuter car, with its roominess, solid gas mileage and zippy performance on the roads, not to mention ease of parking.

Cons of a Smart Car

Of course, no car is perfect for everyone, and this one is no exception. It does have a few features that could be improved, as well as some aspects that just make it the wrong choice for certain people.

  • Size vs. other cars on the highway. Despite its considerable safety features, there is no question that the smart car is much smaller than just about every other vehicle on the highway. So, there is a good chance that if you are involved in an accident with a big SUV or truck, you might come out the loser. However, there are accounts of smart cars faring better than other larger vehicles in an accident. One advantage of its small footprint is that it might be able to avoid collisions that a larger vehicle could not.
  • No cruise control. As mentioned above, the smart car was designed as a commuter, in-town type of car. Perhaps that’s why, despite a number of other high-end features, it lacks a cruise control option. If you do plan to travel in it or your commute involves highway driving, chances are you are going to miss having cruise control.
  • Unusual transmission. Smart cars have what is termed an “automated manual transmission.” What that means is that you have an option between going completely automatic or using a modified manual transmission. Most people find that keeping it in automatic means slightly sluggish gear shifting. That is easily remedied, however, by switching to the automated manual mode. This is a clutch-less manual transmission, meaning you are in charge of using the stick shift or paddle shifters on the steering wheel to switch gears, but you don’t have to coordinate with a clutch. The manual mode is super easy to use, even if you’ve never driven a stick shift before, and provides for a much zippier gear-shifting experience.
  • Limited passenger seating and cargo space. Smart cars only have 2 seats – the driver’s seat and one passenger seat. So they’re not meant to be family cars. And while the cargo hatch area is surprisingly roomy, it is still less than 8 cubic feet. So you won’t be hauling any lumber or large pieces of furniture in it.
  • Gas mileage could be higher. For such a small car, you might expect the gas mileage to be much higher. However, the smart car was rated the most fuel-efficient gas-powered car in the United States by the EPA in 2010. And even at 40 MPG, it is considerably more fuel-efficient than most light trucks and SUVs on the road today.
  • Requires premium fuel. The smart car requires premium fuel, which can be pricey, because of its small engine size. Smaller engines tend to perform better with a higher grade of fuel. You might consider its gas mileage to be the trade-off for the pricier gas.

In weighing the pros of a smart car against the cons, I find the pros win. For what it’s designed to be — a commuter vehicle for 1 or 2 people — the smart car is a great value with many added benefits. Could it be better? Sure, as with most products, there is definitely room for improvement. But, if you want a forward-thinking, unique and fuel-efficient small car, then I would definitely encourage you to consider the smart fortwo car.

Answers to Your Top 5 Smart Car Questions

Smart cars have been driving the streets of Europe for some time now, but when they first started to hit the United States in 2008, it sparked a lot of interest and also tons of questions. People who spotted this funny looking little car on the street and in parking lots wanted to know where the car came from and could it possibly be safe?

This article answers some of the most common questions fielded about the United States version of the smart car.

1. What is the smart car?

First and foremost, this small car is designed to be a commuter car that is fun to drive and that gets good gas mileage. The smart for two is a very roomy two-seater hatchback with a spacious cargo area in the rear. Funny looking, yes, but surprisingly functional.

The smart fortwo was created out of a partnership between Mercedes Benz and the maker of Swatch watches in response the need for a small European urban commuter car. The car was later adapted to American needs and technical specifications, as rising gas prices stimulated more interest in fuel-efficient cars here in the U.S.

2. Can such a small car possibly be safe on U.S. roads with all the trucks and sport utility vehicles?

The answer to this question, is: “Yes, definitely!” In fact, the smart car safety profile is an extremely positive one. The smart for two has a number of safety features that are standard on all 3 models sold in the U.S. When Mercedes Benz designed the American version of this car, their first priority was safety.

From the tridion safety call, a sort of steel cage that surrounds driver and passenger, to an advanced anti-lock braking system, everything in the smart is designed to keep you safe on the roads, even in the event of an accident. The smart has received high safety ratings from independent safety testing authorities such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

3. What kind of mileage does the smart car get?

You would imagine such a small car would get great gas mileage, right? After all, isn’t that the point of downsizing to such a small vehicle? The smart fortwo car is rated at 33 MPG in the city and 41 MPG on the highway. While these figures might be lower than anticipated, they are still a big improvement over the mileage that your typical pickup truck, SUV or luxury car gets.

This mileage is considered best in class, when the smart is compared to other non-hybrid vehicles in the United States. Currently, there is no hybrid version of the smart car available, but an all electric drive model is currently in production and will be hitting the U.S. sometime in 2011. That will obviously be a much more fuel-efficient model.

4. How easy is it to drive a smart car?

If you’ve heard that the smart fortwo is equipped with something called an automated manual transmission, you might be wondering how hard it is to drive. Is shifting involved? What about a clutch? Here is the good news: Although smarts do have the ability to shift gears manually, no clutch is involved. It’s truly as easy as pushing/pulling paddle levers on the steering wheel, or clicking the gear shift.

If even that is too much work for you, you can opt to let the smart car’s transmission take over. It will automatically shift gears up and down for you as you accelerate and decelerate on the road. Putting it into automatic mode can make shifting a bit sluggish however, so most drivers opt for the manual route.

5. How can I buy a smart fortwo car of my own?

When people first started spotting smarts in the U.S. back in 2008, they were hard to come by. There was an 18-month waiting list at the few smart car dealers that were open. Over time, though, more and more dealerships came on board and the manufacturing caught up with the waiting list. Gas prices also came down somewhat, so that lessened the demand.

Today, there are somewhere around 70 dealerships across the United States. Most states in the east, south, midwest and west coast have at least one dealership. The rest of the west is more sparsely covered. For example, if you lived in a small city like Boise, Idaho, you might have to drive 5 hours to Salt Lake City to find your closest smart car dealer.

We may see a smart fortwo waiting list arise again when the new electric drive smart arrives later on in 2011. Only 9 dealerships will be selling this model initially, so getting your hands on one might be a challenge.

Exactly How To Make Certain Your Organization Will Do Well Versus The Competition

Corporations need to stay competing. They will need to ensure they are able to do nearly as much as or perhaps a lot more than competing businesses in order to make sure they will obtain the work from their own customers. Companies who wish to remain ahead of the game may want to make certain they will acquire added instruction for their staff members. This will have a huge number of advantages for the workers as well as for the business. Business owners who obtain scientific molding training for their particular personnel make certain their knowledge is actually totally updated.

Workers who experience further education will probably be far more knowledgeable, more comfortable with their particular careers, as well as better able to work together with their co-workers. The extra understanding they will gain may make it much easier for them to do their job as well as can help them to work more quickly with a lesser number of concerns. They’re in addition most likely going to appreciate the added instruction as it demonstrates they are valued by the organization. After they understand much more with regards to the jobs and the responsibilities associated with molding, they can also work far better with their particular coworkers as they will all know exactly what the other person has to accomplish as well as might help in case any individual needs it.

Immediately after the scientific molding seminars, businesses may see quite a few benefits also. The employees will know precisely what to accomplish to be able to increase productivity, lessen outages from issues with the machine, as well as restrict the amount of waste material which is produced. This all adds up to quite a bit and also allows the business to handle much more projects. It also lets them complete projects faster and also with far better accuracy, meaning their own clientele will go back to them again and again, and also stay away from going to contending companies for their own jobs.

Overall, scientific molding classes could be amazingly helpful for employees and also companies. It enables the businesses to continue to be competitive and also to continue to undertake more work. The more experienced the personnel are, the better the company will run. If perhaps you would like to find out a lot more with regards to the benefits or even enroll in additional education for your current staff members, look at the injection molding training today. There are classes to fit any kind of schedule, so you are going to be able to find precisely what you have to have.

Are You Smart Enough For A Smart Phone?

Get ready, the smart phone might just be the next
“Must Have” tech device. Don’t laugh, this may be more
true than many of us realize or would like to believe.

Why?

Mainly because the smart phone fulfills our ever increasing
need for a mobile device that gives us all the features of
a laptop/internet/phone in one small package. We want it all
and we want it small. Go figure!

For regardless of the size of our brain cells, we all need a
small communication device that keeps us constantly connected no
matter where we are. Connected to friends, family or business
via a phone and the Internet. Totally connected to our lives
and our sense of “self”.

So will you pass the smart test when it comes to smart phones?
Or are you still scratching your head, wondering why you would
need another techno gizmo cluttering up your life?

If you’re still wondering, here are seven reasons or factors why it
would be smart for you to consider getting a smart phone.

1. PDA and Cell Phone Combo

A smart phone is really a combination of a cell phone and
a pda. You get the best of both worlds: a cell phone and
the functions of a pda in one simple small device. Smart
phones can come in different designs: candy-bar, clamshell,
slider and flipper.

A smart phone offers many pda-like features but keep in
mind it is still more like a mobile phone than a dedicated
PDA, which offers larger screens and more applications.
A PDA is more like a small computer or laptop than a cell
phone.

As technology becomes faster and smaller one can expect
smart phones to become more like a dedicated PDA, offering
more applications and more functions of a conventional
handheld in a smaller package.

2. Mobile Convenience

Perhaps the greatest advantage of having a smart phone
is the mobility it gives you. You can stay in constant
contact with all your friends, family or work.
For mobile professionals it can be a very convenient and
practical way to stay in contact with your work.

3. Laptop Mini-Me

The smart phone and especially the Pda phone can be
a simple laptop that you can take anywhere. This device
can take the place of a small laptop keeping you connected
via phone and the Internet to all the information you need.
Extremely useful for students and in-the-field professionals
such as real-estate agents, builders, architects…

Although they are slightly different creatures, the line
between a Pda Phone and a Smart Phone is blurring real fast.
Smart phones are usually smaller and offer less features
than a Pda phone which is more related to a PDA (Personal
Digital Assistant) or a Handheld PC.

4. Entertain Me

Increasingly, these smart and pda phones come equipped
with countless games, MP3, camera, video… all to
entertain you. Important on those long plane or car
trips with unexpected stop-overs. Also great to keep
any complaining off-spring totally enthralled and
completely oblivious to their surroundings for hours
at a time. Save big on your headache meds by getting
a smart phone for little junior or little miss!

5. The Lost Factor

Just admit it, we have all been lost at some time in our
lives. Now you don’t have to be; many of these smart
pda phones come with a GPS system to keep you in touch
with your location at all times. Become totally
grounded with a smart phone!

6. The Cool Factor

There has to be something said about style; these
smart phones are sleek and stylist. Fashion should
not be a reason to buy a smart phone but sadly it
will be a major factor for many who do buy one.

7. The iPhone Factor

You can expect the “Cool” factor to leap-jump when
the iPhone hits the market. The iPhone may do for
smart phones what the iPod did for MP3 players.
Hey, there is nothing cooler than an Apple anything!

Besides the cool factor, the iPhone will probably
revolutionize how we perceive and look at smart phones.
It will elevate the smart phone to unheard of heights
and place it center stage in our lives.

Most of us will be smart enough to quickly grab one of
these techno marvels. How about you? Will you be smart
enough to get a smart phone or will you take the opposite
route?

While you’re making up your mind, just remember you
don’t have to be an Einstein to appreciate the
smart phone. Nor does being a prime candidate for
the next Jackass video necessarily rule you out
— everyone can benefit from having a smart phone.