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Laurel BioComposite LLC has made its second major capital equipment investment in its new production line with the purchase of an Amtek Microwave system from Ames, Iowa-based Cellencor LLC.
The system offers the capacity to dry up to 1000 lbs. of Bio-Res™ PE per hour with the flexibility to adjust moisture levels from 35 percent to 5 percent. Equipped with two 100 kilowatt microwave generators and a 52 in. by 12 ft. stainless steel double door drying cavity, the system’s design features reduce energy consumption while providing higher quality Bio-Res PE for enhanced performance characteristics in finished plastics.
The microwave dries Bio-Res PE before the material is milled and sent to the extruder for pelletizing. The ability to successfully control moisture content is a critical component for Laurel BioComposite. The company recently demonstrated this capability with the production of a 14 ft. kayak with 20 percent Bio-Res PE. Laurel BioComposite exhibited the kayak for the first time this month at the International Plastics Showcase in Orlando, Fla.
“It made sense to show a product application where the increased stiffness and associated potential weight reduction gained by including Bio-Res PE combined with low moisture uptake were advantages,” says Tim Bearnes, CEO for Laurel BioComposite. “Roto-Molded products such as those represented by the kayak require large amounts of resin so the ability to use a superior, more cost-effective material that can also create a strong bond with other substances is important. Displaying the kayak demonstrated an additional and exciting new use for Bio-Res PE. The kayak was a show stopper, clearly validating the ability to incorporate 20 percent bio material in a roto-molded watercraft.”
Bio-Res PE is able to cost-effectively raise the renewable or “green” content of plastic products by as much as 40 percent. The new bio-material is available in a pellet form which blends easily with polyethylene, polypropylenePLA and PHA matrices. The product has been tested to replace 20 to 40 percent of the neat resin reducing traditional petroleum-based resins in a variety of manufacturing processes for plastics by as much as 40 percent. Superior flow characteristics make the material unique in the bio additives market for thermoplastics. Bio-Res PE is especially suited for use in a range of industries including shipping, lawn and garden, agriculture and automotive applications.
More information: www.laurelbiocomposite.com