What's New » Exton, Pennsylvania, USA. - Dramatically Shorter Cycle of Maguire LPD Dryer Nearly Doubles Output of Test Specimens at LNP Engineering Plastics Lab

Exton, Pennsylvania, USA. - Dramatically Shorter Cycle of Maguire LPD Dryer Nearly Doubles Output of Test Specimens at LNP Engineering Plastics Lab


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June 23, 2003 - EXTON, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A. - LNP Engineering Plastics, a GE Plastics Company, has nearly doubled output of injection molded test specimens in the laboratory of its world headquarters facility after installing five Maguire® Low Pressure Dryer™ (LPD™) units, according to Charles W. Alexander, molding technologies leader.  The innovative vacuum dryers also performed with far more consistency than conventional hot air / desiccant dryers, said Alexander, noting that this improvement is of critical importance to LNP because it uses test specimens to establish reliable material property data for customers.

The lab headed by Alexander has four injection molding machines, used for molding specimen plaques and "dog-bone"-shaped tensile test specimens, and for doing trial runs for customers. Productivity is measured by the number of specimens produced in an eight-hour shift.  In turn, specimen production is determined by the amount of time needed to pre-dry compound.

"Before the Maguire LPD dryers, we completed five to seven specimens per shift, based on 50 to 75 shots per specimen, but now we're up to ten to twelve specimens," Alexander said.  "The reason is a dramatic reduction in drying time, from four to six hours with conventional dryers to less than an hour with the LPD dryers."

Although LNP develops information in response to an inquiry in as little as 40 minutes after receiving sample compound, the long cycle of conventional dryers typically meant an overnight turnaround.  "Now we can solve customer issues on the same day," Alexander said.

To help LNP achieve a further increase in productivity, Maguire custom-built sealed canisters that could be mounted atop molding machines, eliminating exposure of the dried material to the atmosphere while making possible rapid switches from the material in one dryer to the material in another.  "We are now experimenting with this concept in some of our other U.S. sites," Alexander said.   

Another important benefit of the LPD dryers cited by Alexander has been more uniform drying.  "Consistency, consistency, consistency#--that's how LPD dryers have improved the quality of our operation.  Material properties are affected by the amount of residual moisture and the uniformity of drying within a batch.  With conventional desiccant systems, drying was too much of a hit-or-miss variable."

The LNP laboratory normally dries nearly every material it works with, though for some pre-drying is only a precautionary measure.  "We run everything from polypropylene to PEEK and just about every filler or reinforcement you can think of," Alexander said.

The LPD dryer differs radically from conventional hot-air/desiccant dryers in two ways: 1) instead of flowing hot, dry air over the pellets to slowly draw the moisture out, the patented LPD dryer uses vacuum to reduce the boiling point of water, quickly turn the moisture into water vapor, and literally pull the water vapor from within the pellets; and 2) the LPD dryer carries out heating and vacuum drying simultaneously in separate stations, making possible small batches while in effect transforming a batch process into a continuous one that keeps pace with the throughput of the plastics processing machine.


            LPN ENGINEERING PLASTICS, a GE Plastics Company headquartered in Exton, PA, U.S.A., is a global leader in the custom compounding of engineering thermoplastics.  The company operates nine manufacturing plants in the U.S., Mexico, South America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific.  The LNP product line includes a wide range of specialty compounds for information technology, automotive, healthcare, electrical, industrial, and consumer applications.  Visit the website at www.LNP.com.


MAGUIRE PRODUCTS, INC., headquartered in Aston, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., is the world's largest supplier of gravimetric blenders and liquid color pumps and also manufactures loading systems, granulators, dryers, auger feeders, and related equipment.  Its customers include injection, blow, and rotational molders, extrusion processors, and compounders.  Founded in 1977, Maguire operates five manufacturing facilities in Aston and Smithfield, Rhode Island, U.S.A. The company maintains a network of distributors in the Americas and overseas.  Maguire Europe, a sales and service subsidiary that supports customers throughout Europe, operates a distribution center in Tamworth, Staffordshire, United Kingdom.  Maguire Asia, based in Singapore, serves customers throughout South Asia and the Pacific Rim. Visit the Maguire Products web site: www.maguire.com