Heraeus Carbon Infra-Red Emitters Ensures Perfect PVC Gelling During Manufacture of Flooring Products

Carbon infra-red (CIR) emitters from Heraeus Noblelight are helping Polyflor of Manchester to ensure perfect gelling of PVC applied to a substrate before the web is further processed under an oil-heated chrome drum. The installation has prevented un-gelled PVC from running off the edges of the substrate, saving product as well as eliminating process and maintenance problems.

Polyflor is a manufacturer of commercial floor coverings and operates successfully throughout the world. It is a company which constantly strives to improve processes and products to reflect the changing demands of the marketplace. Over the last decade, it has made significant investment in plant and equipment to enhance and expand its product portfolio to provide added value to its customers. This portfolio includes its Polysafe slip-resistant range, which is widely used in offices, hospitals, stadia, shopping malls and in the industrial sector.

An important stage in the manufacture of the Polysafe products is the application of PVC gel onto a glass-fibre substrate web. The web then passes under a heated chrome drum to ensure a perfectly smooth surface finish prior to clear aluminium oxide particles being deposited in the PVC surface to achieve the slip-resistant properties. Polyflor had encountered problems with the PVC gel, as it was sometimes still liquid, which led to it running off at the edges of the web. This meant loss of product and could lead to subsequent process problems.

To solve the problem, Polyflor contacted Heraeus and trials were carried out at the Manchester site using a Carbon Infra-Red (CIR) test module. These proved so successful that a 72kW CIR medium wave cassette was installed on the process line to heat the PVC in a gel drum. It is controlled by its own optical pyrometer to ensure that the gel attains a temperature of 60°C, and, in practice, this is achieved by using only three of the six emitters in the cassette.

“The compact, new IR system, which was easily retrofitted into the space available, has solved the gel spillage problem,” says Polyflor’s Neil Holden. “This means no wasted product and no process problems. In addition, we are now achieving an improved surface finish.”

Heraeus specialises in the production and application of high quality energy sources covering the electro-magnetic spectrum from ultraviolet to infra-red. It has over 40 years experience in infra-red technology and offers the expertise, products and systems to provide efficient and effective solutions to drying, heating and curing problems throughout industry.

www.heraeus-noblelight.com

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showing the infra-red heater at Polyflor, can be obtained from Dave Jervis at Quantum

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