Davis-Standard and MuCell Combine Expertise for High-End Foam Extrusion

(Pawcatuck, Conn.)--A recent project between Davis-Standard, LLC and MuCell Extrusion, LLC has resulted in new advances in environmentally sound, microcellular foam-based extrusion. Davis-Standard's tandem foam extrusion equipment paired with MuCell's carbon dioxide gas injection system enables production of foams in widths up to 52 inches (1,320mm) in a cleaner, more cost-effective manner. Zotefoams plc, a global leader in the manufacturing of block foams, is the first to implement the combined Davis-Standard and MuCell technology. The system was recently installed at Zotefoams facility in Croyden, United Kingdom, to produce high-end foams using a variety of polymers including low-density polyethylene (LDPE) materials, polypropylene (PP) and nylon (PA).

"This technology is particularly useful for applications like seals and tapes where microcellular foam allows surface-to-surface conformance with excellent skin quality and gauge control," said Mark Lindenfelzer, President of MuCell Extrusion. "We are also working on applications that reduce the polymer content of solid or near-solid parts. High polymer costs and a reduced carbon footprint through minimized polymer usage are strong drivers for this technology."

Davis-Standard's foam systems, typically used with hydrocarbon blowing agents, have integrated well with atmospheric gas processes such as MuCell's. Davis-Standard has taken its offering of specialty dies, long L/D extruders, tandem arrangements, feedscrew designs and range of downstream equipment to support greater outputs with reduced energy requirements. This versatility combined with MuCell's technology has resulted in foams with outstanding property performance and aesthetics. MuCell's products have a microcellular structure under 100 microns, resulting in 10 times more cells per unit of volume than traditional structures. In addition to improved quality, this technology is cleaner and less expensive to produce than hydrocarbon-based processes.

"Microcellular foam is an excellent choice for thermoforming applications where top-load and impact properties are critical," said Lindenfelzer. "Thermoforming of microcellular foam allows maximum weight reduction while retaining impact qualities and surface quality in applications like dairy containers, yogurt cups and other packaging applications."

Lindenfelzer added that from an environmental and cost standpoint, using atmospheric gases is the technology of the future. It is cleaner, less expensive to produce and does not require the added investment risk associated with handling, storing and utilizing hydrocarbon agents. He also noted that since there is no cross-linking required, foams made with this technology are also recyclable. The performance, cost and environmental benefits are significant.

For more information about MuCell, visit www.trexel.com. For more information about Davis-Standard's foam systems, contact Al Chrisbacher at achrisbacher@davis-standard.com.

Luann Kupka
Marketing & Sales Administration Manager
Extrusion Systems

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