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Precise and fast metering of blowing agents when developing foaming technology

Efficient insulating materials, foams for structure applications, biobased, flame resistant and high-performance foams are currently in strong demand on the market. Researchers from the foaming technology group at a renowned institue play a crucial role in developing foamed materials whose properties are customized for the respective applications. At the plant, the institue initiated a collaboration with LEWA in the area of metering and another partner.

This led to the formation of a pilot plant station used for easy-to-implement research and development tasks, allowing developments to be carried out from the formulation of raw products all the way to the component testing stage. LEWA delivered its blowing agent metering system LEWA ecofoam.

Task

The newly available technology at the institute allows complex topics related to foam production to be addressed and for applications to be tested almost all the way to the pilot production stage. In addition to material development, the researchers direct most of their attention towards improving processes. This has allowed them to develop expertise in the area of particle foams and continuously manufactured extrusion foams. In order for the system to be used uniformly in the various projects, it should be compatible with all conventional blowing agents. All important process parameters such as suction pressure, cooling and back pressure are clarified in the planning phase so that the requirements of a wide array of applications are met.

Solution

Due to limited space on-site, the LEWA ecofoam system was intentionally mounted on a compact baseframe together with a mechanical part and a control cabinet. High-quality V4A stainless steel (1.4571) and, as diaphragm material, PTFE or V4A stainless steel (1.4401) are used for wetted components of the ecofoam. LEWA installed various auxiliary components such as a cooling jacket at each pump head, a suction-side plate heat exchanger (radiator) and an in-line cooler to ensure that the blowing agents are in a fluid state. To protect the system from cavitation, the starting fluid temperature of 20 °C can be lowered to approximately 5 °C at an associated CO2 steam pressure of 57 bar. The system can be used at extruder pressures up to 400 bar. A flow rate over a wide adjustment range of 0.1 l/h to 10 l/h can be achieved through the combination of speed control and manual stroke adjustment of the pump.

Technic

Producer: LEWA GmbH

Pump LEWA ecofoam Blowing Agent Metering System
Medium Blowing agents
Flowrate 0,1 l/h to 10 l/h
Pressure up to 400 bar

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