How is Auto-Disc different from other blenders?

With the increasingly widespread use of highly concentrated colorants, blend accuracy is now more critical than ever before. And with more and shorter production runs, changeover flexibility and cleaning speed are emerging as especially important concerns to all processors. Auto-Disc™ addresses these issues directly by extending blending technology with a host of design advancements.

Auto-Disc™ is the first blender to combine precision disc feeding with synchronized blending and on-board automatic gravimetric calibration. By combining these important features in a clean, simple, modular design, Auto-Disc™ sets a new performance standard for blending accuracy and operational convenience.

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What is synchronized blending and how does it work?

In synchronized blending, all blending is performed on-line, in real time, directly above the machine throat during the recovery period. Unlike preblends which can de-mix in transit to the machine throat, synchronized blending affords no opportunity for material de-mixing. The result is truly remarkably consistent color. At start-up operators need only enter the shot weight, additive proportion, and the approximate screw recovery time.

Auto-Disc™ then delivers the additive uniformly over the recovery period, assuring an even distribution along the entire length of the screw. Auto-Disc™ is even smart enough to automatically adjust for variations in screw recovery time.

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How is thorough blending performed without mechanical mixing?

Auto-Disc™ employs a unique tubular static mixer section directly above the machine throat. As the accompanying illustration shows, during the screw recovery period the resin component enters the mixer section, and an internal baffle causes the resin component to form a consistent, near–horizontal bed. Color is introduced from above at its own synchronized rate, uniformly distributing the additive onto the bed of resin.

This approach makes Auto-Disc™ ideal for micropellets. As the recovery period proceeds and material is drawn into the screw, resin and color continue to be combined consistently and in desired proportion without mechanical mixing which can cause de-mixing or particle separation.

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How does Auto-Disc™ handle regrind, multiple natural components, and additives like blowing agents?

Auto-Disc™ provides for just about any conceivable blending requirement. In the simplest application where a single additive (a colorant, for example) is to be proportioned, the basis for the calculation of colorant feed rate is simply expressed as a percent of shot weight in addition to screw recovery time. Where regrind is involved, Auto-Disc™ recognizes that the basis for colorant feed rate calculation must exclude the regrind portion to avoid double coloring. Since regrind may not be available at all times, Auto-DiscTM is also designed to recognize the unavailability of regrind and automatically adjust colorant feed rate accordingly. Auto-Disc™ can then automatically revert to its original colorant feed rate when regrind is once again present.

Auto-Disc™ can be set to operate at either a single target regrind  percentage, or over a High/Low percentage range when regrind is supplied directly from a granulator. This enables Auto-Disc™ to adapt to varying amounts of regrind which becomes available when a greater than usual number of parts are being granulated at a given time. In applications where two natural components are combined and colored, the feed rate of the colorant must be based on the sum of the two natural components. Here, a three ingredient Auto-Disc™ is employed, with the minor natural component proportioned to the major component, and the colorant proportioned to the sum of the two resin components.

Finally, in blending applications including the addition of a blowing agent or similar additive where the specified proportion is expressed relative to the total resin in the shot, the basis for feed rate calculation becomes the sum of the natural component(s) plus regrind. During recipe set-up the operator specifies which of these blending scenarios applies, and then Auto-Disc™ performs the required computations automatically. The basis for feed rate calculation is saved along with the recipe, so no repetitive programming is required.

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Can Auto-Disc™ be employed in extrusion applications?

Yes, Auto-Disc™ can be supplied in a configuration in which all ingredients, including resin, are synchronized to meet the required extrusion rate, or it can be a single side mount metering unit to blend an additive in the extruder throat area.

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How can Auto-Disc™ make purging, changeovers, and cleaning faster and less costly?

Auto-Disc™ provides a number of features focused on minimizing waste, cutting changeover time, and speedy cleaning. First, Auto-Disc™ automatically senses when the machine is purging. The result is that purging with the new color is accomplished more quickly, and no unnecessary expensive ingredients are wasted. Purging with natural resin can also take place while the color supply hopper is being changed.

The Modular design makes Auto-Disc™ changeovers fast and simple. Feeding modules can be switched out in seconds and replaced as fast, making it logical and economic to store expensive additives in their own feeding modules ready for immediate use. The modules are even designed to stand on their own on any flat surface.

No other blender is as easy and fast to clean. Unlike other blenders that demand up to an hour to clean and reassemble, cleaning Auto-Disc™ takes only a few minutes, even when color concentrate is involved. Thanks to simple design and no corners or dead spaces, only the vertical portion of the tubular static mixer needs a quick wiping with a brush or a brief blast of compressed air. This area is readily accessible when the top half of the metering unit is open.

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Can Auto-Disc™ be installed on my Machine?

Yes, the mounting system of Auto-Disc™ is uniquely flexible. Specially designed adapter plates enable Auto Disc™ installation on any machine, and even permit orientation in any direction you choose.

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Plastrac Inc. 3928 Miller Road, Edgemont, PA 19028