The successful installation of a new twin screw extruder from Coperion has signalled the start of production for RenCom, a Swedish innovation company with generations of experience in the paper and pulp industry. The company has developed a proprietary, durable, lignin-based thermoplastic called Renol which, said RenCom, will be available on the market later this year.
Lignin is a by-product from the forest industry. Renol, which has undergone extensive tests and trials at selected customers over the past years, can be used in ratios up to 50 % in film applications to produce shopping bags, mulch films or retail bags, but is also available in injection moulding grades for use in furniture and automotive parts. It can also serve as an infill material for artificial football pitches, replacing the tire crumb rubber currently used.
RenCom worked with Coperion at the latter’s extrusion test lab in Stuttgart, Germany on the development of an extrusion process that would make it possible produce the new thermoplastic directly in an existing production infrastructure, with no modifications to machines or methods required.
Coperion then installed a complete extrusion system - a ZSK Mv PLUS -co-rotating twin screw extruder, gravimetric feeders, a strand pelletizing system, a lignin bag dump station and a big bag station - at RenCom. The extruder’s deeply cut screw flights keep the thermal stress on the raw material very low, yield a gentle production process. The system has now been successfully commissioned and production has already started. RenCom aims to produce more than 1,000 tons of Renol per year.