Major advances in foam extrusion

The Microcell technology, presented by Promix Solutions at the last Fakuma, is able to reduce the consumption of raw materials in the foam extrusion process by up to 20% while maintaining the mechanical properties, a completely new element that makes this technology even more revolutionary. In addition, the addition of environmentally friendly atmospheric gases reduces the weight of the final product by 20-50%.

The secret of high-quality foaming lies in the cell structure. Tests have shown that very small, evenly distributed cells significantly improve the mechanical strength of the material. For example, a polyurethane foam with 50 µm cells has 27 times more cells than a polyurethane foam with 150 µm cells (which has the same density).

Specifically, the production of microcells requires a combination of factors such as high-precision dosing of blowing agents, the provision of cooling and mixing equipment, special nucleation technology and a high level of process know-how.

The picture above shows a thermoformed PET foam tray with Promix Microcell technology (grey), which has the same load-bearing capacity as a solid tray (yellow) but is 18% lighter. The non-foamed reference tray (blue), which is also 18% lighter, has a significantly reduced load capacity. This example demonstrates that microcell extrusion technology is an effective method of reducing raw material use, energy consumption and environmental impact. In addition, the 100% internal and external recyclability of the material is equivalent to that of non-foamed products.

The example above illustrates the new potential. The thermoformed PET tray foamed with Promix Microcell Technology (grey) has the same mechanical top load properties as a solid tray (yellow) but is 18% lighter. The non-foamed benchmark tray (blue), which is also 18% lighter, has significantly reduced top load properties. This example demonstrates that Microcell extrusion technology is an effective way to save up to 20% of raw materials without compromising mechanical properties, while reducing energy consumption and environmental impact. Internal and external recyclability remains 100% and is equivalent to non-foamed products.

The Promix Microcell technology can be used with a wide range of raw materials (PP, PE, PET, TPE, TPU, PA, PVC), for all types of extrusion processes such as film, sheet, pipe, profile and cable extrusion, and can be adapted to existing extrusion lines or installed on new lines.