Novoplast Schlauchtechnik has been granted a European patent for a novel process for manufacturing extruded hoses from the high-performance polymer PE-UHMW - making it the only company on the market that can and is allowed to produce and process hoses as continuous rolls of PE-UHMW.
The Halberstadt-based company, which is part of the Masterflex Group, processes the PE-UHMW developed by Japanese company Mitsui Chemicals (German distributor: Dreyplas GmbH) as granules (brand name: LUBMER).
“Due to its high molecular mass and the resulting viscosity, PE-UHMW previously required complex mechanical processing”, explains Niels Mitzlaff, Director of R&D Tubing at Novoplast Schlauchtechnik. The new material in combination with the now patented process enables the plastic molding compound to be formed by extrusion, making continuous hose extrusion and thus endless production possible. “The Dreyplas company provided us with very good technical support and trial materials, especially in the initial phase of the project”, says Mitzlaff.
Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene is characterized by high wear resistance and is used primarily when particularly smooth running with the lowest possible abrasion is required. It is also food compliant according to EU 1935/2004 or EU 10/2011 and FDA compliant.
“PE-UHMW is a real all-rounder and has a wide range of applications”, says Torsten Gebhardt, Product & Branch Manager at Novoplast Schlauchtechnik. Due to its excellent properties, PE-UHMW can be a good alternative to the much more expensive fluoroplastics in certain applications.
“Our customers are quite enthusiastic about the hoses we produce from it”, Gebhardt says. For example, the Master-Tube PE Ultra, which is particularly suitable for applications in the feed technology and chemical industries and can significantly extend machine service lives.
PE-UHMW can also be used in pharmaceutical and medical technology. Here, too, the material can score with its outstanding mechanical properties (low coefficient of sliding friction, high toughness) and high abrasion resistance, closing the gap between polyolefins and fluoropolymers.
“From a regulatory point of view, its use in many applications is backed by 'FDA-compliant' status", said Andreas Hankel, Senior Sales Manager for Medical Products at Novoplast Schlauchtechnik and Fleima-Plastic. “With this material, we can also develop completely new solutions in application-based hose design.”