Bingen, Jan. 11, 2021. The Corona pandemic is also affecting the market environment of the plastics industry. TREFFERT is nevertheless implementing long-term investment plans and further expanding its capacities in production, laboratory and quality assurance. The goal: to remain at the top.
Even in the current Corona pandemic and the associated global uncertainties, the Bingen-based plastics specialist TREFFERT is sticking to its long-term investment strategy. Thus, small-scale production was already rebuilt at the beginning of 2020. With the acquisition of new extrusion and injection molding machines, TREFFERT is also investing in new development and production capacities as well as in quality assurance.
Optimized reconstruction of small-scale production
TREFFERT specializes in the production of masterbatches or compounds. With them, processing companies can color their base plastics themselves in the desired way or manufacture finished products in the desired color. But also as additive concentrates, masterbatches from TREFFERT impart various functions to plastics, such as light protection, heat protection, antioxidant antistatic effect. The plastics can also be laser-welded or laser-marked.
The so-called small-volume production, which typically produces orders of masterbatches in batches of up to 250 kilograms, began moving into newly designed, larger premises at the end of 2019. “In the course of 2020, we successively relocated three existing extrusion lines for the production of masterbatch granules during ongoing operations and reassembled them in the new and significantly larger premises,” explains Jörg Stifel, who heads production and technology at TREFFERT. “The optimized installation of the equipment now allows even more efficient workflows and an increase in capacity for this area.” In addition, says Jörg Stifel, TREFFERT has invested in new cooling technology.
New extrusion line in the clean room
Parallel to the new small-scale production, a new production line with a coloring extruder was established at the Bingen site. Here, TREFFERT colors its customers’ base polymers with its own masterbatches. The resulting, already colored plastics – also known as compounds – can be used unchanged by the respective customer for production. This is a service that is increasingly requested by the customers of the family-owned company based in Bingen, Germany, Jörg Stifel tells us, “This eliminates the step of coloring for our customers, and they can use the plastic directly for production. “
What makes the production line special is that it takes place in a clean room. “In this room, all surfaces are very easy to see and, as far as possible, made of stainless steel. They are very easy to clean. The floor has a special coating that is also very easy to clean,” explains Jörg Stifel. These measures allow production under very clean conditions. The same applies to the exclusive use of masterbatches in this room.
The very easily accessible machine parts also enable faster setup times. This means that a product changeover on the same machine can be implemented more quickly and efficiently.
New capacities for the laboratory
TREFFERT is preparing for an increased order volume by expanding its production capabilities and is also investing in development and quality assurance.
The coloristic laboratory, where the color formulations are developed and the quality of color powders, color masterbatches and compounds is tested, has been undergoing a rebuild during ongoing operations for eight months. Along with an enlargement, not only the lighting conditions have been improved by a new daylight system, but also the ventilation conditions. A total of seven systems, two more than before and five of them new, now also produce test specimens for testing color formulations.
Furthermore, TREFFERT improves its development capacities with a new high-temperature extruder. It can be used to process plastics up to a temperature of +450 °C. “This enables us to determine how high-performance polymers can be equipped with temperature-stable pigments and additives. In this way, we can offer our customers an even wider range of products,” explains Jörg Stifel.
TREFFERT is also optimizing quality assurance with the use of another single-screw extruder for the laboratory. The system produces masterbatch plastics in the exact color or additive concentration that will ultimately be used by the customer. This allows quality tests to be carried out virtually under real conditions.
However, investments at TREFFERT do not flow exclusively into technology. “If you invest in machines, you also have to invest in people,” says Jörg Stifel. “That’s why we have hired three plant operators in recent months.” The new employees drive and check the new extrusion lines.