Reifenhauser extruder installed and begins testing phase

Lollicup USA has made great progress in installing its brand new Reifenhauser extruder.

The extruder, which was originally announced this past spring, sprawls across the company’s manufacturing plant. It is so large, its pieces were shipped in about 28 different containers.

Testing began Sept. 1 and production is expected to begin by the end of October, said production supervisor Ron Gonzales.

The machine rumbled as Gonzales explained how the process works.

“This [machine] is the Cadillac,” he said.

Both recycled resin and new resin are used to create Karat plastic products. Gonzales said because Lollicup recycles all of its unused plastic material, its waste is close to nothing.

The process begins when resin is dispensed into the machine and is melted down into a liquid plastic. The liquid hits cold rollers (set at 25 degrees Celsius) and solidifies, then the thickness of the newly formed plastic sheet is measured. The plastic is coated with silicon to prevent bacterial growth, then the sheets are cut and rolled.

This new extruder is expected to improve the company’s manufacturing capabilities by at least 40 percent. Once fully operable, the company’s smaller extruders will be shut down.

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