REMCO headquarters building



By Brad Dawson, Rubber & Plastics News Staff

April 30, 2001

Rubber roller equipment manufacturer Remco Inc. is developing a new 2-inch extruder to process thermoplastic elastomers and elastomeric alloys in hopes of attracting the roller market.

Remco President J. Dean Armstrong Jr. said he hasn't seen any extrusion machinery in the roller industry specifically for TPEs.

There have been successful ventures in the development of TPE materials, but not equipment that would be ideal for use in rollers, he said.

``We've been looking at it for 10 years, but no one's done anything until now,'' he said.

Armstrong discussed the new piece of machinery at the 2001 Rubber Roller Group annual meeting.

TPEs can be used in place of thermoset rubbers such as EPDM and polychloroprene because of their comparable processing and performance characteristics. TPEs also have good heat, water and oil resistance; superior release characteristics; and packaging, feed, curing and repair advantages over thermoset rubbers,Remco said.

With the new extruder, EA/TPEs can be extruded through a die at 390-400°F and applied onto a preheated mandrel similar to how strip-building machines apply thermoset elastomers, Remco said. The machine will include special features for conveying and applying the strip, the company said.

Once the correct thickness is achieved, the newly built covered roll is dismounted, allowed to cool and later ground to specifications.

Questions remain on availability and cost of EA/TPEs, Armstrong said. Supply is limited for some TPE formulations and the cost of some materials is higher than most thermoset rollers. But the advantages of TPE quality and time-savings may offset some of the disadvantages, he said.

``We've done a lot of testing of TPEs on our machine, and there's no reason it can't be a niche in the roll-covering market,'' Armstrong said. ``If it is the next evolution for the industry, we want to be there when it happens.''

The extruder is still in the ``experimental stage'' of its development, Armstrong said, and Remco is seeking TPE suppliers to work with on the project. ``It doesn't just have to be our customers,'' he said.

Grandview, Mo.-based Remco has been dedicated specifically to roll-covering equipment since its founding 24 years ago.