Macchi showcases versatile blown film line

Jan. 21, 2020
At K 2019, Italian equipment manufacturer Macchi SpA showcased a seven-layer blown film line that is part of its new Pod Flex series that can produce laminated, barrier and biopolymer films.

The Pod Flex series is available in five-, seven- and nine-layer configurations. The seven-layer line on display produced film with a net width of 8.9 feet.

The Pod Flex series’ features include:

·        A fully automatic and integrated continuous gravimetric feeding system that ensures rapid material changes and drastic reductions in production waste, compared to previous Macchi blown film lines. The system calculates the material flow in relationship to the output and speed of the line, meaning the quantity of residual material in the system is minimized.

·         Extrusion screws designed to process a wide range of resins and increase extruder capacity.

·         A TE572-series extrusion head, designed to process polyolefin and barrier film formulations on the same extruder.

·         A fully automatic and integrated high-flow-rate air-cooling ring that ensures repeatability of recipes and minimizes set-up times during job changes.

·         Macchi 4.0 software that stores recipes and collects and displays production data that can be integrated into film producers’ management systems.

·         Complete digitalization of the line with accurate data exchanges between various components.  

“What we are introducing here is the possibility to store all the information related to what the machine is doing,” said Matteo Spinola, Macchi sales and marketing director. “Basically, just by pushing a button, the operator can set up the line in a matter of a very, very reduced time, guaranteeing the repeatability of every single job. The operator does not today have to adjust manually things which were done in the past.”

In addition, Macchi introduced its Macchi-MDO machine-direction-orientation unit, which is designed to meet the growing demand for technical films. The MDO unit stretches film coming off the line, improving mechanical properties and reducing thickness.

“We are displaying the unit inline and for the first time at the K show in a running mode,” Spinola said.

The company introduced the technology in response to growing demand, he said.

“MDO units are now becoming more and more popular also in the blown film market because, as a matter of fact, they have been there in the cast film technology scene a long time,” he said.

Heating and stretching blown film can improve its properties, resulting in a better-quality, clearer film, he said.

An MDO unit can stretch film up to 800 percent; at the K show, the unit stretched lamination film 400 percent and downgauged the film by 50 percent.

“We were demonstrating it at 400 percent stretching ratio because the type of application we were running was not requesting anything different, but the system can stretch up to 800 percent,” Spinola said. “We’re obtaining a film with better qualities and better properties compared to a regular film without MDO units.”

The Macchi MDO unit on display had nine rollers. The first three rollers preheated the material. The next two rollers stretched the film, the two after that stabilized the film and the last two rollers cooled the film. All the rollers are thermally regulated independently, Spinola said.

Macchi customizes each unit according to a customer’s needs, he said.

Bruce Geiselman, senior staff reporter
[email protected]


Macchi North American Plastic Machinery Inc., Dalton, Ga., 706-529-4643,

About the Author

Bruce Geiselman | Senior Staff Reporter

Senior Staff Reporter Bruce Geiselman covers extrusion, blow molding, additive manufacturing, automation and end markets including automotive and packaging. He also writes features, including In Other Words and Problem Solved, for Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Plastics Recycling and The Journal of Blow Molding. He has extensive experience in daily and magazine journalism.