Adjustable melt gap opens up possibilities for pipe manufacturer

March 8, 2021
Battenfeld-Cincinnati says its die system offers the largest melt gap available, producing pipe from 15.7 inches to 63 inches in diameter.

An HDPE pipe manufacturer based in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, has started producing large pipe up to 63 inches in diameter with a new Battenfeld-Cincinnati extrusion die that features an unusually large melt gap.

Policonductos SA de CV recently installed a complete Battenfeld-Cincinnati extrusion line that includes an adjustable die featuring the largest melt gap ever produced, according to the equipment manufacturer. The adjustable melt gap system allows the production of pipe in a wide range of diameters without the need for changing dies.

The easily adjustable die can produce pipe ranging from 15.7 inches in diameter up to 63 inches.

“We are absolutely enthusiastic about the range of options offered by this new line,” said Homero Garza, GM at Policonductos. “We have not only been able to expand our product range to include large-diameter pipes, but we can now also produce pipe dimensions to individual customers’ specifications without any problems.”

The adjustable melt gap dramatically reduces changeover times, according to Battenfeld-Cincinnati. It’s safer for workers because there are no large die sets and pins that need to be exchanged. Also, inline adjustments can be made to optimize wall thicknesses, saving raw material.

The wide range of pipe diameters is unprecedented, according to Battenfeld-Cincinnati, which says there are no comparable systems on the market. An adjustable melt gap makes sense when a manufacturer wants to produce varying pipe dimensions on a single line and be able to quickly respond to changing market demands, the company said.

More or less at the push of a button, the die switches over to a new pipe dimension, according to Battenfeld-Cincinnati. On a conventional line producing large-diameter pipes, a change in dimensions would necessitate a die change, which would take a significant amount of time and pose a safety hazard to workers because of the die sizes.

“Both of these drawbacks are now completely eliminated,” Battenfeld-Cincinnati said in a press release.

The new extrusion line also features a Battenfeld-Cincinnati solEX 120 NG extruder and upstream and downstream components including a gravimetric metering system, an EAC internal pipe cooling system, vacuum tanks, spray cooling baths, a haul-off unit and cutting saw.

The recently delivered line expands the existing series of Battenfeld-Cincinnati fast dimension change (FDC) systems, which feature adjustable melt gaps for producing pipes of 6.3 inches to 9.8 inches, 7.9 inches to 14 inches and 15.7 inches to 24.8 inches.

The large die was first displayed at the 2019 K Show in Düsseldorf, Germany. 

Bruce Geiselman, senior staff reporter

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 Battenfeld-Cincinnati USA, McPherson, Kan., 620-241-6843,