by Liz White, editor
At the K2010 exhibition in Dusseldorf, Hennecke GmbH sold a spray machine from the stand, according to Dieter Müller, regional sales manager, who added that business is going well for the German polyurethane equipment specialist.
Hennecke’s advantage is that it doesn’t have to concentrate on one specific sector — automotive or mattresss.
“We have a complete variety of units,“ and you can survive better with a wide spread, Müller said.
Hennecke was promoting its Elastoline F a new generation of lowpressure elastomer machine, “the only lowpressure machine Hennecke builds,” said Müller. This modular unit can be used for all types of elastomer formulations, because of its high flexibility, he pointed out.
Advanced mixhead technology using hydraulic controls for extremely short changeover and excellent metering quality is another advantage, according to Hennecke.
Also, “Our spray technology is really booming,” said Müller, pointing to two different projects, one in hybrid CSM (composite spray moulding) technology for Otto Bock Kunststoff GmbH to develop a foolproof spray skin process using a range of its own formulations.
Otto Bock also wants to use the system to test and optimise formulations for moulded foam.
The equipment has separate feed lines for moulded foam and spray, which may be utilised in combination at some stage.
North America spraying skins
Thin-skin spray is also getting into the US market more now, Müller indicated, pointing to another project involving a PUR-CSM unit for Canadian company Corium Urethane Technology, to make high quality spray skin parts for the automotive and outdoor sectors.
Corium says spray skins are increasingly in demand in the US automotive sector, with backfoaming. The company has found the Hennecke CSM equipment solves many problems, in terms of good look and feel, but “especially in functional optimisation.” Hennecke’s QFoam range of simplified, basic foam machines, is going into the market gradually, Müller said. Hennecke has such a strong reputation as a high-end supplier that it can be hard to persuade users that it is offering simpler equipment. It has to get well-known with the smaller, less highly technical customers.
Hennecke is also doing well with refrigerated appliance lines, which it has recently adapted for US customer Trane (part of Ingersoll Rand) for making housings residential air conditioning units. The advantage is that the parts are preisolated so the air-handling units (AHUs) can be built and constructed easily. AHUs used to rely on mineral wool as an insulator, but this has disadvantages, especially concerning ageing.
Also, said Müller, if the cover breaks, “you have mineral wool blown into the air,” and into the consumer’s living space. “This is not that healthy,” he commented.
In Germany, refrigeration and appliance lines are selling well, due to changeovers in blowing agent technologies, Müller said. Also in building uses, orders are good, due to the need to save energy, so “panel lines, everything to do with construction,” are in demand.
Hennecke’s composite spray moulding equipment also helps save energy via lighter weight car parts, he added.
On its stand, Hennecke also showed window insulation using a Topline HK for a project with BBG: “a nice application, with no heat loss.”
Pipe laying in the North Sea
One recent major project for Hennecke is a system for making seals in situ for an oil pipe-line project in the North Sea, said Müller.
This project, with Allseas Group SA, for the Nord Stream gas pipeline project, involves Allseas’ Solitaire pipe-laying vessel. Welds in the steel pipe sections are coated on board the ship, using BASF’s Elastopor H material, laid using a 3 kg/s output Hennecke Topline 1400/1400 high-pressure foaming machine with an MT 26 mixhead designed especially for rigid foam.
Hennecke said the equipment must deliver the rigid foam, which has good flow properties, to fill the gap between pipe-ends, rapidly and uniformity – and it has to do this on board the pipe-laying ship, while moving along the pipe, before it is laid.
The 160 kg/m³ density Elastopor is an open-celled foam, designed to fill with water, to prevent the foam being buoyant.
Steel pipe sections for the project are 12-m long, and 48 inches (122 cm) in diameter. As well as a polyethylene anti-corrosion coating, the pipes are sheathed in a 60 to 110 mm layer of steelreinforced concrete, to protect from mechanical damage — and weigh the pipeline down.
Once the steel pipes are welded during pipe laying, shrink tubing is pulled over the weld. Then the resulting gap in the concrete sheathing is sealed with a sleeve, and it is the hollow space thus created that is filled with the polyurethane –up to 45 kg in one fitting, said Hennecke.
About 200 000 fittings must be completed, so the dispensing machines have to perform a shot every eight minutes, 24 h a day, 7 days a week.