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Polyesters: innovative production technologies  #10(104), 2011

AQUAFIL Engineering GmbH is one of the world’s leading companies in development of technologies for production of  polyamides and polyesters, design of appropriate equipment and its delivery to companies-manufactures; supply can be held in terms of complete plants. In addition, AQUAFIL Engineering offers the further processing of the polymers obtained into fiber, textile- and technical yarn, films and PET bottles

The wide range of high-quality services provided by the company, includes know-how support, feasibility study, installation of new plants or units, modernization and optimization of existing facilities, construction, supervision and start up as well as training of personnel. The simple organisation structure allows AQUAFIL Engineering to be the one of the most flexible engineering companies in the market. AQUAFIL Engineering has celebrated in 2008 its 20th anniversary and enters the AQUAFIL Group of companies with long-standing traditions (more than 50 years). The key factors of the Group success on the market are the company’s “Goal Oriented Strategy” combined with high-quality products, end customer orientation and high flexibility. Due to the backup of AQUAFIL Group which is the European market leader in Nylon BCF yarns, AQUAFIL Engineering is offering “Products, Engineering and Services from Producer for Producer”.

During the last years AQUAFIL Engineering has developed a number of innovative solutions, especially regarding polyesters production. Driven by the idea to create more compact, flexible and simplified production lines to be nevertheless as economic as large-scale production, AQUAFIL Engineering designed in 2003 the two-reactor polyester polycondensation technology. Simplified design of production unit with the new UPR® reactor (Universal Polymerisation Reactor) provides better product quality and reduces investment costs, energy consumption, construction and maintenance expenses. This technology is applicable for productions with daily capacity up to 600 tons per line.

At present this two-reactor AQUAFIL Engineering technology of polyesters manufacturing has been purchased by 10 customers worldwide, and is used in variety of end products’ manufacturing: textile, PET bottles, film and chips for technical yarn. AQUAFIL Engineering has developed and put to the market the direct processes of polyester processing into fiber, textile and technical yarns, tire cord and films.

The advantage of presented solution lies in its high flexibility due to possibility of simultaneous production of the three different products with different viscosities.

In the polyester film industry AQUAFIL Engineering is offering different solutions for the direct casting. One of them is the direct film casting with additional melt modification system MMS. The AQUAFIL Engineering two-reactor set transfers the polymer melt directly to the die head of the film unit. This melt forms the film core layer. The cap layers of the film are produced directly from a side stream of polymer melt that is passed through the MMS of AQUAFIL Engineering.

Another way of film production can be implemented only by AQUAFIL Engineering and solely due to its unique UPR® reactor. The matter is that in the film industry there’s sometimes necessary to get specific cap layer, with the usage of different additives. To meet this goal AQUAFIL Engineering has created and realized an integrated continuous-batch production process. In the scheme advised the UPR® reactor is feeding the melt to a finishing one, and in parallel to a batch plant. The required polymer grades for the core and cap layers are produced simultaneously, with less equipment and operating expenses as compared with conventional production. The batch polymer quality for the cap layer has been drastically improved due to a stable and high-quality output of UPR® reactor.

Depending on the customer requirements, AQUAFIL Engineering can offer different technological capabilities on polyester polycondensation:
 - “Standard IV” polycondensation on the basis of two-reactor technology;
 - “High IV” polycondensation technology;
 - “Low IV” polycondensation technology (especially suitable for production of PET bottles).

The “Low IV” is based on the usage of UPR® reactor in conjunction with SSP (Solid State Polycondensation). With this technology the obtained polymer has reduced content of oligomers and AA formations, it is subjected to lower thermal degradation and stress. Economical advantages of the given process, better end product quality and lower investment expenses in comparison with standard polyester sets, are unique.

“High IV” technology is based on sequential use of the two reactors, when the UPR® one is followed by the high viscosity DRC® reactor of AQUAFIL Engineering. In DRC® the whole viscosity can be made up to 0,8 IV in the melt phase.

AQUAFIL Engineering also pays an intent attention to environmental protection and continuously works on recycling problems. The recent examples of activities in this sphere are the add-on system for recycling of the trim waste of the film sets directly in polycondensation units, and the technology of 100% recycling of polyester bottles without color sorting.

AQUAFIL Engineering offers a wide range of process technologies of different direct processing for all polyester applications. The company demonstrates a strategic approach for development of innovative, flexible, economical and environmental friendly machine sets for the customers worldwide.

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