The air heater burner with instant response to process demands helped keep final product quality high.

Soluble polymer film used for packaging that “melts” away during use is tricky to produce. Temperature control is paramount for a reliable product, which has a multitude of purposes in packaging or as a sealer. Some uses include:
  • Wrapping for individual packets of laundry detergent, in which the completely biodegradable film dissolves in water.
  • Medical containers, medical waste and other medical uses.
  • Form-release film.
A Chicago-area company that dried a cornstarch emulsion into a soluble film needed a clean-burning air heater with high turndown to properly support the process. The company, an existing customer of Rockford, Ill.-based Eclipse, brought in the combustion company to assess its drying oven, which contained a stainless steel belt onto which the cornstarch emulsion was extruded. A combination of heat and high process airflow dried the material into a thin film with the consistency of latex. The film then was cut and rolled at the exit end of the continuous oven.

Eclipse supplied a clean-burning air heater with high turndown to support the drying of soluble polymer film. Hot burner gases enter via the recirculating fan and are drawn the length of the oven into the exhaust fan.

The oven was separated into two zones of temperature control with a stainless steel belt running the oven’s length. Eclipse designed a system in which the hot burner gases entered via the recirculating fan and were drawn the length of the oven and into the exhaust fan. Several variables such as extrusion pressure, zone temperature, volume of airflow and belt speed affect the product’s quality, so Eclipse installed two clean-burning air heater systems with high turndown to properly support the process. Each system included two AH 200 burner valve trains and control panels.

Because the film is considered a high-value product, the process was completely controlled by PLC setpoint recipes, and required subsystems such as a combustion system had to be reliable and responsive to instant process demands. Quality control for the finished product was of the highest importance to the customer, according to Eclipse.

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