Steer China: Extrusion technology upgrade is prevalent


With offices in the USA, Japan, China and Europe, Steer invents materials platform technologies that transform and functionalize materials in the fields of plastics, pharmaceuticals, food & nutraceuticals, biomaterials and biorefining.

Its focuses in China include offering extrusion technology platforms for advanced materials, such as engineering plastics and color masterbatches.

Prasanna Kumar, Deputy General Manager –Technical Support & Business of Steer China, stressed that the company is not merely a machine supplier but a solution provider for manufacturers who want to excel in competition with high quality products.

“There are a lot of new innovations done by Steer to enhance end-product quality. For example, for the products with glossy surface that are in fashion, we provide the technology know-how to improve the shininess and the production process,” said Kumar.

He said Steer produces all its machinery and parts in-house – from the steel it uses to all parts of the machines. “Materials from outside may differ from batch to batch. Making everything in-house allows us to have complete control over consistency and continuity,” he explained.

According to Steer, its advanced co-rotating twin-screw materials platforms provides control over shear rate, brings uniformity in shear, prevents stagnation and erosion, solves impact related issues and provides the capability and control required to work with sensitive materials.

The platforms based on applications allow for a narrower and sharper residence time distribution, resulting in uniform work and minimal energy dissipation.

The color masterbatches produced from Steer’s technology platforms feature “exceptional dispersion, stable performance, surface smoothness and good weatherability, it said.

Steer had announced in January the expansion of its design & engineering capabilities to drive innovations and technology for plastics compounding. The new Advance Design and Engineering

(AD&E) team will create new machine concepts, component technology and prototypes.

Kumar said customers in China are showing increased interest in Steer’s technologies. “I see that more customers want to know about our technology – how we can help improve their production process. I can see the Chinese are looking for improved extrusion technology, and currently there isn’t much technology change.”

Steer knows their limitations, and designed the platforms that can enhance their capacity, productivity and mechanical properties,” he added. “Customers recognised us as a solution provider, and in China, our focus for extruders is very clear: we will work 100% with select customers – those who really want to improve their technology.”

As for spare parts, Kumar said Steer offers new materials that can enhance the product performance. “Low to medium grade materials tend to wear off quickly. With our materials, which last for a long time, users can enhance their productivity,” he said.

Processing special effects pigments is still a major challenge for the plastic industry, as the pigment platelet structure is damaged in the processing stage. Any alteration or change in the size of the structure hinders effective coloration and alters the appearance of the pigments in plastics.

Steer had announced in February a research collaboration with Merck, a leading science & technology company, on creating co-rotating twin screw extruder technology to process special effect pigments.

The research collaboration will focus on accelerating the development of an appropriate technology for the plastic industry to effectively process special effect pigments.

While Steer will use process know-how, technology platform and knowledge of materials transformation, Merck brings to the table its understanding of pigments and their behaviors and core research work in plastics.

Steer labs in India will carry out the research work to be jointly validated by both companies before taking to market the technology platform.

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