Under the technical direction of Dr Monica Battisti (pictured), the materials control lab is equipped with a DSC (differential scanning calorimeter), a TGA (thermogravimetric analysis), a refractive index detector, a gel permeability gascromatography (GPG) and a iquid cromatography (HPLC).
The new materials laboratory is equipped to allow Elastomers Union to test all batches: physical and mechanical properties, density, hardness and vulcanisation. Analysis equipment includes an oscillating disc rheometer (ODR), as well as systems for measuring resistance to thermal ageing and to chemicals.
The new production line includes the same machines as the first one, but is smaller and mostly used for coloured or special compounds. Each line employs an internal mixer with tangential rotors, two cylinder mixers and batch-off for cooling that can produce a single continuous strip from 15 kg up to 130 kg.
Instead of a filter die, Elastomers Union prefers a gear pump to filter its polymers in order to obtain a less stressed product and to avoid the breaking of the filters – a very common event when using a filter die due to the high viscosity of the fluorinated polymer.
This technology enables the company to filter its compounds down to a diameter of 0.11mm for all those applications where high levels of purity are essential.
The current annual capacity of Elastomers Union is 1500 tonnes. This, it said, means that ’’we are able to satisfy our customer’s needs with a prompt, uninterrupted supply of compounds.’’
Elastomers Union uses its R&D laboratory to study new recipes according to its customer’s needs. It designs compounds starting from the raw materials, and collaborates with suppliers, such as Sersar Ltd, that can supply polymers made specifically for the development of compounds with new features.
After the development of the compound in the laboratory, the company tests the material according to the specific production process of the customer. Once finished, the new compound becomes part of the standard production cycle.
As the company is exporting its compound to markets including Germany, UK, France, Spain, Russia, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Switzerland, it collaborates with local agents. At the moment they are situated in Germany, UK and Turkey, but one of the company’s future projects is to expand its services in all the other countries.