Plastics News - Show Daily - October 24, 2022 - 18

18 * Plastics News, October 24, 2022
SHOW DAILY
Meaf adds foam extrusion technology
MEAF
MACHINES BV
Hall 17,
Booth A22
higher rigidity and better
thermal insulation.
But the bubbles have
to be small and equalsized
to obtain high
stiffness, he stressed.
As with most foamed
plastic parts, a typical
structure appears on
plastic parts, a typical
structure appears on
the surface, but it is a dotted effect,
as opposed to long swirl patterns
typical for structural foam moldings.
For customers concerned
about this visual effect, Houtekamer
says Meaf is prepared to offer
lamination units to cover the sheet
with smooth fi lm, a technique also
favored by Meaf for customers
seeking barrier properties.
Meaf is developing foamed sheet
Meaf Machines BV Operations Director Elwin Houtekamer says the company has adopted a Microcell foam
extrusion technology, allowing it to offer sheet extrusion lines for foamed polypropylene and PET.
Plastics News photo by Marco Stepniak
By David Vink
Plastics News Correspondent
Yerseke, Netherlands-based
Meaf Machines BV has a long history,
having opened in 1947. But
things have changed.
Operations
Director Elwin
Houtekamer told Plastics News at
K that the company had grown
into producing thermoforming machines
but abandoned that activity
about four years ago by deciding
to focus on a core activity of sheet
extrusion lines for thermoforming
applications.
" We didn't have enough R&D resources
to support our own thermoforming
machines, and we saw
there were already many well-established
thermoforming machine
producers in the market, " Houtekamer
said.
Some 60 percent of the sheet
lines are built for fl exible offl ine
use with smaller production runs,
40 for large volume but less fl exible
inline production use. The
latter can be applied to any thermoforming
machine producer's
equipment. Houtekamer says Meaf
tries to standardize " in a smart
way " with 80 percent standard
module content and 20 percent
tailormade features.
It is the third time that Meaf has
exhibited at K, where its highlight
is the adoption of Microcell foam
extrusion technology from Winterthur,
Switzerland-based Promix
Solutions AG (Hall 9, Booth E18),
so that Meaf now offers sheet
extrusion lines for foamed polypropylene
and PET to its thermoforming
customers. Aside from
foamed sheet extrusion lines, the
company's emphasis at K includes
replacement of latex artifi cial grass
backing with extruded TPE sheet
as a more " circular " solution.
Showing samples of 500- and
700-micron-thick foamed packaging
trays produced on Meaf's laboratory
equipment, Houtekamer
explained that wall thickness is
higher than equivalent compact
trays, but there are advantages of
with greater insulation and rigidity,
so thermoformed products can
handle higher temperatures. A key
feature of the foamed sheets is 1020
percent less plastic raw material
use, along with greater energy
effi ciency.
" We have the lowest energy consumption
in the market, " Houtekamer
boasts, referring to specifi c
energy consumption in the range
of 0.18-0.22 kWh/kg. He observed
how this subject has become more
important in the past six to nine
months, " but we already started
reducing energy consumption 1012
years ago, when it was already
worthwhile. But we didn't see it becoming
as important as it is now. "
Meaf provides the fl exibility of
a small company that outsources
many of the components needed to
build its sheet extrusion lines to " the
best companies we can fi nd. " Outsourced
items include mechanical
components, construction, welding,
panel building and software.
" We used to do everything ourselves
in the past - melt pumps,
dies, etc. - but we now outsource,
without giving away our know-how. "
This approach enables Meaf to
exploit its small size to advantage
through " good cooperation, high
fl exibility and fast reaction to customer
needs, including shortening
a line if space is limited, always
with the goal of using a relatively
small team to build the machines, "
Houtekamer said. Customer confi
dence is built up by a policy of
testing all machines in Yerseke
before they are dispatched to customers.
" We can easily scale up or
scale down in line with the market, "
Houtekamer said.
This approach has reaped benefi
ts, with sales in the range of €5
million to €6 million in 2020 now
extending into the €9 million range.
Although growth " was a bit lower
during the COVID pandemic, "
continued growth has encouraged
Meaf to extend production with a
new assembly hall.
" Of course, we have supply chain
problems - electronic chips, for
example - but every producer
in Europe faces such problems.
Customers don't always understand
this, but a missing microchip
can mean we can't deliver a line, "
Houtekamer said.
The company maintains a strategic
level of stock of electronic
components, gearboxes, screws
and barrels in order to overcome
or alleviate supply chain problems.
Meaf supplies lines all over
the world, but it wants to now focus
more on the European market,
Houtekamer said.
Coming back to the subject of
the circular economy, Houtekamer
said Meaf machines can be optimized
for processing post-consumer
recyclate, especially PET
bottle fl akes. This area is growing
now, while many Meaf customers
have already been processing
post-industrial resin.
He said combining use of infrared
drying systems from Senden,
Germany-based Kreyenborg GmbH
& Co. KG (Hall 9, Booth A27) with
Meaf equipment enables products
acceptable for food contact.
" We have to go more circular,
not just using marketing words, "
Houtekamer said.
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Plastics News - Show Daily - October 24, 2022

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