Resuable Insulation for Extruder Safety

April 28, 2020

Shannon Global Energy Solutions has developed and tested a proprietary thermal removable and reusable insulation blanket, LT550SG, to improve safety for owners and operators of injection molding equipment. Omaha, Neb., Airlite Plastics Co.–a provider of customized solutions for injection molded packaging, including decorating and product design–has installed the Shannon reusable insulation blanket on one of the company’s plastics extrusion lines in Nazareth, Pa., to improve safety and reduce ambient heat. The reusable blankets cover a Davis-Standard Extruder, extrusion die, and related piping. Airlite produces, among other things, containers and lids from FDA-approved plastic resins and custom, proprietary package designs.


Shannon’s representative Aston, Pa.-based Associated Steam Specialty Co. spearheaded the project that also included design and installation of Shannon reusable blanket model LT450SS for the Pennsylvania plant’s steam boiler and accumulator. Airlite’s Pennsylvania facility is one of three plants the company operates, which collectively process 65 million pounds of plastic each year.


“Associated Steam intrigued me with the idea of blanketing our boiler and steam system,” said Tony Alfieri, vice president and general manager for Airlite Plastics Co.’s Nazareth, Pa., facility.


“We, then, began a sidebar discussion about extruders,” adds Ron Sibulsky, a manufacturer’s representative for Associated Steam Specialty Co. “Airlite’s sheet extrusion dies are a pretty big chunk of metal that heats up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit; their operator stands above the equipment, so the dies put a lot of heat into the air.”


Alfieri notes the reusable blankets’ design includes openings to adjust the extrusion line without removing the blanket. The blankets eliminate temperature swings in the area around the equipment. Operators no longer need forearm protection for safety because the blankets serve that role.


“The best compliment for the reusable blankets come from our machine operators who continue to remove and replace these blankets once a month to make routine adjustments and perform maintenance,” adds Alfieri. “The blankets aren’t required for the plastics-making process; my guys would have put them in a box after the first time they removed them if they weren’t beneficial, easy to take off, and easy to put back on.”


With the success of the initial project, Airlite Plastics Co. plans to purchase and install Shannon reusable insulation blankets for the Pennsylvania plant’s remaining lines.