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Simulating Tightly Intermeshing, Co-Rotating Twin Screw Extruders with SIGMA

Nils Kretzschmar and Volker Schoeppner

The 2010 Summer Computer Simulation Conference (SCSC 10)
Ottawa, Canada, July 11-14, 2010


Summary

A large proportion of plastics today is compounded, which means the process from refining a raw material to the processable material. For this process compounding extruders are used which mostly involve tightly intermeshing, corotating twin screw extruders. These extruders consist of two closely spaced screws which rotate in the same direction and convey the raw material to the screw tip. These screws are surrounded by several barrel modules which heat or cool the material. As the whole design of the machine is modularly arranged the process behavior of a twin screw extruder depends for the main part on the arrangement of the screw and the barrel elements. Until today this arrangement and process optimization is conducted by experienced engineers and with the help of trial-and-error methods. Furthermore, theoretical models are used with which the behavior of the extruder is estimated. As these models are mostly very complex they are only made available with the realization in different software projects. One of the tools is called SIGMA. Within this paper SIGMA is introduced as a software to optimize a twin screw extruder. SIGMA supports the engineer already in the early stages of the extruder arrangement.


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