Our first two articles on the application fields of the thermal oil technology we devoted to the chemical industry and the energy sector. In the third part of our series we now turn to the plastics industry – a special area of the chemical industry where many fields of application for thermal oil plants can be found because of the many technical and economical advantages.
According to the report „Plastics – the Facts 2015“, more than 1.4 million people in around 62,000 companies worked in Europe’s plastics industry in the year 2014 and generated a turn over of over 350 billion Euro. Worldwide 311 million tons of plastic materials were produced in the past year. Biggest customer industry in Europe is the packaging sector followed by the building & construction sector (20.1 %) and the automotive sector (8.6 %). (Source: Industrieanzeiger)
Germany is Europe’s biggest manufacturer and processor of plastics. The German plastics industry includes along the entire value chain the plastics manufacturers and processors and the plastics machinery up to recycling companies.
Plastic materials are strongly anchored in the everyday life. It is required in almost every industrial sectors and spheres of life – such as the medical, construction, electrical and automotive industry and the packaging sector for which it attained an outstanding importance.
Apply of thermal oil plans
For the preparation and processing of plastics, so-called “primary shaping methods” are mainly used which run at processing temperatures up to 430 °C. Significant methods are, for example, the injection molding, the extrusion or blow molding to name just a few.
For all these methods, special machines and tools as well as process heat are required. Thermal oil systems with fired or electrically heated heaters and secondary loops are used regularly for the distribution of the thermal energy. Typical areas of application are, for example, the temperature control of flat-film calendars and coating plants, the temperature control of kneaders or the heating of plants for the production of PET. Further application areas can be found at the temperature control of injection molding tools or the heating of fusible core baths.
The application fields for thermal oil plants in the plastics industry are just as diverse as the sector itself. For many areas of application, the efficient heat transfer system with organic fluids (thermal oils) is the first choice for the production and conversion of plastics.