According to Guill Tool & Engineering Co. Inc., their new NanoFlow die technology has the potential to leapfrog past existing state-of-the-art extrusion die technology. The NanoFlow die, which holds several patents and patents pending, can create more than a thousand layers from a single extruder as opposed to roughly a dozen layers prior to the NanoFlow’s development. The NanoFlow layer thickness is in the micrometer (1 millionth of a meter) to nanometer (1 billionth of a meter) range.
With this advanced extrusion technology, significant savings are available through the use of less material or less expensive material, as well as a reduction in different materials needed for production. The NanoFlow die extrusion technology is designed to enable an environmentally friendlier or “greener” end product, says Guill, to help address an increasing concern for manufacturers bearing the continual brunt of stricter governmental regulations.
Although the concept of nanotechnology dates back to 1959, it is only now becoming fully realized commercially and promises to change how products are made in almost every type of industry application, including: medical, automotive, electronics, and industrial. These applications, says Guill, are the key to the success of the NanoFlow die technology.
“Several years ago, we started working on overcoming the limitations in the number of layers we could use in tubular or hollow products. Guill now has nano tooling designs with far more layers than what was previously possible,” says Richard Guillemette, Guill’s vice president. “Conventional multilayer polymer hose may contain several expensive materials in its construction. Now there is the opportunity to make a comparable product with less materials and less expensive materials.”
NanoFlow die technology improves performance properties for extruded products, including mechanical, barrier, and optical properties. Mechanical properties can be enhanced, such increased impact and fracture toughness. An increase in ductility can mean an increase in tear strength. Strong, brittle materials prone to crack propogation can be combined with soft ductile layers to limit crack propogation.
Barrier properties, for example, when sensitive materials require protection from the air, can be better engineered by designing the thinnest layers, which will force materials to crystallize. Gas (O2, H2O, EtOH) barrier-type properties are also made possible with this technology.