AET Films unveils10-meter-wide line

In March, AET Films' Terre Haute, IN, plant started production on Tenter III, a 10-meter-wide cast film extrusion line that's capable of producing 50 million lb/yr of 10-m-wide, biaxially oriented polypropylene film.

AET says the line, plant and an 8-m line installed earlier represent a $100-million total investment.

The line and its slitter was up and running 27 months after project approval, a month ahead of schedule. The primary equipment on the line is supplied by Bruckner Maschinenbau (Siegsdorf, Germany), a company represented in the U.S. by Bruckner Inc. (Greenville, SC). It includes the casting unit, machine-direction orienter, transverse-direction orienter (or tenter oven) and a pull roll/winder. Mitsubishi Intl. (New York, NY) provides the resin extrusion system.

According to Tenter III manager Glenn Pennycook, the line produces OPP film "mainly in thicknesses from 0.5 to 1.5 mils, for sale to converters, often for snack food packaging." It can also be used for other foods, as well as beverage, tobacco, labels and pet foods, among others. Pennycook says the cast line provides better economics, throughput and flatness than would a blown-film line.

The 10-m-wide film is slit into rolls as large as 40" in dia and 120" wide on a new slitter from U.K.-based Atlas Converting Equipment, represented in the U.S. by Atlas Group America (Charlotte, NC).

Thomas Williams, president of New Castle, DE-based AET Films, refers to Tenter III as "the world's largest OPP production line. By the end of April," he points out, "Tenter III was already outproducing our most recent eight-meter line, even though the new line wasn't [operating at] full speed."

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