Temperature Controllers for Plastics Processing
A temperature control unit, sometimes known as a “TCU,” is a device used to keep the temperature of an injection moulding, blow moulding, extrusion, or other plastics process within a predetermined range.
Unlike chillers, which remove heat physically, TCUs can raise the temperature with built-in heaters and lower it by exchanging directly with water at a lower temperature or through a heat exchanger. Using a thermal transfer fluid is an option when the temperature has to be kept above 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
What is the function of a temperature control unit?
It has been pointed out that even though there are a variety of various basic designs used in temperature control units, they all have a few essential components:
- Precision controller for an electric heater
- Hydraulic regulator for water chilling
The pump drives the cooling fluid around the process and back to the TCU. Common plastics, such as polyolefins, are “cooled” to a temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 and 27 degrees Celsius), whereas engineering plastics, such as nylon or polycarbonate, may be “cooled” to a temperature between 100 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit (38 and 93 degrees Celsius). During the operation, the fluid will pick up heat from the polymer before being sent back to the TCU. The digital controller will check the difference between the current and target process temperature before deciding which cooling method to use. If you’re starting with a cold mold and want to get things going, you’ll need to heat the process fluid. However, once the fluid is at the right temperature, and you start regularly injecting hot material, cooling the mold down becomes the more pressing concern. The TCU’s ability to cool and heat ensures it can keep temperatures where they should be.