Barrel & Screw Wear Measuring: Let's See the Unseen

Arlington Machinery has been in the plastics equipment business long enough to have seen plenty of productive and not-so-productive machines, so we know exactly what to look for when assessing extrusion equipment. The barrel and screw are the top important parts to maintain and examine; all other parts aside, these pieces show the true value of the extruder. 

Damage or wear on an extruder’s main components can lead to increased energy use, reduced throughput, and potential for equipment damage. 

In truth, there is no way to accurately determine the condition or value of an extruder without measuring the screw and barrel wear. While it may perform adequately, imperfections and faults within the machinery may be holding back your production and costing you money.

A used extruder may only be a few clicks away; check out our inventory of plastics extrusion equipment here.

The Arlington team goes above and beyond the standard operating procedures of most dealers by performing a detailed purge of the machine and taking precise measurements; this allows us to ensure optimal production performance when all is said and done. Let’s take a deep dive into the importance of barrel and screw maintenance and how Arlington does the hard work for you.

The Barrel

The first step involves a deep clean. Our team empties the extruder barrel with purging elements, then cleans the ID with brass gauze while it cools to room temperature.

We use a dial bore gauge and a micrometer to take measurements every two to three inches down the barrel. Taking small, frequent measurements allows our techs to pick up on nuances and tiny imperfections in the barrel all the way down the line. 
Finally, the feed hole area is examined for cracks, washout spots, bends, and other faults. The bore of the barrel is also visually assessed, as the most wear is typically found near the middle where polymer melting takes place. Our team makes note of all wear and tear to be addressed later.

What to Do About a Busted Barrel

We hear this all the time—luckily for you, this is what we do. Oftentimes, an issue with an extruder’s barrel is best fixed by fully replacing the barrel. It's not like a dented bumper that you can fix with a hammer and a can-do attitude; rather, the most cost-effective course of action is to go forward with a replacement barrel before the wear causes any other issues. 

Worn barrel got your production on the rocks? Call Arlington Machinery at 847-956-7300 for a free, no-strings-attached quote.

The Screw 

Measuring screw wear is just as important as with the barrel, only with even more emphasis on accuracy. In fact, just knowing your screw geometry sets you up for success with the rest of the process. Due to the intricacy of the screw’s design, faults can hide and cause trouble fairly easily without routine maintenance.

To assess the screw, we first clean it while it’s still hot, using brass gauze as it cools to room temperature. Extra care is taken during this step, as excessively high temperatures can cause warpage, blemishes, and degradation to the parts. 
The flight diameter is then measured at every other flight, and the root diameter is measured between every other flight and at each axis through the feed and meter sections. Lastly, a technician assesses the condition of the root for washouts and examines the nose threads and shank for blemishes. Once again, these faults are noted to be addressed later.

What to Do if Your Screw is Screwed

A worn screw in your extruder is often indicative of a fault in clearance. As an extruder is used over time, especially if screw speed has been increased to boost production speed, the clearance can skew. Routine maintenance can address changes as they occur; if maintenance hasn’t been performed in a long time, that ship has sailed and you probably need a full assessment of the screw and barrel. That’s where Arlington Machinery comes in.

Arlington Raises the Bar

If your other machinery dealer doesn’t provide screw and barrel inspection reports or fully disassemble the extruder before sale, either they are skipping a massive part of the assessment process, or they’re overcharging you. Maybe even both!

At Arlington Machinery, our specialist team takes every evaluation to the next level, completing tests, cleanings, and assessments to ensure our reports are accurate and precise. By performing barrel and screw measurements and cleanings, we can list extruders in our inventory at competitive prices as well as make sure you know exactly what you’re buying.

Before buying your next extruder, reach out to Arlington Machinery, and let us tell you how we are raising the bar all across the plastics industry. Call 847-956-7300 or complete the form below for more information.