Investigation of the process energy demand in polymer extrusion: A brief review and an experimental study

Chamil Abeykoon, Adrian L. Kelly, Elaine C. Brown, Javier Vera-Sorroche, Phil D. Coates, Eileen Harkin-Jones, Ken B. Howell, Jing Deng, Kang Li, Mark Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Extrusion is one of the fundamental production methods in the polymer processing industry and is used in the production of a large number of commodities in a diverse industrial sector. Being an energy intensive production method, process energy efficiency is one of the major concerns and the selection of the most energy efficient processing conditions is a key to reducing operating costs. Usually, extruders consume energy through the drive motor, barrel heaters, cooling fans, cooling water pumps, gear pumps, etc. Typically the drive motor is the largest energy consuming device in an extruder while barrel/die heaters are responsible for the second largest energy demand. This study is focused on investigating the total energy demand of an extrusion plant under various processing conditions while identifying ways to optimise the energy efficiency. Initially, a review was carried out on the monitoring and modelling of the energy consumption in polymer extrusion. Also, the power factor, energy demand and losses of a typical extrusion plant were discussed in detail. The mass throughput, total energy consumption and power factor of an extruder were experimentally observed over different processing conditions and the total extruder energy demand was modelled empirically and also using a commercially available extrusion simulation software. The experimental results show that extruder energy demand is heavily coupled between the machine, material and process parameters. The total power predicted by the simulation software exhibits a lagging offset compared with the experimental measurements. Empirical models are in good agreement with the experimental measurements and hence these can be used in studying process energy behaviour in detail and to identify ways to optimise the process energy efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-737
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date17 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Dec 2014


  • Energy consumption
  • Energy efficiency
  • Modelling
  • Polymer extrusion
  • Power factor
  • Process monitoring


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