2018 marks the 20th anniversary of ENTEK Extruders. While ENTEK has been in business since 1984, the Extruder division of the company was established in 1998. The story of how and why ENTEK Extruders came to be is not really typical for a leading machine supplier to the plastics industry.
The Early Years
ENTEK began operations in the 1980’s as a processor, compounding materials and producing highly-filled, specialized sheet used in battery separators for the automotive industry. The materials used in this application were challenging to run on twin-screw extruders, to say the least. The wear on the screws and barrels in the extruders created the need for frequent replacement of these critical parts, and ENTEK was dealing with long lead times to get replacement parts from their machine suppliers. Downtime was not an option, so ENTEK began producing its own wear parts, which led to making its own twin-screw extruders for in-house use.
“ENTEK’s experience with its own 24/7 for 355+ days per year extrusion operation taught us the importance of equipment reliability, locally sourced parts, and outstanding customer service,” said Dr. Kirk Hanawalt, ENTEK President. “ENTEK’s background in running extrusion lines really guided our development as an extrusion line supplier. We know that running extrusion lines to make money is hard work and as a supplier we have to go the extra mile in our technical support and service to ensure our customers are successful.”
In 1998 the company decided to branch out and market its twin-screw extruders to the plastics industry, and made its first sale. The company that purchased ENTEK’s first machine in 1998 has continued to purchase ENTEK extruders over the years, including a recent purchase of multiple machines in 2018.
Some Highlights Along the Way
ENTEK grew steadily over the years with numerous highlights along the way. Some of these included:
- NPE shows: After exhibiting at its first NPE show in 1997 with a small 10’ booth, ENTEK has been a major exhibitor at every NPE since. In 2018, ENTEK had a 40’ x 50’ island booth at NPE featuring QC3 33mm and HR3 73mm machines, interactive screw design layout programs, and live 5-minute screw change demonstrations
- Markets: In its early years, ENTEK began working with leading color compounders who embraced our new extruder design. We offered then and still offer today extruders with the electrical, cooling, heating, and lubrication components onboard within Stainless Steel cabinets; easily sourced electrical and mechanical components; and the willingness to provide custom solutions to suit our customer’s unique needs. Today, ENTEK is the leading twin-screw supplier to this market and has become a leading supplier in other markets including wood-plastic extrusion, packaging, bioresins, and specialty materials.
- QC3: After several years of research and development, ENTEK introduced its new line of QC3 twin-screw extruders in 2015. QC3 stands for Quick Change, Quick Clean and Quality Control. Virtually every aspect of the machine was examined and redesigned, if necessary, to improve on all of these key parameters. The machines feature the ability to change screws in 5 minutes or less – a function that takes hours on competitors’ machines.
Today . . .
After 20 years in business, ENTEK has several hundred twin-screw extruders in operation in 14 countries – from the US, Canada and Mexico to Europe, Asia and Australia.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that many of our customers have continued to purchase from us over the years,” said Linda Campbell, ENTEK’s Director of Sales. “We’re also proud that five members of our sales team have over 20 years with ENTEK.”
From that first machine sale in 1998, ENTEK now manufactures eight sizes of twin-screw extruders ranging from 27mm to 133mm in size. “We have a machine for virtually any materials compounding application, from small machines for lab environments to machines for ultra-high masterbatch production,” said Linda Campbell.
ENTEK thanks its many loyal customers who have worked with the company over the years and welcomes new prospects who would like to learn more about the company’s twin-screw extruders and wear parts. Contact ENTEK anytime to speak with one of our expert staff, or even better, plan a visit to Oregon to tour ENTEK’s facilities, meet our people and run material trials in our state-of-the-art Pilot Plant. “We’re proud that we’ve been in the twin-screw extruder business for 20 years, but we’re even more enthusiastic about our future,” said Kirk Hanawalt.