List Co. has opened a demonstration center adjacent to its world headquarters in Arisdorf, Switzerland.
The fully automated site is designed specifically for the development and testing of processing solutions for the devolatilization and finishing of elastomers and rubbers. It opened in March.
Boyd Safrit, List research and development manager, North America, said at the International Elastomer Conference the company could conduct the testing at its old center, but it required elaborate setup and teardown times. List needed three weeks to set up and two weeks to tear down for just two weeks of testing. The new center frees space for List to conduct parallel testing between two different applications.
"For two months, our test center was being occupied for tests that only take a week or two," Safrit said. "We wanted a dedicated facility. We wanted it to be fully automated, new, nice, modern and clean so our customers could come in and have some confidence that this was going to work."
Customers can submit their polymer solutions, and List runs different grades and conditions. At the end of the process, the customer has a finished polymer that it can test and the process data required to start looking at a commercial facility.
The center is fully automated. All the customer has to do is bring in its polymer solution, and within a week, a somewhat optimized continuous process is available on a pilot scale, the firm said.
"We've had four different customer campaigns and at least three or four internal testing campaigns so far," Safrit said. "Feedback has been really positive."
List deals with high-viscosity applications such as polymerization, polymer devolatillization, food applications, chemical drying and others. Safrit said the company is involved with virtually any kind of process that is viscous or difficult to handle.
List also has broken ground on a test center near the current facility. The new building will double as an upgraded customer center. Safrit said the center probably will open sometime in 2015.