Macro Engineering & Technology is a supplier of film and sheet extrusion systems that specializes in barrier film lines and custom designed extrusion machinery. For over 40 years, the company has helped film and sheet producers reach their production goals with their project-oriented philosophy and the underlying commitment to developing innovative technologies and quality solutions.

Although Macro designs and build our equipment in Canada and has traditionally been strong in the North American market, they have expanded to service the global market, with a significant installed base in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

MACRO: Macro Engineering occupies a unique space in the film extrusion equipment market, as we are one of the only custom equipment houses in the global market. Very few others offer a complete line of blown- and cast-film machinery tailored specifically to the needs of individual customers.

Our complete product line includes:

  • Blown film systems for non-barrier and high barrier films (PA, EVOH, PVdC), for printing/lamination films, stretch and collation films, agricultural films, geomembrane films
    • Film structure up to 13 layers
    • Microlayer technology up to 30 layers
    • Widths up to 8 m
    • Individual layer foaming
    • Proven die technologies (spiral, stacked, conical)
    • Optimized feed screw and die design
    • Versatile air rings
  • Cast film systems for non-barrier and high barrier films (PA, EVOH, PVdC) for food and medical packaging, printing/lamination films, thermoforming films, cling and stretch films (PVC, PE), cPP films for  stand-up pouches, twist wrap
    • Film structure up to 13 layers
    • Microlayer technology
    • Individual layer foaming
    • Edge encapsulation
    • Gauge sensor options (infrared, beta backscatter, x-ray)
    • Width up to 8 m sheeting
  • Biaxially-oriented film systems – our QuadexTM technology-  for high barrier shrinkable bags (PA, EVOH, PVdC), sausage casings (PA, PVdC), barrier shrink packaging, non-barrier shrink packaging
    • Film structure up to 13 layers
    • Know-how to optimize shrink properties
    • Double-bubble and multi–bubble configurations
    • Technology transfer-processing knowledge and film structure licensing
    • A range of bubble re-blowing options
    • Annealing options (heated rollers or infrared heater)
  • Specialty sheet systems for technical sheet (laminating sheet for reinforced glass or solar panels), thermoformed sheets (in-line thermoformed sheeting for construction application), foam sheets (PS, PP, PLA packaging), multilayer foam sheets (PA, EVOH or PVDC for food packaging application), fabric-reinforced sheets for heavy industrial application)
    • A range of melt cooling technologies (casting roll unit, 3-roll calender, water-quenching bath)
    • Annealing option (infrared heated stress-relaxing chamber, water bath)
    • Reincorporated edge trims and start-up materials
    • Optimized screw and extruder designs
    • Winding technologies:
      • Stacked sheets
      • Large diameter rolls
      • Small ‘contractor’ rolls
  • Foam systems for food packaging (meat trays, fruit and vegetable trays, clamshell food containers, egg cartons, noodle bowls), industrial packing (impact protection, insulation), medical packaging, retail packaging
    • High output tandem extruder systems
    • Coextrusion technology
    • Individual layer foaming on blown and cast systems up to 13 layers
    • Proprietary extruder and screw designs
    • Environmentally-friendly blowing designs
    • Technology to control cellular structure
    • Innovative material formulation for reactive extrusion foaming
    • Custom engineering winding and end-of-line automation

E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products?

MACRO: New products for 2021 are focused around our industry leading MacroCool D10 air rings. The MacroCool D10 air ring was the first high efficiency Dual Lip air ring in the market and the cooling rates from this design are second to none, so in addition to our „Try It. Like It. Buy It” program that allows our customer a 30 day risk free evaluation to prove out the benefits of MacroCool, we are also launching the AccuPro AR gauge control air ring and the MacroCool One.

The MacroCool AR represents a paradigm shift for Macro Engineering as we have never been able to offer a thermally adjusted auto profile air ring with our own proprietary software into the marketplace before and the fact that we are now able to do this at a highly competitive price point is a mark of pride for Macro.  We also anticipate expanding the capabilities of the MacroCool AR to provide the benefit of automatically adjusting the film gauge to lines with rotating dies to update them with modern capabilities.

The MacroCool One represents an updated version of the classic ring manifold design.  The One has a singular inlet eliminating the need for a distribution air box as well as unwieldy hoses leading to the air ring.  The single duct providing chilled air is easier to insulate, is less disruptive of the air flow and makes the die area tidier and more operator friendly.  The benefits of the MacroCool One do not sacrifice any of the performance, with the design having been tested to provide consistent flow around the bubble and the D10 air lips provide the same easy bubble adjustment and high cooling of the classic design.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

MACRO: The market in North America is well established and represents an absolute range from the latest cutting edge innovations in plastic film all the way to older commodity products.  This diverse range suits Macro Engineering well, as we are in a position to offer clients upgrades to individual pieces of equipment. This gives them the flexibility to incrementally upgrade their equipment to provide greater throughput using the latest advancements, or change their product mix completely by upgrading on a larger scale.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

MACRO: The overall trend in extrusion equipment has been towards efficiency. Macro equipment has always been efficient. But nowadays efficiency is not enough. Sustainability and circular economy are necessary concepts in today’s plastic industry, even for machinery manufacturers. For this reason, we redesigned our dies, our screws and barrels and our line control systems to enable these new trends. Our lines can process higher quantities of recycled materials. They can also process different biopolymers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a shifting effect on Canadian manufacturing, with some players in the marketplace moving some or all of their manufacturing over to medical and PPE (personal protective equipment) films in order to support the ballooning demand.  With the introduction of widely available vaccines, it remains to be seen if these markets will continue or be returned to their traditional markets once the demand subsides.

There is a long term ongoing trend towards replacing the older lines (typically monolayer and 3-layer) with more advanced sophisticated lines, but this is currently being hampered by an initiative by Canadian Government to reduce plastic waste by arbitrarily placing some types of single use plastics on a restricted list of toxic substances.  The leaders in the chemistry and plastics sector are currently pushing back, asking the government to perform a proper risk assessment on the subject rather than effectively banning plastic product based on their perceived wastefulness.  In the meantime, the market uncertainty has had a slight chilling effect on the willingness of manufacturers to upgrade existing equipment until the regulatory limits have been determined.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

MACRO: The most innovative product that we offer to our industry would likely be the MacroPack FP die design. Rather than a tradition die which passes molten polymer through D-shaped channels formed between the mandrel and outer body, the MacroPack FP uses a horizontal pancake style design that allows for machining on both surfaces and accommodates a full O-shaped channel.  This minor design change represents a revolution on polymer processing efficiency, reducing irregular flow points inside the die and ensuring a more laminar flow across the die.

The net effect of this change is a drastic increase in efficiency when purging material due to startup or product changes:  Whereas purging the die used to take an entire 8-hour production shift, the MacroPack FP can perform the same function in less than 30 minutes, reducing expensive scrap product and costs.

In addition to the specific die design, the overall incremental improvements in Macro equipment permits the greater flexibility when running higher amounts of recycled material as well as bio-based and biodegradable/compostable resins. As markets move to more environmentally conscious resins in greater volumes, these innovations will represent greater impacts over time.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021?

MACRO: 2021 is expected to be a year of changes in the plastics industry and overall.  The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to continue to ripple across socio-economic norms for years to come, spanning everything from lost incomes due to mandated quarantines that are expected to continue for weeks or months ahead, along with the positives of new business opportunities that will arise as a product of the changing marketplace.

Although it would be impossible to predict where the opportunities lie, Macro Engineering and Technology stand ready to accommodate our clientele with the most flexible equipment offering in the market, and we invite you to contact us to witness the quality of Macro equipment for yourself.