February 2009

Close-Up on Technology

A Quiet Revolution In Materials Characterization
In December, about a dozen representatives of European chemical companies gathered in Aachen, Germany, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of a quiet revolution in plastics.

Novel PC/Polyester Blends Combine Stiffness and Ductility
An unusual balance of high modulus and ductile impact behavior is claimed for Xenoy HMD resins, recently launched by SABIC Innovative Plastics.

Starting Up

Outlook - February 2009
U.S. output of medical equipment and supplies expanded by more than 3% in 2008, according to data from the Federal Reserve Board.

Resin Prices Bottom Out
The free fall in resin prices appeared to end with a thump last month.

Your Business In Brief - February 2009
New Compounding Facilities OpenTwo new compounding facilities have opened recently.


Shining Opportunities In Solar Films
Photovoltaic markets are growing explosively, and so are opportunities for specialty film producers. Solar cell and module production, which was forecasted to grow at 50% a year for the next few years before the recession hit, is now expecting slightly more healthy 30% annual growth, according to DuPont, a major supplier of photovoltaic film materials. Solar cell and module manufacturers are expanding, and large numbers of new companies are entering the field.

The Quiet Revolution Continues
Not quite two decades ago, I wrote in this space, “Something needs to be done to improve the quality, usefulness, and believability of materials property data.” All three quantities were sorely lacking because materials specifiers had no assurance that any two materials had been tested in the same way, using specimens with the same geometry and same method of preparation.

Keeping Up With Technology

Adhesive Maker Develops Thermoplastic Epoxy WPC
Stronger, stiffer wood/plastic composites (WPC) can be made with a novel thermoplastic epoxy developed by L&L Products Inc., Romeo, Mich.

Affordable Desktop 3D Printers For Rapid Prototyping
Two new 3D printers boast affordability and broader options for modeling and rapid prototyping.

All-Servo Robots Have Wireless Programming
A new high-speed, all-servo, three-axis traversing robot with a new wireless controller was introduced at last fall’s International Plastics Fair in Tokyo by Sailor of Japan (represented here by Sailor Automation Inc., Placentia, Calif.). The new RZ-200EH line boasts positioning accuracy within 0.1 mm of setpoint.

Anti-Cold-Flow Additive For HR Slabstock Foams
A new, non-accelerating crosslinking additive is designed to improve the shape of high-resilient (HR) slabstock foam blocks.

Anti-Scratch Additive For Automotive TPOs
A new anti-scratch additive for TPO auto interiors is based on organic-modified siloxane.

Biodegradable Sheet For Food Packaging
Reynolds Packaging KAMA, the sheet extrusion division of Reynolds Food Packaging, Hazleton, Pa., will produce thermoformable sheet made of Cereplast Inc.’s starch-based biodegradable resins.

Colors for Copolyester TPE
A new series of color concentrates that includes many color options for engineering-grade copolyester TPEs is available from Teknor Color, Pawtucket, R.I.

Colors for Non-Phthalate PVC Compounds
A new series of colorants is designed for non-phthalate-containing PVC compounds used in injection molding, extrusion, and blow molding.

Compact Nozzle Now In Valve-Gate Design
A valve-gate option has been added to the Z3240 series of Compact hot-runner nozzles from Hasco America Inc., Arden, N.C.

Compostable Cellophane Barrier Films Arrive Here
Traditional cellophane films are largely based on renewable cellulose, but they don’t meet the latest strict standard for biodegradability and compostability (ASTM D6400). That led Innovia Films Inc. in the U.K. (U.S. office in Atlanta) to develop coated cellulose films that do comply.

Die Module Stacks Nano-Layers in Blown Film
A new device called a Layer Sequence Repeater has been added to the Modular Disc Die technology from BBS Corp., Spartanburg, S.C.

Direct Side Gating For Multi-Cavity Molds
A hot-runner nozzle for direct side gating of multiple long, slim, or tube-shaped parts is new from Ewikon Molding Technologies Inc., East Dundee, Ill.

Electric Valve Gate For Tight-Pitch Jobs
A new electric valve-gate (EVG) series for tight-pitch situations is said to perform better than pneumatic alternatives.

Faster Product Changes In Blown Film Extrusion
WEB EXCLUSIVE A combination of software and a new bus connection for faster data transfer is said to shorten the time it takes to reach automatic gauge control after product changeovers in blown film.

First Bio-Based Polyether TPU
Merquinsa in Spain (U.S. office in Seabrook, N.H.) has expanded its range of Pearlthane ECO TPUs made with renewable plant-based ingredients to now include the world’s first polyether “bio TPU.” These grades will have up to 60% renewable content. (603) 474-0971 • www.merquinsa.comMerquinsa North America Inc. 34 Folly Mill Road Seabrook, NH 03874 Phone (603) 474-0971 Fax (603) 474-0972 

Higher Flow PLA Grade For Injection Molding
A new grade of polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymer for injection molding offers higher flow than previous grades for easier injection molding of thin-wall parts.

Injection Unit Handles Larger Thermoset Shots
A new 80-mm-diam. screw designed to plasticate larger volumes of thermoset resins is new from KraussMaffei Corp., Florence, Ky.

Manual Screen Changers Are More Compact
The new CSC line of compact, manual slide-plate screen changers comes from Key Filters, div. of Parkinson Technologies, Woonsocket, R.I.

Metallocene PP Copolymers Boast Ultra-High Clarity
A new family of metallocene-based PP copolymers reportedly offers unprecedented “glass-like” clarity similar to PC and PETG, along with good physical properties and processability.

More Efficient Cooling Without Tower or Chiller
A process-cooling system introduced from Italy as a more efficient alternative to cooling towers or central chillers has undergone a redesign that further increases its cooling capacity.

New Copolyester In Sheet for Signs
Plaskolite Inc., Columbus, Ohio, is now offering thermoformable sheet of Eastman Chemical’s new proprietary Tritan copolyester for signage.

New Hybrid Presses
Energy savings of up to 30% compared with fully hydraulic machines is the chief benefit claimed for new hybrid presses introduced at last fall’s International Plastics Fair in Japan by Kawaguchi (U.S. office in Wheeling, Ill.). The company showed a prototype of its new KH-U line, which will be formally introduced in the third quarter of this year in a range of about 150 to 400 tons.

New Marble Resins Take More Filler
A new series of DCPD polyester casting resins are said to accept higher filler loadings to reduce costs for cultured marble manufacturers by at least 11%. Vicast A830 resins from AOC, LLC, Collierville, Tenn., have lower viscosity than standard polyesters with the same styrene content (29-32%), typically 150 to 250 cps vs. the usual 1100-1200 cps.

New PET Dryer Is More Compact And Recycles Heat
A new wheel-type desiccant dryer is said to save both energy and floorspace.

New PPA Grade Replaces Metal
Evonik Degussa Corp., High Performance Polymers, Parsippany, N.J., has introduced Vestamid HTplus, a polyphthalamide (PPA) resin for metal replacement in molded fuel systems and pump and filter-system housings.

New Robot and Controller Extend Automation Offerings
WEB EXCLUSIVE A new three-axis, servo-driven robot is the smallest in a series of low-cost models from Sepro Robotique of France, represented here by Sepro America LLC, Pittsburgh.

New Source of Multi-Loop Extrusion Controllers
Dynisco Instruments, Franklin, Mass., has just launched its first multi-loop controller, using PID algorithms similar to those offered in its discrete single-loop temperature and pressure controls.

New Spider Pipe Die Makes Stronger Knit Lines
This die for PVC and CPVC pipe, built by American Maplan Corp., McPherson, Kan., uses a new head design with optimized orientation of the spider legs to allow knit lines in the melt to fuse together for improved strength, Maplan says.

New Stretch-Blow Molder With Preferential Heating
A new linear stretch-blow molder with preferential heating produces flat and complex-shaped PET bottles at up to 5600 bottles/hr for household, personal-care, and pharmaceutical uses.

Organic Biocide for WPC Composites
A new organic biocide is said to significantly increase the lifespan of wood/plastic composites (WPCs), by dramatically reducing discoloration by mold or fungi.

PTFE Goes ‘PFOA-Free’
Early this year, Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. in Japan, parent of AGC Chemicals Americas, Inc., Downingtown, Pa., plans to introduce the Fluon E-Series of PTFE resins made without perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOA has been widely used as a polymerization surfactant in making fluoropolymers, but it has fallen under scrutiny for potential toxicity and widespread presence and persistence in the environment.

Radiation Crosslinking Gives Nylon a Boost
TechnoCompound GmbH, an engineering compounder in Bad Sobernheim, Germany, recently introduced nylon 6 and 66 compounds with a radiation crosslinking additive.

SLA Machine for Extra-Large Prototypes
What is said to be the largest commercial stereolithography (SLA) system allows for rapid production of high-definition prototypes and production parts up to 60 in. long.

SMC Preheater Cuts Cure Time
A new radio-frequency preheater for SMC sheet improves the distribution of reinforcements in molded parts and reduces cure time by 50%, especially in thicker bosses and structures.

Tabletop Hydraulic Press Molds Small LSR Parts
A new LSR model of Babyplast hydraulic tabletop injection press comes from Cronoplast S.L. of Spain, represented here by Alba Enterprises Inc., Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Thermochromic Film Shows When Food Is Hot
Klockner Pentaplast GmbH in Germany, a global producer of thin sheet for thermoformed packaging, is introducing an unusual “intelligent” rigid film for trays.

Unique Mold Cooling Cuts Cycles, Raises Output
New aluminum mold blocks from ThermaForm LLC, Troy, Mich., incorporate conformal cooling technology to reduce cycle times for blow molded bottles.

CW Brabender
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