Article Archive

Close-Up on Technology

Compression Blow Forming Process Now in Commercial Production
Expectations of higher productivity, improved quality, and energy savings for a novel blow molding process are now being realized in commercial production at Amcor Rigid Plastics in Youngsville, N.C.

Features

Sub-Micron Additives Make Strides (Just Don’t Say ‘Nano’)
High-surface-area, sub-micron-size additives have been making significant commercial strides in thermoplastic applications, albeit generally later than had been expected just a decade ago.

This Molder Wants Only the Tough Jobs
Need someone to injection mold fluoropolymers, highly filled PEE K, Torlon, or Ultem in complex shapes, tight tolerances, multiple cavities, and high volumes? “We love doing this,” says Tom Mendel, president of Performance Plastics Ltd. (PPL) in Cincinnati. “We’re not for everybody.

TOOLING AT NPE: Hot Runners & Coinjection Grab Spotlight
Tooling innovations at NPE focused primarily on multi-cavity closure and medical applications, though there was also a substantial emphasis on large automotive and appliance parts.

Avoid Four Common Traps In Granulation
Today, more than ever, granulation is an important step in the total production process.

Strategies

Molders Try Cross-Training To Build Crucial Skills In-House
Despite high unemployment, many plastics processors still can’t find qualified workers to fill open positions that require specialized skills. So some are looking at further developing the skills of the employees they already have.

Troubleshooter

Optimize Cut-Sheet Forming With Syntactic Foam Plug Assist
Common problems encountered in the cut-sheet thermoforming process include thin spots, webbing, poor part definition, and plug/pusher mark-off.

Keeping Up With Technology

INJECTION MOLDING: Medium-Size Two-Platen Debut
A May open house in Germany saw the global introduction of the GX series of hydromechanical, two-platen presses from KraussMaffei Technologies GmbH (U.S. office in Florence, Ky.). These machines from 400 to 650 metric tons feature the new fast-acting GearX clamping units mounted behind the moving platen and the new GuideX platen guide shoe with an “intelligent fixed bearing joint” to maintain platen parallelism.

EXTRUSION: Film Gauge Measures Total and Barrier-Layer Thickness
New Model 8000 gauging system for multilayer blown film from NDC, Irwindale, Calif., can quickly determine both the profile shape and average thickness of both the total web and critical barrier layers.

BLOW MOLDING: Injection-Blow Machine for Commodity Resins
New CR Series of injection-blow molding machines from Jomar Corp., Pleasantville, N.J., is designed for processing commodity resins like HDPE, LDPE, PP, and PS for producing dropper, roll-on, pharmaceutical, and healthcare bottles.

AUXILIARIES: Compact Dryer for Medical Molding
New NDM-5 compact dryer from Novatec Inc., Baltimore, is designed specifically for low-volume medical molding at up to 5 lb/hr.

MATERIALS: High-Purity Medical TPVs for Syringe Stoppers
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Teknor Apex Co., Pawtucket, R.I., recently revealed for the first time that its Medalist MD-200 Series TPEs are thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs). These grades, which have not been publicized before, are recommended for their high purity and resilience for replacing rubber in medical applications.

MATERIALS: Biocompatible & Bondable TPEs for Medical Devices
WEB EXCLUSIVE: RTP Co., Winona, Minn., has added specialty TPEs to its line of biocompatible compounds for medical devices.

MATERIALS: Low-Cost TPEs for Toothbrush Handles
WEB EXCLUSIVE: A new series of TPEs is said to be a lower-cost alternative to comparable TPEs for toothbrush handles and handles/grips for other personal-care items.

MATERIALS: Tougher Long-Fiber Nylon Compounds
WEB EXCLUSIVE: New nylon 6 and 66 compounds with up to 60% long-glass fiber are said to be “ultra-durable,” with up to twice the impact resistance of standard materials.

Know How

When It Comes to Nylon, Don’t Do the Math
Chemistry is seldom as simple as it looks. Polymer chemistry takes the complexity up a notch. Nylon chemistry is about much more than doing the math.

Should You Profile Injection Velocity?
If you can get by with one velocity, use only one, because fill time is easier to reproduce, and it is easier to set up the process.

Get Smarter on Extruder Sizes
Processors tend to recommend a much larger extruder than what’s really necessary for the job and the capabilities of the downstream equipment.

Starting Up

Nordson: Emerging New Force in Plastics
In a span of two weeks last month, Nordson Corp. spent $400 million to expand its interests in plastics.

Stainless-Steel Film Can Replace the Real Thing
AkzoNobel’s Specialty Finishes business has developed a new type of PVDF cast film aimed at replacing mechanically brushed decorative metals.

U.S. Medical Development Center For Ritemp Cooling Technology
Novel conformal cooling technology from Ritemp Pty.

Novel Blending System Fights Material Separation
Processors have been fighting a battle against material separation in blends for years.

New Services for Injection Molders
At NPE2012, three firms announced new or expanded services for molders:•Milacron’s Servtek aftermarket business in Cincinnati offers a new capability for ordering spare parts online 24/7.•Ube Machinery Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich., is offering three new services to help molders deal with difficult economic conditions.

In-Mold Label Is Also Food Package’s Seal
At April’s NPE2012 show in Orlando, Fla., in-mold labels (IML) showed they can fulfill new roles, such as providing barrier protection (see our March show preview). They also can provide air- and water-tight seals, eliminating the need for a foil or film sealing membrane.

Lanxess Expanding Nylon Production & Compounding
Lanxess AG (U.S. office in Pittsburgh) plans to build a new world-scale nylon plastics plant in Antwerp, Belgium.

Tungsten-Filled Compounds Slash Catheter Manufacturing Costs
WEB EXCLUSIVE: A new line of thermoplastic marker bands for fluoroscopic illumination of catheter tips used in minimally invasive medical procedures is said reduce costs by eliminating traditional gold or platinum marker bands.

TPE Replaces Rubber in Resealable Closure for Infusion Bags
WEB EXCLUSIVE: A two-component, injection molded resealable closure for infusion bags has been developed by Bolivia’s Matriplast SA using a special TPE from Kraiburg TPE in Germany (U.S. office in Duluth, Ga.). Matriplast specializes in plastic containers and products for the pharmaceutical industry and is also now aiming to produce high-end products such as the new ASEPTIcap closure.

On-Line Modeling Tool for Easy Tie-Layer Selection
WEB EXCLUSIVE: DuPont Packaging, Wilmington, Del., has introduce the second in a series of online predictive modeling tools that promises to simplify tie-layer material selection, a critical step in multilayer packaging design.

Glass-Like Colored COC for Pharma Packaging, Medical Devices
WEB EXCLUSIVE: A collaboration between Clariant Masterbatches, Holden, Mass., and Topas Advanced Polymers, Florence, Ky., is bringing bright, clear colors to pharmaceutical packaging and medical devices made of TOPAS cyclic olefin copolymer (COC). Clariant’s new precolored compounds and color concentrates are part of the Mevopur family of products developed for companies whose applications require risk control, product consistency, and regulatory compliance. “Topas COC has become the material of choice for pharmaceutical packaging and medical devices,” says Barbara Canale, healthcare market-development manager for Topas Advanced Polymers. “It offers high shine even in thick sections and, unlike resins such as polycarbonate and polyester, has a non-reactive surface.

Lectro Engineering’s Lee Williams Dies
Ralph (Lee) Williams, CEO and owner of Lectro Engineering Co., St.

Resin Prices

Resin Prices Still Heading South
A sharp decline in U.S. energy prices and tabs for all key feedstocks, along with dismal-to-lackluster domestic and global demand, have brought significantly more attractive pricing for the four commodity thermoplastics and downward movement for four high-volume engineering resins.

Recycled Resin Prices

Recycled Plastics Prices Unstable In First Half of 2012
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Recycled plastic prices are plummeting as virgin materials’ prices slide lower and lower.

Column

Computers & Electronics Holding Steady
Forecast calls for a rise in domestic production of 5% this year compared with total output in 2011.

Innovation Never Sleeps
Inspiring words from the 50s hold true today.

CW Brabender
Carr Lane
HammerTek
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