August 2008

Close-Up on Technology

Plug-Assist Coating Improves Surface Quality and Formability
Manufacturers and users of plug-assist tooling have a new technique to improve the surface finish and cycle time of thermoformed parts.

Processor's Edge

Rapid Tooling “Grows” Profits At Linear Mold
Rapid manufacturing technologies tend to be focused primarily on making prototype and sometimes production parts.

Starting Up

Economics Outlook - August 2008
Business conditions are tough this year for most any industry segment that has the word “house” as part of its name.

Fast Heat Quits Heaters, Keeps Hot Runners
Fast Heat Inc., Elmhurst, Ill., has sold its U.S. business in heating elements and sensors to Tutco., Inc., Cookeville, Tenn., a major supplier of electric heating elements.

Prices Hit Scarey Levels
The athletes in Beijing aren’t the only ones taking record leaps this summer.

Your Business In Brief - August 2008
New Biopolymers Find Commercial UseTwo promising new biopolymers are finding some initial commercial applications Both are types of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), made by bacterial fermentation of plant starch.


Composites: Higher Properties, Lower Cost
Part II of our review of the big JEC international composites show in Paris focuses on resins and reinforcements. (Part I, last month, covered process enhancements, thermoplastic composites, machinery, and tooling. See Learn More box.)

Molding Simulation: New Frontiers in Process Prediction
Software suppliers agree that 3D simulation of injection mold filling, packing, cooling, shrinkage, and warpage is fairly mature.

Ready to Get Serious About Energy Efficiency?
Once upon a time, it was hard to get plastics processors to give more than lip service to the idea of conserving energy in their plants.

Keeping Up With Technology

‘World’s Biggest’ Screen Changer
That title is claimed for a Poly 6000x4 screen changer from Kreyenborg GmbH in Germany (U.S. office in Lawrenceville, Ga.), built for throughput of up to 100,000 lb/hr of PET.

23-Ft-Wide Blown Film
It’s the widest blown film line ever built, according to Gloucester Engineering Co., Gloucester, Mass., which shipped the system earlier this year to make geomembranes.

Barrier-Coated PET For Wine and Beer
WEB EXCLUSIVE Ball Corp., Broomfield, Colo., is the first PET bottle maker in North America to use the Plasmax 12D barrier coating for wine and beer bottles.

Calcium Carbonate for Reinforcing Biopolymers
A new high-aspect-ratio calcium carbonate is said to provide excellent impact to biopolymers such as polylactic acid (PLA). EMforce Bio from Specialty Minerals Inc., Bethlehem, Pa., reportedly provides a 10-fold increase in impact while maintaining stiffness.

Colorants for Medical-Grade Polyolefins
WEB EXCLUSIVE A new family of color masterbatches is formulated for use with medical-grade PE and PP resins sold under the Purell brand name by LyondellBasell, Wilmington, Del.

Custom Compounds With Carbon Nanotubes
A Japanese maker of injection presses has started a material compounding service to provide thermoplastics enhanced with carbon nanotubes.

Eliminate Ejector Plates!
A new ejection system that eliminates the ejector plate, reduces mold height, leaves no ejector marks on parts, shortens cycle time, and allows better optimization of cooling lines comes from D-M-E Co., Madison Heights, Mich.

ERP Software for Compounders
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software designed specifically for compounders was recently introduced by IQMS in Paso Robles, Calif., as a new module in the company’s Enterprise IQ software.

Fabric-Capped ABS Targets Liners
A new thermoformable ABS sheet laminated to a nonwoven PET fabric is aimed at operator cab components for heavy equipment.

Focused Laser Makes Micro Perforations
A new focused laser perforator can create an easy-opening seam in thin film that is invisible to the eye.

FR and Metallic-Effect PBTs
Ticona Engineering Polymers, Florence, Ky., has new non-halogenated flame-retardant Celanex PBT grades and others with metallic-effect appearance.

High-Efficiency Barrel Heating And Cooling
The Servtek TCS (Thermal Control Solution) radiant barrel heating/cooling system, developed by Rex Materials Group, Fowlerville, Mich., and distributed exclusively for plastics by Cincinnati Milacron in Batavia, Ohio, is said to bring energy savings of 30% to 50% to both extrusion and injection molding.

Higher Speeds for Double-Shot Machines
Cycle-time reductions from faster clamp movements and mold-plate rotation, as well as improved cooling, are claimed for two new models in the SEHS-CI all-electric double shot line from Sumitomo Heavy Industries in Japan, represented here by Sumitomo Plastics-Machinery, Norcross, Ga.

High-Speed FFS Line for Ultralight PET Bottles
Sidel Inc., Norcross, Ga., has introduced the FlexLine system for high-speed form/fill/seal production of ultralight PET bottles.

High-Speed, Two-Stage Press For Precision Thin-Wall Parts
A new machine capable of injection speeds of 1500 mm/sec or 60 in./sec expands the V-line of two-stage plunger injection presses from Sodick Plustech Co. of Japan, represented here by Plustech Inc., Schaumburg, Ill.

Hot-Runner Control For Up to 256 Zones
A new hot-runner temperature controller for six to 256 zones was unveiled at the recent Chinaplas show in Shanghai by Yudo Co.

Hot-Runner Mold Inserts Offer Cooling Enhancement
Improved cavity filling and cooling are the aims of a new line of inserts for hot runners that are made by “selected laser melting” (SLM) of H-13 steel powders.

Impact Modifiers for PVC Window Profiles
New acrylic-based impact modifiers are optimized to address different aspects of vinyl window profile performance.

Italian Bubble-Wrap Machines Come Here
Torninova Srl, an Italian maker of dies and downstream equipment for extruding bubble wrap, recently opened an office in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

Low-VOC Vinyls Target Furniture
New flexible PVC compounds from Teknor Apex Co., Pawtucket, R.I., are said to emit 80% fewer volatile organic compounds than standard vinyls.

Monster Press Is an Energy Miser
The largest injection press made to date by Engel in Austria (U.S. office in York, Pa.) is molding 6500-liter underground tanks at Otto Graf in Teningen, Germany, and is doing it with extremely low energy consumption.

New Gas-Assist Components
A new line of separate pressure generators, high-pressure compressors, and gas controllers, which can be combined into a system that grows as the customer’s business expands, comes from Gain Technologies, Shelby Township, Mich.

New Polycarbonate for High-Brightness LEDs
A new polycarbonate from Bayer MaterialScience, Pittsburgh, is designed for high-brightness LEDs.

Packaged Tooling Kit for CNC Machining Plastics
Techno, Inc., New Hyde Park, N.Y., a supplier of moderately priced CNC machining/routing systems, has introduced a series of application-specific Tooling Kits with solid carbide cutting tools in a wooden case.

PC Sheet For Aircraft Interiors
Kleerdex Co., Bloomburg, Pa., has introduced its first thermoformable polycarbonate sheet for aircraft interiors.

PET for Thick-Wall Bottles Has Glass-Like Clarity
A new PET resin is designed to provide very high clarity and a wide processing window for molding thick-walled bottles and containers of unconventional sizes and shapes.

Pipe Die Has Internal Air-Cooling
The new Maxflexx pipe die from Inoex GmbH in Germany (U.S. office in Lancaster, Pa.) cools a pipe with internal air cooling.

Pocket Spectrometer Identifies Plastics
Need to identify the plastic in a sample of pellets or parts for quality or inventory control or other purposes?

PUR Mimics Thermoplastics
An unusual series of polyurethanes that simulate the processing and performance characteristic of thermoplastics now includes mercury-free grades that also offer enhanced green strength and extended pot life.

Rapid Heat/Cool Process Improves Surface Quality
An induction process for rapid mold heating, originally designed for composites, is now available for thermoplastic and thermoset injection molding of parts requiring high surface quality, says process developer RocTool of France. (RocTool North America is in Atlanta.) The company patented in 2004 its Cage System, which heats just the surface of a tool “almost instantly” by electromagnetic induction and then cools that surface just as quickly with fluid channels close to the tool surface.

Rapid Mold Heating/Cooling And Temperature Control
A new unit combines rapid heating and cooling and mold-temperature control in one unit as a means to trim cycle times by up to 20% and reduce energy cost.

Robotic Testing System for Flexible Films
A new robotic system for testing mechanical properties of flexible specimens such as plastic films allows unattended testing to be carried out overnight and on weekends and also facilitates testing by unsupervised or relatively unskilled operators.

Self-Dumping Hopper Eases Dust Disposal
The new Self-Dumping Hopper from Farr Air Pollution Control (APC), Jonesboro, Ark., simplifies dust disposal from cartridge-style dust collectors in materials conveying systems.

Software Simplifies Full-Color 3D ‘Printing’
New software for rapid prototyping and production is said to prepare 3D data files for full-color 3D printing automatically and with unprecedented ease.

Special-Effect Masterbatches
A recent North American sales and marketing agreement between Clariant Masterbatches, Holden, Mass., and Milliken Chemical, Spartanburg, S.C., provides new special-effect masterbatches for clarified PP.

Stretch-Blow Molders Provide Higher Output
New all-electric stretch-blow molding machines from W.

Tiny, Low-Priced Camera For Web Inspection
A tiny new line-scan camera for non-patterned web inspection requires a fraction of the space and cost of most web-inspection cameras.

Touch-Screen PC for Materials Testers
Zwick USA, Kennesaw, Ga., has launched its Touch PC display to make universal testers and melt indexers even easier to operate.

Tri-Screen Control Panel Shows More Data
The second generation of Titan and Titan Plus computer controls, introduced in July by PTi Processing Technologies LLC in Aurora, Ill., distributes operator information over three screens simultaneously and also distributes the computing power behind them.

Web Inspection for Wider Sheet
Two suppliers of camera arrays for automatic sheet/film inspection and defect control recently delivered their widest arrays ever.

Wittmann Battenfeld Revamps And Expands Press Lines
Several new machinery developments follow the recent purchase of Battenfeld by Wittmann.

CW Brabender
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