Article Archive

November 2006


Past Issues

Close-Up on Technology

Micro-Thermoforming Makes Its Debut
Manufacturers of micro-size components that until now relied exclusively on injection molding may have another option to consider.

Induction Heated Molds Produce Class A Thermoplastic Composites
Though not widely popular, induction heating has long had its advocates as an efficient method of heating plastics molds.

Dual Gas-Assist Techniques Advance Large-Part Molding
A novel combination of internal and external gas assist is the secret to injection molding a large panel that is both structural and requires a highly cosmetic surface.

Features

NPE 2006 News Wrap-Up: Fluid Temperature Control: Saving on Energy and Maintenance
At NPE in Chicago, chillers and TCUs were put on a lean energy diet and redesigned for greater durability. Suppliers also added features while taking out cost.

NPE 2006 News Wrap-Up: Hot Shots: New Nozzles and Controls Add Sizzle to Runnerless Molding
Electrically driven valve pins, a low-cost alternative to valve-gating, mold-mounted temperature controllers, and new components for fast color changes are some of a host of new components and systems unveiled at the giant NPE 2006 show in Chicago this past June. (Some brand-new introductions since the show are also included in this report.) The news includes runnerless products aimed at everything from micromolding to shot weights up to 17.4 lb.

Don’t Miss the Plastics ‘Weather Report’
No one can predict the weather for certain … and the same goes for movement of the economy.

NPE 2006 News Wrap-Up: Testing and QC--New Lab Instruments Stress Affordability and Convenience
Thermal and mechanical testers, color and appearance sensors, vision inspection devices and CMMs—the NPE had them all in more compact, economical, and easy-to-use models.

Strategies

Global Company, Local Creativity
Magna International, Inc. may be a global Tier One automotive parts supplier with over 220 manufacturing divisions and more than 82,000 employees, but it doesn’t stifle creativity at the individual plant level.

Troubleshooter

How to Clean a Flashed Hot Manifold-Part Two
Already a familiar sight on European store shelves, the eye-catching appeal of "IML" is gaining traction among North American injection molders. The latest tooling and automation designs can handle the higher volumes needed here.

Solve Ultrasonic Horn Problems With Finite-Element Analysis
 Computer modeling with 3D finite-element analysis (FEA) is used in the plastics industry because it can identify stresses, predict performance, and analyze part failures that can often be missed by traditional 2D modeling methods.

Keeping Up With Technology

'Smart' Films for Windows Are on a Roll
Glazing films made with a layer of SPD (suspended particle device) emulsion that changes from opaque to clear when low voltage is applied, are going into high production.

New Press Targets Caps and Closures
An injection machine designed specifically for caps and closures is new from Ferromatik Milacron Europe NA, Batavia, Ohio.

New Injection Unit Wins in Tests
Higher output and superior mixing are benefits claimed for the new Quantum Processing System from Spirex Corp., Youngstown, Ohio.

Metalized OPP Films Get High Oxygen Barrier
New three- and four-layer metalized OPP films introduced at Pack Expo in Chicago this month by Toray Plastics (America) Inc., North Kingstown, R.I., use new technology to achieve a record low oxygen-transmission level of 0.003 cc/100 in.2/24 hr vs. about 0.6 for typical metalized OPP.

New Terpolymers Bond Multilayer Packaging
Two new maleated terpolymers bond to "difficult" substrates in multilayer packaging.

Twin-Chamber Loader Speeds Resin Changes
A novel three-hopper system is designed to facilitate quick material changes at the processing machine.

New Compressed-Air Dryer And Loader Controls
Two prominent themes in materials-handling auxiliaries at the recent NPE show in Chicago were both evident at the booth of Thoreson-McCosh Inc., Troy, Mich.

New PEI Copolymers Take Higher Heat
A new manufacturing process to produce Ultem polyetherimide (PEI) resin will enable GE Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass., to launch new copolymers and blends that have even higher heat performance than standard Ultem.

Fixed-Head Transfer Arm Is Durable
New Series BST fixed-head transfer arms from PHD Inc.'s Plastic Packaging Components Group, Fort Wayne, Ind., are a direct replacement for fixed-head arms on most Sidel Series 1 stretch-blow molding machines.

New 'Shot-Pot' Machine for Industrial Containers
A new "shot-pot" extrusion blow molding machine from Graham Engineering Corp., York, Pa., is being used to make industrial containers.

Adhesion Promoter For Nylon Film
A new adhesion-promoter masterbatch is said to improve sealability of blown nylon film for food pouches and bags that can be heated in a microwave, toaster oven, or hot water.

New BMC Targets Solar Panels
A new bulk molding compound is formulated for residential solar panels.

All-Electric Press Line Gains Larger Model
A new 330-ton model has been added to the top end of the Elektra Evolution line of all-electric machines from Ferromatik Milacron Europe NA, Batavia, Ohio.

PLC for Small Presses
A new compact general-purpose PLC designed for small injection machines is new from Eurotherm Inc., Leesburg, Va.

Largest Composite Sewer Pipe in N.A.
The Metro Water Reclamation District in Denver has installed 500 ft of what is believed to be the largest composite sewer pipe in North America.

Clear Nylons Are Chemical Resistant
A new line of transparent nylons targets applications where polymers such as polycarbonate and polystyrene are not suitable, particularly those involving harsh solvents.

TPE Alloys Deliver Barrier Capabilities
A new line of TPE alloys with high barrier to oxygen and moisture have been launched by GLS Corp., McHenry, Ill., for food, beverage, and medical applications.

New Additive Raises PLA Performance
A new ethylene copolymer is said to improve the toughness and reduce the brittleness of biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA) packaging.

Rotary Indexer for Ultrasonic Welding
A new tabletop rotary indexing unit from Herrmann Ultrasonics Inc., Bartlett, Ill., is said to be a compact solution for automated or semi-automated ultrasonic welding of small parts in moderate volumes.

Shrink-Sleeve Labeler for Cups and Tubs
A new shrink-sleeve labeling system is designed for tapered or conical containers such as dairy, deli, or beverage cups.

Turnkey Vision System for Parts Inspection
Logic One Robots, Addison, Ill., a supplier of used, rebuilt, and new robots, has teamed up with Cincinnati Automation, Cincinnati, Ohio, to introduce a new automated machine-vision parts-inspection system.

Natural Oil-Based Polyols Are Ready for Market
A full line of natural-oil polyols (NOPs) for polyurethanes will be launched next year by Dow Polyurethanes, Midland, Mich.

Video Extensometer Comes With Integrated Software
For mechanical testing instruments, a new non-contacting extensometer with integrated software is said to match or exceed the performance of traditional contacting extensometers.

Turnkey IML Systems From a New Source
Automation and auxiliary equipment supplier Wittmann Inc., Torrington, Conn., is expanding its capabilities for in-mold labeling (IML) with the acquisition of a toolmaker and plans to offer turnkey IML systems.

Low-Cost Production Monitoring for Molders
An inexpensive production monitoring system for injection molders was introduced at the recent NPE show in Chicago by Universal Dynamics, Inc., Woodbridge, Va.

Mold Release for Flexible PUR Foam Auto Parts
A new spray-on mold release for flexible urethane foam reportedly cuts mold-maintenance costs in production of sound-absorbing panels for car and truck interiors.

Cone Extruder Makes Wood-Plastic Panels
Conenor Ltd., Tampere, Finland, has used a new version of its Conex conical-rotor extruder to produce multi-layer flat panels up to 24 in. wide from wood-plastic composite (WPC). In trials, Conenor has extruded a foam core with up to 50% wood and unfoamed skins containing up to 80% wood.

Vision System Can Use Four Cameras at Once
At NPE in Chicago, Automated Assemblies Corp., Clinton, Mass., introduced the latest version of its Raptor Vision software for real-time parts inspection.

Extruding Lignin Polymer Extracted from Wood
Gehr Kunststoffwerk in Mannheim, Germany (U.S. offices in Boothwyn, Pa.) is working on extrusion of a lignin-based thermoplastic made from a byproduct of paper production.

Experimental Extrusion of Fructose Polymer
Fructose polymer film made of a polysaccharide called levan has been processed on a twin-screw lab extruder at the U.S.

Pelletizing Without Hang Ups
A new strand pelletizer designed for clean, fast product changes was introduced this summer by Reduction Engineering Inc., Kent, Ohio.

Dual-Vacuum, Dual-Bay Stacker for Long Sheets
A custom stacker for sheet over 20 ft long is under construction at Vulcan Machinery Corp., Akron, Ohio.

Real-Time Monitoring of Leak Testers
Real-time monitoring software for optimizing test times and isolating problems in leak testing is now available from InterTech Development Co., Skokie, Ill.

Mold Release and Flow Aid For PVC Footwear
Field tests reportedly show that a new process aid and mold release improves flow and reduces heat history in PVC footwear production and provides excellent release at a use level of only 0.3 phr.

Level Sensors and Software For Inventory Control
At the big NPE show in Chicago, two suppliers showed off new bulk-material level sensors and inventory-control software.

Ciba Launches Additives Help Desk
Ciba Specialty Chemicals, Tarrytown, N.Y., has launched the Plastic Additives Techline, a global technical help desk for plastics additives customers.

Top- and Side-Entry Robots for Fast-Cycling Jobs
An ultra-high-speed servo robot for fast part removal and a side-entry robot for thin-wall applications are new from Wittmann Inc., Torrington, Conn.

High-Intensity Blender Is Easier to Clean
A cylindrical blender from Munson Machinery Co., Utica, N.Y., has a new plow-shaped tool design that allows easier cleanout and adjustable plow position and clearance.

Four-Motor Drives Double Sheet Output
Two machine builders offer sheet lines with 90-mm extruders that reportedly achieve double the usual output, thanks to four-motor torque drives from K&A Knoedler GmbH in Germany (represented here by Henschel America Inc., Green Bay, Wis.). When Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik in Germany launched its High Performance sheet lines with the four-motor torque drive at the K 2004 show in Germany, output was increased only 25% because the takeoff could not accommodate more.

Starting Up

Your Business Outlook - November 2006
Mastiogale’s 2005 polyethylene film market study forecasts North American consumption of PE food-packaging films this year at 2.93 billion lb, representing 17% of total PE film resin usage.

Pricing Update - November 2006
After a brief surge upward, prices of polyolefins and PVC have softened again.

Your Business In Brief - November 2006
Management Buys Out Emabond BusinessSenior management has acquired the Emabond Business Group from Ashland Inc., Covington, Ky.

CW Brabender
Carr Lane
HammerTek
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