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January 2012

Close-Up on Technology

Modular Conveyor Boosts Productivity and Profits for Toothbrush Manufacturer
Automation in plastics processing can involve sophisticated, high-tech manufacturing cells specialized for a particular application (see NPE feature this month ). Or it can involve much simpler, off-the-shelf solutions that offer the user flexibility to configure—and reconfigure—an automation system according to the job and plant layout.

Study May Boost Prospects For Single-Screw ‘Elongator’
Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich., weighed in at last year’s SPE ANTEC with a paper discussing results of experiments they conducted on a novel elongational mixing device developed by Randcastle Extrusion Systems

Processor's Edge

Lab Investment Pays Off For Major Tube & Profile House
Teel started a testing laboratory in 2010 to support quality assurance and new product development and to troubleshoot manufacturing issues as they arise.

Know How

Low-Cost Processing, Long-Term Problems
You can't cut your way to prosperity.

The Melting Precision of Barrier Screws
These types of screws offer more melt uniformity.

Why Multi-Cavity Molds Fill Unevenly
Balanced filling is critical for making identical parts, achieving high CPKs, holding tight tolerances, and getting “good” data from design of experiments.

Starting Up

Biobased Resins Score in Auto Applications
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Two renewably sourced engineering resins from DuPont Performance Polymers, Wilmington, Del., were featured at the 2011 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards in November.

Coca-Cola Joins Race for 100% Biobased PET Bottle
One of the more unusual aspects of the sustainability drive in the plastics industry (see NPE Sustainability article this month) is the way giant beverage companies are taking an active role in spurring development of biobased plastics for bottles.

Extrusion Process Eliminates Assembly of Medical Catheter Shafts
Putnam Plastics Corp., Dayville, Conn. (, has developed new extrusion technology that replaces manually assembled medical guide catheter shafts with a single, three-layer component.

Here Comes the Sun...To FIlm Processing
Toray Plastics (America), Inc., last year completed the construction of a $2 million, 44-kW solar photovoltaic (PV) farm on its 70-acre campus in North Kingstown, R.I.

Kureha Starts U.S. Production of Biodegradable PGA Resin
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Last year, Kuraha PGA LLC, began commercial production of its new Kuredux PGA (polyglycolic acid) high-barrier, biodegradable polymer at a plant in Belle, W.Va.

Nano-Cellulose Fibers: Renewable Reinforcemens for Plastics
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) is a renewable reinforcing fiber material derived from wood or other biomass.

New Acetals Star in Gears, Pipes & Hoses
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Ticona Engineering Polymers, Florence, Ky., recently showed off new applications for two of its newest Hostaform acetal copolymers.

North American Debut of Special Heat-Resistant Nylon
WEB EXCLUSIVE: BASF Corp., Engineering Plastics, Wyandotte, Mich., introduced to North America its Ultramid Endure line of heat-resistant nylons at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit early this month.

Orient PVC Pipe Without Water
Spanish pipe maker Molecor Tecnologia will be displaying at NPE 2012 in Orlando, Fla., a new method to orient PVC pipe that is somewhat akin to film-orientation technology.

SABIC Opens Specialty PP Compounding Plant
WEB EXCLUSIVE: SABIC Innovative Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass., recently opened a specialty polypropylene compounding operation at its Bay St.

Self-Cleaning Screen Changer Helps Recycle Dirty Scrap
Two different recyclers have discovered a way to process highly contaminated scrap without substantial losses in economy and productivity.

Recycled Resin Prices

Prices Have Dropped
2011 was a difficult year for recycled plastics, mostly because of the unpredictability of the Chinese market, which soaks up a lot of U.S. material, mainly on the West Coast. “We are so tied to China,” says one broker. “If people think China isn’t going to take a particular material, then prices go down.”The end of a year can be a little confusing, as well, where pricing is concerned.


Central Drying Made Simple
Recent advances in technology have made the concept of drying in a central location—as opposed to right at the machine—more advantageous for certain kinds of processing operations.

Custom Automation Is the Answer to Global Competition
Here it is in one sentence: Unit costs can be reduced through customer-specific automation.

Getting Into LSR--Part IV: How LSR Tooling Is Different
Building molds for rubber molding, and specifically liquid silicone (LSR ) injection, can be very challenging.

NPE 2012: The Big Picture--Themes for Growth at the Big Show
In the March issue of Plastics Technology we will report on new technology to be unveiled at the giant show, which for the first time will be held at the Orlando Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., April 1-5, 2012.

On-Site: Custom Molder Pursues the Dream of Proprietary Products
“Every custom molder thinks he needs a proprietary product,” says John Currier, president and co-owner of the injection molding firm his father founded, Currier Plastics in upstate Auburn, N.Y.

Sustainability: It Will Change Your Business...If It Hasn't Already
Do you have a sustainability officer yet? You might need one. It's probably even more likely that your customers have one, and you will have to pay attention to them if you want to continue to supply them with plastic parts or products.

Want to Slash Energy Costs? Learn How to Measure & Manage Them
Price pressure from consumers and rising energy costs have increased the importance for molders to reduce energy consumption, measured in kWh/kg of resin processed.

Keeping Up With Technology

ADDITIVES: Do-It-Yourself Liquid Coloring
Processors can now establish their own in-house liquid-coloring program with new offering from Riverdale Color, Perth Amboy, N.J.

ADDITIVES: Masterbatches for Foaming Fluoropolymer Wire & Cable
Cable Components Group, Pawcatuck, Conn., has launched an economical FEP-based pellet masterbatch to chemically foam insulation for plenum cable.

ADDITIVES: Modifier Boosts PLA Melt Strength
A new melt-strength enhancer in masterbatch form increases the pull force that can be applied to molten polylactic acid (PLA) by 300% to 500%. This makes possible higher throughputs in PLA extrusion and thermoforming while reducing scrap rates, says Teknor Apex Co., Pawtucket, R.I.Terraloy MB-90001A1 melt-strength enhancer broadens the processing window of PLA in cast film and sheet for clear products such as clamshell containers.

AUXILIARIES: Flexible PLC Control for Central Conveying Systems
The Novatec FXS (FlexXpand) color touchscreen from Novatec, Baltimore, is a Siemens-based PLC system designed for resin-conveying systems with up to 20 pumps and 120 stations.

BLOW MOLDING: Detect Costly Air Leaks in Stretch-Blow Molding
An upgraded version of the LeakMonitor has been introduced by Plastic Technologies, Inc.(PTI), Holland, Ohio.

COMPOUNDING: Strand Pelletizer Offers Easy Cleanout, Fast Changeovers
The Bullet Series strand pelletizer from Reduction Scheer Engineering, Kent, Ohio, is said to deliver easy cleanout, quick turnaround, and easy operation.

INJECTION MOLDING: Electric Valve Gate Provides Ultimate Needle Control
Sophisticated hot-runner systems can benefit from the new high-performance electric valve-gate system from Synventive Molding Solutions, Peabody, Mass.

INJECTION MOLDING: Higher Performance Mold Evacuation
CAE Services Corp., Batavia, Ill., has introduced Mold-Vac 20,000, the highest performance model in its line of mold-evacuation systems for injection molding.

INJECTION MOLDING: New Source of Turnkey Microcellular Molding Systems
Engel Austria (U.S. office in York, Pa.) has become the latest injection press supplier to offer complete turnkey molding systems for the MuCell microcellular foam process patented by Trexel Inc., Wilmington, Mass.

MATERIALS: High-Flow Structural Nylon Compounds
WEB EXCLUSIVE: RadiciGroup Plastics in Italy (U.S. office in Wadsworth, Ohio) has come up with high-flow nylon 6 compounds containing 50% and 60% glass fibers.

MATERIALS: New Litter of Pet-Friendly TPEs
WEB EXCLUSIVE: New arrivals from Star Thermoplastics, Broadview, Ill., are StarPet styrenic TPEs designed specifically for pet toys and other pet products.

MATERIALS: New Purge Formulation Cuts 'Milky Drag'
A new, non-abrasive, non-chemical purging compound from the Dyna-Purge Div. of Shuman Plastics, Inc., Depew, N.Y., has been formulated to purge high-clarity resins without any residue.

MATERIALS: Raising the Bar on PEEK's Toughness
WEB EXCLUSIVE: New Vestakeep Ultimate grade of PEEK from Evonik Industries in Germany (U.S. office in Parsippany, N.J.) boasts 25% higher impact strength than other PEEK resins.

THERMOFORMING: Plug-Assist Tools & Techniques
CMT Materials Inc., Attleboro, Mass., will debut technologies that thermoformers can use to reduce sheet thickness when forming heavy-gauge materials at the NPE 2012 show in Orlando.

THERMOFORMING: Roll-Fed Former with 'Low-Scrap' Tooling
Making its U.S. debut at NPE in Orlando is the GN760 in-line forming machine from GN Thermoforming Equipment, Chester, N.S.

Resin Prices

Some Resin Prices Bottom Out, Others Are Still Falling
With the start of the new year, commodity resin prices, except for PVC, appear to have bottomed out.


Electronics Look Bright, Long-Term
Competitive advantages of low-cost nations will continue to fade.

The Results Are In: You’re Buying ‘New’ in 2012
Respondents to annual study report an uptick in buying plans, with more investment in new equipment.

CW Brabender
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