An injection molding robot is no better than its end-of-arm tooling (EOAT). All the potential benefits of robots--increased productivity, quality, and safety, as well as reduced scrap--are influenced by the effectiveness with which the EOAT does its job. End-of-arm tooling may perform tasks as simple as sprue picking and demolding or as advanced as degating, insert loading, parts reorientation, and assembly.
The first process-simulation software for rotomolding and the industry's first automatic mold-opening/closing device both made their debut at the recent 24th annual fall conference of the Association of Rotational Molders (ARM) in Cleveland. The conference, which drew a record attendance of 730, was held along with the third Rotoplast exhibition, which drew 2300 people to the 108 exhibits. Other news included automatic mold-charging devices and what's said to be the first HDPE that meets UL 94V-0 at 1/8 in. thickness. There was also a rotomolding unit with triple air lines that provide added heat, vacuum, or cooling assistance.
The rapidly growing popularity of electric servo-motor drives in injection molding has cut their cost, creating the opportunity for even more rapid penetration in blow molding.
For processors looking to extrude stronger and tougher films, two firms recently came out with hexene-copolymer LLDPEs based on new catalyst technologies. Both resin families are poised to compete with octene LLDPE and metallocene LLDPE (mLLDPE), as well as other "super-hexene" grades.
Interplas 99 in Birmingham held news in injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, RIM, and recycling.