Foam blow molding on the show floor was perhaps the most unusual demonstration at the fair. There were also a host of new PET machines, including one that can produce two different bottles at the same time. Other news includes an extrusion blow machine capable of high-speed large part production and new technology to produce large bottles in less than 45 seconds.
The big news at K'98 was some unique multi-screw machines for processing filled, colored, and recycled compounds. One of these machines has five screws, and another has 12. Still another has several grooved rolls instead of screws.
Where's the extruder?" was the comment often heard about the most unusual extrusion exhibit at K'98, a screwless, cone-shaped device that can extrude two or more melt streams.
Easier-to-use software is making computer flow simulation more popular for designing dies for sheet, profiles, and film. Even the apparently simple case of a "spaghetti" die for pelletizing shows how flow simulation can be an essential tool for diagnosing and solving difficult processing problems.
A new generation of process-control systems interpret results of injection molding simulation as the starting point for machine settings and control setpoints.
K'98 showed off a wide range of technologies that cut costs by consolidating process steps.
A batch of new press-side and central granulators introduced at K'98 are designed to cut cleaner and faster. Also new are a washer/dryer for dirty waste and a repelletizer for tough films and fibers.
A brand-new family of MACO control systems from Barber-Colman Co. in Love's Park, Ill., employs a "building-block" strategy intended to reduce the system's installed cost while improving its performance.
Let's face it: Most magazines, especially standard business-to-business publications, operate on the periphery of the advertising markets they serve. The editors write the stories, the salespeople sell the pages, but usually the intimate contact between magazine and advertising client is missing.
In the next few years, molders will find process and production monitoring easier and less expensive than ever before. At least that's the promise of a new communications standard that allows molding machines to connect directly to a host computer via Ethernet and other networks.
The buzz in thermoforming at K'98 was actually more like a hum--the sound of electric servo motors driving every motion of new or redesigned roll-fed machines. Greater speed and accuracy are said to result from the shift away from pneumatics and hydraulics, an evolution that was evident at the show in many different types of plastics machinery. A line of Dutch machines now sold in the U.S. also comes with servo drive.
You may have thought they were dead, but the Evil Plastics are back.