January 2004

Close-Up on Technology

3D Blow Molding Gains Momentum
Although this continent has been slow to follow Europe’s example, market forces in North America are finally shifting in favor of three-dimensional blow molding.

Composites Show Features Cost-Saving, Low-HAP Materials
Making high-strength composites less expensively was the dominant theme of the recent Composites 2003 Show in Anaheim, Calif., sponsored by the American Composites Manufacturers Association (formerly the Composites Fabricators Association). Among the stars of the show were the vacuum infusion process (VIP), along with a number of new resins—including several non-traditional material chemistries—and new initiators. (New reinforcements, fillers, additives, and equipment will be covered in future articles.)The closed-mold VIP method is attracting a growing following from spray-up fabricators who want to meet the EPA’s MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) standards for hazardous air-pollutant (HAP) emissions, which take effect in 2006.

In-Mold Monitoring Takes Guesswork Out of Rotomolding
More accurate monitoring of the rotomolding process and new tools that improve mold sealing and product quality were presented at the 28th annual fall meeting of the Association of Rotational Molders, held in Kansas City, Mo., in November. Control in the moldA new process-monitoring system provides real-time data on conditions inside the mold to help speed cycles, save energy, reduce rejects, and troubleshoot problems.

Processor's Edge

Thermoformer Is Reinvented Through Process Innovation
Four years ago, Durakon Industries in Lapeer, Mich., was focused almost exclusively on thermoforming HDPE bedliners for light trucks.


Garbage In, Good Plastics Out
Experts consider it the most high-tech recycling plant in the world: Schwarzataler Kunststoff in Germany takes dirty bottles and film from post-consumer recycling and turns them into automotive and other compounds in a fully automated process.

Thermoforming Goes Paint-Free, Too
Thermoformed parts play two roles in the expanding field of in-mold decorating (IMD) of plastic parts: For injection molding, IMD begins by thermoforming a thin film into decorative shells that are placed in the injection mold cavity and then back-molded with a compatible substrate.

Tips For Injection Molders: IMD Tooling & Robotics
Injection molders looking to get in on the IMD action should ask plenty of questions: What are the mold-design considerations?

What's the Price of Blow Molding?
For the last 17 years, one of the most popular departments in this magazine has been the Custom Injection Molding Hourly Rates Survey.

Where the Action Is: Decorating with Formable Films
Plastics processors are eyeing form able films as an economical, durable, and environmentally friendly means of producing fully decorated parts right out of the mold.

CW Brabender
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