Article Archive

Close-Up on Technology

Material and Process Developments Highlight SPE Automotive Awards
Custom backlighting with color-converting plastics and robotic extrusion of door seals won two categories of the 37th Innovation Awards presented in November by the SPE Automotive Div.

Here's Another Way to Save Up To 70 percent in Barrel Heating/Cooling
Four months ago, we reported on a new induction barrel-heating system that promises to save up to 70% in energy costs (see Learn More). Here’s an update on another novel barrel heating—and cooling—system that boasts similarly large savings and has been out in the field long enough to build a track record.

Features

K 2007 Extrusion: Extrusion Outputs Go Through the Roof
Dramatic production demonstrations of cast and blown film set throughput records on the show floor in Dusseldorf.

K 2007 Compounding: New Approaches to Mixing, Pelletizing
In addition to the news reported in our September K Show preview (see Learn More), previously unrevealed developments in Dusseldorf include several ingenious devices designed to save energy, reduce wear, and safeguard compounded material properties.

K 2007 Injection Molding: Lots of New Machine Choices For Exotic to Everyday Molding
If you were looking for a new machine to mold micro- or mega-sized parts, multiple materials, long fibers, high-speed/high-cavitation packaging, exotic multi-material combinations with compounding on the machine, or just a cost-effective press for general-purpose use—K 2007 had it all.

K 2007 Thermoforming: Packaging Lines Grow Bigger and Faster
There was plenty of news in thermoforming at K 2007 as suppliers rolled out continuous roll-fed packaging systems with greater output, enhanced cooling, reduced air consumption, and more automation.

News From Our Shop
Happy New Year!

K 2007 Blow Molding: Electric Machines Take Hold
Development of all-electric and hybrid-electric blow molding machines may be gaining momentum, as evidenced by several new models introduced in Dusseldorf.

Strategies

'Lights Out' Molder's Watchdog
The job of a mold temperature-control unit (TCU) usually is to ensure continuous flow of cooling water to the mold at adequate temperature and volume.

Troubleshooter

Stop Profile Warpage
Processors today want to run faster, minimize scrap, and do short production runs that may only last a few hours.

Keeping Up With Technology

Nanoclay Concentrate Beefs Up Nylon 6 Film
A new nanoclay concentrate in a nylon 6 carrier is said to provide a major increase in physical properties of nylon 6 films.

Next: Stretch-Blown HIPS Milk Bottles?
Oriented bottles of HIPS are being developed for milk, buttermilk, and drinkable yogurt by BASF AG in Germany (U.S. office in Florham Park, N.J.) in partnership with Alpla-Werke, the Austrian-based multinational packaging giant.

Heat-Transfer Foils for a Brushed-Metal Look
New and improved heat-transfer foils with brushed-metal finish are aimed at automotive and electronics.

Measure Web Static At the Right Distance
A new handheld static detector, Model 983v2 Static Locator, launched by Meech International in the U.K. (U.S. office in Norton, Ohio) at the recent K 2007 show in Germany, automatically senses its distance from the web surface being measured.

In-Line Layer Inspection For Cast Barrier Film
Using a broadband laser with white light, SBI Solutions By Innovation in Hollabrunn, Austria, has developed a thickness gauge that can measure barrier layers in clear film.

Low-Cost, Basic Control For Vacuum Loaders
At the K 2007 show in Germany, Pittsburgh-based Conair introduced a simple, affordable vacuum-loading controller in two versions.

Inserts Target In-Press Product Dating or Bar Coding
New date-stamp inserts for long runs and a new easy-to-install barcode insert come from DMS, Windsor, Ont.

Multi-Material 3D Printer
What appears to be a first in 3D printer technology for rapid prototyping is the ability to fabricate parts and assemblies made of multiple materials-such as hard and soft resins-in a single build cycle, which eliminates the need to glue together separate parts.

Conveyor Dryer for Pad Printing
A new part dryer is designed to be integrated with high-speed, in-line pad printing.

HDPE for Fuel Tanks Resists Bio-Diesel
A family of patented HDPE resins for automotive fuel tanks boasts enhanced resistance to bio-diesel fuels.

Impact PP Copolymers For Automotive
New high-crystalline PP impact copolymers reportedly offer compounders and processors of automotive components significant increases in ductility and low-temperature impact resistance along with improved part appearance.

Nanocomposite for SLA
A new easy-to-clean, gray-colored nanocomposite material for stereolithography (SL) rapid prototyping is designed for wind-tunnel testing of motorsport and aerospace parts.

Electric Valve Gate Is Four Times Faster
A new electric valve-gate actuator is said to move the pins four times faster than conventional designs.

Vision Software Inspects Randomly Oriented Bottles
New vision inspection software uses images from four cameras to create one seamless 360° image of the surface of printed or labeled bottles, cans, vials, or cosmetic containers without the need for orientation or accurate positioning.

First Large-Diameter Pressure Pipe for Water
Municipal water pipe has always been exclusively the preserve of ductile iron and concrete.

Nano Nozzles for Ultra-Small Parts
Molding very small parts with engineering resins such as nylon or PBT is the target of the new Nano nozzles from PSG Plastic Service Group Inc., Stevensville, Mich.

Real-Time Thermal Seal Testing
A new infrared thermal imaging system inspects seals and generates control outputs with no effect on production line speed.

Valve-Gate Nozzles Now Have Internal Mixer
UltraFlow hot-runner nozzles that have an internal mixing system that speeds color changes are now available in valve-gate designs (as well as earlier hot-tip versions) from Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., Bolton, Ont.

Translucent Elastomer for 3D Rapid Prototyping
The newest photopolymer for 3D printing of rapid prototypes is a rubber-like material that reportedly offers 218% elongation at break, more than double that of any other rapid prototyping material on the market.

New High-Shrink SBC For Sleeve Labels
A new styrene-butadiene block copolymer film grade from BASF Corp., Styrenic Plastics, Florham Park, N.J., delivers greater shrinkage for use in printed sleeve labels.

New Source of Valve Gates
Hydraulic or pneumatic valve-gate designs will soon be added to a new line of hot-runner nozzles that are said to improve heat transfer through the nozzle body and into the tip and minimize heat loss to the mold.

Top Locks in Metric Sizes
A new line of metric top locks from Progressive Components, Wauconda, Ill., provide positive guidance between the cavity and core and reportedly will not bind up if there is unequal thermal expansion of the mold halves.

PET Preform Tooling Raises Productivity
A new PET preform mold that reportedly improves quality and lowers cycle time comes from MHT America, Inc., Woodbridge, Va.

Foaming Agents for PVC Building Profiles and Wire
Four new masterbatches of chemical blowing agents (CBAs) are aimed at PVC building construction applications such as exterior trim boards, decorative moldings, door sills, foam-core pipe, and wire insulation.

Conveyors Get Speed Boost
A series of modular, reconfigurable parts conveyors now runs faster than ever.

Measuring Mixer/Extruder Designed for QC
The new Haake PolyLab QC measuring mixer & extruder system from Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., Waltham, Mass., is specifically designed for QC needs.

Economical Spin Welder For Tough Jobs
A new benchtop servo spin welder from ToolTex Inc., Grove City, Ohio, provides 80 in.-lb of peak torque and 200 lb of clamping for permanent sealing of hard-to-bond cylindrical and spherical pieces.

Combo Valve- and Side-Gate System for Small Parts
Valve gating and side gating are combined in a new compact hot-runner system from Heitec in Germany (represented here by Technoject Machinery Corp., Bolton, Ont.). It's designed for molding precision medical and optical components, including small tubes or long, thin-walled cartridges where gate location is critical.

Get More Shielding Without More Steel Fiber
New Faradex EMI/RFI shielding compounds are said to deliver greater EMI protection for electronics without requiring additional stainless-steel fiber.

Dow Licenses New Polyols Technology from Bayer
A license agreement between Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich., and Germany's Bayer AG, allows Dow to produce polyether polyols using Bayer's patented Impact technology.

Put Packaging on a Diet With New PP and HDPE
Two new polyolefins designed to help downgauge packaging were featured at the K 2007 show in Dusseldorf by Basell Polyolefins (soon to become LyondellBasell Industries), Wilmington, Del.

Nylon TPV Targets Tire Inner Liners
ExxonMobil Chemical Co., Houston, has introduced a dynamically vulcanized alloy of Exxpro specialty rubber in nylon as a replacement for halobutyl thermoset rubber in tire inner liners.

New 'Direct' Process for Mixing and Molding SMC
At the K 2007 show in Germany, Dieffenbacher GmbH (parent of Dieffenbacher North America Inc., Windsor, Ont.) introduced a "direct" mixing-and molding process for SMC, analogous to its D-LFT technology for long-fiber thermoplastics.

New Soft Nylon for Blow Molded Air Ducts
A new soft nylon 6 was introduced at K 2007 as a cost-effective mono-material alternative to sequential blow molding for automotive charge-air ducts.

Planetary-Roller Extruder Makes WPC Decking
Novo-Tech GmbH in Aschersleben, Germany, a two-year-old maker of woodplastic composite (WPC) deck boards, uses an unusual planetary-roller extrusion process to get very high wood content.

Inspect Cable Coatings' Surface and Print Quality
The world's first system capable of simultaneously inspecting both surface quality of cable coatings and the accuracy and quality of printing on the cable was introduced at the recent K 2007 show in Dusseldorf.

First Standard Hot-Runner Nozzle for 'Green' Polymers
A hot-runner nozzle assembly optimized for processing biopolymers such as polylactic acid (PLA) is a new standard offering from D-M-E Co., Madison Heights, Mich.

Laser Marker for Day/Night Visibility
A laser marker introduced at the K 2007 show in Dusseldorf is geared to high-precision applications such as cellphone keypads and illuminated automotive switches designed for day/night visibility.

Simpler, More Reliable Way to Score I.P. Skins
A new approach to scoring airbag opening flaps on the B-side of automotive instrument-panel skins is said to achieve high precision and reliability at significantly reduced cost and operating complexity.

Structural Adhesives Have Long Open Time
Three new methacrylate structural adhesives offer medium to long working times for large composite assemblies like boats, trucks, buses, wind-turbine blades, bridges, decks, and architectural ornamentation.

Starting Up

Your Business Pricing Update - January 2008
Last year saw significant increases in prices of commodity thermoplastics, driven by unprecedented energy and feedstock costs.

Your Business Outlook - January 2008
After expanding by close to 4% in 2007, output of injection molded packaging will expand by at least another 4% to 5% in 2008.

Your Business In Brief - January 2008
CT Scans See Inside Plastic PartsCarl Zeiss Industrial Metrology, Maple Grove, Minn., is introducing a service for plastics and composites that can detect and quantify voids, delamination, incomplete filling, and other defects through industrial computed tomography, or CT scanning.

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