June 2008

Close-Up on Technology

Disk Pump Helps Compound Long-Fiber Thermoplastics
Already a familiar sight on European store shelves, the eye-catching appeal of "IML" is gaining traction among North American injection molders. The latest tooling and automation designs can handle the higher volumes needed here.

Global Materials Database Offers More Data, More Functionality
The Plastics Technology online materials database has a new name, a new look, and lots of new capabilities to help find the right material for a particular job.

New Presses, Robots And Low-Pressure Process
At its annual Technology Days conference and exhibition in Lossburg, Germany, Arburg GmbH + Co.

Processor's Edge

Textile Recycler Saved by Carpets
This is a tale of globalization with a happy ending.

Starting Up

Economic Outlook - June 2008
The U.S. appliance industry remains stuck in the throes of a two-year downturn that has seen domestic production fall 15% from its peak in 2006. But the good news is that the decline is decelerating, which indicates that it will soon hit bottom and will start the recovery phase shortly thereafter. Appliance output was down 8% in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the same period a year earlier. We forecast a more moderate decline of 2% in 2008 followed by a 4% to 6% rise in 2009.

Feedstocks Push Resin Prices
Despite lackluster domestic demand, relentless increases in feedstock costs are forcing suppliers to push for higher resin prices.


Clear Road Ahead for TPOs, TPVs
Olefinic TPEs originally comprised only two classes of rubber-modified polypropylene, known as TPO and TPV. More recently, these have been supplemented by new types of olefinic elastomers that can be used on their own or as the rubber component in TPO/TPV compounds. Additionally, a small handful of specialty TPEs using olefinic matrices occupy niche applications.

TPEs Move Up the Performance Scale
This first of two articles on directions in TPE development focuses on styrenic, copolyester, polyamide, and TP urethane elastomers. The following article covers olefinics—TPOs, TPVs, and POEs.

What Goes Around Comes Around
I don ’t want to sound Pollyanna-ish about the hard hits that North American molders and moldmakers have taken from overseas competition lately, but the good news about this globalization thing is that the globe is round, not flat.

Keeping Up With Technology

‘Green’ PUR Polyols
BASF’s Elastogran subsidiary in Germany introduced Lupranol Balance 50, a polyol derived up to 31% from castor oil.

‘Mini Bubble’ Wrap From Microlayer Film
Research at the Dept. of Mechanical Engineeering at the University of Washington in Seattle has applied CO2 impregnation to microlayer coex films, creating a soft cushioning material like fine bubble wrap.

Anti-Yellowing Pearlescents
WEB EXCLUSIVE A new range of pearlescent effect pigments with anti-yellowing properties are said to enhance the appearance and prolong the life of plastic products.

Blender Software Upgrade Boosts Accuracy
Processors using TrueBlend gravimetric blenders from Conair, Pittsburgh, are eligible for a free upgrade to new Version 2.9 of blender control software.

Blow Moldable Clear SBC
BASF Corp., Florham Park, N.J., has adapted its Styrolux 3G46 styrenic block copolymer (SBC) for injection-blow and extrusion blow molding of clear hollow goods such as storage containers, decorative vessels, sports-drink bottles, and dispensers.

Chinese-Built Robots Boast 30% Cost Savings
A new three-axis servo robot for part or sprue handling will be produced in China by Star Automation of Japan (U.S. office in Menomonee Falls, Wis.). The new CZ-700 model will be built at Star’s Shenzhen factory, which previously produced only pneumatic robots.

Class-VI Compliant Colors For PEBA and Nylon 12
New color concentrates are designed specifically for PEBA (polyether block amide) TPEs and nylon 12 resins used in medical applications.

Coextrusion Automates Bag-in-Bottle Production
Innovative bag-in-the-bottle technology from Gaplast GmbH of Saulgrub-Altenau, Germany, uses coextrusion blow molding to produce a thin bag made of ionomer inside a PP bottle.

Extensional-Flow Mixer Lowers Melt Temperatures
Xaloy Inc., Pulaski, Va., has built the first scaled-up, commercial version of a patented extensional-flow mixing device, under exclusive license from Stratek Plastic Ltd. in Wallingford, Conn.

First 60-in. Triple-Wall Corrugated PP Pipe
Pipe maker Advanced Drainage Systems Inc., Hilliard, Ohio, introduced a new family of N-12 HP (high performance) corrugated PP pipe in April.

First Cut-Sheet PEEK
The industry’s first PEEK cut-sheet product for thermoforming has been introduced by Ensinger/Penn Fibre, Bensalem, Pa.

Foaming Agent for PE, PS, PVC, Elastomers
A new endothermic/exothermic blended foaming agent is said to work in extrusion and injection of a variety of polymers, including PE, PS, PVC, and both thermoset and thermoplastic elastomers.

FR Additives for Foams
Albemarle Corp., Baton Rouge, La., has three new liquid flame retardants for flexible and rigid PUR foams.

Frictionless Chillers Gain Wider Operating Range
A second generation of energy-saving centrifugal chillers (also called frictionless or oil-free chillers) has been announced by Thermal Care, Inc., Niles, Ill.

Handheld Welders Give Tight Temperature Control
The new Fusion Series of plastic welders from Kamweld Technologies Inc., Norwood, Mass., reportedly offers precise temperature control and greater safety.

Highly Amorphous PP Makes Stretchy Films
A highly amorphous PP homopolymer is said to produce films with exceptional stretchability.

High-Output PVC Profile Calibrator
A thin-sleeve calibrator for PVC profiles, in development for several years by Technoplast Kunststofftechnik GmbH in Austria (U.S. office in Cranberry, Pa.), offers very high throughputs of PVC profiles—up to 5 meters/min.

Hot-Runner Controller For 6 to 12 Cavities
A compact hot-runner temperature controller for low-cavitation applications was introduced at April’s Chinaplas show in Shanghai by Mastip of New Zealand (represented here by Mastip North America, Slinger, Wis.). Its new S series controller is the smallest in its line and has six or 12 zones of control.

Hydraulic QMC System For Simpler Jobs
Single-acting hydraulic clamps for quick mold change (QMC) are new from EAS Mold and Die Change Systems, Menomonee Falls, Wis.

Hydraulic-Clamp Hybrids, Small Electric Press Debut
Hybrid electric/hydraulic machines from 33 to 385 tons and a small all-electric model are new from TMC Technology Corp. of Taiwan (represented by TMC of America Inc., Winchester, Va.). The company complements its E3 line of hybrid toggle presses with the new TMC H-SE line of hybrids, which use a hydraulic pancake cylinder for clamping.

Induction Barrel Heating Tested for Extrusion
WEB EXCLUSIVE Xaloy Inc., New Castle, Pa., recently began extrusion trials of its energy-saving nXheat induction heaters on extruder barrels.

Larger Central Granulator Arrives From Taiwan
A larger model of central granulator has joined the line of Shini USA, the plastics div. of Budzar Industries, Inc., Willoughby, Ohio.

Milacron to Build Tiebarless Line in China
A new line of tiebarless hydraulic machines will be built in China—initially only for that market—by the Milacron China div. of Milacron Inc., Batavia, Ohio.

New Acetals for Higher Impact, Lower Emissions
Several new acetal copolymers from Ticona Engineering Polymers, Florence, Ky., bring significant improvements in impact resistance, VOC emissions, and metallic appearance.

New Compression Press For Fuel-Cell Plates
New compression presses from Lawton Machinery Group (LMG), DePere, Wis., are designed for molding fuel-cell plates.

New Thermoformer Makes Bottles
A new roll-fed pressure former from Germany’s Illig Maschinenbau (U.S. office in Marietta, Ga.) is intended to compete with blow molding for food and drink bottles.

Notched Twin-Screws Exfoliate Nanoclays
New notched screws for the tiny twin-screw lab extruder from DSM Xplore in the Netherlands reportedly improve exfoliation and dispersion of nano-additives.

Novel Electrostatic Charging Monitor
WEB EXCLUSIVE Using patent-pending technology, a new monitor reportedly provides a visual display of operating conditions of an ionizer.

Novel Metallocene LLDPE For Film
A new family of metallocene-based LLDPE film resins reportedly provides an unprecedented combination of processability and hexene copolymer performance.

Nylon 6 for Fuel Tanks
New nylon 6 barrier materials from Rhodia Engineering Plastics, Cranbury, N.J., are aimed at monolayer and multilayer fuel tanks that meet new vapor emissions standards from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S.

Oscillating Die Gives ‘Perfect’ Film Rolls
Addex Inc., Stoughton, Mass., claims it now can produce nearly perfect blown film rolls with an oscillating die—an industry first.

PET Has Up to 20% PCR
WEB EXCLUSIVE A new PET resin containing up to 20% post-consumer recycled material boasts exceptional color, clarity, and dimensional stability for use in container applications such as bottled water, carbonated soft drinks, juices, sports drinks, teas, food products, and household goods and cleaners.

Piggy-Back Extruders For 11-Layer Blown Film
Brampton Engineering Inc., Brampton, Ont., came up with a novel approach to reduce the footprint of its first 11-layer blown film line, which shipped in April.

Plasma Surface Treater Has Greater Capacity
WEB EXCLUSIVE Lectro Engineering Co., St.

Presses Developed for Biodegradable Materials
A new line of injection presses designed to handle biodegradable resins by imparting less shear, and a new material compounding service to provide a range of thermoplastics enhanced with carbon nanotubes (see p. 31), were announced at the April Chinaplas show in Shanghai by Nissei Plastic Industrial Co.

Revised All-Electric and Hybrid Models Planned
The IntElect series of all-electric machines will be optimized and expanded, with the first releases planned for year’s end, says Dr.

Single Screw Extrudes Rigid PVC Dryblend
A 2.5-in. diam. single screw with two Elongator mixing sections, built by Randcastle Extrusion Systems Inc., Cedar Grove, N.J., can process rigid PVC dryblend at 70 rpm for 150-lb/hr output.

Super-Wide Air Knife
For wide-area cooling of parts, webs, and conveyors, Exair Corp., Cincinnati, recently came out with a 54-in.

Tester Measures IV of PET
A new compact, stand-alone testing instrument is said to determine the intrinsic viscosity (IV) of PET resins while avoiding both the costs and the environmental hazards of handling and disposing of toxic solvents.

Touchscreen PC for Materials Testers
WEB EXCLUSIVE Zwick USA, Kennesaw, Ga., has launched its Touch PC display, designed to make materials-testing machines such as universal testers and melt indexers even easier to operate.

Two-Stage Ejector Targets Larger Molds
A new two-stage ejector design and a new size for larger parts have been introduced by Hasco America, Arden, N.C.

Unsaturated Polyesters Have Biobased Content
Two new unsaturated polyesters from Ashland Composite Polymers, Columbus, Ohio, are made with renewable resources.

UV and Heat-Cure Adhesive
A clear, one-component, non-yellowing polymer system designed for bonding, sealing, coating, and encapsulation is both UV- and heat-curable.

Valve-Gate Nozzles Get Performance Enhancement
Bolt-on High-Performance (BHP) valve-gate nozzles from Herzog AG in Switzerland (represented here by Xaloy Inc., Pulaski, Va.) have been redesigned to improve melt flow 25% while imparting less shear stress to the melt.

CW Brabender
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