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February 2012

Close-Up on Technology

'Global' Ultrasonic Power Supplies Boast 'World First' Innovations
Branson Ultrasonics Corp., Danbury, Conn., has just introduced its first “global” series of ultrasonic welding power supplies for automated assembly systems, which are said to incorporate several “first-in-the-world” capabilities.

Mobile-Drying Project Required ‘In-the-Box’ Thinking
Portable material drying by truck is the concept behind an initiative launched last month by Poly Clean USA LLC, Charleston, S.C., with Dri-Air Industries.

Processor's Edge

Making Older Hydraulic Injection Machines More Energy Efficient
Processor Strategies: Motor Controllers

Know How

‘Wedging’ Can Cause Severe Screw Wear
In a column I wrote for the July 2011 issue, I discussed the value of conducting “forensic” examination of worn screws when they are removed for clues to design flaws.

Safety Sense in the Shop
Running a clean, organized, professional, and safe shop requires a team effort that includes an awareness of unsafe practices and equipment that need to be eliminated, replaced, or improved, along with the accountability of all to identify and document safety issues.

What to Calibrate on Your Press
There are different approaches to meeting the goal of making parts identically. At the heart of all them is the process or the machine setup sheet. My bet would be you cannot find two that are identical.

Working with Color Concentrates
Because the consumer sees so many colored plastic articles, it is natural to assume that the process of achieving molded-in color is a simple one. Those of us in the industry know differently.

Starting Up

3D Digitally 'Printed' Plane Flies Solo
Last summer, the world’s first unmanned air vehicle (UAV) whose entire structure was produced by laser sintering of nylon, was flown by engineers at the University of Southampton, England.

Coperion Adds Pelletizer Company
Twin-screw compounding equipment supplier Coperion GmbH (U.S. office: Coperion Corp., Ramsey, N.J.) has expanded its product line by acquiring majority ownership of Pell-Tec Pelletizing Technology GmbH in Niedernberg, Germany.

Lubrizol Completes Acquisition of Merquinsa
The Lubrizol Corp., Wickliffe, Ohio, recently completed its purchase of Spanish TPU producer Merquinsa.

Metabolix, ADM End Telles Joint Venture
The world of biopolymers got a jolt last month when Metabolix Inc., Cambridge, Mass., and the Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), Decatur, Ill., announced the end of the Telles LLC joint venture for producing PHA biopolymer, effective Feb. 8.

Microcellular Foam Goes Really Big
The world’s largest injection machine equipped for the MuCell microcellular foam molding process (above) was started up in December at the technical center of Mürdter, a German molder and moldmaker in Mutlangen.

Nano-Cellulose Fibers: Renewable Reinforcements for Plastics
Nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) is a renewable reinforcing fiber material derived from wood or other biomass.

New Partnership for EVOH/Nanoclay Barrier Compounds
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Nippon Gohsei of Japan, maker of SoaranoL EVOH resins, has obtained an exclusive global license for use of O2Block Barrier additive from NanoBioMatters Industries S.L. of Spain.

New WPC Materials Producer Up and Running
Some 18 months in the making, Polymera Inc. last month announced that its 160,000 ft² production plant is officially open for business, with annual capacity for 60 million lb of wood/plastics composite (WPC) compounds.

Nylon Prices Up 10¢ This Month
WEB EXCLUSIVE: BASF in Wyandotte, Mich., hiked prices of its nylon 6 resin by 10¢/lb as of Feb. 1.

PolyOne Acquires ColorMatrix
In late December, PolyOne Corp., Cleveland, completed the acquisition of ColorMatrix Group, Inc., Berea, Ohio, a maker of liquid colors and dosing equipment, colorants and additives for fluoropolymers, and specialty additives for PET and other resins.

SABIC Opens Specialty Compounding Plant
SABIC Innovative Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass., recently opened a specialty polypropylene compounding operation at its Bay St.


‘Back to Basics’ Fuels More Innovation at Thin-Gauge Former
Shift from private to capital ownership give Tray-Pak a boost.

Do It All in the Mold
In-mold assembly, decorating, labeling, finishing: In-mold “what-have-you” has been a trend in injection molding for years.

Five Cases Where Microcellular Foaming Paid Off
The MuCell process for producing microcellular injection molded parts is used and accepted globally as a technology option for providing a more dimensionally stable part through a reduction in residual stress, along with increased productivity versus solid injection molded parts.

Get Better at Multi-Material Molding
Since each multi-material application is unique, there’s no standard best method for success. Each molding solution must be tailored to meet the needs of the final product.

Is Diversification Right for Your Business?
End-market strategies.

Looking into Photovoltaic Film? Here Are Material & Die-Design Insights
The market for high-tech film or sheet used in solar modules represents a considerable opportunity for specialty extrusion processors looking to expand into high-end industries and capitalize on the global shift toward alternative energy.

Making Parts Lightweight & Strong with New Technologies
One of the driving forces in technology is weight reduction.

NPE2012: The Big Picture -- Themes for Growth at the Big Show
In our last issue we examined three big themes that will serve as the foundation of many new technology developments at NPE 2012, April 1-5 at the Orlando Convention Center: sustainability, energy efficiency, and automation.

Keeping Up With Technology

ADDITIVES: Nylon Lubricant Cuts Die Buildup
A new lubricant from Struktol Co. of America, Stow, Ohio, is designed to reduce compound viscosity, significantly improve metal release, and enhance dispersion of fillers and reinforcements in nylon 6 and 66.

AUXILIARIES: Color Touchscreen Now Standard on Smaller Dryer/Conveyor Units
Color touchscreen control is now standard, at no additional cost, on the Mobile NovaWheel Dry/Convey models (75, 100, and 150 lb/hr) supplied by Baltimore-based Novatec Inc.

AUXILIARIES: DIgital UV Ink Tester
For digital ink-jet printing, Pad Print Machinery of Vermont, E.

AUXILIARIES: Materials-Handling, Drying, Cooling Enhancements Coming at NPE2012
The Conair Group, Cranberry Twp., Pa., will introduce several new lines of products at NPE in Orlando, Apr. 1-5:•In materials handling, Conair’s Intelligent Loading System (ILS) is being upgraded to be fully distributed via Ethernet communication, which will dramatically simplify wiring and reduce installation costs, while increasing its control capabilities to handle up to 500 loaders and vacuum pumps.

BLOW MOLDING: New Small Reciprocating-Screw Machine
A new, smaller reciprocating-screw extrusion blow molder comes from Uniloy Milacron North America, Tecumseh, Mich.

BLOW MOLDING: Reheat Machine Has Electric Stretching
The SBO Compact2 reheat stretch-blow molding machine from Sidel, Norcross, Ga., features a newly developed stretching system for the preform.

EXTRUSION: IBC System Reacts Fast, Saves Resin
New Digital Internal Bubble Cooling (DIBC) system from Addex Inc., Stoughton, Mass., is said to deliver the fastest reaction time in the industry to ensure precise bubble control, helping processors to speed product changeovers and significantly reduce scrap.

EXTRUSION: New Source for Blown Film Systems
Kuhne GmbH blown-film technology will now be available to North American processors through sister company American Kuhne, Ashaway, R.I.

INJECTION MOLDING: Single-Drop Hot Sprue Bushings for Prototyping & Short Runs
New D-Max single-drop hot sprue bushings from DME, Madison Heights, Mich., have two zones of heating with separate thermocouples.

INJECTION MOLDING: Small New Robot Packs More Muscle
The smallest model in the S5 line of Cartesian servo robots for complex automation applications will debut at NPE 2012 in Orlando, Apr. 1-5, in booth 348.

MATERIALS: New PC Copolymer Helps Shrink Solar PV Devices
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Addressing the fast-moving trend toward miniaturization of solar photovoltaic (PV) connectors and junction boxes, SABIC Innovative Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass., has come out with a new resin that enables molding thinner walls and placing conductors closer together.

MATERIALS: TPEs Boast Improved Wet Grip
WEB EXCLUSIVE: New Thermolast W grades of SEBS-based TPEs are said to offer exceptionally firm grip, even when wet. “Ground-breaking” Wet Grip technology from Kraiburg TPE, Duluth, Ga., boasts up to three times the coefficient of friction of conventional SBS TPEs and TPVs for both wet and dry applications with no negative impact on physical properties or processability in multi-component injection molding or extrusion.

TOOLING: Mold-Maintenance Chemicals Free of Chlorinated Solvents
Slide Products, Wheeling, Ill., has eliminated chlorinated solvents from its entire line of mold releases, mold cleaners, lubricants, rust preventives, and purging compounds, helping molders to provide safer work environment and lowering their costs.

Resin Prices

Commodity Resin Prices Move Upwards
After falling almost continuously through the second half of 2011, prices of PE, PS, and PVC were all on the way up last month, with PE prices already rebounding by the end of December.


At NPE, Tune in to The PT Knowledge Network
We'll be bringing the pages of Plastics Technology to life at Booth 3303.

Outlook for Consumer Goods: Moderately Improve
Our forecast for total U.S. production of consumer goods calls for a gain of 3% in 2012 following a rise of just over 2% in 2011.

CW Brabender
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