When I attend a show like NPE, people are always asking me, “See anything new? Find anything interesting?” Of course! I always find something to get enthused about, and you’ll see plenty of examples in our feature section this month. It’s tough to winnow them down to just a few, but here are my “most interesting” picks from NPE 2006.
My top three are all in the field of tooling for injection molding. For me, the most impressive demonstration at the show was a combination of two-shot molding, in-mold film decorating, and in-mold assembly. One mold with two rotating turrets produced a colorful toy car with a two-piece body and four wheels (see NPE 2006 News Wrap-Up: Injection Molding). How those wheels were popped onto the axles made me scratch my head in wonder—since moldmaker Electroform was reluctant to tell how it was done.
My second pick from the show came all the way from Australia. A company called Ritemp showed how to flood-cool a mold by carving out the back of the core and cavity and partly filling the hollow with water. Then pull a vacuum, and behold: Ordinary water acts like a low-boiling refrigerant—like Freon! With the help of a water-cooled heat exchanger, the water boils and condenses in an endless cycle, supplying just the amount of cooling needed, just where it’s needed (see p. 33).
And for number three, I like the way Dr. John Beaumont from Penn State Erie and his company, Beaumont Technologies, have taken his already mightily clever Melt Flipper idea one step further. Now, it not only corrects multi-cavity filling imbalances, but it can “correct” flow within a cavity to solve problems like weld lines and gas traps. To top it off, the effect is now adjustable from the parting line of the mold (see New Way to Solve Mold-Filling Problems). That sounds like one powerful headache pill for molders.