An Advance Look at Some of the News Awaiting You in Chicago Next Month

Injection Molding

Large Car WindowsMolded in Polycarbonate
A cost-effective means of producing large side and rear car windows from polycarbonate reportedly will be demonstrated by Battenfeld Injection Molding Technology of Germany (U.S. office in West Warwick, R.I.). The company says this is an industry first. It can deliver a 40% to 50% weight reduction compared to glass. The window project was a joint effort with Summerer Technologies, a German maker of in-mold decorating and laser-cutting systems, and Exatec, a joint venture of Bayer AG and GE Plastics. Exatec makes a scratch-resistant plasma surface coating for PC windows.

The window will be produced in a production cell comprising a 2420-ton Battenfeld HM two-platen press and an ABB jointed-arm robot. It will use a new injection-compression process and a special mold technology. Battenfeld’s IMPmore process molds thin-wall components with long flow distances at low clamping forces and low molded-in stresses.

Two-Platen ThermosetPress Has a Toggle, Too
A unique injection press that combines a two-platen clamp with a toggle will be unveiled by Dima Inc., Paramount, Calif., the U.S. subsidiary of Dongshin Hydraulics of Korea. Its new Hytoggle unit is designed for thermoset molding and is offered in sizes from 270 to 650 tons with shot sizes up to 100 oz. Prices are said to be as little as half those of competitive thermoset machines. In this novel clamp, the toggle first closes the mold, then hydraulic pancake cylinders on each tiebar apply clamping pressure. Machines have six or more heat controllers on each platen and use controls and drive components from standard brands such as Barber-Colman, Siemens, Bosch, and Vickers.

Unitized Valve-Gate System Drops in Place
Mold-assembly time can be reduced with a new drop-in, fully assembled, unitized hot-runner valve-gate system from Incoe Corp., Troy, Mich. It does away with the retainer plates used in the construction of a conventional hot half.

New Hot-Runner LineFor Engineering Resins
The new ESP line of hot runners designed specifically for engineering resins comes from Seiki Spear in Japan. The ESP series is aimed at such applications as auto parts, gears, and connectors. Minimum nozzle pitch is 28 cm. The series has separate external heaters on the nozzle body and tip. Seiki’s S2000 temperature controller cycles the tip heater on and off to freeze the gate without stringing or drooling. The controls allow balancing cavities by varying body and tip heater temperatures. A new heater-wire material reportedly extends tip-heater life, Seiki Spear products are distributed in North America by Husky Injection Molding Systems Inc., Buffalo, N.Y.

 

Extrusion

Automatic Gauge ControlFor Older Dies & Air Rings
Blown-film processors now have a way to install automatic gauge control with non-segmented air rings and non-segmented dies. Plast-Control Inc. in Newburyport, Mass., will exhibit for the first time in the U.S. a segmented plate for gauge control that fits between the die and air ring. It controls the flow of air to cool thin spots in the film, just like a segmented air ring, but uses its own separate supply of low-volume air directed at the melt slightly below the air ring. Called Pro-Jet, this novel device uses the same control software as on Plast-Control’s segmented air ring. Plast-Control showed the prototype at K 2001 and has installed a dozen since.

Oscillating Haul-Off Has a New Twist
The new Multinip oscillating haul-off replaces a single drive and series of gears with multiple motors to drive each turning bar independently. Shown for the first time by Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp., Lincoln, R.I., this device ultimately could eliminate the need for a web guide by controlling motor speeds to adjust web position. (That capability is still being developed.)

NPE will also be the first show display of W&H’s Filmatic T dual-stack turret winder, previously seen only in prototype at W&H’s lab in Germany. The Filmatic T has a small footprint, adhesiveless transfer, reverse winding, automatic roll and shaft handling, and speeds up to 655 ft/min. This will also be the first show for W&H’s new Windows XP-based touchscreen controls.

100% Pipe QC Comes to the U.S.
An ultrasonic pipe-gauging system introduced five years ago in Europe to provide 100% quality control for critical applications like gas pipe is just now coming to the U.S. Aurex ERS 36 from Inoex LLC, Lancaster, Pa., measures ID, OD, and concentricity of the entire pipe surface. It also detects holes, thin spots, and inclusions and provides a visual display of the size, shape, and location of such flaws. The device has a ring of up to 36 ultrasonic sensors that fire one at a time in clockwise order, at a rate of 6000 rpm. As each sensor fires, the sensors on either side “listen” for the reflected ultrasound waves, as does the sensor that fired the burst. This triangulated signal means that no part of the pipe wall goes unmeasured, and it pinpoints the exact size and location of flaws. The Aurex system is designed for use with Inoex’s gravimetric extrusion control system, which continuously calibrates the ultrasonics.

There have been 150 installations of the Aurex ERS 36 in Europe over the past five years for applications from HDPE gas and hot-water pipe to PVC drain pipe. The first two systems in the U.S. will be installed this month at Coastline Plastics LLC in Yulee, Fla., on lines running CPVC industrial pipe.

Software Checks Profile Die Designs
A new meshing module will make it easier for profile processors to analyze and balance a die before it’s built, instead of shaving or adding metal afterward. Compuplast International Inc. in Mississauga, Ont., developed the enhancement for its Flow 2000 CAE software in cooperation with Cortech in Taiwan. The new meshing module lets a processor take a profile die design from any common CAD program and import it into the extrusion version of Flow 2000. Once the design is meshed, the processor specifies flow conditions and material, and then the software’s 3D FEM module analyzes the design. The new add-on module will cost about $7500.

The example shown above is a round die leading to a T-shaped profile. It took about half an hour to model, mesh, and simulate on a computer running Windows 2000. A problem area ap pears in red where faster flowing material would cause sink marks in the profile.

New Source Makes Small Parallel Twins for PVC
A long-time maker of single-screw extruders for PVC profiles is bringing its first parallel twin-screw model to NPE. Deltaplast Machinery Ltd. in Concord, Ont., shipped the first four of its new DTS series earlier this year. All were 75-mm models to make PVC fence profiles. The DTS line comes in 75, 94, and 114 mm diam. with 26:1 or 33:1 L/D. The 75-mm model is believed to be the smallest parallel twin-screw for PVC made in North America. This DTS-75 model has a 50-hp AC vector drive motor, Thyssen Henschel heavy-duty gearbox, and closed-loop internal screw cooling. The extruders have an Omron PLC with conventional or touchscreen control station.

Extrusion Monitoring Goes Wireless
Wireless connectivity for remote data collection is being developed for EPIC III machine supervisory controls by Davis-Standard Corp., Pawcatuck, Conn. Wireless data acquisition is made possible by components designed for industrial environments and able to deliver a five-year battery life. Davis-Standard is working with Adaptive Instruments in Hudson, Mass., to develop these components for extrusion data collection. One target market would be to collect process data from older machines that aren’t computer controlled. Wireless data collection can also bridge long distances inside a plant (up to 3000 ft between base stations) and may be more convenient or cost-effective than conventional hard wiring. For instance, operators or supervisors could use handheld wireless devices to read EPIC control data from multiple lines.

At NPE in Chicago next month, Davis-Standard will show wireless collection of process data from a Killion cast-film line running in the booth. The new hardware and software will be commercially available for EPIC III controls after the show.

First Demo of Direct Foam Extrusion
Direct extrusion of a foam profile will be demonstrated publicly for the first time at NPE, says Leistritz of Somerville, N.J. Its demonstration will use an extremely long, 52:1 L/D, corotating twin-screw model ZSE-50 (50 mm diam.) with a 150-hp motor. Melting and mixing of a polyolefin and additives is done in the first two barrel sections. Then supercritical CO2 is injected in a special barrel section using a high-pressure injection port and a piston pump. The remaining nine barrel sections function as a heat exchanger with intensive water cooling.

Foaming is traditionally done in a tandem set-up with a single- or twin-screw extruder followed by a separate heat exchanger. Leistritz’s system melts, mixes, foams, and cools all in one extruder. Leistritz has delivered such systems commercially for at least five years, including one installed since 1998 at the National Research Council of Canada in Boucherville, Que.

New Pressure Sensors Are More Rugged & Reliable
A new family of non-filled extrusion pressure sensors is said to overcome drawbacks of previous unfilled sensors, known as “silicon-on-sapphire” types. Such transducers have suffered from shortcomings in repeatability, stability, linearity, and zero shift, according to officials at Dynisco LLC, Franklin, Mass. Dynisco’s new SPT (Silicon Pressure Transducer) series is said to be as accurate as standard filled sensors. They are also much more rugged and durable. There is no fill material to degrade from heat exposure over time, and there are no internal mechanical components that are sensitive to rough treatment. SPT sensors are suitable for food and medical applications as well as general extrusion.

Dynisco says SPT transducers are suitable for service at up to 350 C (660 F). They can measure pressure from 250 to 30,000 psi and are reportedly much more accurate at low pressures than are push-rod or oil-filled sensors. In addition, the same sensor detects both pressure and temperature, so there is no need for a separate thermocouple. Since the sensor is immediately behind the diaphragm, faster temperature response is said to result.

 

Compounding

U.S. Debut for High-Output PVC Kneader
The first major redesign in 20 years of the Buss PVC Kneader from Coperion Corp., Ramsey, N.J., will make its U.S. debut. The new Quantec line is said to have two to three times higher output than before and costs 30% less. A much larger feed port and conical feed zone eliminate the need for a costly crammer feeder. The processing section adds a fourth row of flights and kneading pins, and the flights overlap, forming a labyrinth. This is said to increase conveying efficiency, reduce backflow, and reduce scrap on start-up.

The show model is the Quantec 50 from Coperion’s lab. Designed for 900 lb/hr, it has a 50-mm barrel with 9:1 L/D plus 120-mm, 6:1 discharge extruder. Sizes range up to 140 mm (20,000 lb/hr). Coperion is also developing a longer Quantec Kneader with up to 14:1 L/D and barrel vents for PVC calendering.

Pelletizing Just Got A Lot Quieter
Sound-damping construction is said to make new water-ring pelletizers and pellet dryers much quieter than previous models. These new products come from Dynisco LLC in Hickory, N.C. The new Beringer pelletizers boast much better consistency of pellet size and shape, thanks to improved die plates and knife mounting, as well as better temperature and speed control. Output capacity has also been increased by 10% to 15%. Two models, WRP 12i and 35i, have capacities of 2640 and 7700 lb/hr, respectively. Another improvement is much faster cleanout for product changeover. Dynisco says it has provided easier access to the interior of the pelletizer and has eliminated places where pellets can hang up.

Sound damping is said to greatly reduce noise generation by new TD10 pellet dryers. Also, improved moisture extraction boosts their throughput. They come in sizes to match the WRP pelletizers.

 

Materials

Engineering Resins Extend Their Reach
A host of new engineering plastics grades will occupy the booth of GE Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass. The biggest surprise is they will be joined by a brand-new thermoset family based on polyphenylene oxide (PPO) chemistry. GE says it is based on a new thermosettable PPO that reacts with unnamed monomers. This Noryl ETX line, which is to be commercialized shortly, boasts some cost-performance advantages over vinyl esters and epoxies. Notable properties are said to include high strength and ductility, good electrical properties, and low moisture take-up. This thermoset may have potential in automotive valve covers, fuel-cell conductive plates, electrical transformers, and windmill blades.

GE Plastics is also expanding its existing line of engineering thermoplastics with a palette of novel grades. GE says it has added more “crystalline-like” properties to its Noryl PPO/PS family, while retaining the benefits of its amorphous structure. New Noryl CRX grades have enhanced oil and chemical resistance while retaining good processability. Potential end-uses include fluid handling parts, automotive under-hood parts, and connectors.

In addition, GE’s polypropy lene/PPO Noryl PPX now comes in several high-melt-strength grades for sheet and profile extrusion and thermoforming.
GE also unveiled the first clear version of its Lexan EXL silicone-polycarbonate copolymer. Compared with standard PC, the result is said to be dramatically improved toughness, especially at low temperatures, plus improved processability and mold-release properties, as well as better uv resistance. Until now, Lexan EXL has been opaque and thus limited mainly to outdoor parts like mailboxes, electrical housings, and auto-bumper energy absorbers. Clear EXL grades, to be commercialized late this year, open up potential in eyewear, water bottles, medical devices, lighting, and building products. GE plans to introduce clear EXL grades that are flame-retardant, too.

Ultem XH6050 is a new polyetherimide (PEI) claimed to have “the highest glass-transition temperature of any injection moldable thermoplastic on earth.” A Tg of 249 C (480 F) makes it viable in projector and auto headlamp reflectors, as well as flexible circuit boards and dual-ovenable trays.

Other new Ultem grades are: 1010X, a low-ionic version for semi-conductor handling systems; ATX200, an alloy with 300% higher flow for use in thin-wall molding; and 1000E, a high-impact grade that is FDA-approved for food-service and medical uses.

GE Plastics plans to introduce a high-performance version of its Geloy ASA weatherable capstock resin. Geloy XTW enhances weatherability performance by 200% to 300% versus existing Geloy grades, while gloss retention is 80%. This opens new potential in window profiles, siding, and sheet for thermoformed parts of spas, boat hulls, and recreational and agricultural vehicles.

GE has also expanded its Cytra line of ABS/PBT alloys with low-gloss, high-impact XCT200; low-gloss, high-heat XCT300; and glass-filled, low-gloss, high-stiffness XCT500. The new slate enhances the ability of ABS/PBT to compete against PP and PP alloys in auto interior trim such as glove-box covers.

There’s Lots New In Acetal
NPE will see a number of recent developments that boost the performance of Delrin acetal homopolymers from DuPont Engineering Polymers, Wilmington, Del. One major handicap to increased acetal use has been resistance to decoration, but new modified grades are more amenable to painting, printing, plating, hot stamping, and in-mold decorating. Also new are warp-resistant grades for large, flat molded parts, driving acetals into markets previously restricted to amorphous resins. A third step is the emergence of high-melt-strength grades dedicated to thermoforming. These are new options for auto interior panels, machine and appliance housings, and sports products. Finally, higher levels of adhesion make possible hard/soft overmolding without tie layers when using specially modified Delrin with modified grades of certain styrenic TPEs.

PVC Gets Softer Than Ever
Teknor Apex Co.’s Vinyl Div. in Pawtucket, R.I., has set a precedent with its new family of super-soft vinyl pellets that have Shore hardnesses as low as 39 A while also being processable on standard injection or extrusion equipment. This combines the softness of PVC plastisols with the cost benefits of high-speed processing. Up to now, limited ability to absorb plasticizer has kept melt-processable PVC grades above 50 Shore A hardness. Teknor’s new grades target industrial belts, rollers, step pads, caps, plugs, grips, and other parts that until now have been made by dip, slush, or rotational molding. The three grades have 39, 45, and 50 Shore A hardnesses.

 

Additives

Mold Releases for RTM, Nylon & TP Elastomers
Three new mold releases for specific applications will be featured by Axel Plastics Research Laboratories, Woodside, N.Y.

·Xtend 825 is a semi-permanent, high-slip release specially designed for thermoset RTM composites, especially with non-gelcoated parts and difficult resins like DCPD polyesters. Xtend 825 is a reactive resin solution that cures to a densely cross-linked film. It provides multiple releases from the “B” or plug side of molds. This solvent-based product contains no HAPS (hazardous air pollutants) and can be applied at 100 to 200 F, so there is no need to remove RTM molds from service for each new release application.

·MoldWiz INT-1117EL is an internal mold release designed to improve processing and release of new EPDM-containing TPOs, TPEs, and TPUs for products ranging from footwear to automotive mechanical goods and electronic keypads.

·MoldWiz INT-38-HM is an internal release that improves flow and release of nylon and other engineering resins that are dried at temperatures up to 125 F. It has a drop melt of 252 F, so users can now blend the lubricant and resin prior to drying with no fear of melt-out. Available as a 100%-active pellet or free-flowing powder, it is a proprietary formulation of modified fatty acids that are suitable for food contact, Axel says.

Zinc-Enhanced Phosphite Stabilizers for Soft PVC
New zinc-enhanced phosphite heat stabilizers reportedly improve heat stability and long-term weathering of flexible PVC compared with conventional mixed-metal stabilizers. By replacing mixed-metal types, new PhosBoosters from Dover Chemical Corp., Dover, Ohio, allow processors to completely eliminate toxic heavy metals and substantially reduce VOCs.

These products are also said to reduce problems of plate out and moisture blush. The result is reduced scrap and downtime required for color changes. Processors can also reduce pigment cost, particularly for clear and light colors, says Dover. During processing, they reportedly prevent degradation and yellowing.

Dover marketed the first generation of PhosBoosters in 2001 as partial replacements for mixed metal stabilizers. This second generation, which serves as complete replacements, includes the 600 series for filled applications, 700 series for clear applications, 800 series for FDA applications, and 900 series for foams.

They’re Tough In the Cold
New pelletized impact modifiers are designed to toughen PBT, PC, PC/PBT alloys, and nylon at ultra-low-temperatures down to -131 F. Abust and Mebust tri-block copolymers from PolyChem Alloy, Inc., Lenoir, N.C., are high-butadiene ABS and MBS types, respectively. These non-melting additives can be mixed with engineering resins at temperatures above 480 F and are stable even above 580 F.

These free-flowing, pelletized modifiers are said to improve handling and minimize flammability concerns associated with powdered modifiers.

Smooth Processing Of Polyolefins
Two improved fluoropolymer processing aids are the latest addition to the Dynamar line from Dyneon, Oakdale, Minn. Dynamar FX 9614X and FX 5922X are FDA-compliant, free-flowing granular products that are said to offer significant performance improvements over the earlier Dynamar FX 9613 and FX 5920A, resulting in lower use levels and cost savings. They reportedly eliminate melt fracture and reduce extrusion pressure and die build-up in a wide array of polyolefins. They also reduce apparent melt viscosity.

 

Materials Handling

Low-Cost Dryers Debut
The first in a new line of simple and economical dryers will be displayed by Motan, Inc., Plainwell, Mich. The Luxor 200S has a stationary twin-desiccant tower design and is designed to be used with Motan’s ETA central drying bins. Motan says the low-cost unit is aimed at processors who want the benefits of central drying but don’t need advanced control options like data trending. Unlike other low-cost dryers, the Motan S series includes PLC control, audible and visible alarm indication, and safety features such as airflow indication sensors.

Portable Dryer/Loader Cuts Drying Time in Half
A new dehumidifying dryer/loader combination is said to cut drying time by 50%. The compact, portable Multi-Jet 3 (MJ3) from Matsui America in Chicago can feed multiple process machines and is suited to injection molders with limited floor space.

The unit has a honeycomb desiccant rotor and both primary (to the dryer) and secondary (to the press) conveying systems, all in a single cabinet. The desiccant rotor’s large contact area effectively dries resin in half the usual time and stabilizes dew point at a constant –40 F, according to Matsui. A touchpad simplifies programming. Pellets are conveyed using warm, dry air and delivered for the next loading cycle on a just-in-time basis.

Dryers From a New/Old Player
A new line of desiccant dryers for injection and blow molding processes boast high energy efficiency and reliability, simplified controls, and easy maintenance. They have been introduced by the new Molding Div. of Process Control Corp. in Atlanta. The company has re-entered the dryer market after nearly 20 years, using the basic design of an earlier series and updating it with current technology. The D-series dryers are engineered for throughputs of 15 to 2500 lb/hr and can handle high-temperature materials like PET. The portable DP series comes in sizes of 15 to 100 lb/hr.

All of these dryers are designed to dry at 0.6 cfm/lb/hr of process air, which is said to be 40% lower than most competitive equipment, resulting in significant energy savings. They have an Allen-Bradley Micro-Logix 1200 PLC with touchscreen interface.

 

Testing

New Options for Testing Melts and Solids
Dynisco Polymer Test in Morgantown, Pa., has broadened its line with three additional types of testing and sample-preparation equipment. The firm has also updated two other lines of instruments.

·Dynisco’s first Izod and Charpy impact tester is the new API (Advanced Pendulum Impact) model. It offers high rigidity and a pendulum arm with low-friction precision bearings—both features designed to improve accuracy by avoiding unwanted energy dissipation. PLC control and menu-driven software also provide easy operation, Dynisco says. Price range is $25,000 to $35,000.

·Another brand-new product is the LME lab mixing extruder. It’s designed to extrude test samples from very small amounts of developmental materials—5 to 10 g/hr. Instead of a screw, the benchtop unit has a smooth conical, heated rotor. Dynisco offers sheet, tubing, cast-film, and strand dies. The unit, which costs $10,000 to $12,000, is not suitable for rigid PVC.

·Another first for Dynisco is The LMM lab mixing molder. It uses the same plasticating rotor as the LME but feeds the melt to a hand-operated compression mold for producing test-sample disks. The benchtop unit costs $10,000 to $12,000.

·One updated unit to debut at the show is the HDV3 HDT and Vicat tester, which replaces the model HDV2. The main improvement is in the oil bath, which is said to heat multiple samples with improved temperature uniformity from sample to sample. Upgraded software also provides enhanced data capture, such as recording of sample creep over time.