Are You A Film or Sheet Processor? There’s Plenty to Learn at the Extrusion 2015 Conference

By: James Callari 27. August 2015


Have you checked out Plastics Technology’s upcoming Extrusion 2015 Conference? It’s going to be held Nov. 2-3 in Charlotte, N.C. at the Omni Charlotte Hotel in the downtown section of the city.


This two-day event is packed with presentations from more than 60 technical experts covering a wide range of subject areas. The format is a little different than what you might be accustomed to: The morning sessions on each day will include presentations on general extrusion topics. During each afternoon there will be three concurrent breakout sessions that hone in on your particular process: film/sheet; pipe/profile/tubing; and compounding.


If you extrude sheet or film, during these two afternoon sessions you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about best practices in winding, drying, purging, product changeovers, troubleshooting nettlesome issues such as gels and black specs, as well as new developments in no-dry systems for PET, and much more.


But don’t sleep in because there is plenty on the agenda each morning for you: screw design basics, troubleshooting conveying systems, new developments in filtration and melt pump technologies, how to make more efficient use of reclaim, new approaches in foaming, and more.


In addition to the technical program, there will be ample opportunity for you to mingle with the more than 30 companies who will be exhibiting at this event.


Click here to download a copy of the entire program. Click here to see a list of all of the companies that are exhibiting.  In terms of registration, click here to see the pricing details. Best to act before Oct. 1 to save $100. We also have special pricing if your company is thinking of sending more than three people. Ready to register? Click here and begin that process.


In terms of accommodations, once again it’s best to act quickly. The Omni is the show hotel, but is filling up at a fast and furious pace. As a result, we have negotiated a similar discounted rate with the Aloft Charlotte, which is nearby.


We at Plastics Technology believe the Extrusion 2015 Conference is the event of the year for extrusion processors of all kinds. We hope to see you there.

New Survey Details 3D Printing’s Impact On Manufacturing

By: Heather Caliendo 25. August 2015

3D printing is often referred to as a ‘revolution’ and ‘game-changer,’ but where is it heading? A new report from Stratasys, Minneapolis, aims to answer that question. The report, “3D Printing’s Imminent Impact on Manufacturing,” is based on an independent survey of 700 designers, engineers and executives – 40% of whom are employed by companies with over $50 million in revenue. In addition, respondents work for companies that are committed to using 3D printing.


Some of the questions explored was:


  • Will they invest in in-house capabilities, will they outsource, and why?
  • What needs to happen for 3D printing of end-production parts to become a large-scale reality?
  • What materials are of greatest interest?


“We needed to look beyond our factory walls to get a more complete sense of where 3D printing is headed, so we turned to those who live and breathe the technology just like we do – professional users,” said Joe Allison, CEO of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. “We set out to uncover the common themes among companies who are on the spectrum of larger-scale adoption and integration of 3D printing into their manufacturing process. We’re sharing our findings to help advance adoption and help manufacturers’ maximize the business benefits.”


The report indicates what applications, business benefits and challenges, equipment, materials and services are capturing the attention of 3D printing’s most committed users – and where their companies will invest. Among the results:


  • The majority of respondents – representing the aerospace, automotive, consumer and medical sectors – strongly believe more end-use parts will be designed specifically for additive manufacturing (AM) in the future.
  • The majority of respondents said that regardless of their company’s in-house AM capabilities, they believe there will always be value in partnering with an AM service provider to augment internal capabilities.


The survey asked respondents what materials they would like to see further developed for AM. Future material interests and needs are focused on properties.


Decidedly, metals are most highly-coveted across all industries, with 84% of respondents interested in seeing more metal material developments. In fact, additive metal use is expected to nearly double over the next three years. About 61% of respondents are interested in the future use of high-temperature plastics.


Additionally, respondents in aerospace and automotive sectors are more interested than other industries in carbon fiber, while respondents in the medical industry are more interested in bio-based materials.


“If your company is a committed user of 3D printing, the report will provide assurance that you are headed down a similar path of your peers and face many of the same challenges to adoption. If you’re still dipping your toe in the water, the results may serve as a wake-up call to take swifter action,” Allison said.

Stabilized HDPE 'Shade Balls' Help Reduce Water Evaporation from L.A. Reservoir

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 25. August 2015


To help combat California’s devastating draught, a three-year collaboration among custom color and additives masterbatch supplier Techmer PM, Clinton, Tenn., blow molder Artisan Screen Printing, Azusa, Calif.,  and engineers from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), culminated to what are reportedly improved "shade balls." 


Designed to protect water quality, prevent algae growth, and slow evaporation, the four-inch plastic balls were recently placed in the L.A. Reservoir. This team resulted in solving problems associated with leaking and cracking at the seam lines and the creation of shade balls with a longer life expectancy than previous versions. The new balls are made of HDPE certified for drinking water, and a UV stabilizer and FDA-grade carbon black masterbatch from Techmer PM.


The project is estimated to protect the 3.3 billion gal of water in the reservoir for approximately ten years and annually save 300 million gal of water from evaporating. According to Techmer PM, of the 96 million shade balls used on the project, more than 89 million balls were produced by Artisan Screen Printing and include Techmer PM’s stabilized masterbatches.


Two other manufacturers of the black HDPE shade balls are Orange Products Inc., Allentown, Penn. and Glendora, California-based XavierC LLC. The idea of shade balls is said to have come from retired LADWP biologist Brian White, who was inspired by the “bird balls” used to deter birds in ponds along runways.


The black HDPE hollow shade balls are filled with water and hermetically sealed so they don’t blow away. The U.S. EPA has encouraged the country’s water managers in recent years to find ways to cover or contain their resources to prevent sunlight from reacting with chlorine and possibly creating carcinogens.


While the color of the balls may seem odd, it turns out that carbon black colorants have superior longevity over white TiO2 colorants. Reportedly, for example, there is a significant tensile strength deterioration of white shade balls within eight months versus the 10-year life expectancy of the black shade balls.

Custom Molder Partners with Another School Program

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 25. August 2015


An innovative custom molder for a variety of industries such as plastic packaging, beauty and cosmetics, amenities, household consumables, electronic connectors and medical measuring devices since 1982, Currier Plastics, Auburn, N.Y., is big on education partnerships.


This week, for instance, the company hosted a group of Auburn High School 9th graders that will be participating in this year’s P-Tech Auburn Pathways in Technology Program. This is a six-year program that encompasses more hands-on learning than a traditional school environment.


This P-Tech program blends academia with real-world experience and prepares the students for careers in the electrical and mechanical technology industries. Each student will be matched with a business mentor and gain professional experience during their high-school years and after six years, graduate with a New York State Regents diploma and an Associate’s Degree from Cayuga Community College.


Currier Plastics’ Diane Pisciotti, who holds the interesting title of director of talent, says, “We would love to pull candidates from this program and have already begun the process of selecting mentors…P-Tech is new and this is the first year of the grant. We will have tour guides to escort the students around our facility so they can see firsthand what opportunities lie ahead for them.”


Meanwhile, the company has also partnered with Cayuga Community College Plastics Technology program and provided engineering and molding expertise. This, in addition to donating an injection molding machine and negotiating the donation of additional equipment from some of the company’s vendors. 


Measure Pellet Moisture Online: A Second System Debuts at Fakuma Show

By: Matthew H. Naitove 25. August 2015


NPE 2012 saw the introduction of the first device for measuring the moisture content of resin pellets online and in real time. This device, the MoistureMaster has since been implemented for quality assurance in several medical molding facilities, according to the supplier, Novatec Inc., Baltimore.


In October, the second system of this sort will debut at the Fakuma 2015 show in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Moretto S.p.A. of Massanzago, Italy (U.S. office in Columbus, Ohio), will show off the latest version of its Eureka system for high-volume PET drying. Called Eureka Plus, it now has been supplemented by the Moisture Meter, a unit that is mounted under the drying hopper (photo) and reportedly measures the residual moisture in the dried pellets. Not only does it provide a minute-by-minute quality-control check on the actual resin moisture, but it also communicates with the dryer to adjust the process, if necessary. Moretto emphasizes that this can prevent overdrying and avoid wasting energy.


Expect more details after the show.

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