PT Blog

‘Universal’ Stretch-Blow Molder Offers Maximum Flexibility with Fast Changeovers

If you need a PET stretch-blow machine that can mold an extremely wide range of sizes and shapes of containers in small volumes, with quick changeovers, and at an economical price, take a look at FlexBlow from Terekas UAB in Lithuania. You can see one of these machines in action at Pack Expo in Las Vegas, Sept. 25-27.

Never heard of blow molding machines from Lithuania? “Did you know that Lithuania is ranked one of the 10 best-educated countries in Europe?” asks Gytis Servinskas, market development manager. “That means we have highly qualified labor at a reasonable wage rate. That makes us price competitive.”

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Recap of Refocus Sustainability & Recycling Summit

The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) held the second annual Refocus Sustainability & Recycling Summit with the sustainability division of SPE (Society of Plastics Engineers) as the principal programming partner, in Orlando, Fla., June 27-29 (next year Refocus will take place during NPE2018). The summit is designed for the plastics industry and covered a variety of topics and challenges facing the sector when it comes to expanding the use of recycled plastics and driving sustainability in manufacturing. Here are some of the highlights from the event:

Sustainable Materials for Ford Vehicles
The summit kicked off with a presentation from Debbie Mielewski, senior technical leader of sustainable and emerging materials for Ford Motor Co. Mielewski detailed the opportunities and challenges in working with sustainable materials (photo courtesy PLASTICS).   

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Study Examines On-Purpose Propylene Technologies

A new report and supporting analytics from Houston-based IHS Markit, indicates that the market is hungry for adequate sources of propylene supply and newer technologies for producing on-purpose propylene are critical to meeting the demand for plastics that utilize propylene as a building block—primarily PP (the world’s largest volume plastic; larger than LLDPE but not more than the three PE types combined), ABS, as acrylonitrile is a key derivative of propylene, as well as nylon 66. In the case of the final material, for example, we have reported on Houston-based Ascend Performance Materials, which has become the world’s only completely fully integrated nylon 66 producer that uses the propane dehydrogenation (PDH) method—or, C3-based technology to make the key intermediate (AND) (adiponitrile) compared to the more widely used C4 butadiene-based approach.

The report, Competitive Processes and Cost Tracker (CPCT) On-Purpose Propylene Production, assesses the technical and economic merits and challenges of the various on-purpose technologies. “Our IHS Markit research sought to examine the strength and benefits, from a technical and regional economic perspective, of the six on-purpose propylene production technologies currently gaining traction in the commercial marketplace,” said Don Bari, v.p. of IHS Markit and lead author of the report.

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What Is the Right Plastics Joining Process for You: Part 2—Available Technologies

Vibration welding uses heat energy generated when one part is held stationary while the other part is moved in a linear, back-and-forth motion. The heat generated initiates a controllable meltdown at the interface of the parts. Vibration welding requires that the part interface accommodate the relative motion inherent in the process. Typical motion is 1 mm in each direction for 240 Hz welding and 2 mm in each direction for 100 Hz welding.

Figure 2 shows an air intake manifold made from PA6 GF30. While the geometry is complex, the parts are designed so that there is a part-to-part orientation that will accommodate the linear motion required by the process. Jagged weld flash and particulates are typical byproducts of vibration welding. “Flash traps” are designed into the parts—Figure3—to contain the flash produced during the weld. However, in some designs, part geometry does not always allow for this method of flash containment. 

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Almost 21 years ago, Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, on behalf of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), argued that the citations brought against GM’s former Delco Chassis Division should stand on the basis of “unexpected energization or start up” of machines. The citations, issued under OSHA’s 29 CFR Section 1910.147 lockout/tagout (LOTO) safety standard, were given to GM when over the course of multiple visits OSHA inspectors saw workers service three machines that remained connected to power during the maintenance.

The judge disagreed, noting in his opinion that the equipment in question, which featured interlocked gates that deactivated the machine when opened, among other safety features, could not have started up without adequate warning for the employees.

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