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Are Cartons Or Pouches Serious Contenders For PET Water Bottles?

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 23. July 2014

Is water packaging like milk carton-like boxes or for that matter stand-up pouches likely to pose a threat to PET bottles?

 

Michigan-based Boxed Water is Better, the originator of the carton water packaging, has expanded its reach since its inception in 2009, to 14 states plus Canada and Australia, with 56 distributors and over 6000 stores in the U.S. It is also generating large revenue by supplying boxed water to music festivals such as Lollapalooza in Chicago. The company says it “recyclable” cartons are made of 76% renewable resource, and that the trees used to make their boxes come from certified, well-managed forests. It also ships its boxes flat to its filler which is significantly more efficient compared to shipping empty plastic or glass bottles.

 

I asked John Maddox, president of SBA-CCI consultancy and a 34-year PET expert to give us his take. “I’ve drunk water from these containers (at an undisclosed paper container supplier). It is absolutely deplorable! The PE liner taste made it undrinkable…so, on taste alone, it will be a loser.” He also sees total life cycle a problem noting that mixed materials pose major hurdles on recycling and that, without recycling, the whole life cycle analysis falls apart.  On a positive note, shipping and shelf cube are good and graphics are awesome, he says.

 

One my colleagues remarked that he dislikes gable-top cardboard “boxes”, noting how unpleasant they are to open and that they appear low-class compared with a PET bottle, especially the newer ones with a wide mouth and a giant cap. Personally, I doubt I would ever want to jog or go to the gym carrying boxed water though I might think of it as an option for my disaster preparedness kit.

 

Another colleague says he can see water going to stand-up pouches, noting, “With how flimsy PET bottles are now, we’re practically there.”  Maddox concedes that stand-up pouches, which he says often don’t stand, are really hot right now.  He says that for lunch boxes and hiking trips, they might be a good alternative but sees taste still being an issue, unless the inner layer is a PET coating.

 

He also emphasizes the attractive feature of resealability on a water bottle versus pouches which he says don’t deliver a very attractive resealable closure. “If they do, then the cost is up and then you have the option of a very flimsy PET bottle with a cap. In fact, I squeeze down my partially consumed PET water bottles. They do not roll away, they take up less space, and squeezing them helps dispense the contents. When empty, I squeeze them all the way flat, replace the cap so they stay that way and contribute to smaller volumes going into recycle bins, recycling transportation, or perhaps even a landfill. So, why make a ‘stand-up’ pouche for water? We already have them…a 9-gram PET bottle!”

 

Please don’t hesitate to let us know your take on this! 

Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastic Technology’s Plaspec Global materials database.

Want a Look at Custom Injection Hourly Rates?

By: Matthew H. Naitove 23. July 2014

We’re just waiting for your response to begin calculating average machine-hour rates at midyear for various machine sizes and sections of the country. Apparently, some of you need reminding that a survey is not worth reporting unless it is based on enough data points to make it credible. The midyear report still needs more of you to take 5 minutes to fill out the survey here.

 

If you haven’t looked at our twice-yearly hourly rates survey, see the latest results (for fourth-quarter 2013) here. See why so many custom molders tell me they find it valuable—apart from the fact that this is the only source of such data. So click over to the confidential survey and enter your data—anonymously!

Haidlmair Is Looking for a U.S. Moldmaking Location

By: Matthew H. Naitove 22. July 2014

Austrian moldmaker Haidlmair GmbH is making no secret of the fact that it is seeking a manufacturing location in the U.S. Said CEO Mario Haidlmair, “If somebody is interested in partnering with us, we would be pleased to learn more.” Haidlmair is a family-owned firm started in 1979 and grown to over $50 million annual revenue. Besides large bins, it is strong in automotive, large appliances, and technical parts, but its particular specialties are beverage crates and pallets. The company currently has an office for sales, service, and mold repair in Lake Geneva, Wis., and a second service center in Phoenix, Ariz. (Pictured: Mario Haidlmair, center, with his father, company owner Josef Haidlmair, left, and sales manager Roland Gradauer, right.)

Relief for Hot Summer Toolrooms

By: Matthew H. Naitove 21. July 2014

June's Amerimold 2014 show in Novi, Mich. featured lots of mold components and other hardware and software for moldmaking and repair. But DME Co., Madison Heights, Mich., broadened the concept of toolroom products. It showed off new offerings designed to make workers more comfortable and productive in hot toolrooms during the summer.

One example was Squiche electrolyte drinks in powder “fast packs” or sticks to dissolve in water. Also available are new fans for cooling work areas. Supplied by Airmaster Fan Co., Jackson, Mich., these include floor-mounted pedestal models and ceiling-mounted versions, as well as water-misting fans.

Nanodiamonds 'Shine' As Thermal Fillers For Plastics

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 21. July 2014

Nanodiamonds (NDs) might sound extravagant for use as thermal fillers in plastics, but Finland’s Carbodeon (U.S. rep. is SiliconSense of Nashua, N.H.) has made significant strides by refining its functionalized nanodiamonds which can deliver a performance increase of 20-100% and allow similar performance improvements with 70% less ND use, greatly reducing their cost.

 

Carbodeon CTO Vesa Myllymaki says the company is now selling its uDiamond nanodiamonds (ND) in either their powder or dispersion form. “As dispersions, the ND particles are fully dispersed in chosen liquid media—as such, they are available as their primary particles without agglomeration. What this means is that the customer can benefit from the entire available surface area of NDs, giving better performance with less material and cost.  While the company is not currently selling the NDs in masterbatch form, this is one of the future options. The company is targeting manufacturers of thermally conductive polymers and compounds as well as thermal filler manufacturers, as NDs can be formulated with established thermally conductive fillers such as boron nitride and alumina.

 

The performance achieved by uDiamond fillers is a combination of diamond’s extremely high thermal conductivity, Carbodeon’s ability to optimize the ND filler affinity to a range of thermoplastics and other thermal fillers, and its improvements in ND filler agglomeration control.  Says Myllymaki, “With the ability to control these parameters, the nanotechnology key paradigm of ‘less gives more’ can truly be realized.” He notes that the active surface chemistry inherent in detonation-synthesized nanodiamonds has historically presented difficulties in utilizing the potential benefits of the 4-6 nm particles, making them prone to agglomerations. Carbodeon functionalizes the surface of NDs with a patented graphite-based coating so that the particles are driven to disperse and to become consistently integrated throughout the plastic.

 

Late last year, the company published data showing the conductivity of nylon 66-based thermal compounds could be increased by 25% by replacing 0.1% by wt. of the typically maximum effective level of boron nitride (45%) with NDs. In addition, the company recently was granted a patent on nanodiamond-containing thermoplastic thermal composites.

While still more costly than boron nitride or alumina, the enhanced NDs can be used in applications such as thermoplastic LED secondary heat sinks as co-additives with existing fillers. “While there are certain limits on, for example, boron nitride loadings, the overall performance can now be pushed forward with a minimum replacement of existing filler material with our NDs. If a customer wishes to reduce the standard filler concentration but retain certain thermal performance—either to reduce component weight or excess wear of production tools-- according to our calculations, it is cheaper to do this with NDs than with boron nitride materials,” he says. 




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