PT Blog

Extrusion Training Firm Turns Art to Science

Braulio Polanco, a graduate of the Univ. of Massachusetts–Lowell’s Plastics Engineering Program, has started a new training and consulting company whose objective is to take some of the art and “black magic” out of extrusion processing and replace it with some science. Polanco, who is production engineering manager of medical-device manufacturer Abiomed Inc. in Danvers, Mass., has created his own firm, Systematic Extrusion in Alpharetta, Ga., and bills it as “the first company to develop a data-driven systematic approach based on scientific principles that enable extrusion manufactures to produce high-quality product consistently and effectively every time.”

Polanco has worked for personal-care and healthcare products company Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KC), where he built the company’s polymer characterization lab and served as its primary contact with polyolefin suppliers, ensuring that they “tailored the molecular structure of their materials to meet our needs.” He has also worked in engineering for medical-device processors Teleflex Medical, Terumo Medical, Vention Medical, and Nypro Health Care. At Nypro, he received certification as a master molder.

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NAFTA Modernization Supported by North American Plastics Industry

A recent summit that brought together the leadership of North America’s three leading plastics industry trade groups—Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico A.C. (ANIPAC),  was held in Mexico City, Mexico. The result was a unified platform of policy priorities by the North American plastics industry for the upcoming modernization of NAFTA that will strengthen each nation’s plastics industry.

Here are several specific areas of focus for trade negotiators when they begin to work on NAFTA later this year, as agreed upon and advocated by the three organizations:

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What Is the Right Plastics Joining Process for You? Part 1

It has been over 25 years since polyamide was used in place of cast aluminum for the first time in a mass-production, air intake manifold in the U.S. Since then, replacing metal components with plastics in automotive under-the-hood applications has become a continuing trend.

In recent years, key technology drivers, led by fuel efficiency and emissions reduction, have presented tougher challenges, demanding innovative design solutions that rely on advances in engineered polymers and processing.

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Life Cycle Assessment of PVC Water and Sewer Pipe

A comprehensive environmental and performance review of water and sewer pipes in North America was recently commisioned by Dallas-based Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Assn. (PVCPA), which represents U.S. and Canadian manufacturers of PVC pipe.

The PVCPA hired sustainability consulting firm, Sustainable Solutions Corp. (SSC), to conduct the review, which is entitled The Life Cycle Assessment of PVC Water and Sewer Pipe and Comparative Sustainability Analysis of Pipe Materials.

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Thin-Walled Biobased Packaging That’s Injection-Moldable and Commercially Viable

Biobased plastics are rarely used in injection-molded food packaging (e.g., salad, butter, tomato containers), but an interesting new consortium formed in The Netherlands is aiming to change this.  Despite food producers interest in biobased packaging, the biggest hurdle is that this interest dramatically drops when they calculate what the switch to these materials would cost, according to senior polymer scientist Gerald Schennink of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research.

Similarly, Niels L’Abee, director of SFA Packaging, an innovative processor with one of the largest range of injection-molded food packaging offerings (from 90 millimeters/3.5 in. to 42 litres/11.1 gal) in Europe, notes:

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