PT Blog

At last week’s RAPID & TCT Show in Pittsburgh, a 3D printing system unveiled by Stratasys represents a significant advance in low-volume, continuous production using additive technology. Target environments include ones that can benefit from zero tooling production, zero inventory supply chain and rapid prototyping labs.

The Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator, for which commercial availability has yet to be announced, has nevertheless been undergoing significant Beta testing at manufacturers, designers, and university labs. Check out the general video about the system below.

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A scourge to the environment and a public relations crisis for the plastics industry, the ongoing problem of plastic debris on beaches is one for which all parties are resolutely seeking a solution.

Plastics Technology’s Heather Caliendo interviewed representatives of brandowner colossus Procter & Gamble, leaders at innovative recycler TerraCycle and members of a beach clean-up organization in San Diego to report on how P&G’s newest shampoo bottle, which will be partially composed of resin reclaimed from beaches, marks both a small and a large step on the path towards a solution. Small in that the resin reclaimed will not completely clear the beaches but big in its impact on public and industry awareness of the issue.

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There will be more reports to come this week from the four-day event in Guangzhou, but here are some early snippets. This year’s edition was 4% larger than the last Guangzhou show in 2015, with 250,000-m2 of exhibit space. The show expected to attract 140,000 visitors over its four days (it eclipsed 40,000 on day one and 56,000 on day two), with 30% of those coming from overseas. The show boasted 3465 exhibitors.

In 2018 from April 24-27, Chinaplas will return to Shanghai but instead of being at the Shanghai New International Exhibition Center in Pudong, it will be at the National Exhibition and Convention Center. That venue’s larger space and Adsale’s waiting list to exhibit give next year's show a chance to be the world’s biggest in terms of gross exhibit space.

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At last month’s Molding 2017 conference in Charlotte, apart from the tooling tracks, the material of the hour was obviously plastics. But over a lunch presentation on the first day of the conference, Liquidmetal Technologies’ Paul Hauck introduced the plastics crowd to the amorphous metals molded on specialized Engel presses using the California company’s proprietary technology, as well as to the broader metal injection molding landscape.

After the presentation, Hauck took some time to discuss where the technology is today, where it’s headed and why it might make sense for a plastics molder to start thinking about molding metals. (You can read more of Plastics Technology's coverage of Liquidmetal here, here and here.)

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Posted by: Garrett MacKenzie 12. May 2017

Put Out the Production Fire Once and For All

Without the proper approach, the system can quickly fall into one of two categories: tribulation or turmoil. Quite often you will hear old school molders describing their battle for a robust processing system as “firefighting” in the world of plastic injection molding.

In real terms, “fighting fires” on the production floor is a sign of system failure. True molding standards don’t require constant coddling, adjusting, sorting, etc. It is real easy to fall into the trap of applying Band-Aids to molding situations when the proper approach should have been:

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