Last Chance to Benchmark Your Hourly Rates

By: Matthew H. Naitove 8. April 2015

It has been a busy season for everyone, what with the humming economy, the giant NPE show, and occasional weather problems clogging up transportation. Maybe that’s what kept you from contributing your data to latest Custom Injection Molders Hourly Rates Survey.


We originally planned to publish the results of the December 2014 survey in April. But responses have been too few to give reliable results. If we can get enough data in the next two weeks, we could still publish December 2014 results in June.


If not, we’ll cancel that survey and try again at the end of June for data on the first half of 2015.


We have tried—and mostly succeeded—in providing you with Hourly Rates Survey updates twice a year. But if once a year is sufficient for you, we’ll stick to just a midyear survey.


But no survey will succeed without your responses. It’s totally anonymous and takes just 5 minutes, so what’s to lose?


There’s a lot to gain—the only objective source of average custom machine-hour rates for presses of specific tonnage ranges in different regions of the country. You can see the latest results (June 2014) here.


If you’re a custom molder, please take 5 minutes to fill out our online questionnaire form here. (If you have any difficulty with the link, cut and paste this URL into your browser address bar: 


Thanks, and please contribute to this unique survey to see data on your industry that’s not available anywhere else.

'Sustainable,Renewable' Materials Get Plenty of Attention At NPE2015

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 2. April 2015


Suppliers of biopolymers, such as MHG, and others who have bio-based raw material content and recycling content in their product offerings, such as DAK Americas, Charlotte, N.C., were among the several material suppliers at NPE2015 who saw plenty of action.


            MHG (Meridian Holdings Group) reported an “astounding level of positive response” at the big show, where it showcased its new generation of patented biopolymers based on PHA, as well as services such as R&D and toll manufacturing for bio-based materials the company now offers to business partners. This included the launch of a new website—, which provides all this information.


“These are exciting times for us, and I’m overwhelmed by the enthusiastic responses by so many people who are excited about the potential of MHG’s groundbreaking technology,” says, Dr. Isao Noda, CSO of MHG and the “father” of Nodax PHA. The company showed two new videos: “Canola Dreams”, which showed MHG’s canola fields, now in full bloom and soon to be harvested. The locally grown plants serve as the feedstock for Nodax PHA at the company’s Bainbridge, Ga., facility; and, one that revealed MHG’s latest developments, including the fact that it is one of the few biotech companies in the world to achieve almost 100% eco-compatibility for biopolymers that can be made at a global-scale capacity, yet leave a significantly lower carbon footprint.


Meanwhile, a discussion with John Cullen, director of sales & marketing at PET supplier DAK revealed that the company forsees the production of 100% bio-based PET within the next five years on a smaller scale and totally within the next 10-15 years. The company currently offers grades with 30% biobased ethylene glycol content as well as grades with 20% post-consumer recycle content.


“Four years ago, we started our work on producing paraxylene from by-products of plant-based materials and have shown that its performance is equal to that of petrochemical-based paraxylene. We have had inquiries here at the show, for 100% bio-based PET from food packaging thermoformers primarily. We are preparing to make 100% bio-based PET, which will be 100% recyclable as is the case with current virgin PET.”  In terms of PCR recycle content, Cullen notes that 25-30% is the highest resin suppliers can go without adversely affecting processability.  


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

Dow Chemical to supply the artificial turf at Rio 2016

By: Heather Caliendo 1. April 2015

Dow showcased its artificial turf at NPE2015.


Plastics and sports: always a fun combination. The latest example of this was The Dow Chemical Co.’s announcement during NPE2015 that the artificial turf, based on the company’s polyethylene (PE) and polyurethane (PU) technologies, will be the official playing surface for hockey competitions during the Rio 2016 Olympic Gamesat the Deodoro Olympic Park.


Dow is working once again with Polytan STI, a manufacturer and supplier for outdoor and indoor sports surfaces, on the artificial turf for the world’s best hockey players in Rio. Dow and its customer worked together on London 2012’s Riverbank Arena.


For nearly 40 years, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has been playing on synthetic and natural grass surfaces. However, the FIH has seen how the game has become faster, more technically skillful and entertaining because of the synthetic surfaces. This has progressively led to the increased use of artificial turf surfaces at all elite level competitions.


Two pitches and one warm-up area at Deodoro, as well as two additional pitches to be built at the Federal University of Rio, will benefit from a comprehensive playing surface that consists of specific high-performing materials formulated together in multiple layers. The surface system is designed to deliver enhanced durability for increased pitch life, and a consistent field-of-play throughout the busy Olympic competition schedule.


“It is designed to be durable as there must be consistent play from game to game,” Jackie deGroot, Sr. Development Scientist at Dow, told Plastics Technology.


The production of synthetic turf is a highly elaborated process, according to Dow. The system begins with the production of the master batch and the yarn for the turf. The subsequent tufting and backing process provide a strong turf bind, even when the surface is wet. For the upper surface layer, the polymer yarn provides wear resistance and energy absorption, combined with softness and speed. The complete turf system, including embedded shock pad properties, provides stability, durability, shock absorption and force reduction properties for the benefit of the players and the game.


The internationally-certified artificial turf system offers colorability, enabling customized aesthetics and design for the playing surface. London 2012 marked the first Olympic hockey competition in history to be played on blue and pink turf. The blue color enabled players, officials, spectators and the media to keep their eyes on the ball more easily, because it provided a high level of contrast against the yellow ball and white lines.


“Another big benefit of turfs over natural grass is the sustainability factor,” deGroot said. “There’s not a lot that needs to be done to maintain it, unlike natural grass and there’s also the huge savings of water.”


The STC estimates that a typical lawn of 1,800 square feet can require 56,000 gallons of water for maintenance each year. The artificial turf systems are low maintenance and require no need to irrigate, mow or chemically treat it. 

At NPE: Blow Mold 10,000-Liter Tanks

By: Matthew H. Naitove 27. March 2015

Rikutec, the German builder of large extrusion blow machines, is building what it calls “the world’s largest blow molder” for making above-ground water tanks of 7000 L and weighing 550 lb in the Middle East. The GBM S10.000 LD machine (photo) has a clamp force of 600 metric tons, 400 L accumulator head, and four extruders of 150 mm diam., providing a total throughput capacity of 5720 lb/hr. The max. shot capacity of the head is 726 lb. It can produce hollow bodies of up to 10,000 L. The water tanks will have a UV-stabilized outer layer, food-grade inner layer, and two middle layers pigmented black to prevent light transmission and algae growth. The middle layers will also contain calcium carbonate for stiffness at summer temperatures up to 131 F. These tanks will be 10-12 mm thick and molded at about eight tanks/hr using a single operator. Rikutec compares this to rotomolding tanks 25-30 mm thick with a foamed core and requiring four people to produce one tank/hr.


Rikutec (U.S. office in Whitinsville, Mass.) is exhibiting together with Kautex Machines, North Branch, N.J. (W1551) The two companies have cooperated since 2010. Their product lines are complementary, since Kautex produces machines for up to about 1000 L, which is where the Rikutec line starts.

At NPE: New Blow Molders from Italy

By: Matthew H. Naitove 27. March 2015

S.T. Soffiaggio Technica s.r.l. of Italy is showing a recently developed tiebarless suction-blow molder (booth S12139). The model ASPI 150.2 (photo) has a 22-ton clamp, 70-mm extruder, and 2L accumulator head. Designed for molding very complex 3D shapes while minimizing scrap, the unit featured a new 4WDS radial thickness control with four actuators. This ST-patented development has 500 control points.


In booth W1950, North American processors can get their first look at the all-electric PB5E-DL double-station shuttle machine from Plastiblow Srl of Italy (represented by Hamilton Plastic Systems, Mississauga, Ont.). The machine has a 12-ton clamp and 480-mm carriage stroke, as well as a W. Mueller extrusion head and a module that recovers braking energy from the carriage movements and converts it back into electrical power.


Other features include a servo-driven parison thickness controller and patented regulation device for individual blow-pin calibration stroke. Fine adjust ment of each blow-pin calibration stroke can be done safely from the operator panel while the machine is in running mode. The machine also features quick changeover, with a remote control device to actuate the blow-pin up/down movement at creep speed while the front gate is open. This allows the operator to be safely close to the tools during centering of the blow pins relative to the striker plates.


A servo-driven two-axis robot picks up trimmed bottles from the deflashing station and places them on a bottle merge conveyor belt, which makes for a compact footprint. Plastiblow is represented here by Hamilton Plastic Systems Ltd., Mississauga, Ont.

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