Seminar: Get Past Tweaking to a Scientific Molding Process

21. July 2015

John Bozzelli, scientific molding guru and columnist at Plastics Technology, will be the instructor for the "At-the-Press Process Development Seminar," August 11-13, in Troy Mich. Promising to help molders "Get It Right the First Time for 24/7 Production," the seminar will concentrate on scientific molding based process optimization with at-the-press instruction.


Monitoring hydraulic and cavity pressure levels on the press, participants will define plastic variables to create a universal setup sheet, which will then allow the tool to be run on any press, accounting for barrel size, hydraulic or all-electric operation, and more.


Other topics to be addressed include:


  • Why after PPAP, DOE's & Medical Validations are bad parts still made?
  • Finding the tool/part/process problems before production begins.
  • Having an optimized 24/7 process from the initial tool trials.
  • Having the ability to replicate the tool trial parts on another machine.


Register today! (Photo taken at M.R. Mold & Engineering Corp., Brea, Calif.)

John Bozzelli scientific molding seminar

Sounds Weird, But...Plastic Roads May Actually 'Surface'

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 20. July 2015




Our infrastructure problem is not going away any time soon. So, any fresh ideas, no matter how weird they may sound are surely worth taking a look. Here’s an example from The Netherlands where the first ‘plastic road’ could become a reality within the near future.


Particularly in recent years, Dutch  engineers and designers have become increasingly recognized for their innovative and eco-friendly ideas—ranging from self-healing concrete to the first solar bike path.  Just within the last month, Dutch construction company VolkerWessels has announced that it is teaming up with the City of Rotterdam to produce a prototype for a prefabricated road consisting of 100% recycle material. If all goes as imagined, this will result in a sustainable alternative to conventional road structures which will be virtually maintenance-free, lightweight, will take a fraction of the construction time, and have a three-fold expected lifespan.


PlasticRoad  according to the ambitious company, features numerous advantages both in terms of construction and maintenance. First, plastic is much more sustainable and opens the door for a number of new innovations such as power generation, quieter road surfaces, heated roads and modular construction. Moreover, the design features a ‘hollow’ space that can be used for cables, pipes and rainwater.


The company’s says its PlasticRoad concept is in line with developments such as Cradle to Cradle and The Ocean Cleanup: the initiative to free the seas of ‘plastic soup’. Recycled plastic is made into prefabricated road parts that can be installed in one piece. The prefabricated production and the lightweight design also make the road’s construction a much simpler task. Roads can be built in weeks instead of months as the road sections fit together like tiles. It is also much easier to control the quality of the roads such as stiffness and water drainage versus traditional asphalt.


Also, because of its hollow structure, the road can simply be installed on a surface of sand or other poor soil, without the need for costly foundations. VolkerWessels also say, that it is possible to integrate other elements in the prefabrication phase including traffic loop sensors, measuring equipment, and connections for light poles.

The next step is to build it and test it in Rotterdam’s street lab to make sure it is safe in wet and slippery conditions and so on. The company is interested in hearing from potential partners.

Contacts include:

Anne Koudstaal, +316-50226418, and Simon Jorritsma,+316-52533297,


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




ASTM Launches New Plastic Film QA Testing Tool

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 16. July 2015


An innovative statistical qualitative assurance tool for plastic film testing has been just launched by ASTM International, W. Conshohocken, Penn., and with support from ASTM Committee D20 on Plastics.


The Proficiency Testing Program for Plastic Film Testing, is aimed at helping laboratories that want to improve and maintain a high performance when conducting a variety of ASTM test methods, ranging from tensile properties and propagation tear resistance to haze and gloss. ASTM says this program empowers participants to monitor the strengths and weaknesses of their lab capabilities, to compare their test results with other labs worldwide, and to help maintain accreditation status.


Here’s how it is set up to work. The first test cycle will be in September 2015. For each test cycle, each laboratory will receive two rolls of film, each made of different materials. These rolls will be 12 in. wide with nominal 1- or 2-mil (0.001 or 0.002-in.) gauge and will contain 50 to 75 feet of film to conduct the specified tests. Materials to be evaluated include LDPE, LLDPE and HDPE. The following parameters reflect the scope of the program:


• ASTM D882, Test Method for Tensile Properties of Thin Plastic Sheeting


• ASTM D1003, Test Method for Haze and Luminous Transmittance of Transparent Plastics


• ASTM D1004, Test Method for Tear Resistance (Graves Tear) of Plastic Film and Thin Sheeting


• ASTM D1894, Test Method for Static and Kinetic Coefficients of Friction of Plastic Film and Sheeting


• ASTM D1922, Test Method for Propagation Tear Resistance of Plastic Film and Thin Sheeting by Pendulum Method


• ASTM D1709, Test Method for Impact Resistance of Plastic Film by the Free-Falling Dart Method.



• ASTM D2457, Test Method for Specular Gloss of Plastic Films and Solid Plastics


• ASTM D2582, Test Method for Puncture-Propagation Tear Resistance of Plastic Film and Thin Sheeting


• ASTM D6988, Standard Guide for Determination of Thickness of Plastic Film Test Specimens


For each trial, participants will receive two sample materials, as noted above, along with interactive electronic data report forms and test instructions. Labs will conduct the ASTM specified tests of their choice that they routinely run. Upon completion of testing, each lab will electronically submit the data to the ASTM PTP Center to generate statistical summary reports. Final reports will be electronically distributed within 25 business days of the data submission deadline, containing all test results coded to maintain customer confidentiality; statistical analysis of test data; and charts plotting test results versus laboratory code.


Interested companies must register by Aug, 28, 2015 to be included in the first test trial. The prorated subscription fee for the September 2015 trial is $338. For 2016, the program will be offered in March and September with an annual subscription fee of $695.


To submit your registration forms, click here. For questions, contact Helen Bucci, ASTM International, (610) 832-9534;


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






Magazine Or e-Newsletter; Tablet Or Desktop; Digital Or Analog

By: Tony Deligio 15. July 2015


You’re probably over 50; you likely bought capital equipment in 2014; and you consulted a printed trade publication before doing so.


Those results culled from the 5th annual “Media Usage in Manufacturing 2015” survey conducted by Gardner Research, the market intelligence division of Plastics Technology’s publisher, Gardner Business Media Inc.


Completed in the first quarter of 2015, the survey elicited responses from a pool of 2,288 respondents composed primarily of executives, managers and engineers at companies engaged in durable goods manufacturing.


Investigating the demographic characteristics and media usage trends of today’s manufacturing technology buyer, the survey specifically examined business-to-business industrial marketing and media usage, covering topics such as: buying cycle behavior, search, mobile, media usage, social media and vendor selection.


More than 92% of the respondents, who come from the automotive, metalworking, plastics, composites and finishing markets, indicated they are directly involved in the purchase of machine, software, hardware, materials or tooling.


Segment Demographics
The respondents, like the manufacturing industry, skewed older, with only 14% aged 21 to 40, with the remaining 86% were 51-plus (65%) or 41 to 50 (21%) years old. In terms of markets served, 42% indicated they were contract manufacturers, with the top sectors including:


Automotive (42%)
Aerospace (38%)
Consumer products (30%)
Defense (30%)
Medical (29%)
Oil/gas/energy (27%)
Heavy equipment (23%)
Electronics (21%)


Among the respondents, 57% reported purchasing capital equipment in 2014, with the No. 1 research tool being the supplier’s website (77%), followed trade magazine/publication website (44%), and tradeshows (40%).


Push vs. Pull Marketing
The survey also identifies trends in push and pull media, where “push” is defined as:

Media that introduces a prospect to information and products they do not know they need.

While “pull” covers:

Media provides prospects with information they know they need but are not sure where to find it.


The goal being to, “Build brand identity early with push media…then use pull media to support that brand and harvest its benefits”.


Push media includes trade magazines and e newsletters, while push media can include trade magazines and e newsletters, as well as industry websites, tradeshows, webinars and blogs.


Key Findings
In the buying cycle, which consists of awareness, research, consideration, vendor selection, and product purchase, the survey found that:


The majority of manufacturing purchases (64%) are influenced by at least 3 people
Nearly 70% look for products or services at least once a week.


In terms of media used when manufacturing professionals are on the lookout for products and services:


Websites and trade magazines are the two most accessed and effective information resources for manufacturing professionals
Trade magazines remain the leading push media


Social media usage for business was on the rise, with 48.9% saying they use platforms like LinkedIn for work, up nearly 12% from 2014 (44%), marking four straight years of increased adoption.

LinkedIn and YouTube continue to be the most useful social media sites for manufacturing buyers
Overall perception of social media as a business tool remained flat with a below average rating of 2.64.


In terms of search:

Manufacturers are significantly more likely to select search returns featuring brands they recognize (93%) to brands they are not familiar with (31%)
When reviewing search engine returns, manufacturing professionals favor technical articles and known brands over images, ads and videos.


New Media As A Complement to Old Media


Commenting on media usage trends, Rick Kline, Jr. group publisher & vice president of Gardner Business Media noted:


Looking back over the five year survey history, it is clear that manufacturing professionals are incorporating new forms of media in their research and buy cycle. However, adoption of newer media is being used as a complement to, not as a replacement for, traditional media forms. As a result, a marketing mix integrating multiple media remains the most impactful means to reaching today’s active, evolving technology buyer as they progress from awareness to vendor selection.

Expect Graphene to Make its Mark in Multiple Markets

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 14. July 2015


There has been a lot of buzz about graphene in recent times and for good reason.  A material stronger and stiffer than carbon fiber, graphene is thought to have enormous commercial potential, but has been impractical to use on a large scale, with researchers limited to using small flakes of the material. Graphene has been making some major progress, however. In the form of oxides or nanoplatelets, graphene is in a better position to fulfill market needs, as it is a durable, stretchable and lightweight material. Here are some examples of the ‘buzz’ I gathered (we’d love to hear from you for more on this):


PT’s sister publication Composites World reported on May 18, that through use of a new chemical vapor deposition method, a team of researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tenn., have fabricated polymer composites containing 51-mm by 51-mm (2.01-in. by 2.01-in) sheets of the one-atom thick hexagonally arranged carbon atoms.


The ORNL team is led by Ivan Vlassiouk, who noted that up until their recent work, the superb mechanical properties of graphene had been shown only at a micro scale. “We have extended this to a larger scale, which considerably extends the potential applications and market for graphene…..In our case, we were able to use chemical vapor deposition to make a nanocomposite laminate that is electrically conductive with graphene loading that is 50 times less compared to current state-of-the-art samples. This is a key to making the material competitive in the market.”


The team’s use of the larger sheets of graphene versus the use of tiny flakes of graphene or other carbon nanomaterials as are traditionally used for polymer nanocomposite construction, eliminates the flake dispersion and agglomeration problems and allows the material to better conduct electricity with less actual graphene in the polymer.  If the ORNL team can reduce the cost and demonstrate scalability, researchers envision graphene being used in: aerospace (structural monitoring, flame retardants, anti-icing, conductive); automotive (catalysts, wear-resistant coatings); and, structural applications (self-cleaning coatings, temperature control materials). Other areas include: electronics (displays, printed electronics, thermal management); energy (photovoltaics, filtration, energy storage); and, manufacturing (catalysts, barrier coatings, filtration.


The new Frost & Sullivan study, “Impact Assessment of Graphene in Key Sectors” expects market revenues to reach $149.1 million by 2020. One of the prime markets for graphene has been the energy sector and it will remain so for the next three years, according to technical insights research analyst Sanchari Chatterjee. “Lithium storage and catalytic system substrates are some of the most demanding application areas of graphene. However, other applications such as energy storage for batteries and capacitors have also been identified.


In the electronics sector, graphene is replacing materials like indium tin oxide. While graphene is widely used in flexible electronics, it can further penetrate this sector for the production of minute electronic components and optoelectronics. Moreover, according to this analysis, the adoption of graphene in the electronics and composites sector will increase within the next three to five years, while during the same time, new markets such as healthcare and personal care are expected to open up for graphene.


The absence of large-scale graphene production in a cost-effective and reproducible manner has made commercialization a challenge but Chatterjee says, “Manufacturers are designing several economical and large-scale production processes to ensure that high-quality graphene can be produced within a short time. This can significantly reduce commercialization challenges.”


Although graphene is among the thinnest yet strongest materials in the world, its structural design creates flaws when made into sheets for use in energy applications. This compromises performance, Further, the zero band gap of graphene is a major technical drawback as it limits the achievable on-off current ratios, notes Chatterjee.


With the reliability of standalone graphene in doubt, there is ongoing research to customize graphene to enable manufacturers to use it in its reinforced and hybrid forms. Overall, corrective R&D and innovative commercialization techniques can help realize the tremendous potential of graphene that ranges from applications in biomedical to anti-corrosion coatings, according to this analysis.


As reported in a February 19 blog, among the ‘starring’ companies that were a part of the NPE2015 Startup Garage, a partnership of SPI and new-venture tracking firm Startup.Directory, was Garmor Inc., Orlando, Fla. The company’s focus: graphene priced for high-volume plastics applications. At NPE2015, Garmor displayed samples of its low-cost graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide as well as products made with graphene oxide polymer and fiberglass composites. Such composites can be used in applications ranging from automotive, aerospace, and military to consumer electronics, medical, and construction.


Although initial work has been with epoxy-based and other thermoset composites, the company has data on its work with graphene-reinforced thermoplastics such as HDPE and PC, and is actively seeking interested companies in the thermoplastic arena to further its development. Polymers enhanced with Garmor’s graphene oxide reportedly show a dramatic increase in mechanical and electrical performance.  Garmor’s partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF), have played an integral role in perfecting a method to optimize the incorporation of graphene in various polymer, composite materials and coatings, according to v.p. of engineering Sean Christiansen.


Garmor’s biggest feat is its ability to manufacture low-cost graphene oxide in large volumes. This ‘green’ and novel manufacturing technology was developed at UCF by Richard Blair, a researcher in the College of Sciences and the Center for Advanced Turbine and Energy Research, and subsequently licensed to Garmor for further enhancement. The end result is said to be a simple but effective method of producing edge-functionalized graphene oxide with only water as a by-product; essentially, a ‘green’ additive suitable for large-scale production at commodity type prices. Garmor has focused on testing the use of graphene in downstream products to facilitate product acceptance. Essentially, it has been devising ‘simple’ recipes that potential customers can use to produce advanced graphene-based materials, according to Christiansen.


Meanwhile, though unrelated to plastic composites, what may possibly be the first commercially viable product to use the super-strong carbon—a light bulb--is slated to go on sale later this year. Designed at UK’s Manchester University, where the material was discovered ***, the dimmable bulb contains a filament-shaped LED coated in graphene and is said to cut energy use by 10% and last longer owing to its conductivity.


The light bulb was developed by a Canadian-financed company, Graphene Lighting, with one of its directors being Professor Colin Bailey, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Manchester. The light bulb is expected to be priced lower than some LED bulbs. Based on traditional light bulb design, the use of graphene allows it to conduct electricity and heat more effectively.


Also important to note: Earlier this year, the UK government made a $59-million investment in opening the ‘National Graphene Institute in Manchester’, via its Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, with an additional $36-million provided by the European Regional Development Fund.  Chancellor George Osborn, who opened the site on March 20, said he hoped the UK can set off competition from China and South Korea to become the center of excellence in graphene technology. More than 35 countries have already partnered with the university to develop projects. The race is now on to develop other practical and commercial uses, including lighter but more robust car and aircraft frames and false teeth. The material has also been incorporated into products such as tennis rackets and skis.


*** The discovery of graphene in 2004 by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, two Russian-born scientists at the University of Manchester, earned the pair the Nobel Prize for Physics and knighthoods. A micro-thin layer of graphene is stronger than steel and it has been dubbed a “wonder material” because of its potential use.


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


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