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Taiwanese Machinery Industry Aims to Make its Mark on the Global Stage

By: Heather Caliendo 6. April 2016

While Taiwan is small—for perspective Texas is nearly 20 times the island nation’s size—the country is invested in becoming a big player in plastics machinery.

 

According to the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), Taiwan is among the world’s top six producers of plastics and rubber machines with a production value of $1.533 billion in 2014.

 

Importers and exporters of plastic machines and materials will head to Taipei in August for the biennial Taipei Plas, which will have its 15th edition this August (Aug. 12-16; Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center).

 

In March, Plastics Technology took part in a media tour of machinery suppliers as part of a pre-Taipei Plas trip organized by TAITRA. One of the more interesting tour stops was Fu Chun Shin Machinery Manufacture Co. Ltd., (FCS; Tainan, Taiwan), the largest injection molding machine manufacturer in Taiwan. It has three service centers—Taipei, Taichung, and Tainan—and it produces a wide range of injection molding machine models, covering clamping forces from 30 to 3,700 tons. The company has a goal to rank as one of the top 10 largest manufacturers of injection molding machines in the world by 2020. David Chen, executive director of FCS, said that the company fully realizes that cracking that top 10 would be no small feat.

 

 

One way the company seeks to achieve this goal is furthering partnerships. For instance, FCS is working with the MuCell microcellular molding process from Trexel Inc., Woburn Mass., on a thermoplastic automotive part. The company also has a partnership with a company in Europe on a machine that it will assemble in Taiwan and ship to Europe. In addition, FCS also just received approval from the Taiwanese government to set up a R&D center in Taiwan. All of these are cited as steps that will help the company reach top 10 status.

 

During Taipei Plas 2016, FCS will launch a new design of its multi-functional two-component injection molding machine, a two-platen hybrid injection machine and a 300-ton all-electric injection machine.

 

At Taipei Plas 2014, FCS displayed its horizontal rotary table two-component injection molding machine, which targeted large automotive parts and household electric appliance covers. This year, FCS is going to introduce a new design patent on its HB-350 RV injection molding machine. Using the VENT molding technology from Nihon Yuki Co., Japan, FCS says that the pre-heating and drying of plastic material “would not be necessary anymore.”

 

At Taipei Plas 2016, FCS will show that the 350-ton machine can cover the same mold loading capacity as a traditional 1,000-ton two-component injection machine. The company says that having only two platens and the horizontal turntable for its clamping unit saves space as well as makes it capable of producing single- and dual-component products. FCS says that it could satisfy the demand for products that use large two component molds (pictured below: 2-K parts molded on FCS machines for a U.S. customer).

 

 

FCS first introduced its two-platen hybrid eclectic molding system in 2006. It featured clamping force of up to 3,200-tons and more than 60 of the systems have been sold. This year during the exhibition, the company will show an updated design for this system, which the company claims offers performance that’s “running neck and neck with European brands.” The press reportedly retains the advantages of the opening-mold speed but also adopts an all-electric injection unit to help to shorten the molding cycle time. 

 

Also at Taipei Plas, the new 300-ton all-electric machine will debut. It features a Keba AG, Linz Austria, controller and a servomotor from Phase in Genova, Italy. FCS says that the 300-ton machine has the same mold loading capacity as a 400-ton injection machine. The company is planning to develop a bigger tonnage model (up to 450-tons) to cover the demand for larger products.

 

Another company on the tour had the stated goal of top 10 status, expect this time on the extrusion side. Fong Kee International Machinery (FKI) in Tainan City, Taiwan. FKI manufactures a variety of plastic extrusion machinery including blow molding and blown film lines and exports to more than 110 countries, with 81% of sales coming from overseas sales.

 

Also on the tour, Chen Hsong Holding Limited, which produces around 15,000 machines annually, with customers in more than 80 countries and presses with a clamp force range from 20 to 6,500 tons. The company’s headquarters are in Hong Kong, but it has set up its main manufacturing and R&D centers in Shenzhen, China and Taoyuan, Taiwan.

 

Company representatives shared some recent highlights, including the delivery of a Chinese made 4,500-ton, servo-driven, two-platen injection molding machine to Europe. In 2014, it shipped a 6,500-ton servo-driven two-platen injection molding machine to Israel. According to the company, these large machines broke records for the largest tonnage molding machine made in China and exported abroad. 

(Pictured: An aerial shot of FCS's facility in Tainan, Taiwan)

 

Save the Date for Second Annual Extrusion Conference

By: Jim Callari 6. April 2016

Mark Dec. 6-8 on your calendar…those are the dates for The Extrusion 2016 Conference, Plastics Technology’s second annual technical event devoted to all things extrusion. It will be held at The Sheraton Le-Meridien Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C.

 

Last year’s conference—held in November in Charlotte—drew nearly 400 people over a two-day period. Owing to the overwhelming success of that event, we’ve added a half-day to this year’s program and moved it to a hotel with larger meeting rooms. We also pushed it up a month, owing to the fact that many of you likely will be travelling to Germany between Oct. 19 and 26 to attend K 2016.

 

We’re anticipating a full house again for the Extrusion 2016 Conference, so it’s not too early to block those days off on your calendar. Over the weeks and months ahead, we will begin putting the program together. You might want to bookmark our website and check for periodic program updates, pricing, and the like. We’ll also be blogging regularly as the event takes shape, so be on the lookout.

 

Our 2016 program will be set up similarly to last year’s. We’ll have half-day sessions—beginning on the afternoon of Dec. 6 and then in the mornings of Dec. 7-8—on general extrusion topics that you might find interesting regardless of what comes out of your die. These will include presentations on resins, additives, blending, drying, conveying, foaming, reclaim, controls, training, simulation, screw design and the like.

 

Then, on the afternoons of Dec. 7-8, we’ll have concurrent breakout sessions that will give you the opportunity to hone in on your particular process. We have four of these concurrent sessions planned: Cast/Blown Film, Sheet, Pipe/Profile/Tubing, and Compounding.

 

All told, the program will consist of about 70 presentations. The focus of each will be on new developments, best practices, troubleshooting, and processing tips and techniques—modeled after what we present every month in print and online.

 

We recognize that you’re probably more pressed for time these days than ever. We also know you have a lot of outside events competing for that time. And again, we know this is a K Show year. But the Charlotte event will be organized so that it’ll be the only extrusion technical conference you’ll need to attend this year—and beyond—if your business involves pumping hot polymer through a die to form a film, sheet, pipe, profile or pellet. If you want to be updated on the latest technological developments in extrusion, this is the place to be.

 

I hope you can make it. In the meantime, please feel free to direct any questions you might have to me at jcallari@ptonline.com.

Extrusion 2016

Building a Bridge from Boomers to Millenials in Manufacturing

By: Tony Deligio 4. April 2016

Video competition has high schoolers create videos to showcase the skills and education necessary for a manufacturing career.

 

Starting on Jan. 1, 2011 and every day going forward for the next 19 years, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 years old every day. Those 10,000 people and their decades of professional experience will hit retirement age in numerous industries, with a wide-ranging impact, but perhaps the biggest one will be felt in manufacturing.

 

The reason why is two-fold: less young people have been entering the manufacturing trades, and proficiency in advanced manufacturing requires time, lots of time.

 

That latter fact summarized here in a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report:

 

Even in occupations where technological innovations have produced relatively large productivity gains—many of the more complex machining jobs in manufacturing, for example—the learning curves often are steep, meaning that new workers need to enter these occupations soon, so they can become proficient in the necessary skills by the time the baby boomers begin leaving the labor force.

 

That particular report found that manufacturing leads the list of affected industries, with 12 occupations and 14 industries impacted by retiring boomers. By 2025, millennials—those aged 18 to 32—will comprise 75% of the workforce, according to ThomasNet. But how do you get younger people interested in manufacturing?

 

For the second year, the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA) is directly engaging high school students with manufacturing, sponsoring a video competition. The “Manufacturing a Path to Success” contest follows on the heels of last year’s, “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” contest that garnered videos from 13 teams of students and 11 different schools.

In 2016, numerous schools and 14 different companies from Connecticut’s Windham, New London and Middlesex counties have signed up to participate. Each team will have a liaison at its paired manufacturing company and student teams will meet with their manufacturer several times, completing interviews and tours before filming and editing videos.

 

Each completed video will be posted on the EAMA website, the paired manufacturing company website, and on the EAMA Youtube channel. Once student videos are complete, EAMA says an “American Idol-style” voting competition will take place where viewers will have the opportunity to vote online for their favorite video. Ultimately a “film festival” will be held in April 2016 at Quinebaug Valley Community College, where videos will be screened and judged on creative merit.

 

Last year’s winner? RHAM High, which highlighted MPS Plastics (see video below):

 

Slideshow: SPE to Induct 12 New Fellows

By: Heather Caliendo 31. March 2016

During the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) ANTEC 2016, SPE will honor the newest Fellows of the Society, which are members who have made outstanding contributions in plastics science, engineering, or management.

 

ANTEC 2016, the world’s largest plastics technical conference, will take place May 23-25 at the JW Marriott Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Ind.

 

Candidates for the Fellows honor must be sponsored by an SPE Division or Special Interest Group. The SPE Fellows Election Committee considers eligible candidates on the basis of a personal history as well as written sponsorships from two SPE members. Only 321 members, counting the newest inductees, have been elected Fellows since the honor was established in 1984.

 

Click here for a slideshow of the 12 inductees

Icelandic Design Student Creates 100% Biodegradable Bottle

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 30. March 2016

Red algae powder combined with water forms a jelly-like material.

 

A 100% biodegradable algae water bottle created by Ari Jonsson is featured in the March issue of Dezeen, a London-based architecture and design publication. Jonsson, a product design student at Iceland Academy of Arts, first presented his eco-friendly invention at DesignMarch, an annual design festival held in Reykjavik in mid-March.

 

He noted that he felt an “urgent” need to develop a replacement material after reading about the amount of waste plastic produced daily, particularly single-use products such as water bottles. He started by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of different materials to determine what could be suitable for use as a water bottle and eventually came across a powdered form of agar—a substance made from algae.

 

When agar powder is added to water, it forms a jelly-like material. Once he determined the right proportions, Jonsson slowly heated the substance before pouring it into a bottle-shaped mold that had been kept in the freezer. He then rotated the mold while submerged in a bucket of ice-cold water, until the liquid inside took the shape of the bottle. It was then placed in a refrigerator for a few minutes before the agar bottle was extracted from the mold.

 

Here’s how it appears to work: while the bottle is full of water, it keeps its shape; and, as soon as it is empty, it begins to decompose. Jonsson said, “If it fails, or if the bottom is too thin or it has a hole in it, I can just reheat it and pour it into the mold again.” Now, here is the clincher: Because the bottle is made from 100% natural materials, the water stored inside it is safe to drink. However, Jonsson did report that after a while, it (the water) may extract a small amount of taste from the bottle. He went further noting that “if the user likes the taste, they can bite the bottle itself when they are finished drinking.”

 

According to the Dezeen article, designers are increasingly experimenting with seaweed and other forms of algae. For example, seaweed has been recently used as architectural cladding and to create lampshades, while algae has been the base material for a rug-weaving yarn and a textile dye. Algae has even been used as an energy source to power buildings.

 

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