Editors Unite…For Italian Food in Germany

By: Jim Callari 4. November 2016

Question: What has 14 sore feet, has worked in plastics journalism for a collective 150+ years, has attended nearly 50 K Shows combined, and likes to eat Italian food in Dusseldorf?


Answer: The editorial teams of Plastics Technology, MoldMaking Technology and Composites World, all media brands under the Gardner Business Media umbrella.


The group got together for a meal at Casa Palmieri Restaurant, a welcome respite from the foot-pounding days at the K Show.


Seated (clockwise from the 12 position) are: Jim Callari, editorial director of Plastics Technology; Heather Caliendo, senior editor, Plastics Technology and Composites World; Christina Fuges, editorial director of MoldMaking Technology;  Lilli Sherman, senior editor Plastics Technology; Natalia Ortega, chief editor of Plastics Technology Mexico; Tony Deligio, senior editor Plastics Technology; and Matt Naitove, executive editor Plastics Technology.


New Film Resins’ Performance Demonstrated by Several Equipment Makers at K 2016

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 3. November 2016


Take a look at a video discussion between ExxonMobil Chemical and W&H on processing the new Exceed XP resins.


I had the opportunity along with my colleague Heather Caliendo to meet with ExxonMobil Chemicals’ experts on the company’s new Exceed XP family of high-performance LLDPE resins, produced with a proprietary catalyst. Four grades of this family were first launched at Chinaplas in April and two more were unveiled at K. 


We found it impressive that eight major equipment manufacturers were demonstrating these materials and their processing technologies. Among them was Windmoller & Holscher (W&H), which was running an Exceed XP food packaging film grade using quick change-over technology with ExxonMobil’s Enable 4020 performance polymer collation shrink film. Take a look at Heather’s video with ExxonMobil Chemicals’ Larry Gros, global polymers product & applications development manager and W&H’s Martin Backmann, division manager R&D extrusion equipment discussing the new polymers.


Following this video, Gros and his team gave me the opportunity to meet with Alex Dam, executive v.p. of Thanh Phu, a leading Vietnamese manufacturer of laminated flexible packaging. This very savvy processor has aimed to address the market’s demand for a more recyclable alternative for laminated packaging.


In collaboration with ExxonMobil experts, Thanh Phu first produced a package that can be recycled in the same collection stream as PE by using Exceed XP and Enable mLLDPE polymers and their proprietary film conversion technology. “This is a true synergy between material science and conversion technology innovation. We have changed the cradle-to-grave cycle into a more responsible cradle-to-cradle concept…out aim is to have a full PE alternative to conventional laminated solutions without compromising performance, while maintaining an attractive cost-efficiency ratio.”


Dam told me that his plant is outfitted with the latest processing technology including W&H’s Varex II 3-layer with inline MDP blown film line and their Heliostar S gravure presses for flexible packaging. He characterized MDO-Exceed XP formulated laminates as having very similar optics as OPP or PET/PE laminates, and noted that when an Exceed XP film is stretched, improved clarity and stiffness result.


He also touted Exceed’s XP excellent processing, noting that they have run a 25-micron MDO film with a +-1 micron deviation, which has two times the strength of a 50-micron film and at half the thickness. He confirms that about 60% of their film formulations are made of mLLDPE but for some products, they will go to 80% or 100%. The gravure printer can be used to back print as the resultant film is very stiff and strong.


Thanh Phu has produced commercial packages for both feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products and baby diapers for both Japan’s Unicharm Corp. and Kimberly-Clark, New Milford, CT. The company is considering the exploration of an all-PE package for frozen uncooke seafood to replace the current nylon/PE laminate package. 



Wittmann Opens Simulated Clean-Room Demo Facility

By: Matthew H. Naitove 2. November 2016


White walls, sticky floor tape, and even a startlingly realistic manikin gowned in a “bunny suit”—all intended to simulate the look and feel of a clean room in one alcove of the U.S. headquarters plant of Wittmann Battenfeld, Inc. in Torrington, Conn.


Given the intense interest in “clean” facilities for medical and electronics molding, the company pursued this approach to demonstrate the “clean-room-ready” molding equipment from its new Medical Products Group. These include specially equipped medical clean-room versions of its MicroPower, EcoPower, and SmartPower machines. “Our involvement in medical molding applications is increasing, and the addition of this new facility shows our continued commitment to the market,” said David Preusse, president.



The simulated clean room contains a fully enclosed MicroPower 15-ton micro-molding system, which can be equipped as a self-contained clean room; and a 110-ton, all-electric EcoPower SE (special clean-room edition) press with a W823 clean-room robot. An application for Wittmann 4.0 (the company’s version of Industry 4.0) is exemplified by a touchscreen terminal located outside the perimeter of the “clean room” demo area, that can provide full remote access to the molding machines, water-flow controllers, hot runners, robots, temperature-control units (TCUs), and dryers.


The clean-room demo facility was shown to the public for the first time at last month’s open house, which I attended along with around 300 visitors and some 20 industry partners, presenting 22 machine demonstrations, eight operating molding cells, and 36 technical presentations over two days. The open house also showed off the company’s recent expansion, involving the purchase of a 50,000-ft2 plant next door to the original building. Occupied in April, the new building is devoted to material-handling and auxiliary equipment.


K2016 Materials and Additives Developments from Polyscope, A. Schulman and Dow Corning

1. November 2016

Polyscope, A. Schulman, Dow Corning highlighted new products and applications along with soon-to-be launched materials and additives.


If you’ve ever attended a K show for the entire duration, you know how tiring it can be, but the saving grace is always the excitement of discovering new technologies and applications.


Within the last 48 hours of K 2016, I had the opportunity to interview three materials and additives companies, and they were all set to launch new products within the coming year.


Polyscope (U.S. office in Novi, Mich.) showcased the latest in its expanded range of Xiran IZ terpolymers based on styrene, maleic anhydride, and N-phenylemaleimide, for use as heat-booster modifiers of ABS, ASA, PS, and SAN for automotive and appliance components (read more from PT, Sept. 2016).  The company has also developed a new SMA copolymer specifically for higher heat PMMA automotive LED applications, as well as exploring non-auto PMMA applications.


Even newer, with no brand name assigned to them as yet, are new SMA copolymers developed as compatibilizers for nylon/ABS and PC/ABS that ensure there is no loss of heat resistance when such resins are blended. These are only the starter products as Polyscope is exploring the use of these copolymers in other resin blends, as well as SMA copolymers that can support both biopolymer compounds and recycled materials.


And, for additive manufacturing, Polyscope is working on developing filaments for FDM 3D printing technology. To be launched within the first half of 2017, the initial offerings will include ABS, which the company says, surpasses existing ABS filaments in terms dimensional stability and adhesion between layers. Filaments for use with SLS technology are also being explored.


A. Schulman (Akron, Ohio), as was the case with many other materials suppliers, segmented its exhibits by the key market sectors it serves. The company has put a lot of emphasis on its colored compounds technology—color effects, touch, feel, sound—and its new Color Trending Book presents the options available for automotive, appliances, toys, cosmetics, and more.



This year, the company was awarded the grand prize award for a body exterior part by the European section of the SPE Automotive group. The part was an in-mold color (vs. painted) front and rear bumper in a silver color made from PP/nanoparticle TPO.


Since its 2015 acquisition of Chicago-based Citadel Plastics Holdings, the company has been working to bring that acquired knowhow in thermoset composites to thermoplastics. One focus is in long-glass-fiber thermoplastic composites based on PP, nylon, and PBT (with PET as a blend) for structural applications.


The company is exploring both carbon fibers for strength and stiffness and aramid fibers for abrasion resistance. Senior VP and General Manager Heinrich Lingnau told me that, in collaboration with the University of Aachen and IKV, the company is looking at alternative processing techniques for both long glass and carbon fibers, which can break easily during injection molding. “We’re exploring mass-molding technology—ways to insert in-laid carbon fiber tape followed by overmolding, for example.”


Further on composites, Lingnau says the company is aiming to bring its Quantum Engineered Structural composites (ESC) thermoset-carbon fiber sheet technology to thermoplastics. “We have developed thermoplastic powders and are looking to marry these with the sheet technology to make organosheets.”


A.Schulman is also making progress toward commercialization of its Schulasint nylon 12 powders for SLS additive manufacturing.


Dow Corning (Midland, Mich., now part of Dow Chemical), discussed the commercial expansion of its two-year-old patented silane-based reinforcement technology that is said to bring PP up to nylon performance.


Company representatives also discussed their new, high-molecular-weight, long-chain, non-migratory silicone slip agent specifically developed for L/LLDPE for fill-form-seal film food packaging, launched this year. In the works for introduction next year is a silicone-based slip agent specifically developed for improving BOPP film processing.


Dow Corning has been selling to compounders, particularly of PC, a silicone that acts as both a flame retardant (non-drip with excellent charring) and a chain extender. PolyOne has found it to be effective in its PP/wood fiber compounds. In 2017, a similar product that is specifically tailored to nylons 6 and 66 will be ready for launch. 

Kurz, Engel and Lanxess Team for Decorated, Overmolded Continuous Fiber Sheet

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 28. October 2016

A process to decorate a hybrid composite/thermoplastic part with a decorative film in one mold was among several new decorating technologies exhibited at K 2016 by The Kurz Group.


Kurz Transfer Products LP in collaboration with LANXESS Corporation Bond Laminates and Engel Machinery, Inc. have developed a process that enables a plastic composite component to also be decorated in the same processing step.



The Tepex continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic semi-finished composite from Bond Laminates is formed and overmolded with plastic in a vertical press and then decorated in the same shot with a film running reel to reel through the tool cavity. Kurz also developed a new IMD coating system to suit the process: its lacquer package bonds permanently to the materials of the composite component.


• IPD-Skin process (Individualized Post Decoration) is a new process developed by Kurz in collaboration with Niebling, which makes the new IPD-Skin machine. The process involves permanently bonding a thin decorative layer to a pre-finished part. This is heated and then moved to a vacuum forming/air pressure segment where the part is fully decorated. It can be used to decorate highly three-dimensional parts and undercuts and tactile surfaced with pronounced structures can also be implemented.



• Kurz also showed new design options for automotive lighting. Included are full-surface backlighting of carbon, wood, metal or colored designs. When illumination is activated, the structures of the base designs are maintained or presented in a modified form, and completely different colors and material effects are also created.



Partially backlit designs are also possible. During daylight, you see a single- or multi-colored solid surface; when backlit, both opaque and translucent elements become visible, with various levels of transparency possible.


• Kurz also demonstrated its ability to implement dead front effects and integrate touch and gesture functions. Using Kurz's own sensor technology based on the technology of its subsidiary PolyTC, plastic parts can be equipped with a sensor function that if desired can be non-visible when inactive. In daylight, you see a solid, opaque decorative surface; on touching, approaching, or gesturing, a light source is activated and a control panel becomes visible.



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