Technical Manual &Test Methods For In-Mold Label Technology Now Available

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 5. November 2014

What appears to be a unique publication, “In-Mold Label Technical Manual & Test Methods” has just been released by The Netherlands’ Alexander Watson Associates (AWA), a 44-year specialist firm in label and product decoration research and consultancy, with a focus on the specialty film, paper, packaging, coating and converting sector.


According to AWA, the new $85 manual (quantity discounts are available), is a first-of-a-kind project, which provides a compilation of a broad set of widely accepted standards. This first edition contains test methods, and will be added to accordingly in subsequent editions. Included are test methods for surface tension of plastic films; test methods of inks and coatings, such as adhesive coat weight for plastic films, adhesive coating uniformity, basic and advanced ink adhesion, and chemical resistance; and, test methods for printed labels such as die-cut label dimensions, label flatness, and electrostatic charging of labels. There is also a segment on label storage and packaging recommendations.


In-mold labels are a niche and growing labeling technology, which offer exciting opportunities to designers, material suppliers, converters, packaging technologists, and all involved in the value chain of their conversion and use. AWA says its new manual provides a cornerstone for improving the understanding of the basic characteristics that ensure the use of this unique product decoration technology.


PLA Supplier Gets Grant To Explore Biomethane As Feedstock

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 3. November 2014

The Bioenergy Technologies Office of the Department of Energy (DOE) has just awarded a grant to NatureWorks, Minnetonka, Minn., one of the world’s leading PLA suppliers, and Calysta Energy of Menlo Park, Calif., which has been developing new Biological Gas-to-Liquids and Biological Gas-to-Chemicals technologies using methane as a new feedstock for high value chemicals and transportation fuels with reportedly cost and performance advantages over current processes.

            The $2.5-million multi-year grant will support the two firms’ ongoing program that aims to sequester and use methane, a potent greenhouse gas, as a feedstock for NatureWorks’ Ingeo PLA biopolymers and intermediates. It will bolster the joint effort to meet the specific goal of transforming, via new and advanced fermentation processes, renewable biomethane into lactic acid, the building block for PLA.

            This R&D collaboration with Calysta addresses NatureWorks’ strategic interests in feedstock diversification and a structurally-simplified, lower-cost Ingeo production platform and leverages Calysta’s Biological Gas-to-Chemicals platform for biological conversion of methane to high-value chemicals. For NatureWorks, methane could become an additional feedstock several generations removed from the simple plant sugars used today in a lactic acid fermentation process at the company’s Blair, Nebraska Ingeo production facility.

Calysta has demonstrated lab-scale production of lactic acid from methane, a major milestone in the project, and the company expects to complete fundamental R&D within the next couple of years, enabling pilot production within three-to-five years.

            A greenhouse gas that is 20 times more harmful than CO2, methane is generated by the natural decomposition of plant materials and is a component of natural gas. Biomethane refers specifically to renewably sourced methane produced from such activities as waste-water treatment, decomposition within landfills, farm wastes, and anaerobic digestion. If successful, the technology could directly produce lactic acid from any of these methane sources.

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


Global Lactic Acid Producer Plans To Enter PLA Business

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 2. November 2014

Dutch global producer of lactic acid and lactides Corbion Purac (U.S. office in Lenexa, Kansas) has its sights on becoming a PLA producer. Cobion’s CEO Tjerk de Ruiter recently commented that as part of the company’s strategic review, they have confirmed that the demand outlook for PLA is attractive, though at a lower growth pace than assumed previously.

            “Given our strong position in lactic acid, our unique high-heat technology and the market need for a second PLA producer, we plan to forward integrate in the bioplastics value chain, from being a lactide provider to a PLA producer,” says deRuiter. Corbion’s plan is to invest in a 75 kTpa (over 165 million/lb) PLA plant in Thailand, but de Ruiter says that they will only move ahead is they can secure at least one-third of plant capacity in committed PLA volumes from customers. He also says that Corbion will continue to explore strategic alliances as part of its PLA growth strategy, in order to enhance business opportunities while mitigating associated risks,

            Corbion will continue to sell lactides to both existing and new PLA polymerization customers. Many of the company’s existing polymerization customers have already built successfully a strong local presence and distribution channel, with great market coverage, according to de Ruiter. Woldwide PLA capacity is nearly sold out and with the PLA market expected to reach 600 kTpa (13 billion lbs) by 2025, the market is seeking additional PLA suppliers, he says.  

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


Advancements Discussed At Plating-On-Plastic Summit

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 31. October 2014

Earlier this month, specialty chemicals supplier MacDermid Industrial Solutions, Waterbury, Conn., hosted a two-day Plating-On-Plastic (POP) summit at the impressive Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Mich. MacDermid specializes in surface finishing, pretreatments and is a leader in POP technology for the automotive, electronic, aerospace, plumbing and other industries.


The company updated attendees on the latest advancements in POP technology. Included is the company’s new Electrolac UV process. It allows for curing a colored lacquer by UV instead of at high temperatures so that the coatings can be used effectively on plastics. POP advances in double-shot molding, and a qualification process for decorative fashion finishes were also discussed. Of particular interest were presentations on molding and plastics by Mitch Gordon, OEM account manager at Synventive Molding Solutions, Livonia, Mich., and Brian Grosser, business director USA/Mexico of Samsung Chemical USA, Detroit, respectively. A round table discussion with officials from Chrysler, Ford and General Motors was another highlight on the topic.


The decorative or functional applications of plating metal on plastic substrates is accomplished with the electroplating process. Before electroplating, plastics need to be metalized which is achieved by etching the surface to provide a tough bond and then coating the roughened surface with traces of a precious metal. Nickel and chromium are the most commonly applied, normally called ‘chrome plating’ or ‘plastic chrome plating’. This coating provides both technical and aesthetic benefits and can be applied to meet the criteria of a broad range of applications.


For example, highly-visible and corrosion-resistant exterior automotive components are often chrome plated plastics, which provide a lower weight option to metal components. Plastic chrome plating has also been found to be ideal for sanitary fittings that require a durable and wear-resistant coating to resist the humid bathroom environment. Similarly, electronic devices often benefit from EMI-RFI shielding of sensitive electronic components for which plating on plastic can be ideal.


MacDermid also discussed its latest innovation in hex-chrome-free pretreatment. Called evolve the new process is an acid-based solution that allows for etching of plastics without chromium trioxide, permanganate, or PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate)--a substance that has been traditionally used as a mist suppressant in hexavalent chrome processes and which is being banned as it is considered a substance of high concern (SVHC). The evolve process requires no extra process tanks or processing times when compared to conventional metallization cycles. MacDermid revealed that it is currently in production, meeting automotive specifications and demonstrating outstanding adhesion.

Expanded NPE3D Pavilion Announced By SPI

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 24. October 2014

It is no surprise that we heard from SPI earlier this week that there will be an expanded NPE3D pavilion at NPE2015, taking place March 23-27 at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center.  With 18 companies already on board to display technologies for 3D printing, show management has expanded this special section by eight more booths. Says Brad Williams, SPI’s director of sales and marketing, “From toolmakers to processors to brand owners, many in the plastics industry have a need to know about recent developments in 3D printing. NPE2015 will provide the marketplace an opportunity to discuss this technology, its current applications, and the future possibilities. A related NPE3D conference track with six presentations will be part of SPI’s Business of Plastics Conference co-located with the show.


Among the pavilion’s highlights will be the new Objet500 Connex1 multi-material 3D printer which will be demonstrated by Stratasys. This machine can product parts from three materials in a single production run. As such, users can create assemblies with components formed from three different materials, or components that contain both rigid and flexible materials. Stratasys will also highlight plastics it has developed for 3D printing. “Materials are the most important component in 3D printing. That’s why Stratasys continues to expand our portfolio of thermoplastics and photopolymers, including four color photopolymers,” says public affairs manager Joe Hiemenz.

The companies that have signed up to exhibit are:

  •  Advanced RP, Inc. 3D printers and printing services.
  •  B3D
  •  Burteck LLC. Injection moldmaking.
  •  Comdec Inc./SMI. Contract printing.
  •  Forecast 3D. 3D equipment, materials, services.
  •  Geometric Ltd. Engineering services and software.
  •  Global Precision Industries. Rapid manufacturing systems, prototyping, toolmaking.
  •  Guangzhou Seal Mould Co., Ltd. Rapid prototyping and toolmaking.
  •  Interpro. 3D printing, rapid manufacturing, prototyping, injection molding.
  •  JG&A Metrology Center. 3D internal part inspection services.
  •  Linear Mold & Engineering. Rapid manufacturing, prototyping and toolmaking.
  •  MHS—Mold Hotrunner Solutions. Molds, dies, tooling.
  •  Polyone Corp. Specialized polymer materials.
  •  Rapid Prototype & Manufacturing (RP&M). 3D printing, prototyping, rapid manufacturing.
  •  Redeye, by Stratasys. 3D printing, rapid manufacturing, prototyping, toolmaking.
  •  Shanghai Xiesheng Machinery Mfg. Co., Ltd. Extrusion systems.
  •  Stratasys. 3D printing equipment, materials, software.
  •  3M Advanced Materials Division. Engineered materials and additives.


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