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Want To Know More About The Broad Options For Plastics Decoration and Surface Treatment?

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 10. July 2014

Whether you are making plastic parts or products for automotive, consumer electronics or packaging, you are quite aware of how molded thermoplastics are increasingly achieving new heights in decorative appearance and quality.

 

Many striking aesthetic effects are now possible by employing new polymer blends coupled with a diverse range of decoration and surface treatment technologies. They can product 3D and tactile finishes, high-definition images, flawless high gloss and metallic surfaces, as well as effects ranging from imitation materials, interferential colors, color gradients, color change and travel, gloss and matte combinations, and even acoustic or olfactory effects.

 

Manufacturing processes to achieve these effects include several types of in-mold film, coating or decorating technique, relatively recent technologies to improve surface quality, as well as traditional separate decorating or coating processes such as dry offset, flexographic; inkjet; pad and screen printing; foil transfer; labelling; laser marking; plating; spray coating; and vacuum deposition. The new publication, “Innovation Trends in Plastics Decoration and Surface Treatment”, from UK’s Smithers Rapra analyzes and compares recent trends in each of over 20 types of mainstream manufacturing processes and 10 classes of sensory effects they can produce.

 

According to author and consultant Ed Crutchley the book covers well over 1000 different innovations. Raw materials covered include: color or reflectivity change materials and additives; effect and other special color materials; films, foils and labels; inks, paints, coatings; and substrate polymer resins, blends and additives. In-mold processes addressed include: coloration, co-injection, multilayer molding, multiple material molding; in-mold coating, on-mold painting; in-mold film techniques; in-mold printing, marking, or use of engraved cavities; and, in-mold surface improvement.

The sixteen stand-alone or in-line processes discussed range from atmospheric plasma deposition or thermal spray and foil transfer processes to laser and irradiative marking and liquid coating techniques and pigment orientation techniques to sublimation printing and vacuum deposition. The $140 book can be ordered at www.polymer-books.com

 

 

Washington Penn To Buy ExxonMobil's PP Compounding Business

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 8. July 2014

Leading polyolefin compounder Washington Penn Plastic Company (WPP) has reached an agreement with ExxonMobil Chemical (EMC) to purchase and license assets of EMC’s North American specialty compounded PP business.

 

The move followed EMC’s earlier announcement to cease production of these products at its Specialty Compounding Center in Baton Rouge, La.  The 88-million lb/yr plant went into operation in 2008. Noting that the agreement will facilitate the transition of the impacted customers to Washington Penn, Martin Devine, president of WPP and COO of parent company Audia International says, “The product technologies are very complimentary, and offer some exciting new opportunities for our customers.”

 

This marks the second specialty PP compounding business changing hands this year. Last month, Ferro Corp. announced that it was selling its business of PP compounds and alloys/blends to A. Schulman.  Both acquisitions are expected to be completed before year’s end.

 

Meanwhile, “The Global Market for PP Compounds”, a study from U.K.’ AMI Consulting released just last month, is interestingly timed in view of the rate of structural change in the industry. AMI consultants cite the sale of these two North American specialty PP compounding businesses and also the fast change occurring in the Chinese market where the level of investment is running at high levels. This study segments the markets into NAFTA, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Middle East/Africa, by product family and by application. Within the automotive segment--the largest market for PP compounds, applications are split into interiors, exteriors and underhood. The 140-page report also shows the current global growth trends for PP compounds, with Asia leading at 45%, Europe with 30% and the Americas with 25%.

 

                                   The Global Market for PP Compounds

Global Market for PP Compounds

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

 

Aachen Center, Shuler Form Alliance To Develop Lightweight Automotive, Aerospace Components

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 7. July 2014

Germany’s Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will begin manufacturing composite components on a new composite press from Shuler by year’s end.

 

A collaboration in the field of lightweight production is underway between Germany’s Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) and metal and plastic forming equipment supplier Schuler. A new upstroke composite press with a force of 1800 m.t.  from Shuler will serve as a joint R&D development platform for the large-scale testing of new dies, lines, components or automation technologies. The tests will be conducted under production conditions and ensure that equipment is ready for start-up.

 

“We are very much looking forward to a long-term cooperation with Schuler…As a premium partner, Shuler will be able to use our holistic expertise and complete portfolio of services, as well as our international partner network which are constantly expanding,” says AZL’s CEI Dr. Michael Emonts.

 

Shuler’s CTO Joachim Beyer says this collaboration will help the company enhance its press technology and production processes for modern lightweight materials, noting that AZL’ significant expertise in production technology and materials science will take the company a major step forward.  For the further development of its press equipment, Schuler is focusing in particular on the areas of high-speed RTM, wet pressing and the processing of thermoplastics Academic and practical feedback from the AZL network is expected to help Shuler optimize its customer solutions.

For the mass production of lightweight components, such as in automotive and aerospace sectors, the main focus is on increasing productivity: cycle times of 2-3 min for the RTM process , or even less than 1 min for thermoplastic processing, help meet the requirements of OEMs—especially with regard to reducing CO2 emissions and improving their ecological footprint.

 

 

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

 

Celanese In Strategic Supply Deal For Deepwater Thermoplastic Composite Pipes

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 2. July 2014

Celanese Corp. has devised an interesting multi-year strategic supply agreement with Airborne Oil & Gas B.V., the global leading supplier of spoolable thermoplastic composite pipe systems for deepwater offshore operations, for the development and supply of thermoplastic composite materials for these pipe systems.

 

Global composites business manager Michael Ruby says, “Our multi-year supply agreement demonstrates the Celanese commitment to meeting the needs of the oil and gas sector and supporting it future needs. It will ensure a supply of numerous, fully-qualified engineered materials that can meet the demand for oil and gas pipes.”

 

The company already plays an important role in helping to ensure efficient offshore operations via engineered materials used in thermoplastic composite pipe. A good example is the flexible pipeline system for Airborne that incorporates Celstran CFR-TP (continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composite) technologies, which is suitable for use in flowlines, downlines, jumpers, intervention lines, risers and other offshore pipe systems.

 

The durable, spoolable, lightweight composite pipe systems designed and manufactured by Airborne, have high mechanical strength to withstand the extremely high pressures and tensile loads of deep-sea offshore operations, and combine and excellent chemical stability with very good resistance to fatigue, aging and permeation. The absence of corrosion reduces maintenance costs, and the smooth inner bore improves the pressure performance. These pipes are made in a fully-automated manufacturing process and can be made up to several kilometers of length in one product.

 

Celstran CFR-TP offers the widest range of matrix materials available in the composites industry, and numerous reinforcing fiber options. These composites can be tailored to meet specific dimensional and application requirements for robust, lightweight and corrosion-resistant parts that require: superior performance vs. metal and metal alloys; significant reduction in lifecycle costs compared to metal; outstanding mechanical properties—low weight with high rigidity and toughness; high impact and notched impact strength; very low creep and warpage; resistance to interlaminar crack propagation; and very good resistance to high temperatures.

 

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

 

 

New Study Finds Plastic Bag Bans Have Had Reverse Effects

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 25. June 2014

A new study from the Reason Foundation--a public policy think tank that promotes choice, competition, and a dynamic market economy, assessed the environmental and economic effects of grocery bag bans. The findings may be surprising to the bans’ proponents who claim benefits such as a reduction in litter and other environmental impacts, ranging from resource use to emission of greenhouse gases, to a reduction of municipal costs for litter removal and waste collection. 

 

Using the best data available, “How Green Is That Grocery Bag Ban”, investigated the claims of proponents of such ordinances, which have been passed in about 190 municipalities in the U.S. within the last 15 years, imposing bans, fees and/or taxes on plastic grocery (HDPE) bags.  The findings include:

 

• Such bans have had nearly no impact on the amount of litter generated. In fact, plastic bag litter constitutes only 0.6% of visible litter across the U.S. So, even banning all plastic bags would have little impact on overall litter. Moreover, it accounts for less than 1% of visible litter items in storm drains, so it does not pose a flood threat.

 

• Plastic bags have had no discernible impact on the amount of plastic in the ocean or on the number of marine animals harmed by debris.

 

• There is no evidence of a reduction in waste collections costs.

 

• Some alternative bags appear to be superior to lightweight plastic on some environmental measures, such as use of energy and emissions of greenhouse gases. But that is true only if those bags are reused a sufficient number of times—ranging from six to 30 or more, depending on the bag. In practice, households do not typically reuse their bags enough to achieve those gains. At actual reuse rates, plastic bags result in about half the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of alternative bags.

 

• There is likely an adverse health effect from people failing to wash bacteria-ridden reusable bags, the use of which may increase as a result of restrictions on the distribution of other bag types.

 

• The cost of plastic bag bans fall disproportionally on the poor.

 




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