Time to Get Drying Right

By: James Callari 7. April 2014

It’s one of the most nettlesome of issues…resin drying. Even the most grizzled of molders is often vexed by it. Well coming in the May issue there might be a solution to your resin-drying problems.


You’ll be receiving your May issue with a supplement—as in another publication.  We’re calling this supplemental publication Drying Done Right. It will contain materials tips from our noted Materials Know How columnist Mike Sepe; equipment tips from injection molding wizard John Bozzelli, frequent author of our Injection Molding Know How column; and an article highlighting molders and extrusion processors who are on top of their game when it comes to drying hygroscopic materials and were willing to share their secrets about it with us.


So look for this supplement with the regular May issue of Plastics Technology. Both publications will come at the same time in a polybag.


Meantime, check out our Drying Knowledge Center and Drying Zone for more insights on this critical topic.

Photo of dryer desiccant bed courtesy of Dri-Air Industries

Are You Ready to Export Your Film?

By: James Callari 4. March 2014

I’ve blogged about shale gas before. I’ve also written an editorial about it. And my colleague Lilli Sherman wrote a comprehensive piece on the subject in our November issue. We pay so much attention to this topic because it has the potential to revolutionize plastics processing in North America.


More recently,  I received a press release last week from Applied Market Information, which was promoting the release of a multi-client study it conducted last year, Polyethylene Film Products: The Global Market.


Whenever I get studies like this the first thing I start to wonder about is whether the cost reductions that suppliers realize as a result of shale-gas developments will trickle down to the processor, our audience. The consensus is, not right away, if at all. Noted AMI’s John Campin: “I don't think there will be any dramatic shift in relative cost base in North America until after 2018: quite a lot will depend on how many of the proposed PE installations will go ahead.”


But then I started to wonder if I was asking the right question in the first place. In a way, yes…price is important to buyers of PE because many of them purchase it in large quantities. A swing of a penny a pound either way makes a huge difference. And, yes, there will be tremendous amounts of material produced by polyolefin suppliers from lower-cost feedstocks over the next few years. Should not these cost savings trickle down to processors? I mean,  in some extrusion operations material accounts for 60-70% of their total  manufacturing expenses. Not chump change. 


Then I started to think  "big picture." Relatively speaking, because shale gas is being generated across North America, the price for polyolefins paid by processors in this continent stand to be very competitive with those paid by processors located most everywhere else. So there’s an unprecedented opportunity for well-positioned processors to expand their business outside North America. According to the study, “It is highly probable that North America will have a polymer cost base on a par with that  in the Middle East, leading to PE film exports from North America overtaking those of the Middle East. Looking beyond 2018, this projected cost advantage, when combined with the technological expertise of U.S. polyethylene film producers, will ensure North American PE film producers become truly global players.”


Where specific film applications are concerned, the study says the highest growth rate is forecast for stretch films. Demand for bags and sacks is also forecast to grow, as is growth of technical films, agricultural films, heavy duty sacks and shrink films.


While all of that is exciting and looks great on paper, it won't come to pass without effort on the part of processors. One thing film processors in particular must reevaluate is equipment. One industry source estimates that more than 70% of the 20 billion lb/yr of blown film is currently processed on equipment that’s 10 years old or older. As I see it, film producers will still be leaving money and opportunities on the table if they continue to run it through equipment that doesn’t offer the latest capabilities in throughput, gauge control and quality. Another issue North American processors must do is begin to establish overseas channels, either through sales representation or regional offices. Take note: European film producers are already starting to gain a foothold in North America.


So the shale gas opportunity is there. It’s not too early to start planning.


Contact John Campin for more details on this study.


Six Inducted Posthumously to Plastics Hall of Fame

By: James Callari 24. February 2014


The SPI and The Plastics Academy announced six nominees to be posthumously inducted into the 2014 Plastics Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place on Sunday April 27 during ANTEC 2014 in Las Vegas.


"The Plastics Hall of Fame inductees recognizes individuals who have a strong record of consistent dedication and extraordinary accomplishments, and who contributed to the stature and growth of the plastics industry," said Jay Gardiner, president of The Plastics Academy and president of Gardiner Plastics, Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.


 The 2014 posthumous inductees are:


  • Dr. Robert L. Banks and Dr. John P. Hogan: Hogan and Banks’ groundbreaking discovery of crystalline polypropylene on June 5, 1951, led to the development of a new catalytic process for making a high density polyethylene and launched a new family of polyolefin plastics that included both the polypropylenes and polyethylenes.


  • Dr. Earnest C. Bernhardt: Bernhardt was a plastics engineer who devoted his life’s work to the development of process applications for the injection molding and extrusion of engineering materials. Bernhardt contributed to a number of globally known companies including BASF and DuPont.  Bernhardt also wrote and contributed to a number of publications on the advancement of the plastics industry. 


  • Frederick N. Biesecker: Biesecker was one of the early pioneers in the plastic bottle industry and a visionary entrepreneur who, along with his wife, enabled the growth of Drug Plastics and Glass Company from humble beginnings to a world-recognized healthcare company.


  • Willi Müller: Müller devoted more than 60 years to the plastics industry beginning as a tool and die maker.  Müller started W. Müller KG where he developed industry changing extrusion heads that revolutionized the blow molding industry.


  • Hans Reifenhäuser: Reifenhäuser, with his entrepreneurial spirit, helped refine and develop the modern-day extruder for use in a multitude of processes, bringing his company into the forefront of extrusion machinery manufacturers.



Molding '14 Just Weeks Away

By: James Callari 11. February 2014


There's still time to register for the market's leading conference on injection molding technology. Molding '14, put on by Executive Conference Management (ECM) every year for the last 24, will be held March 2-5 at the Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach, Calif. The conference is jam-packed with more than 20 technical presentations on a wide range of topics.


Click here to see the full agenda.


Click here for registration information.


Meantime, Gardner Business Media announced today that it had reached agreement to purchase ECM's yearly injection molding conference business. Terms were not disclosed. Gardner, the parent company of Plastics Technology magazine, will assume official ownership of the annual Molding Conference beginning in 2015.


The Molding Conference was started 24 years ago by Amos Golovoy, a former engineer at Ford Motor Co, and has been owned and operated by ECM, Plymouth, Mich., ever since. Golovoy has agreed to continue his involvement in the conference.  


Golovoy describes the yearly Molding Conference as “a unique event organized by a volunteer committee of all branches of the industry, including molders, moldmakers, materials suppliers, and the trade press.”  The latter is a reference to Matthew Naitove, Plastics Technology’s executive editor, who has been part of the Molding Conference’s organizing committee for the last three years. Gardner plans to continue with this model for future events.


 “The Molding Conference has been nurtured by me and my team for nearly a quarter of a century,” Golovoy stated.  “Gardner Business Media and Plastics Technology Magazine supported the molding conference from its early beginning, and I am convinced that they have a strong commitment to make the Molding Conference the ‘must attend’ yearly event for injection molders worldwide, where they can learn about new technology and network with their peers. I welcome the opportunity to continue being involved in the conference. Gardner and its Plastics Technology brand are the natural home for the molding conferences.”


Founded in 1928 with the launch of Modern Machine Shop magazine, Gardner is a family-owned and operated media business whose eight brands all focus on manufacturing. “Gardner’s mission with all of its brands is to be recognized as the worldwide leader,” notes Rick Kline Jr., part of the company’s fourth-generation ownership group and publisher of Plastics Technology.  “We are committed in no uncertain terms to growing our business in plastics. The recent additions to our editorial staff have been made with that objective in mind. The purchase of the well-known and highly-respected Molding Conference is yet another demonstration of our commitment to this market.”

amerimold 2014 Open for Business

By: James Callari 6. February 2014

Gardner Business Media, Inc. today opened registration for amerimold –The Event for Mold Manufacturing-scheduled to run June 11-12, 2014, in Novi, Mich. Attendees and media can register now at  
The annual amerimold draws more than 2,500 of the top owners, executives and engineers involved in the plastic injection mold manufacturing industry. The event includes an exhibit hall, technical conference and production sourcing events.
“We are very excited to announce the opening of registration for amerimold 2014. Now is the ideal time to host an event in an active and strengthening Great Lakes manufacturing community,” said Allison Miller, Director of Events, Gardner Business Media, Inc. “Thanks in large part to a surging automotive industry, our core attendee base  of tool and mold manufacturers and injection molders have seen increased business. We are thrilled to offer a venue that delivers access to the product technology, applications knowledge and business contacts that will help them continue to compete and succeed in this evolving and exciting manufacturing market.”


Attendees are encouraged to register in advance of amerimold 2014 to ensure the most efficient, economical and informed event experience. Additional information on amerimold 2014, including hotel information, can be found at


Exhibit space is currently available. Interested exhibitors can find booth availability, exhibitor benefits and reservation information at


amerimold is North America’s premier event for mold manufacturing. Presented by Gardner Business Media, in partnership with MoldMaking Technology, Plastics Technology and Modern Machine Shop, amerimold connects global and domestic technology leaders involved in all aspects of mold manufacturing.

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