Calculate Your Shot Size and More, Live

By: Tony Deligio 24. February 2016

At least once a week, I get a request for the shot-size calculation spreadsheet included in this article by Plastics Technology columnist, John Bozzelli.


Calculate Shot Size Vs. Barrel Capacity


In journalism speak, this article would be what’s considered “evergreen content”; that is content that doesn’t have a published shelf life but instead has ongoing relevance to a readership. Published in October 2011 and approaching five years on Plastics Technology’s shelf, the article definitely remains relevant.


Next week in Wood Dale, Ill. you can hear from Mr. Bozzelli in person. From March 1-3, John will be hosting a press-side training seminar, Process Development for Medical Validations. In addition to the basics of calculating a shot size given a certain barrel size, John will answer questions and cover topics, including:


Why do parts vary after you have done all the validation work?

Do you get good data and value from your DOE’s or are they simply done for the sake of doing them?

Are you getting your money’s worth for the time and metrology work?

The role process development has in validations.

How to separate “Machine Variables” vs. “Plastic variables”.

Understanding normal process variances and how to deal with them.

Sensing process changes, as they occur, not after two hours of wasted production.

Getting the Validation, Quality, Processing and Management teams on the same page.


Register today and get your evergreen content in person.


Photo courtesy Purgex Purging Compounds.

Tool Time at Molding 2016

By: Tony Deligio 17. February 2016

Plastics might replace metals in various applications, but in injection molding those parts require steel-based tools to be created, putting molds, and metal, at the center of the process.


At Molding 2016 (March 29-31; New Orleans) maintenance, hot runners (advanced monitoring and sequential valve-gating), 3D scanning, spot cooling, multicomponent mold transfer, tungsten carbide core pins and the economics of offshore tooling are all on tap in a special Tooling-focused session.


Speakers in the session hail from molders, moldmakers, hot runner suppliers, component suppliers and an inspection firm, giving attendees a broad perspective from across the tooling supply chain with presentations that touch on all segments of a tool’s life from and design and operation to maintenance and inspection.


To mold plastic parts, you need to cut steel—find a better way at Molding 2016:


Molding 2016 Tooling Session


Randy Kerkstra, Plastics Technology columnist and tooling manager for a large, multi-plant molding company

Designing Molds for Easy Maintenance in the Press


Dave Morton, VP sales hot runners Americas, Husky

Take Better Control of Your Molding Process with Advanced Monitoring Systems


John Blundy, HRS North America

Improving Surface Finish and Part Performance Through Sequential Valve-Gate Injection Molding


John Krieg, Rapid Inspection, LLC

How 3D Scanning Technology Can Save Time in Qualifying Molds and Process


Scott Kraemer, PTI Engineered Plastics

The Value of Hybrid Additive Manufacturing and Spot Cooling in Injection Molding


Alan Trojanowski, Zahoransky USA, Inc.

Precision in Multi-Component Mold Transfer Adds Value


Darcy King, Unique Tool & Gauge

The True Cost of a China Mold


David LeMaistre, Crafts Technology

Faster Cooling with Tungsten Carbide Core Pins

From Cobots to Cartesian to Cells: Molding 2016 Has Automation Covered

By: Tony Deligio 10. February 2016

The reasons for, methods to and technology available for injection molders to automate their processes continue to evolve.


Molding 2016 will feature a five-speaker session focused on automation and representing the entire robotic supply chain. Called “Adding Value Through Automation, Assembly and Packaging,” the session will feature speakers from automation, molding machine and cell suppliers, as well as an injection molder using automation to tack on value added operations of packaging and fulfillment.


On the automation supply side, Jim Healy, VP of sales and marketing at Sepro America, will help attendees “Reimagine What a Robot Can Do.” The global company with U.S. offices outside Pittsburgh and headquarters in France has extended its automation offerings to include highly automated cells (read more here).


Cobots, or collaborative robots, will be the focus for Carl Palme of ReThink Robotics. In February, Plastics Technology tackled this new concept in automation, and Palme will expand on that further with case studies of how cobots can enable advanced manufacturing.


Bill Egert, Logic One Robots, an integrated supplier of robotics, machine controls and software will extend the concept of “lean” to automation, discussing finding value while cutting waste with robotics. Mike Fil of injection molder Extreme Molding will discuss the skills and equipment needed to extend molding operations to include packaging and fulfillment.


Finally, Michael Stark of robot, auxiliary and injection molding machine supplier Wittmann Battenfeld will present a paper entitled “Integrated, Traceable, Automatic Flow Control for Your Tooling and Process.”

Register for Molding 2016 (March 29-31, New Orleans) today!



Jim Healy, V.P. Sales & Mktg, Sepro America

Re-Imagining What a Robot Can Do


Bill Egert, Logic One Robots

‘Lean’ Automation – Finding Value, Cutting Waste & Perfecting Process With Simple Robotics


Carl Palme, ReThink Robotics

Collaborative Robots Enable Advanced Manufacturing


Mike Fil, Extreme Molding

Extending the Value Chain to Include Packaging and Fulfillment to Effectively Compete and Win Against Chinese Molders


Michael Stark, Wittmann Battenfeld

Integrated, Traceable, Automatic Flow Control for Your Tooling and Process


Innovative Materials Open Up New Markets for Injection Molding

By: Tony Deligio 27. January 2016

Light-emitting diodes, bipolar car battery plates, advanced medical components—new opportunities in these applications and more are coming to injection molding thanks to advances in materials.


Those material developments will be a key component of the upcoming Molding 2016 Conference & Exhibit (March 29-31; New Orleans), with presentations spanning everything from liquid silicone rubber (LSR) and recycled resins to polycarbonate, conductive plastics and copolyester. End markets discussed will range from consumer goods and electrical/electronic to medical and automotive.


Plastics In a New Light
So varied and numerous are the opportunities for molded plastics in next-generation LED lighting that Molding boasts three different presentations on the topic covering materials from LSR and polycarbonate to specialized compounds. Presenting companies in New Orleans will include LSR equipment manufacturer Elmet, plastics manufacturer Covestro, and specialty compounder PolyOne.


Elmet’s Kurt Manigatter will focus on high-power LEDs and materials used for encapsulating semiconductor chips therein, which are subjected to high temperatures and UV radiation. Manigatter will discuss how Elmet developed a highly integrated injection molding process for the production of combined LED primary and secondary optics.


Covestro’s Terry Davis will discuss the new challenges created by LED lighting and how polycarbonate (PC) is meeting those demands thanks to its inherent impact resistance, flame retardance and dimensional stability. In particular, Davis will address how a new series of PCs offers lower radiation absorption in certain wavelengths and discuss a post-molding infusion process to further mitigate the potential for yellowing. Davis will also look at the challenge for injection molding thick optics, since many LED applications require dimensions outside common guidelines. Specifically, he will explain a technique for multi-layer molding of thick-walled lenses that improves quality without negative impact to cycle times.


PolyOne’s Eduardo Alvarez will talk about how despite the market potential for LED lighting, the technology’s price premium could inhibit its growth. One potential solution: swapping out more expensive materials with plastics. To that end, PolyOne has created a polymer conversion roadmap that it says will not only make the lighting more affordable but also lower its weight and improve design freedom. Lenses have been the starting point for conversion, with acrylic or PC replacing glass in luminaire designs. Alvarez will look at how engineered polymers are tackling three additional luminaire components.


Rethinking Car Batteries
The light-weighting push in the automotive industry has extended to all components and systems within vehicles and thanks to conductive plastics it could soon touch the lead-acid battery. Doug Bathauer of Integral Technologies will discuss how his company has applied injection molded electrically conductive hybrid plastics in a polymer-based bipolar plate that he says can not only improve the performance of lead-acid batteries, but also cut battery weight and size by more than 50%. 


Simulation, Recycled Plastics and High-Cavitation Medical Applications
Other material-centric presentations at Molding 2016 will include an examination of simulating the molding of LSR in a demanding application featuring Matt Proske of Sigmasoft and Oliver Franssen of Momentive. The speakers note that the evolution of advanced simulation technologies allows “detailed process analysis and helps engineers to push the limits.”


Grant Gilmore of resin recycler Butler-MacDonald is hoping to convince molders who might have had mixed experiences with recycled plastics to take another look. Gilmore will present on how the reprocessing industry has leveraged new technology and processes that “allow molders to recover high purity pellets or regrind from materials that many think are not recyclable…the technology exists now that can allow you to realize the return of material that rivals the quality of prime resin.”


Finally, Steven Givens and Tom Meehan of Eastman Chemical Company will present a detailed case study covering the validation of the company’s Tritan copolyester in high-precision multi-cavity hot runner medical molds. Working with Milacron, Prestige Mold and Pres-Tek Plastics, Eastman has designed, built and run a 32-cavity valve-gated hot runner mold to process standard flow, high flow and high temperature medical grades of Tritan without modification to the tool.


Is there a new material answer to a gnawing injection molding problem you’re facing? Register today for Molding 2016 and see how the latest polymer tech could help your business. (Image courtesy PolyOne).

China Reimagines Its Manufacturing Industry

By: Tony Deligio 26. January 2016

Nearly 40 years ago, China’s “Open Door” policy revolutionized the country’s economy, particularly industry—Can “Made In China 2025” keep “the world’s factory” humming?


Since liberalizing its markets in 1978 via the ‘open door’ policy of Deng Xiaoping, China’s manufacturing sector has been key to the country’s emergence as the second largest economy in the world. In recent years, however, China’s manufacturing sector has faced challenges on two fronts: lower cost countries undercutting it, particularly on labor, and higher-cost countries using high technology to nullify the “China cost.’ All the while, China’s service sector continues to grow with speculation that those jobs will hold more appeal to younger laborers than factory work.


There has been near double digit growth in wages for urban employees since 2004, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, with the national average annual wage reaching 56,339 yuan in 2014 (around $8600). In the manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, the average monthly pay of 2030 yuan ($310) outstrips both Shanghai (2020 yuan) and Beijing (1720 yuan). As the China Labour Bulletin stated:


Wages for Chinese factory workers are now significantly higher than for factory workers in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia. This has led to many low-cost labor-intensive industries such as garments, toy and shoe manufacturing to transfer some production to these cheaper locations.


The impact of rising wages, and other negative forces on manufacturing, was felt acutely throughout 2015. The Caixin Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, which measures the performance of the manufacturing sector and is derived from a survey of 430 industrial companies, marked 10 straight months of contraction last December.


The Government Steps In
Appreciating the importance of manufacturing to the country’s economy, China’s government has worked in recent years to develop a blueprint for a new manufacturing sector in the country, most recently revealed last March as Made in China 2025. Per Chinese Premier Li Keqiang:


“We will implement the Made in China 2025 strategy, and seek innovation-driven development, apply smart technologies, strengthen foundations, pursue green development and redouble our efforts to upgrade China from a manufacturer of quantity to one of quality.”


Specifically, the plan includes a stated goal of raising domestic content of core components and materials to 40% by 2020 and 70% by 2025. In addition, it calls for the creation of manufacturing innovation centers—15 by 2020 and 40 by 2025—and it seeks to strengthen intellectual property rights protection for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


When announced, the plan identified 10 “priority sectors”, several of which touch on plastics.


  • New advanced information technology
  • Automated machine tools & robotics
  • Aerospace and aeronautical equipment
  • Maritime equipment and high-tech shipping
  • Modern rail transport equipment
  • New-energy vehicles and equipment
  • Power equipment
  • Agricultural equipment
  • New materials
  • Biopharma and advanced medical products


Made in China 2025 augments and replaces a 15-year plan issued in 2006 which called for “indigenous innovation” and identified seven “strategic emerging industries” (SEI). Under this plan, SEI-related industries were to account for 8% of the economy by 2015 and 15% by 2020.


The State Council issued the “Made in China 2025” plan on May 19, 2015, replacing the SEI plan and formally identifying “nine tasks” as priorities to making the proposal a reality:


  • Improving manufacturing innovation
  • Integrating technology and industry
  • Strengthening the industrial base
  • Fostering Chinese brands
  • Enforcing green manufacturing
  • Promoting breakthroughs in 10 key sectors
  • Advancing restructuring of the manufacturing sector
  • Promoting service-oriented manufacturing and manufacturing-related service industries
  • Internationalizing manufacturing


Scott Kennedy of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. noted that despite the initiative’s name, Made In China 2025 holds opportunities for non-Chinese multinational companies (MNC) as well.


“First, there will be greater investment and attention to the 10 industries, and MNCs that align themselves with these sectors and the general goals of this plan can benefit from its focus…It’s a guarantee that MNCs will be needed to provide critical components, technology, and management for this plan is to work.”


KraussMaffei, Chinaplas and Made in China 2025
Twice in the same week I came across references to Made in China 2025. The first, in my colleague Matt Naitove’s article on the acquisition of German plastics machinery giant, KraussMaffei by state-owned Chinese chemical company, ChemChina. In a release for that move, Jianxin Ren, Chairman of ChemChina, is quoted as saying:


We are investing in [KraussMaffei’s] strong management team and its technological expertise, which we believe will benefit our Chinese subsidiaries and position the chemical machinery business of ChemChina, which build and sell equipment for the rubber and chemical industry, to become a pioneer in achieving the “Made in China 2025” program which aims to enhance Chinese industry.


The next instance came in a release from Adsale, the organizer of the Chinaplas show, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year in Shanghai. In this instance, the release acknowledged initiatives of other manufacturing leaders, including Germany’s Industrie 4.0 push, painting China’s plans in the same light.


The world’s leading manufacturing countries have launched national strategic plans to meet the challenges in the new era and to strengthen their industrial competitiveness…China also launched the Made in China 2025 strategic plan recently to boost its industrial growth, with the aim to comprehensively upgrade Chinese manufacturing industries.


Whether or not you believe in a government’s ability to centrally plan for progress, it is clear that manufacturing, and therefore plastics, are very much a part of China’s plans going forward, to 2025 and beyond.

Made In China 2025

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