Emerging Technologies in the Spotlight

Smart packaging, additive manufacturing, Industry 4.0, completely reimagining the injection molding machine—those are just some of the topics to be tackled in the Emerging Technologies session at Molding 2016.

Smart packaging, additive manufacturing, Industry 4.0, completely reimagining the injection molding machine—those are just some of the topics to be tackled in the Emerging Technologies session at Molding 2016. 

 

A fundamental portion of the Molding Conference since its inception 26 years ago, emerging technology presentations will once again be front and center in New Orleans this March, with that session set to kick off the two-and-a-half-day forum on the morning of March 29.

 

Speakers in the session represent industry leading suppliers and manufacturers, including molders Proto Labs and Nypro, and injection molding machine suppliers Milacron, Arburg, and Engel. Also featured in the session will be RocTool, purveyor of cutting edge conductive tooling technology and Xtrude2Fill, a new machinery supplier with a press that turns traditional molding principles on their head.

 

Rounding out the first session of the first day will be Thomas Blaige—the chairman, CEO and managing partner of the eponymous plastics, packaging and chemicals investment bank, Thomas Blaige & Company LLC. The desire to add complementary technologies often plays a key role in molding mergers and acquisitions, and Blaige will discuss the global consolidation in molding, which has seen the majority of the top 50 injection molding companies in 2001 undergoing a change in ownership or being eliminated over the past 15 years.

 

Nypro’s Martin Johnson will address the leading edge of packaging technologies, discussing hybrid rigid/flexible materials, embedded smart codes and new materials and substrates that communicate product freshness or temperature directly to the consumer.

 

Proto Labs, the publicly traded proponent of rapid manufacturing, will be represented by Jeff Schipper who will discuss recent advances in manufacturing technologies that allow “iterative design and development.” Exploiting these, Schipper notes, allows processors to speed time to market via additive manufacturing and other quick-turn technologies. Learn how to “manage the volatility of demand and reduce inventory costs with on-demand manufacturing,” Schipper promises.

 

A veteran of household molding/manufacturing names like Flextronics, Capsonic and Courtesy, Rick Fitzpatrick will discuss how his experience with traditional injection molding processes—high press and high shear—lead him to his new venture, Xtrude2Fill. The patented machines minimize pressure and shear, allowing the injection molding process and machine to be simplified and downsized.

 

As chief technology officer at one of the plastics industry’s most diversified equipment suppliers, Milacron, Bruce Catoen brings a unique perspective to his presentation on the prospect of smart factories. Catoen will address two-way communications between equipment, enhanced intelligence, predictive maintenance, remote monitoring and process optimization to see how molders can increase their OEE [Overall equipment effectiveness].

 

Arburg’s Juergen Giesow, whose career in molding began in 1983, will address the difficulty molders tasked with lightweighting face when they must create parts that use less material but still maintain functional strength. Giesow’s talk will address Arbug’s new solution to that particular problem, the Profoam physical foaming process, as well as lightweight thermoplastic composites.

 

Engel’s Joachim Kragl will address what he calls “one of the remaining gaps in injection molding process control.” In particular, Kragl will discuss automatic water-flow monitoring and control in individual cooling circuits, a technology gaining traction in Europe but as of yet without a foothold in North America, leaving a key influencer of part dimensions and quality neglected.

 

Mathieu Boulanger, CEO of RocTool, the provider of injection molding, composite and induction equipment, will introduce what he calls “high-definition plastics” at Molding 2016. Boulanger will review an analysis of the primary resin families and how the technology helped achieve high-end surface finishes without secondary operations while improving functional properties like weld-line strength.

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