WEB EXCLUSIVE: The newest incarnation of the 66-year-old Navy Chair has been converted from aluminum to recycled PET with the aid of gas-assist injection molding at Bemis Manufacturing Co., Sheboygan Falls, Wis. Born out of a World War II project for the U.S. Navy, the original metal Navy Chair from Emeco, Hanover, Pa., has sold more than a million units. After four years in development, Emeco launched the 111 Navy Chair in April in cooperation with The Coca-Cola Co., Bemis, toolmaker Delta Mold Inc., Charlotte, N.C., and BASF Corp., Engineering Plastics, Wyandotte, Mich.
Each finished chair contains about 13 lb of BASF’s Petra 7030 30% glass-reinforced PET compound, made from about 111 20-oz Coke bottles obtained from the Spartanburg, S.C., recycling plant started up in 2009 through a partnership of Coca-Cola and United Resource Recovery Corp. The chair could potentially consume 3 million bottles a year. The chair is molded in two parts by Bemis on two separate presses. The chair itself is molded in a hot tool to achieve optimum surface finish; the 3-min cycle is three times longer than for a typical plastic chair. It is demolded by an ABB six-axis robot, which enters the mold on a sliding table. The H-frame support, which fits between the chair legs, is inserted into place by a robot while the chair is still hot. Bemis and BASF contributed expertise in gas-assist injection. The chair has two overflow wells to trap melt displaced by gas.
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