A novel thermoforming process developed by LRM Industrial LLC, Rockledge, Fla., a joint venture of Nova Chemicals and Envirokare Tech Inc., makes large parts in one step without roll stock or cut sheet. The patent-pending Sheetless ThermoForming (STF) technology is reportedly faster and more cost-effective than standard thermoforming processes. LRM’s custom-built line consists of a circular track with three computer-controlled trolleys on which are mounted standard thermoforming molds. The trolleys move underneath the extruder’s sheet die and the molds are “coated” with molten plastic. The parts are then cooled and removed robotically. A key factor is the way the mold table holds and moves the plastic so it conforms to the mold, says Jim Callough, senior v.p. The process requires no stretching so more uniform wall thickness is achieved. An 8.5-ft-long HDPE construction part weighing 80 lb is the first commercial application. Parts up to 18 ft long can be produced, according to Callough. LRM is considering licensing the technology. (321) 635-9797 • www.lrmind.com
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Shepherd Thermoforming’s operation has spared millions of PET bottles from death by landfill. It also has taken steps to slash its own energy and water consumption.