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5/7/2018 | 2 MINUTE READ

New Equipment Designs to Spark Your Imagination

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Wilmington Machinery offers novel ideas for blow molding, injection molding, thermoforming, and more.

“We like to talk to people who have creative ideas,” says Russ La Belle, founder and president of Wilmington Machinery. He and his staff have a bunch of creative ideas of their own to present this week, and they are hoping to make their booth (W1823) an incubator for collaboration on new processing approaches. La Belle has several novelties up his sleeve to get those discussions going:

Blow Molding: In rotary wheel machines for packaging, Wilmington will introduce a concept that reportedly increases the machine’s efficiency from 65% to 80%. By that, La Belle means the percentage of the time that each mold is actually forming parts. It’s a “radical improvement” in dry-cycle time, he says, that will result in more bottles per mold per hour.

“We’re also going to talk a lot about foam blow molding for bottles and industrial parts,” La Belle says. “We’re hearing increased interest in foam for weight reduction and increased stiffness.” Potential applications include large (40-gal) industrial containers and automotive parts such as tanks for fluids other than fuel. La Belle is considering foam-core and other multi-layer structures that could be produced on wheel or reciprocating-screw machines. He has a patent on a machine with three reciprocating screws that could make parts from 1 to 100 lb. Accumulator heads are another possible alternative.

Injection Molding: Wilmington is presenting its MP800 medium-pressure, two-stage, 800-ton press for either solid or foam molding. It also can be outfitted with a 30:1 L/D barrel and special mixing screw for inline compounding and molding. “We’ve done some remarkable things,” La Belle says, “combining up to six ingredients like low-cost fillers, low-density fillers, coupling agents, and flow enhancers.”

Another topic of discussion will be Wilmington’s recent installation of its Pallateer dedicated structural-foam pallet-molding system. “Our goal is to supply a turnkey solution suitable for beginners in pallet making,” says La Belle.

Thermoforming: This is a relatively new area for Wilmington, though La Belle actually got his start in plastics at a thermoforming company. “We have a unique concept for forming multi-layer sheet that will reduce costs and allow for deeper draw.” The design involves a multi-station machine unlike a conventional rotary—more of a “merry-go-round,” La Belle hints. He also notes that the concept involves “billet forming” of polypropylene either in the melt or solid phase.

“We also have a melt-to-mold, rotary-drum, continuous extrusion/forming concept for packaging,” adds La Belle. “It provides total control of the process, both sheet extrusion and forming. Up to now, this approach has been limited to shallow draws. But our machine has plug assist for deeper draws, which may be unique.”

Custom Machinery: La Belle says Wilmington has worked in the past with customers that had proprietary ideas for special foam sheet extrusion systems. He wants to encourage innovators with ideas for unique processes to come to the booth and explore bringing their “wild ideas” to practical fruition.