PT Blog

Injection Molders: Do You Have Your Sustainability Story Straight?

Every day, I receive a email from Google culling top headlines for a given search term on the Internet. For the last couple years, the assembled stories associated with the word “plastics” echo a familiar theme. Here’s a sampling from today (Jan. 26):

Not included, reports on similar bans or “phasing outs” from a continent (Australia) and a Hawaiian grade school (Kalihi Elementary in Honolulu), which show the depth and breadth of the current global moment plastics is experiencing.

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An innovation that promises to advance, if not revolutionize, the technology of permanent labeling  for a broad range of low-surface-energy (LSE) polyolefin blow molded, injection molded, thermoformed, and rotationally molded parts has been developed by Molding In Graphic Systems (MIGS; Clarksdale, Ariz.). Moreover, MIGS’ VersaFlex system already is being adopted by key decorating equipment makers. Included are AutoTran. Inc., United Silicone, Trekk Equipment Group, Hasting Advance Decorating Systems, and Casco Machines, all of whom are committed to developing machines that incorporate MIGS’ system.

MIGS made its mark over three decades ago in permanent labeling of rotationally molded polyolefins and has made significant strides in the injection molding arena since 2012.

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Survey: Open Ecosystem is Important to Advance 3D Printing at Scale

 

Essentium recently released an interesting survey focused on the current and future use of industrial 3D printing. The study reveals that virtually all (99%) manufacturing executives surveyed believe an open ecosystem is important to advance 3D printing at scale. While 85% of manufacturers reported that industrial-scale AM has the potential to increase revenue for their business; 22% said their 3D printing efforts have resulted in vendor lock-in that limits flexibility.

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A lightweight thermoplastic composite seat back that also is touted for its sustainability is well underway through a partnership between Covestro and the R&D Center of Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd. (GAC). This is for the Chinese car manufacturer's latest concept electric car, the ENO.146, which recently made its debut at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition.

GAC describes the ENO.146 as one of the most aerodynamically efficient vehicles in the world, thanks to a drag coefficient of only 0.146 (hence the name) and a NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) range of 1,000 kilometers (621.37 miles). While a fully aerodynamic design is key to achieving such performance goals, the GAC R&D Center also uses lightweight and sustainable materials to reduce the weight of the car while raising the bar for sustainability. Covestro’s Maezio thermoplastic composite material is one of them.
The Maezio brand of CFRTP composites are based on continuous carbon fibers impregnated with thermoplastics like polycarbonate and TPU.

The backrests of the two front seats of the concept car are made of Maezio CFRTP. It is estimated that the composite seat backrest can save up to 50 percent in weight compared to typical metal constructions.

Says Lisa Ketelsen, head of Covestro's thermoplastic composites business: “Seats in the passenger compartment are an ideal target for weight savings, as they are among the heaviest parts there. Fiber-reinforced composites are the ideal material for lightweight automotive construction, but Maezio can further simplify molding and streamline the manufacturing process.”

Whereas a seat with a metal backrest, fittings and other attachments add to the complexity of production and assembly, parts and functions made with thermoplastic Maezio can be consolidated by injection molding. Functional structures are incorporated into the mold for shaping the backrest, reducing the number of parts and materials.

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Dow and Avangard to Bring PCR-Based Products to North American Customers

 

2020 is already starting off with new technology and innovations to minimize waste in the environment. Dow Chemical is working with Houston-based waste-optimization specialist Avangard Innovative (AI) on producing Dow’s first post-consumer resin PCR-based products in North America. 

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