PT Blog

An unmistakable sign that collaborative robots (“cobots”) are taking hold in plastics processing is growing evidence of conventional robot suppliers concluding that cobots are becoming important, perhaps essential, additions to their product lines.

 •  At NPE2018, Yushin America, a major supplier of Cartesian robots, introduced the OB-7 cobot as its latest offering, through an alliance with the cobot’s maker, Productive Robotics of California.

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At this year’s International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) Forum in Denver, held May 13-16, Nova Chemicals’ PE and EPS business teams showcased their combined expertise. They demonstrated how their resins and expertise are enabling the development of tougher and more sustainable packaging for transport applications, including abuse-resistant, recyclable film structure designs for ships-in-own-container (SIOC) compliance and lightweight Arcel advanced EPS resins that protect fragile goods in transit. Both businesses have been focusing on plastics sustainability and packaging requirements of the e-commerce supply for several years and have a deep understanding of the impact these market trends have on the transportation industry. 

A key highlight is original research that demonstrates the viability of film-to-film recycling of flexible packaging for transportation applications. Product development research scientist Monika Kleczek presented a paper titled, “Polyethylene Packaging Repurposed as Value-Added E-Commerce Consumer Packaging.” The presentation showed how PE packaging film can be mechanically recycled multiple times into high-value flexible transportation packaging materials, including machine-stretch film, vacuum-pack protective film, collation shrink film and dunnage film, before being ultimately recycled into durable rigid consumer or industrial products.

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A look at how things are or not quite shaping up for the European bio-based economy was recently shared with us by Linda Engel, editor-in-chief of Bio-based News a monthly newsletter of the  German research institute nova-Institute, and perhaps may have bearing on how things are shaping up on the homefront, and elsewhere.

Engel recently interviewed Michael Carus, CEO of the nova-Institute, and reported that the current state of the bio-based economy in Europe is a ‘mixed bag’. On one hand, advances in R&D are continuing and some fields, like fine chemicals and cellulose fibers, are doing quite well. On the other hand, actual implementation is proving to be difficult, especially in the chemical and plastics industries, because a clear political commitment is missing. As such a new approach appears to be needed in order to replace fossil carbon in the entire petrochemical industry.

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Kevin Rottinghaus of Beaumont Technologies believes there is, and he’s prepared to share that solution with attendees at the Medical Injection Molding Workshop at Amerimold this June in Chicago. Standard operating procedure for molders facing fill variations in a multicavity tool calls for them to undertake a short-shot study, visually marking how plastic is flowing into the cavities and helping them locate where imbalanced flow might be occurring.

But what about why the imbalance might be occurring?

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