PT Blog

Welcome to Plastics Technology’s Recycling Supplement. We put this publication together with one overriding thought: You’re going to be using more post-consumer scrap in the future as you formulate your products. This will almost certainly be the case in the packaging market, but is just as likely to spill over into other end markets as well. We’re going green, make no mistake.

It will be a tall order for processors to comply as consumer advocates, lawmakers, big-box retailers, and brand owners/OEMs apply more pressure on the plastics industry to move more toward a “circular economy.”  Getting there will take time, will be complicated, and will cost money, but the good news is that technologies are emerging every day to clear the path.

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Building a Better Buffer: Conveyor Tech at the Core of Lights-Out Molding Cell

Family-owned Happ Kunststoffspritzgusswerk und Formenbau GmbH (Ruppichteroth, Germany), which began life in 1964 making lunch boxes and furniture fittings, has turned a 2014 project to create an automated climbing wall, where users can adjust the angle and speed of the “ascent”, into a side automation business. A business that occasionally supplies systems to Happ.

Happ established that subsidiary—ErgoTek—in 2015 after the 2014 creation of the Ergo-Wall. Today, the original Ergo-Wall is at the University of Potsdam helping train physiotherapists. Since 2018, Happ has used the modules at the heart of the modular conveyors to create industrial automation systems, including its FlexiTek system, which uses precise timing to create buffer inventories. These are particularly useful in lights-out injection molding operations that combine multiple components—often with disparate cycle times—into a final assembly.

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Plastic Food Packaging and Sustainability During COVID-19

2019 was the year the focus really centered on a circular economy for plastics. It was the theme of many booths during the K 2019 show, which saw lots of new technology and innovations launched around sustainability.

We all expected 2020 as the year poised for the circular economy to take off. And then COVID-19 happened and in an instant, the world seemed to stop.

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What You Should Know About Miniature Extrusion Screws

To accept pellets or even ground pellets, the feed sections of very small screws need to be proportionally deeper—that is, with a greater compression ratio—to match the output of the rest of the screw. That is due to the restrictive entry dimensions into the screw and lower compaction rates resulting from far fewer particles in the screw channel. Increasing the channel depth in the feed section naturally lowers the torque capacity of the screw.

In additive manufacturing equipment there has been a migration away from heat guns, which feed polymer filaments to supply the melted polymer, to miniature extruders. Miniature extruders increase part buildup rates or output and reduce material cost. Due to the poor heat transfer of polymers, the output of heat guns is limited, and the cost of filament is typically five times or more the cost per pound of pellets. Design of miniature or very small screws, whether used for additive manufacturing equipment or not, requires balancing their output requirements with their torque strength.

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Plastic Molds for Chocolate “Molding” Formed From Aluminum Molds

For nearly 200 years, Micelli Mold Co. (West Babylon, N.Y.) has supplied the molds chocolatiers use to shape molten chocolate into familiar shapes for some very familiar names. For six decades the chocolate molds it sold were metal, but starting in the late ‘80s, the company switched over to plastic molds that it would injection mold from aluminum tools. The use of aluminum tooling, the fact that many of these molds were created from polycarbonate and the need for flat, stable parts eventually led Micelli to Bole Machinery.

Bole Machinery Inc. (Stow, Oh.) the North American unit of China’s Chunglu Group, itself a subsidiary of Ningbo Shuangma Machinery Industry Co. Ltd., has been in U.S. almost four years, according to its president, Alfred Rak. Rak told Plastics Technology that its main office in Stow was opened in November 2018, created after the company formed its own U.S. subsidiary that spring to handle sales and service directly.

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