PT Blog

People who know better than I consider mold cooling to be one of the “last frontiers” of injection molding process control—and one that is being addressed with extensive R&D from builders of both molding and process-cooling equipment. Keep abreast of this trend in the Thursday morning session of the Molding 2019 Conference in Indianapolis, March 19-21. Four of the six speakers in the Tooling & Cooling “best practices” session address the cooling side.

 •  Tom Stone of the new Aquatech unit of Universal Dynamics and Piovan North America will start the session with “New Concepts for Mold Temperature Control.” He will explain a handful of novel approaches to temperature-control units (TCUs) developed by a long-time employee of Gillette’s Plastic Mold Systems Engineering Dept.—in other words, a TCU designed by a molder for other molders to eliminate long-standing limitations of such equipment. (Read about it here.)

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Mark your calendars for 2019 Re|focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit, presented by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), which will be held on May 20-22 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Once again, the line-up is top-notch making this a must-attend event. 

For instance, Edmond Irizarry, executive director of packaging development for Aveda will serve as the keynote speaker. Irizarry will be joined by Denise Coogan of Subaru of America, Inc., Kevin Cronin of Ultra-Poly Corp., and more, bringing the full manufacturing supply chain together to discuss how the industry can advance recycling and sustainability goals for plastics. 

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Even 64 years after the introduction of the reciprocating screw, it’s evidently not too late to come up with a new, and possibly better, concept for the plasticating and injection section of an injection molding machine. At the Molding 2019 Conference, March 19-21 in Indianapolis, you’ll learn about a new approach to two-stage injection. In the Tuesday afternoon session on Medical, Packaging & Precision Molding, Michael Durina of Md Plastics will present the latest version of a cure for the limitations of conventional reciprocating-screw injection.

Those limitations are commonly understood to include the potential for inconsistent shot size imparted by the nonreturn valve, and the fact that screw retraction during plastication means that every pellet (more or less) entering the screw experiences a different plasticating length. The conventional cure is a two-stage injection unit with a fixed plasticating screw and a plunger injection unit.

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If you haven’t considered it yet; have considered it but not jumped into the pool; or if you dove in but wished the pool was larger and deeper—then these latest advances will make quite a splash. In the Tuesday afternoon session on Medical, Packaging & Precision Molding at the Molding 2019 Conference (March 19-21) in Indianapolis, Leo Devellian of Trexel will present at least four new capabilities for the company’s MuCell microcellular foam molding process.

 •  New P-Series nitrogen metering equipment now, for the first time, suits this process to fast-cycle molding of thin-wall packaging. (Read more about it here.)

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“We use automation as much as possible,” says Mel O’Leary, president, CEO and co-founder of custom blow molder Meredith Springfield Associates (MSA) in Ludlow, Mass. He points to an automated box filler that indexes empty boxes into position below the end of the conveyor taking finished bottles from a blow molder. The box is shaken gently and continuously to settle the bottles as they drop in. When the box is full—determined by weight—it travels to the other end of the box filler, where an employee will attach a barcoded label and scan the label into the central plant computer. “With this auto packer, one person can tend four machines,” notes O’Leary.

But mechanical automation is not the only—or the most important—kind of automation in the plant. “We depend highly on information automation,” explains O’Leary. “Competitors can’t believe what we’re doing with information systems.”

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