PT Blog

Prices of nearly all volume resins were at least flat if not down—with PP followed by PE showing the most dramatic decline going into the new year. Even the exception in the group, nylon 66, which saw prices spiking throughout this year, was stabilizing. A drop in raw materials—starting with crude oil prices as well as all key feedstocks—is a shared contributing factor. Too, there is a general seasonal slowdown in demand, and in some cases, a buildup in supplier inventories and competition from lower-cost imports.

Here is a look at how things are shaping up, according to purchasing consultants from Resin Technology, Inc. (RTi), Fort Worth, Texas; senior editors from Houston-based PetroChemWire (PCW); and CEO Michael Greenberg of the Plastics Exchange in Chicago.

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For the last seven years Integrity Tool and Mold’s Wayne McLaughlin has been back and forth from Canada to Querétaro, Mexico in support of his company’s operation there, moving to the country full time for the last two years as it established a new 118,000-ft2 molding and mold making operation for which he serves as plant manager.

McLaughlin likes the city, and Mexican culture, but he knew the growing number of non-Mexican’s he saw around town weren’t evidence of Querétaro’s sudden rise as a vacation destination. Instead, the growing volume of people from Germany, Japan, Canada and the U.S. was proof of the city’s emergence as a plastics and manufacturing hub, according to McLaughlin. “They’re definitely not here for tourism,” McLaughlin says.

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What is shaping up as an important trend in mold cooling is measuring and controlling not just coolant temperature, but flow rate as well. Another trend is toward use of external sensors for monitoring equipment without the trouble and expense of drilling holes into machine components.

These two trends intersected in a recent interview with engineers and managers of EVCO Plastics in DeForest, Wis., a major custom injection molder with nine plants in the U.S., Mexico and China. Among several new technological initiatives at the company, which will be detailed in a Processor’s Edge story in the January issue of Plastics Technology, one is an expansion of process monitoring of injection machines in the company’s medical molding operations. Besides archiving values of a handful of machine parameters on a central computer, EVCO is also gathering some auxiliary-equipment data, such as dryer temperatures and water flow and pressure from mold-temperature-control units (TCUs).

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With injection molding, gas entrapment can lead to critical problems such as part burns, short shots, blemishes and other defects. Vacuum venting can alleviate these by instantly evacuating air and gas from the mold cavity as it’s filled.

Where vacuum venting shines most is when part quality requirements are stringent and molders don’t want to sacrifice processing speed to meet those standards. This includes use on a variety of thermoplastic and thermoset materials such as ABS, acetal, nylon, PEI, PEEK, PPO, PP, phenolics and more.

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By: Heather Caliendo 5. December 2018

Glove Waste Recycled through Kimberly-Clark Program

Kimberly-Clark Professional’s, Roswell, Ga., RightCycle Program is the first large-scale recycling initiative for hard-to-recycle and commonly used items including non-hazardous laboratory gloves. The program converts used nitrile gloves, apparel and safety eyewear into new consumer goods. Since its inception in 2011, it’s helped customers divert more than 660 tons of waste from landfills.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI; Falmouth, Mass.) is a non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research, exploration and education. Some of his work includes when its researchers teamed up with French scientists in 1985 to discover the Titanic. WHOI sought to reduce waste in its own operations, an obvious target was the high volume of laboratory gloves used by researchers in its facilities.

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