PT Blog

As reported recently, efforts continue on a number of fronts to solve the long-standing “mystery” of melt-temperature measurement in injection molding (see July Close-Up). One of those pursuing this goal is Md Plastics, which has been continuously developing an injection process-monitoring and control system based on the unique Temp-Sense Melt Sensor. This bimetallic micro-bead sensor responds to both temperature and pressure, and thus measures the total thermal energy or “work” imparted to the melt during processing (see Oct.’15 Close-Up for details). For the sake of simplicity, the system software reports measurement results as temperature in degrees F or C, though it is in fact more complex than that. The results are said to be far more precise and consistent than previous methods of melt-temperature measurement—and they are taken in real time during injection, without any interruption of the process. Up to now, it has been difficult or impossible to obtain such real-time melt thermal measurement. Now, according to Michael Durina, president of Md Plastics, this new technology enables novel uses of melt thermal data for process analysis, troubleshooting, and control. “It will provide information molders have never been able to see before.”

The latest iteration of Durina’s melt-temperature technology is the Melt Profiler VII system. It consists of a small box of electronics—a data-acquisition device that accepts input from up to seven sensors. One of these is the Temp-Sense Melt Sensor, installed flush with the inner wall of the nozzle body or end cap. It can also take data from other temperature sensors in locations such as the water manifold, resin hopper and mold cavity. The unit comes with proprietary software that takes melt-temperature measurements 157 times/sec and calculates three key metrics used to predict part quality. These metrics are unique to the Melt Profiler system:

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A Window of Opportunity Opens to One Million Parts a Day

Starting out in injection molding while he was still in college, with additional experience in metal stamping, die casting, finishing and moldmaking, Barry Lawrence spotted a new opportunity in the window hardware market shortly after exiting the space via the sale of a business he had helped found.

“About 20 years ago, when I was 40 years old, we sold out to the big guy in the industry,” Lawrence recalls. “They came through trying to consolidate the industry, buying everybody. They asked me what I wanted, and I threw a number at them.”

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Graphene Nanomodified Glass-Reinforced Nylon 66 Holds Much Promise for New Automotive Applications

Over the last few years, we have reported on Tuball graphene nanotubes from Luxemberg’s OCSiAl (U.S. office in Columbus, Oh.) and their evolving use in thermoplastics. The most recent news comes to us from Russian composites materials manufacturer Polyplastic, which has recently focused on adding Tuball to glass-filled nylon 66 for use in automotive applications. The company, which has facilities, R&D centers and sales teams across Russia, is selling its materials globally with current partners that include Borealis, DuPont and KraussMaffei.

OCSiAl sources note that automotive OEMs across the world are demonstrating a keen interest in new polymers with nanomaterials. This, the result of the ongoing transformation of the automotive industry, increasingly stringent environmental requirements, and the transition to electric vehicles. The modification of plastics with graphene nanotubes have been shown to lead to impressive results in anti-friction and anti-wear coatings, as well as exterior parts painted using the electrostatic painting method.

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Ineos Styrolution Talks Closing the Loop on Polystyrene

In the past couple of years, global styrenics supplier Ineos Styrolution has made a number of advancements in closing the loop on polystyrene and other single-use products.

In this Q&A, Cassie Bradley, sustainability and circular economy manager at Ineos Styrolution, talks about the company’s work in this area, increased demand for recycling content and some of the key recycling processes that Ineos is evaluating. 

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Five Ways SPC Can Improve Performance

Successful plastics manufacturers and molders have mastered the ability to compete on quality while reducing the inefficiencies and scrap that can create a drag on profitability. For many of these companies, statistical process control (SPC) serves as the framework for continually finding new ways to improve process control, process performance and product quality.

Fundamentally, SPC enables manufacturers to inspect a random output sample from any measurable process and understand what is causing deterministic variations in product, process and quality levels that can be modeled versus completely random factors. This empowers managers to decide whether a given process is producing products with characteristics that fall in a predetermined range. For plastics companies, SPC has proven highly valuable for analyzing deviations in process parameters, temperature, velocity, and machinery attributes that can cause higher scrap rates.

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