PT Blog

Closed Loop Partners, an investment firm focused on building the circular economy, released a study that looks at the potential of new recycling technology, in particular, chemical recycling. The report says there is at least 60 technology providers developing “transformational” technologies that purify, decompose or convert waste plastics into renewed raw materials. This report defines the processes as follows: 

Purification involves dissolving plastic in a solvent, then separating and purifying the mixture to extract additives and dyes to ultimately obtain a “purified” plastic. Purification processes make it possible to safely transform carpet into yogurt cups, for instance—greatly increasing the value of plastics waste. PureCycle Technologies will do that when it opens its Ohio facility in the next year.

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It’s a new hybrid method combining the best features of injection molding and additive manufacturing. At next month’s Rapid + TCT show and conference in Detroit, AddiFab of Denmark, Mitsubishi Chemical America, and Alba Enterprises will collaborate to provide an answer. AddiFab (U.S. office in Palo Alto, Calif.) supplies 3D printing machines and materials that use a stereolithography technique to light-cure liquid resins. Its Freeform Injection Molding (FIM) process involves these steps:

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At the Fakuma 2018 show in Germany, Arburg and Wittmann Battenfeld both introduced the concept of embedding flow simulation software into injection machine controls (see December Starting Up). In March, at its annual Technology Days, Arburg revealed the latest evolution of its still-developmental technology. It showed how Simcon flow simulation can be embedded in Arburg’s newest Gestica control system. The filling pattern to be produced is displayed on the control panel. This makes it possible to visualize the correlation between filling level and screw stroke. Arburg will show more on this technology at October’s K2019 show in Dusseldorf.

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At our recent and well-attended Molding 2019 conference held in Indianapolis, a topic that kept resurfacing in both panel discussions and individual presentations, was the importance of both initial and continued training. As one speaker put it: “[quality processing] requires disciplined action of the knowledge you acquire on a consistent basis.”  

The importance of instituting and executing a well-rounded maintenance program, which very much includes effective purging of production machinery was also highlighted. As such, it is very encouraging to see companies take on the challenge of offering educational programs that address these issues. A nice example is that of Sun Plastech, manufacturer and distributor of Asaclean purging compound. Recently, the company launched a new ‘free’ on-campus educational program that aims to help students create value once they begin their careers in plastics.

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Following a morning session with individual presentations discussing best practices for establishing and maintaining an injection process, training, design of experiments and more, Molding 2019’s speakers reconvened for a panel discussion that quickly addressed some of the key challenges today’s molders face.

Panelists included Todd Bryant, Paulson Plastics Academy; Rich Oles, ALBA Enterprises; Suhas Kulkarni, FimmTech; Don Paulson, Paulson Plastics Academy; John Bozzelli, Injection Molding Solutions; Alan Landers, Conair Group; and Bill Hartwick, Filter Specialties.

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