PT Blog

Have you checked out Plastics Technology’s upcoming Extrusion 2018 Conference? It’s going to be held Sept. 18-20 at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland. It’s our first Extrusion Conference in Cleveland, following  three successful events in Charlotte.

A two-and-a-half-day event, Plastics Technology’s Extrusion 2018 Conference is packed with presentations from 70+ technical experts covering a wide range of subject areas. The program is divided into General Extrusion sessions, which feature presentations that are relevant to all extrusion processors regardless of what comes out of the die; and concurrent track sessions that hone in on your particular process: film; sheet; pipe/profile/tubing; and compounding.

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By: Heather Caliendo 19. July 2018

Volvo Encourages Use of Recycled Plastics in New Cars

By 2025, Volvo Cars pledges that at least 25% of the plastics used in every newly launched Volvo car will be made from recycled material. Volvo Cars also urged auto industry suppliers to work more closely with car makers to develop next generation components that are as sustainable as possible, especially with regards to containing more recycled plastics.

To demonstrate the viability of this ambition, the company has unveiled a specially-built version of its XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid SUV that looks identical to the existing model, but has had several of its plastic components replaced with equivalents containing recycled materials.

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Several commercial applications in both packaging and transportation have emerged over the last year or so which utilize the ThermHex technology from Belgium’s EconCore. In March, I blogged about the extended capabilities of the technology to produce continuous honeycombs from several high-performance thermoplastics. This was followed up with a blog on the company’s partnering with Holland’s MEAF Machines to develop and install a fully-functional laboratory-scale extrusion and forming line at the company’s recently-refurbished R&D facilities in Leuven, Belgium.

At the heart of the line is a purpose-built 50-mm extruder equipped with a special 500-mm sheet die built by Austrian flat-die specialist EMO Extrusion Molding. EconCore’s patented ThermHex technology produces honeycomb structures from a single continuous thermoplastic sheet. This involves a sequence of thermoforming, folding and bonding operations. Cell size, density and thickness of the honeycombs can be altered with simple hardware and/or process parameter adjustments. The process allows for inline bonding of solid skins to one or both sides of the honeycomb, to create an extremely cost-effective finished composite panel.

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Those standards will compose the basic architecture that will allow networking a wide variety of primary and auxiliary equipment into the “smart factories” of the future. His seminar took the form of a tour of machinery exhibitors such as KraussMaffei, Engel, Wittmann Battenfeld, and Battenfeld Cincinnati, each of which addressed a piece of the industry’s efforts to achieve consensus on standards for injection molding, extrusion, robots, other auxiliaries, and MES computers. These standards are based on the OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) machine-to-machine communication protocol.

After the show, Dr. Harald Weber, director of Euromap’s Technical Commission, summed up for me in an email where the various standards-writing efforts stand today. Here’s his overview (slightly edited) “on the status of the Euromap OPC UA interfaces”:

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From the NPE2018 show floor, Plastics Technology’s Lilli Manolis Sherman breaks down what material and additive suppliers brought to Orlando. Resin manufacturers and distributors came to NPE2018 in numbers not seen in some time, and they didn’t arrive empty handed.  

In the video, Lilli discusses how advanced polypropylenes are increasingly targeting engineering materials, including nylon, while that material continues to evolve to serve new markets, including autonomous driving and miniaturized electronics. Bioplastic mainstay PLA is looking to shift from disposable to durable applications, while plastics bulwark, polyethylene, showed it still has a few tricks up its sleeve, utilizing metallocene technology and allowing for recycling friendly all-polyethylene packages.

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