PT Blog

My profile of Octex Group in Sarasota, Fla., for an On-Site cover story in next month’s issue (sneak preview here) is largely a story about transformation. A company that started out as a commodity custom injection molder of cups, lids, and handles began in 2014 to remake itself into a high-tech supplier to the most demanding customers in medical, aerospace, defense, and automotive industries.

At the same time, it evolved into a business (under $50 million) that’s about much more than molding. A good part of a $10 million program to expand, upgrade, and re-envision the company has gone into building two sister companies to provide world-class moldmaking and metrology services—Choice Tool & Mold and Omnia Scientific, respectively.

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With this blog we launch a series of articles based on 2017 research conducted by market-research firm Mastio & Co., St. Joseph, Mo. on key markets for extruders of polyethylene film. Each weekly blog will consist of growth projections, technology drivers, and key players in each of 10 different film segments. We’ll kick off the series with stretch film.

According to Mastio’ s research, the stretch film market continues to be one of the largest and most rapidly evolving PE film markets. Interview with processors conducted by Mastio reveal that stretch film processors remain optimistic about increases in demand for stretch film products, as stretch film continues to displace other conventional means of pallet unitization and product bundling.

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A press from the early aughts or late 90s is by no stretch outdated, particularly in its machine functions, but in other areas—think controller, connectivity, data collection—it is certainly a step or two behind.

At our manual Molding Conference and Exhibition (Feb. 27-March 1; Hilton Long Beach; Long Beach, Calif.), the primary emphasis is getting the most out of the machines on your shop floor today, regardless of the vintage, but we also traditionally look at where the next generation of presses is headed in our Emerging Technologies track. This year is no different and molders who need (or want to know about) the latest and greatest will not be disappointed.

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You’re a plastics processor moving plastic resins through your conveying system at optimal efficiency. You’re pushing materials at top speeds but are left with remnants of angel hair, snake skins and dust, and it’s taking a toll on your system.

Or maybe you’re working with softer, more fragile material, leaving you no choice but to lower your conveying speed. You opt in favor of protecting your materials from the harm associated with high-speed conveying.

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The tech world kicks off every new year with its annual CES trade show and conference in Las Vegas. At this year’s CES, Formlabs, a designer and manufacturing of 3D printing systems, proclaimed 2018 is the “year of mass customized earbuds.” The company announced through a partnership with 3Shape, a developer and manufacturer of 3D scanners and CAD/CAM software, that it has introduced a solution for custom earbuds, which was demonstrated for the first time at CES with the newly launched 3Shape Phoenix in-ear scanner.

The process includes casting a custom silicone ear mold from a shell that has been printed on the Form 2 stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer. The companies state this process has been successfully used by The Listening Stack, an ear mold lab and hearing aid center in California that provides patients with hearing aids, custom ear protection and in-ear monitors.

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