PT Blog

Video: Essentium and Sulzer Discuss 3D Printed Face Mask Project

3D printing provider Essentium is providing 6,000 3D printed protective face mask kits to Sulzer, a global leader in fluid engineering. As an essential business, Sulzer has continued operating throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

The kits will be worn by employees in Sulzer locations in North and South America. Sulzer also commissioned Essentium to design a child version of the mask kit and donated a quantity to its chosen charity, Today’s Harbor for Children, a La Porte, Tex.-based residential community for youth.

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Plastics Processing Business Continued Contracting in April

Gardner Intelligence’s Plastics Processing Business Index experienced unprecedented deceleration of most measures of business activity for the month. April’s reading of 33.4 was more than 10-points below both the prior month’s low and the previous cyclical low of 2015. Survey data provided by only custom processors was little better, with a monthly reading of 34.1.

Gardner Intelligence’s review of the underlying index components observed that the Index—calculated as an average of its components—saw new orders, export orders, production and employment set new all-time lows for the second time in two months. Perspective: These readings represent the breadth of change occurring within the plastics industry and are not to be confused with the rate of decline taking place. They indicate only that a large proportion of the industry reported decreased levels of each business activity type.

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Tooling: How to Properly Size Gates, Runners and Sprues, Part 4

In part one of this series (in March) I discussed the importance of proper gate depths and gate widths. In part 2 (April) I covered two different types of gates, as well as gate land length and gate-freeze time. In part 3 (May) I discussed edge gates and runner sizes. This month I will discuss runner surface finish; dispelling some bad advice; and how to size the sprue bushing.


Several industry experts say the runner channels should be polished to the same surface finish as the cavity, or between 5 and 50 micro-inches (RMS). This reportedly is necessary to minimize the pressure drop and help with release from the mold. Even if this theory were true, I would suspect it would be almost immeasurable and most likely inconsequential.

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Attention Moldmakers: Amerimold Goes Live

Starting June 9th at 9:00 EST, Amerimold will be going LIVE with its first session, Tool Room LIVE, streamed on www.amerimoldexpo.com . Additional live sessions will follow at 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00 EST every day through Thursday, June 11th.

Amerimold Connects is a five-day online event with scheduled live demonstrations and presentations with Q&A, an extensive searchable menu of on demand content, a forum for networking and continuing Q&A and conversations and exhibitor technology showrooms.

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Part 3 Materials: Annealing Tips for Semicrystalline Polymers

Annealing of amorphous polymers is typically performed to reduce the internal stress in a part below the levels achievable during the molding process. However, in semicrystalline polymers the objective of annealing is to establish a level of crystallinity that cannot be practically obtained within the parameters of a normal molding cycle.

Each semicrystalline polymer has the ability to crystallize to a certain extent that depends upon the chemical structure of the polymer chain. HDPE has a flexible, streamlined chain that allows for efficient crystallization to a very high percentage, while a material like PEEK attains a modest level of crystallinity even under the most carefully controlled process conditions.

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