PT Blog

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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In early March, the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) announced the winners of its 63rd Annual Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards Competition. According to Robert Kimmel, Sc.D., associate professor and director, Clemson University Center for Flexible Packaging and one of this year’s judges, sustainability continues to be a focus, with a number of entries using bio-based and compostable materials. Kimmel noted another key and related trend.

“We saw several examples of bio-based and compostable materials. But what we thought was most significant is several excellent examples of conversion of multilayer films, which have previously been diverse materials, into materials which will be recyclable in the existing recycle streams, particularly the polyethylene stream. We feel this is very important for the future of the industry.”

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“Gamification” is a trending new term for making tasks into games. Paulson Training Programs is putting that concept into practice with its new monthly SimTech Injection Molding Challenge. Each month for the next six months, Paulson Training will present a part to be molded, involving varying degrees of difficulty. Each molding challenge will be devised by company founder and chairman Don Paulson. Using Paulson’s online SimTech training tool, which simulates the control panel of an injection molding machine, participants will determine the correct machine settings that produce a part that meets specifications without defects. After each simulated molding cycle, SimTech tells the user the resulting part quality and cycle time.

The Challenge will be open for one week a month, starting this month. The way you win points is by achieving a short cycle time and by getting to a solution with the fewest cycle iterations. It’s free, and after six months, the participant(s) with the most points will be eligible for $3000 worth of training from Paulson. (One Wisconsin molder that uses Paulson’s training programs reportedly will offer an additional $10,000 to any of its own employees that win the Challenge.) Meanwhile, bragging rights will be conferred by point scores of participants to be posted on Paulson’s website.

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