PT Blog

During the week of March 9, Gardner Intelligence conducted for the second time a short survey to gauge the effects of COVID-19 on discrete parts manufacturers across all the industries that Gardner Business Media covers. Gardner Business Media is the parent company of Plastics Technology Magazine.

The survey asked two basic questions:

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Updated—Coping with Coronavirus: One Blow Molder’s Response

What do you do to protect your customers if your state authorities tell you to shut down and send your workers home until the current health crisis is over? Bob Confer, president of Confer Plastics in North Tonawanda, N.Y., sent out a letter Monday that outlines one energetic response.

Confer Plastics makes a well-known line of blow molded pool and spa accessories and also does custom blow molding, with 18 machines and over 220 employees.

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Small, Family-Run Vermont Molder Pioneers in ‘Lights-Out’ & Industry 4.0

It doesn’t take long to recognize that there’s something different about T&M Enterprises. At first glance, the picture may not seem all that remarkable: small, family-owned and run custom molder with 16 injection machines from 27 to 200 tons in a 28,000-ft2 plant in Shaftsbury, Vt. The “T” and “M” in the name stand for the founder, Tom Paquin, and his wife Marty. In business since 1983, the firm molds standard parts for electrical capacitors (its original specialty) as well as medical parts, plumbing components, handles for paint and pastry brushes, nylon handcuff ties for the military, small automotive parts, and a proprietary line of votive candle cups in clear or colored PVC (others use more expensive polycarbonate)—11 million candle holders a year.

 

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By: Jim Frankland 3/17/2020

How to Optimize Usage of Recycled Material

How to Optimize Usage of Recycled Material

Almost every extrusion process generates some level of scrap that needs to be recycled for both economic and environmental purposes. But the amount of ground recycled material that can effectively be processed on the extruder and screw is usually limited because of differences between virgin pellets and regrind. During process upsets, trials and other processing interruptions, the amount of scrap generated is often far more than can be processed without sacrificing output rate and developing product variations due to output instability. Without separate extruders and/or screws designed specifically to process these greater volumes of ground scrap. you might wind up overcoming storage space and tying up a lot of money.

Most extrusion processes can effectively reprocess 10% to 20% reclaim with only minor changes in output and process stability. Some processors have even developed expertise in manipulating processing conditions, particularly temperature control, to accommodate somewhat higher levels of regrind. The main variables affecting these issues between virgin pellets and regrind are the bulk density and the solid particle flow properties. Keep in mind that the polymer manufacturers actively work to optimize their pellet geometry for optimum bulk density and solids-flow properties for their own benefit in material handling and packaging. As a result, most virgin pellets are well optimized for those properties.

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Coping with Coronavirus: What If You Can’t Get a Tech Service Visit?

Among the blizzard of emails I have received in recent days from businesses of all sorts telling me how they are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, I received this one Monday, from Bob Cavanaugh, president of Engineered Printing Solutions (EPS), a maker of industrial inkjet and pad printers in East Dorset, Vt.:

“EPS will be restricting air travel by its sales engineers for the next 30 to 45 days. EPS technical service specialists will be allowed to travel to customer locations that will require new machine installations and emergency support services. For non-emergency support services, EPS will address on a case-by-case basis.”

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