App Offers Injection Molders Processing Guidance on Resins

With a few taps and swipes, you can find critical processing parameters to help you run materials you’ve never run before.

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You’ve just received shipment of a new grade of material. You’ve molded something like it before—sort of, you think—without any snafus. So how difficult can this new material possibly be? With that confidence, you set up your processing parameters and start molding. Then you notice problems. You adjust your processing parameters. No soap. You search for data sheets. You call the supplier for tech sup- port. You get voicemail. Fingers get pointed: It’s not the material, it’s the machine, it’s the operator, etc. Voices get raised. In the background, you hear a faint (or loud) expletive ... or two. Meanwhile, you’ve wasted hours of production time and your delivery date, as well as your relationship with your customer, are in jeopardy.

Does this scenario sound familiar? Even among best-in-class molders, my guess is it’s
a situation that unfolds every day. Wouldn’t it be nice to have processing details on thousands of materials at your finger- tips that you can access in a matter of seconds?

Good news: You can have this, right now. It’s called Mobile Specs and has been developed by Mobile Specs LLC, Laramie, Wyo., and is available as an app for Apple and Android devices.

Mobile Specs was launched this past June as the brainchild of Mike Kmetz. Mike was the president and founder of IDES, and developed an online, searchable database, called the Prospector, that contains property information on tens of thousands of materials from suppliers all over the world. Mike sold that database to Underwriters Laboratories in 2012. While heading up IDES, Mike also developed a book-length printed guide to processing injection molding resins, which he distributed through the former Injection Molding Magazine.

The Mobile Specs app brings Mike’s paper pocket guide into the 21st century. It includes data on more than 20,000 commercially available materials from more than 100 suppliers—resin producers and distributors alike. It offers up to up to 25 molding parameters for each material. With just a few taps on your mobile device, you’ll find the material you’re looking for and be able to access data for mold shrink, melt flow, recommended processing temperatures, drying parameters, and a bunch more. Detailed text descriptions of each plastic, along with processing notes, provide molders with a great deal of background information about the material they are processing. What’s more, the app offers full supplier processing guides where available.

It takes seconds to find what you need. You can search for supplier name, generic polymer family, or specific products and grades. The information in the app is continuously updated by Mobile Specs’ engineering team.

Mobile Specs has teamed with Plastics Technology on this innovative product, and together we will be developing ways to make this tool available to molders worldwide. Be on the lookout for these developments as they unfold.

In the meantime, check out mobilespecs.com for more information. Right on the home page you’ll see a video demo of the app in action. You can order the app directly from Mobile Specs or download it from the Apple app store.