Sponsored By

November 1, 2004

13 Min Read
Industry Watch

Preform molding system supplier Kortec Inc. recently sold the world’s first 144-cavity PET coinjection molding system, the Ultra 144. The system, which featured an optical inspection system, was on show at the company’s open house last month.KORTEC'S UP AND (HOT) RUNNINGAt an open house and technology summit in October, celebrating the opening of its new 110,000-sq-ft facility in Ipswich, MA, Kortec Inc., supplier of multilayer preform molding systems, introduced the world to two amazing new technologies.

Firstly, Kortec has sold an industry-first to one of the world’s largest suppliers of carbonated soft drinks. It’s the world’s first 144-cavity PET coinjection molding system. Called the Ultra 144, the system, on show at the open house, uses the G-600 molding machine platform from Husky IMS Ltd. (Bolton, ON). It’s also designed to work with Husky’s Index and HyPET molding systems. The Ultra 144 reportedly can produce up to 300 million 20g multilayer preforms for 12-oz bottles of carbonated beverages per year.And secondly, the Ultra 144 system on show featured a first-of-its-kind, patent pending, laser-based, optical inspection and closed loop process control system.It’s designed to detect the thickness and location of the internal barrier-resin layer in every molded preform run, 52,000https://www.plasticstoday.com/hr, in each of the mold’s cavities—all 144 of them. It then sends feedback to the machine’s process controller to fix any error, while the nonconforming rejects it spots are immediately removed, ensuring shipment of good-quality product.—CKHOT RUNNER AFTERMARKET ALLIESA joint venture has been formed to serve the U.S. hot runner aftermarket between Polymer Cleaning Technology (PCT; Hillsborough, NJ), a supplier of hot runner aftermarket products, cleaning, and refurb services, and Wilson Hot Runner (Taiwan, China), a 20-year-old supplier of runnerless molding systems. PCT will supply the engineering and U.S.-made critical components; Wilson Hot Runners will manufacture plates and assemblies and assemble the units. PCT sources say U.S. molders will gain access to affordable, but high-quality systems as a result of this agreement.Wilson Hot Runners reportedly has developed a proprietary valve gate design that has been used successfully with both PET and high-temperature materials, like nylon and PC. Its valve gate will be the initial focus of the alliance. PCT also maintains production facilities in Palatine, IL.—CKE-COMMERCE QUIETLY GROWINGNews about online resin buying has been scarce since the dot-com bubble burst, but a recent report from BASF indicates the trend may be again gaining momentum. In the first half of 2004, BASF racked up e-commerce sales of a2.65 billion ($3.26 billion), or 17% of total sales and a 70% increase over the same period in 2003.Customers access ordering platforms through either BASF’s own e-commerce portal, WorldAccount, or the multisupplier site called Elemica, an independent network that serves more than 200 firms with an ERP link between the order management systems of customers and suppliers. WorldAccount serves 10,000 registered users in more than 90 countries.—MMSponsors of Disney World’s “Fantastic Plastics Works” exhibit hope to incite a greater understanding of and appreciation for plastics in the public.FANTASTIC PLASTICS WORKS OPENS AT EPCOTOn Oct. 1, Disney World’s Epcot Center (Lake Buena Vista, FL) unveiled SPI’s “Fantastic Plastics Works,” a 5000-sq-ft exhibit, made possible by a $6 million contribution from the plastics industry. Major sponsors DuPont, GE, and the American Plastics Council were joined by donors such as Demag, Conair, Nypro, Bemis, and Plastics News at the opening held at Epcot’s Innoventions interactive science and technology center. Goals for the three-year exhibit, according to SPI, are to provide children and their parents with a greater understanding and appreciation of the role plastics play in the modern world.Visitors are greeted by an applications area that showcases innovative products, including a clear Blue Water canoe and removable body panels from the DaimlerChrysler Smart Car, both examples of GE materials. Disney cast members then roll out one of the many parts to explain its significance.A second area with several interactive touch-screen computers allows visitors to mix their own resin, based on various performance characteristics explained via video, and then use the materials to construct a virtual robot to run in a virtual race. The robot is controlled by the users’ motions on a footpad; running in place causes the robot to run in one of several terrains.Finally, visitors are led to a “molding” room equipped with a 110-ton all-electric press (Demag’s IntElect) that is producing parts for a snap-together robot that youngsters take with them. Roughly 150,000 lb of material will be used per year to make the robot parts. In addition, a conveyor runs continuously around the molding room displaying products made from plastics.According to Terry Dunn, GE’s marketing communications leader, who attended the ceremony, GE’s involvement stems from three motivations. “We want to educate consumers, future consumers, and future employees about the benefits of engineering plastics. We’re also interested in developing an intellectual curiosity on the part of young people to encourage them to pursue a career in material science. Finally, we want to show future customers that the advanced materials of today are ‘not their grandfather’s plastic,’ that there are new ways to use these materials that may apply to their industries.”—MMRING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH PLASTEC WESTThere’s nothing like a trade show to help you get back into the buzz of business after the holidays, and next year’s first expo for plastics processors is Plastec West in Anaheim, CA (Jan. 10-12, 2005). The show, which presents suppliers of CADhttps://www.plasticstoday.com/CAM software, materials, molds and components, machinery, auxiliaries, automation, and all other aspects of plastics processing, is colocated with four others: Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West, Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show, WestPack, and Electronics West. All are organized by Canon Communications LLC (IMM’s publisher); admission to one gets you in all five. For the first time at the Southern California show, a U.S. Mold Builders Pavilion sponsored by the American Mold Builders Assn. (Roselle, IL) joins two others, the Enterprise Technology Pavilion (features ERP and other supply chain management software) and the Automation Technology Pavilion. The Mold Builders Pavilion debuted at Plastec Easthttps://www.plasticstoday.com/MD&M East in New York earlier this year.Those serving the medical market may want to check out the Society of Plastics Engineers’ conferences held during the show (see box, below). Information on registration, travel, and accommodations is at www.plastecwest.com.—ACBob Susnik, right, accepts a $7700 check from IMM’s editor, Jeff Sloan, for Pittsburg State University’s Plastics Engineering Technology program.YES, EDUCATION MATTERSEarlier this year IMM and its sister publications Plastics Machinery & Auxiliaries and Modern Plastics decided to donate a portion of ad sales from one issue to a college-level plastics education program in the United States. It’s part of the magazines’ Education Matters program, and in September at Plastics USA in Chicago we gladly handed over to Pittsburg State University (Pittsburg, KS) a check for $7700. On hand to receive the gift was Bob Susnik, himself a PSU alum and currently a professorhttps://www.plasticstoday.com/coordinator of the Plastics Engineering Technology program at PSU. A grateful Susnik says the money will be put to good use in the engineering lab, which already has machinery for injection molding, extrusion, and thermoforming. The PSU plastics engineering program has about 100 students enrolled right now and, according to Susnik, a strong history of placing its graduates in the industry. For more information, visit www.pittstate.eduhttps://www.plasticstoday.com/etech. Congrats to Susnik and PSU.—JSDOWNLOAD THE LOW-DOWN ON SAFETY; OHEIC SURVEY RESULTSAttendees at the SPI’s Plastics USA 2004 trade show (Chicago, IL, Sept. 28-30) received a special treat—a free CD-ROM with the complete collection of machine safety training manuals developed over the last two years by OSHA and SPI. If you couldn’t make it to the show, you can download and unzip the safety training information and more, or order your own CD from the SPI’s website at www.plas ticsindustry.orghttps://www.plasticstoday.com/publichttps://www.plasticstoday.com/worksafehttps://www.plasticstoday.com/alliance.htm.“Our focus is on helping small to medium-sized processors who are looking to maximize their limited training resources,” says Susan Howe, SPI’s senior technical director of worker health and safety. “These training materials do just that. They can be easily modified to fit any facility, and you just can’t find materials this machine-specific for the plastics industry anywhere else.”In other safety news, the SPI’s Occupational Health & Environmental Issues Committee recognized 262 worksites with safety awards in its 2003 Occupational Safety & Health Survey.A rate of 2.77 lost workday cases per 200,000 employee hours worked for the 336 reporting sites is noted in the latest survey. Findings also show there were 5.43 work-related injuries and illnesses for the responding worksites and a serious occupational injury and illness rate of 64.40 lost workdays per 200,000 hours worked. A complete listing of the safety award winners is available at www.plastics industry.org.—CKEASTMAN INVESTS IN ONE TECHNOLOGY, DIVESTS ANOTHEREastman Chemical is banking on the growing demand for PET in packaging by investing more than $100 million in a dedicated 350,000-metric-ton facility. The plant, to be located at the company’s existing site in Columbia, SC, will use a new technology for PET production called IntegRex, developed by Eastman. The company expects to receive more than 100 patents related to both IntegRex, which integrates the paraxylene-to-PET manufacturing process, and the resulting resin. Officials expect the plant to reach full capacity by Q4 2006.At the same time, the company announced it is selling its Eastar Bio copolyester technology to Novamont SpA (Novara, Italy), a biodegradable materials producer. Terms of the sale were undisclosed. In explaining the reason for the sale, Phil Griswold, vice president and general manager for Eastman’s specialty plastics business, explained that while biodegradable materials are growing, limited synergies exist with markets currently served by Eastman.—MMHUSKY EXPANDS U.S. TECH CENTERSExpansion plans for its Detroit and Chicago technical centers have been announced by Husky IMS Ltd. (Bolton, ON). Its tech centers are growing to match the growing customer demand for more complex product development and system integration projects, according to Mike Diletti, VP of service and sales for the Americas.A new 10,000-sq-ft customer training area big enough to house four machines for training will be added to the Detroit facility. Customer training course offerings will be enhanced. Process development areas and customer offices will be expanded. And improvements will be made to enhance project confidentiality.The Chicago tech center size will double, accommodating up to five molding machines and molding systems. The focus is on systems integration, mold tests, and advanced process development. Customer training service and customer office privacy also will be upgraded. Both the Chicago and Detroit expansions are slated for completion by year’s end.Meanwhile, Husky will close its small tech center in Cincinnati this month, according to Diletti.—CKMORE R&D FOR PRECISE TECHNOLOGYPrecise Technology Inc. (North Versailles, PA), a leading manufacturer of molds and molded componentshttps://www.plasticstoday.com/products for the medical, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and consumer products markets, announced a new initiative emphasizing research and product development.Kurt Attermeier will be VP of research and product development to lead this initiative, which consists of Precise’s corporate design engineering and program management arenas.—CGSHORT SHOTSA leading U.S. micromoldmaker, Miniature Tool & Die Inc. (Charlton, MA), has added in-house micromolding capabilities. It is also now supplying fully integrated, turnkey, plug-and-play micromolding equipment systems engineered to help macromolders more easily enter the growing micromolding marketplace, while avoiding the expensive, time-consuming learning curve.International Mold & Production LLC (IMAP) has added a new high-speed, gantry-style CNC machine at its facility in Livonia, MI. IMAP also has facilities in Estonia, China, and India. It’s adding to its workforce and manufacturing capacity in China for making an additional 100 moldshttps://www.plasticstoday.com/year over there. Also, IMAP is building a new manufacturing and quality facility in China capable of generating PPAP documentation for its automotive customers.Schnipke Engraving Co., a custom molding firm and supplier for medical equipment OEMs, will add five new high-performance Ferromatik Milacron K-Tec injection molding machines at its Tucson, AZ molding facility. This brings the total of Ferromatik machines at the facility to 14. Three 80-ton machines and two K-Tec 40-ton presses will be delivered between December 2004 and July 2005.A $200,000 grant from the State of Illinois “Opportunity Returns” program has been awarded to the Tooling & Manufacturing Assn. (TMA; Park Ridge, IL). The funds will be used to assist members of the trade group to market their individual and collective capabilities. Thirty Chicago-area member companies reportedly are already benefiting from the TMA marketing initiative. For more information, call (847) 825-1120.Troy Walwood, a plastics instructor at Grand Rapids Community College (Grand Rapids, MI; www.grcc.edu), has completed all three modules of a certification program developed by RJG Inc. (Traverse City, MI; www.rjginc.com) and has achieved RJG’s “Master Molder III” certification. Attaining the certification qualifies him to teach three RJG courses at the school: Injection Molding Essentials, Systematic Molding 1, and Master Molder 1. He’s also qualified to teach RJG’s Systematic Molding for Mold Builders and Tooling Engineers course. Stratasys Inc. (Minneapolis, MN) a supplier of rapid prototyping systems, has launched what it calls an “Extreme Redesign” contest for high school and secondary students around the world that will award $18,000 in scholarships for the best CAD redesign of an everyday product, famous piece of art, animation, or architecture. Final submissions must be postmarked by Jan. 31, 2005. For more information, go to www.dimension printing.com.A collaborative initiative called Save Your Factory (www.saveyourfactory.com) has been launched by Fanuc Robotics America Inc. (Rochester Hills, MI) and industry allies. The goal is to urge North American manufacturers to better understand how automation and robotics can make domestic plants more cost-effective and profitable operations than offshore facilities.Moldflow Corp. (Wayland, MA) has selected Beaumont Technologies Inc. (BTI; Erie, PA) of MeltFlipper fame to join its Certified Consultants Program and thereby complement its design simulation services with BTI’s inmold melt control and balancing experience. By combining the technologies, BTI can offer customers scientifically designed runner systems complete with gate location options and a CAE-guaranteed balance, according to John Beaumont, BTI’s president. Moldflow also recently announced the availability of Moldflow Plastics Advisers (MPA) 7.0 in simplified Chinese. Two add-on modules, Performance Adviser and Cooling Circuit Adviser, will also be offered to the Chinese market.Dow Chemical Co. started up its first commercial plant for Versify plastomers and elastomers at Dow’s site in Tarragona, Spain in September. The Versify family of specialty propylene-ethylene copolymers was launched in February 2004.Fortron Industries, a joint venture between Ticona and Kureha, began the second part of a three-stage, multimillion-dollar expansion in PPS capacity recently by approving an additional 20% increase to production at its Wilmington, NC facility during the second half of 2005. In addition, plans are under way for construction of a new PPS plant, the final stage of the expansion. Fred Daniell, newly named president of Fortron Industries, explains that the investments are being made as demand for PPS grows in automotive and other traditional markets for the high-temperature material.—CKhttps://www.plasticstoday.com/MM

Sign up for the PlasticsToday NewsFeed newsletter.

You May Also Like