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Short Shots: From the Industry Floor 20827

December 1, 2007

8 Min Read
Short Shots: From the Industry Floor

Designer Konstantin Grcic designed the Myto chair with help from BASF. With its stylish perforated seat and cantilever design, the chair (molded from BASF Ultradur PBT) stands a good chance of becoming a design classic.

Myto chair unveiled at K 2007

German designer Konstantin Grcic, known for his innovative furniture designs, took the wraps off his latest effort at the BASF (www.basf.com) stand during K 2007. Grcic collaborated with BASF and Italian furniture producer Plank to create the Myto chair, molded entirely from a high-flow grade of Ultradur PBT (polybutylene terephthalate).

Last summer, BASF held a workshop for selected designers (including Grcic) in Ludwigshafen, Germany. Their aim: to explain the creative potential of BASF’s engineering plastics, and to demonstrate material properties using everyday examples. The experience led Grcic and others from his firm (KGID) to explore the idea of using Ultradur to mold a chair.

Grcic believes chairs should not only be functional but also have a personality. “Because of the close collaboration, the project generated a lot of energy,” he said during the unveiling. To produce the design, wire models were first created, followed by foam models to optimize comfort. Numerous CAD models and development cycles followed to calculate the rigidity and the design of the one-piece molded chair. In May, the design was finalized and mold construction began.

“Normally it would take around two to three years to develop a chair,” said Grcic, “but with the collaborative effort, Myto reached the market one year after initial planning and production. This level of efficiency is unprecedented. To implement projects within a group of experts in such a short time is visionary in the field of design.”

Grcic’s Myto chair is based on a cantilever design similar to that of the classic Panton chair. Visitors to the BASF stand were able to take home a miniature Myto replica being molded onsite in an 85-ton Elettryka fully electric injection system from Italian machine maker Plastic Metal.

A small Stäubli industrial robot atop the stationary platen extracted and degated the chair replica before placing it on an F.lli Virginio conveyor integrated within the safety guard. Demand was so high for the tiny chairs that not one ever hit the collection bin at the back end of the machine; they were all snapped up from the conveyor belt before they had a chance to drop.

Bishop moves to Milacron as VP marketing

As of early November, Brian T. Bishop is VP of marketing, global plastics machinery, at Milacron Inc. (Batavia, OH; www.milacron.com), including the Cincinnati Milacron and Ferromatik Milacron brands of injection molding systems. Bishop was until recently president of the North American operation of Demag Plastics Group in Strongsville, OH. DPG discontinued manufacturing in North America, turning the Strongsville location into a sales, service, and support operation. An industry veteran, Bishop has also held management positions with injection molding machine suppliers Engel and HPM.

For Milacron, Bishop, who will report to Bob Simpson, president of Milacron’s Global Plastics Machinery Div., will be in control of all marketing and sales promotion aimed at fortifying the company’s identity globally, as well as developing strategy for the plastics business.

In other Milacron news, the company announced in October that its board of directors has approved the sale of 57.5% of the company’s 6% Series B convertible preferred stock by Glencore Finance AG, the original holder of the shares first issued in 2004, to Bayside Capital Inc. (an affiliate of HIG Capital—www.higcapital.com).—RN/AC

Rapid and Moditec tie the knot
After a seven-year relationship based on technology collaboration, Rapid Granulator AB (Bredaryd, Sweden; www.rapidgranulator.com) and France-based Moditec have taken it to the next level. Rapid acquired Moditec on Oct. 16, instantly adding to its offerings very slow-speed/screenless granulators capable of grinding everything from small sprues and rejects to automotive bumpers and dashboards. Moditec will continue to operate under its own name.—AC

Schad accepts lower personal share price in Husky sale

In a move designed to benefit Husky’s (www.husky.ca) shareholders, Robert and Elizabeth Schad, who together own 44.08% of the company’s shares, have revised the agreement by which Onex Corp. (www.onex.com) is to purchase the injection molding machine, mold, and hot runner supplier. The amendment reflects a share price of CDN$8.10 for shares owned by the Schads and their holding company, and CDN$8.235 for the rest. The original agreement was for CDN$8.18 per share for all shares; total acquisition price remains at approximately CDN$960 million.—AC

Thomas Fäcke, head of holographic media development at Bayer MaterialScience, displays the results of collaboration with InPhase Technologies: a 300-GB holographic storage disk.

Holographic disks to launch in 2008?

According to Thomas Fäcke, the head of holographic media development at Bayer MaterialScience (Leverkusen, Germany; www.bayermaterialscience.com), the first disks with 300 GB of storage capacity will reach the market in early 2008. The breakthrough is a direct result of collaboration between producer InPhase Technologies (Longmont, CO) and Bayer.

Target customers for the new system, which stores data as pictures or bitmaps at several different angles within the polymer disk, include archival markets such as broadcasting companies, libraries, and other media companies. The material from which the disk is injection-compression molded, much like a CD, includes a 1.5-mm photopolymer layer based on polyurethane and an organic material that Fäcke declined to name. Two 1-mm-thick layers on top and bottom molded from transparent amorphous polyolefin protect the recording layer within.

These disks are predicted to last several decades, and storage is based on volume technology rather than on the surface technology common to CDs. “There are no pits for lasers to read with this system, so as a result there is no shiny layer,” says Fäcke. “These disks are entirely transparent.”

Bayer developed this product in response to customers who need secure storage over a long period of time. Magnetic tapes must be frequently recopied to keep the data alive, while Blu-ray disks and HD-DVDs do not have enough storage space for most archival needs. According to Fäcke, television stations and archive system suppliers have been looking for alternatives for some time. “A great advantage of these data media is their easy handling. They don’t take up any more space than a CD or DVD, but offer a lot more storage capacity,” he says. “With a service life of many, many years, they are a very attractive alterative for long-term archiving.” The Tapestry 300r data disk from InPhase is a “write once, read many” (WORM) product.—MM

A free education

It’s like Christmas every six weeks: Notification of a free download that offers training on plastics technology shows up in your stocking (e-mail inbox), and you just have to visit a website to get it. The PDFs (or you can choose to download an interactive .exe file) come courtesy of various sponsors through Dilán Interactive Learning Center and cover subjects such as “Universal Molding,” “Blending Plastic Resins,” “Ultrasonic Welding Components,” and “Drying Hygroscopic Materials.” To sign up and download previous documents, visit www.free2learnit.com and click on Plastics.—AC

SHOP TALK: The power of people in plastics

Over a casual breakfast one Saturday morning with friends, I met a man—we’ll call him Frank—who works for a major Midwest molder/moldmaker. Between bites of pancake, one of my friends shared a story about her father, a dedicated (possibly fanatic) Cribbage player, who was continually frustrated by the loss of the small pegs used to keep score. She said that Frank had met him at her wedding and took note of his complaint.

Wishing to help out, Frank returned to his plant after the wedding and covertly commissioned a couple of moldmakers to design and build a single-cavity mold for producing the scoring pegs. He ended up with a four-cavity tool and ran enough pegs to keep my friend’s dad (and generations to come) supplied with the tiny pieces. Ah, the power of plastic.—AC

Website offers a leg up

Inventors out there, this one’s for you: A new brand called AbsolutelyNew represents patented inventions to manufacturers as well as fully developed products to retailers and consumers. The new brand is the result of AbsolutelyNew Inc.’s (San Francisco, CA) acquisition of Inventors’ Publishing & Research LLC and Science & Technology LLC.

“In today’s business climate, individual inventors cannot meet the strict and exacting requirements of large retail outlets, so many good inventions go undiscovered,” says Richard Donat, CEO of AbsolutelyNew. “This new, more efficient model will expedite the entire designing, development, manufacturing, and distribution processes by cutting away the excessive barriers that kept inventors from achieving their dreams.”

The company’s new website gives inventors a way to get their product to market through patent assistance, product development, manufacturing, marketing, licensing, and direct sales. Or, if you’re a manufacturer and want to take on a new product, the website includes a pipeline of more than 30,000 inventions, ready to build, in sectors from automotive to tools and hardware. There are also sections for retailers looking for product offerings and for consumers interested in new products. To see for yourself, visit www.absolutelynew.com.—AC

NPC research now available online

In an effort to extend its outreach to the international community, the National Plastics Center’s Doyle Library & Archives in Leominster, MA has made its catalog available online (www.plasticscenter.org). The library and archives hold thousands of volumes, documents, photographs, and ephemera relating to plastics and the plastics industry.

The library operates by appointment, Monday through Friday, and all materials must be viewed onsite. In the future, however, visitors to the website will be able to view high-res images, excerpts of chapters and magazine articles, and handwritten documents. For those unable to get to the library, photocopy, photographic, and full research services are available.

The Doyle Library is named for Plastics Hall of Fame inductee Bernard Doyle, who established the Viscoloid Co. in his hometown of Leominster and became its chief executive in 1923. The company, a pioneer in the pyroxylin plastics industry, later merged with The DuPont Co.—AC

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