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New Briefs-Dec. 15, 2008

Moldmaking: In search of the best in the industry The Mold Making and Mold Design Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) is asking for nominations for its annually awarded Moldmaker of the Year and Mold Designer of the Year awards. The awards are sponsored by D-M-E and Progressive Components, respectively. Recipients are awarded $500, which will be donated on their behalf to a technical school of their choice.

Moldmaking: In search of the best in the industry

The Mold Making and Mold Design Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) is asking for nominations for its annually awarded Moldmaker of the Year and Mold Designer of the Year awards. The awards are sponsored by D-M-E and Progressive Components, respectively. Recipients are awarded $500, which will be donated on their behalf to a technical school of their choice.

Nominees need not be active members of SPE, but criteria do include a person's contribution to the industry or society, strong technical experience, and reputation for conducting business in a fair and honest manner. To enter a candidate for either nomination, please submit his/her name to Ed Jenko at ejenko@husky.ca. You will be requested then to send a biographical sketch outlining the nominee's experiences and credentials.

Literature rack: Troubleshooting Injection Molding

A new guide, Troubleshooting Injection Molding, is offered by Research and Markets Ltd. (Dublin, Ireland). This guide outlines common factors to check when preparing to injection mold components. It examines the different types of surface defects that can be identified in plastics parts and looks at ways to solve these problems. Case studies and many figures are included in the report. The review section of this report is drawn from the Arburg Practical Guide to Injection Molding, which was published by Rapra Technology in 2004.

The guide is authored by Vannessa Goodship, a senior research fellow at the Warwick Manufacturing Group in the Advanced Technology Center at the University of Warwick. For more information link to: http://www.researchandmarkets.com/product/e6cc51/troubleshooting_injection_moulding. The guide costs euro 150; order information is available at the link above.

Injection molding: Emsa adds Ferromatik monosandwich machine to its stable

To mold its new myBox flower pots, consumer products manufacturer Emsa (Emsdetten, Germany) acquired a new Maxima MM baseline 1000 Monosandwich press from Ferromatik Milacron (Malterdingen, Germany) for euro 600,000, with another euro 200,00-400,000 being spent on molds.

According to Emsa officials, its current stable of molding machines was not able to mold the thick-walled containers, which is why it opted for a monosandwich machine. The press has 1000-tonnes of clamp force and uses it handily when injecting the flower pots, with a shot weight of 4.5 kg (10 lbs). Average cycle time for the containers is about 50 seconds, for daily production of some 1700 myBoxes.

The conventional sandwich process for injection molding requires two complete injection units with separate valves: one for the first shot, which partly fills the mold and forms the surface material, and then one for the second shot, for injection of the core material. With Ferromatik's monosandwich process, only one injection unit and valve are required. The injection unit first plasticizes the core material, and then a secondary extruder delivers the surface skin material into the injection unit. The melt components are then injected sequentially into a mold cavity, first building the part wall and then the core. Emsa predicts it will develop other large products, which also may be processed on the new machine.

Greening of an industry: U.S. demand for natural polymers to grow 7.1%

Natural polymer demand is expected to grow 7.1% annually to $4.0 billion, or 1.75 billion lb in 2012, according to a new study released by The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm. Best opportunities are anticipated in packaging areas as a result of the increased availability and cost competitiveness of novel polymers such as polylactic acid (PLA). Further growth will be threatened by climatic and political uncertainties for products such as guar gum and gum arabic, as well as competition from synthetic alternatives. With many natural polymers procured offshore, imports are expected to continue to account for a large share of indigenous demand.

Cellulose ether demand is expected to rise 4.2% annually through 2012, accounting for about one-third of all natural polymer demand. Methyl cellulose will dominate the cellulose ether market due to its widespread use in construction materials such as plaster, mortar, grouts, stucco and wallpaper pastes. Best cellulose ether opportunities are anticipated for microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), particularly in pharmaceutical applications.

Demand for starch and fermentation products will expand at a double-digit pace to $1.1 billion in 2012 based on greater availability and improved production technologies for polymers such as PLA, starch blends, and hyaluronic acid. Falling prices will also boost volume demand. Polylactic acid will see significant growth in packaging areas such as thermoformed containers. Hyaluronic acid demand will be stimulated by an aging populace, generating strong demand for dermal injections and orthopedic treatments.

Robust growth is anticipated for protein-based polymers such as collagen with further advances threatened by competition from longer-lasting alternatives such as hyaluronic acid. Good opportunities are anticipated for marine polymers such as carrageenan and alginates, mainly in food and beverages, and wound dressings.

Action Mold approved by DuPont

Action Mold (Anaheim, CA), a custom injection molding company specializing in close tolerance processing of high performance resins, has been selected by DuPont as an approved molding site for its Teflon FEP high temperature resins.

“We are thrilled DuPont feels we have the experience, talent and equipment necessary to handle their exclusive FEP resin materials,” said Bill Hall, president of Action Mold. “We've worked hard over the years to perfect the mold design and construction, and injection process to carefully manage high-temperature resins for projects requiring close tolerances.”

DuPont's FEP is a fluorinated ethylene propylene resin that meets the ASTM Standard Specification for FEP-Fluorocarbon Molding and Extrusion Materials under ASTM Designation D2116-95a. Products made from Teflon FEP offer chemical resistance, electrical properties, and service temperatures of up to 200°C (392°F). In addition, Teflon FEP provides low-temperature toughness and flame resistance. Many of the FEP applications include electronic, military, and aerospace uses.

Nanotechnology: Updated thin-film photovoltaics report

NanoMarkets (Glen Allen, VA) announced that it will be issuing updated analyses of the thin-film photovoltaics (TFPV) market. The most recent report, made available in December 2008, is an updated version of NanoMarkets' July 2008 release on TFPV that takes into account the tumultuous changes that have recently occurred in the world economy. It includes completely revised market forecasts along with a detailed outlook for the business opportunities and threats that NanoMarkets (www.nanomarkets.net) expects for TFPV in 2009. Among the issues that the report considers include the impact of low energy prices on the business case for TFPV, whether environmental arguments for TFPV will lose their hold in a recessionary environment, and the impact of the worldwide construction downturn on the prospects for TFPV.

The report also includes a new eight-year forecast of consumption of the materials used by the TFPV industry, as well as an assessment of the business prospects at the materials level of the TFPV value chain for 2009. The issues analyzed include the prospects for commercialization of newer technologies in an investment environment with a short-term focus, and how TFPV materials will fare against conventional silicon materials.

Profile extrusion: High-speed profile line put through the paces

One of the world's largest extruders of window profiles is putting maybe the world's swiftest extrusion large-profile line through its paces, and so far the results have been on target. “We expect to achieve a productivity boost at our location through use of this technology,” noted Berthold Lenter, plant manager at processor profine KBE (Berlin, Germany). Using a Power Tooling dry calibration unit from Greiner Extrusion, profine is realizing line speeds of 7m/min. The new calibration table has been in operation for several weeks at profine, processing a single- strand profile.

The Power Tooling concept was developed especially for high-output lines. Haul-off speeds of up to 7m/minute for triple-chamber profiles and exceeding 5m/minute for standard 5-chamber profiles are possible. The rotated structure secures a straight inner bridge geometry. Positive effects for improving surface quality are achieved, since the visible surfaces are drawn off vertically in the tank. This arrangement ensures that no dirt particles can stick to the visible surfaces. The profine group of companies claims about a 20% share of the global market for profile extrusion of windows, doors and PVC boards.

Compound extrusion: Conference highlights compounds, masterbatch production

The world's largest manufacturer of compound extruders, Coperion (Stuttgart, Germany), will hold an open house on Jan. 28-29, focused on compounding and masterbatch production at its Stuttgart headquarters.

The event includes presentations by visiting experts as well as Coperion's own, machine demonstrations, and more, and is open to all interested persons. Lecture topics include, for example, future trends, opportunities, and innovations for compounds, and discussion of the developments in reinforcing fillers and functional additives, including nanoparticles. For further information or to register to attend, contact Coperion's Julia Richter at T: +49 (0) 7 11/8 97-26 14 or via email: openhouse@coperion.com.

Plastics recycling: Conference at PlastIndia brings together massive recycling presence

One of the many programs being held during the PlastIndia trade show (Feb. 4-9, 2009) in New Delhi will be the Asian Plastic Recycling & Waste Management Conference, which also will include a Global Recycled Product Contest. Vijay Merchant, who chairs the conference and is also chairman at blowmolder Dynam Plastics, notes that, collectively, the 12 countries of the Asia Plastics Forum recycle more than 25 million tons of plastics annually.

The Conference is scheduled for February 7, 2009 at New Delhi Pragati Maidan exhibition center, concurrent with PlastIndia. The Global Recycled Products & Ideas Contest requires no entry fee and is open to all comers. Some of the subjects to be covered at the conference include new technologies and challenges for recycling plastics back to food contact-grade quality materials, new approaches to recycling non-bottle mixed plastics waste, and the efficiencies and economics of recycling in emerging economies. Sustainability of course will be an overarching theme throughout the event.

For more details on the Conference or competition, contact: recycleconf@plastindia.org.

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