Growth in food packaging applications in Europe and Asia, along with shifts in material away from PS to PP and new multilayer films, has increased demand for copolymer and thermoplastic plug materials for thermoforming. CMT Materials (Attleboro, MA), a global provider of plug-assist materials for the thermoforming industry, will showcase its range of Hytac syntactic foams at K 2019 in Düsseldorf, Germany, on Oct. 16 to 23, 2019. The company is exhibiting in booth G 83 in hall 3.
CMT Materials will highlight the latest innovative plug-assist materials—Hytac C1R and Hytac XTL—which have enjoyed strong market acceptance, said the company. “We continue to see strong growth for copolymer and thermoplastic plug materials, as the global plastics market continues to evolve and grow throughout the world,” said Terry Woldorf, Managing Director for CMT Materials.
Data-driven studies on the economic impact of plug material selection show that consistency and repeatability can be achieved in thermoforming, according to CMT. In particular, Hytac plug assists play a key role by helping processors manage wall thickness variation, reduce starting gauge and improve cycle times.
“More complex polymers such as multilayer films require more sophisticated plug assists beyond our traditional customer favorites,” said Woldorf. “In some cases, there is a requirement for higher friction; in others, it’s easier release; and in still others it is for toughness.” In the latter category, the company’s new syntactic foam offers twice the toughness of B1X and features a new cellular structure that yields a smoother surface. “It’s an unbreakable plug that doesn’t scratch soft plastics,” said Woldorf.
The main trends driving demand for these technologies are the growing popularity of ready-to-eat meals, changing consumer habits and increasing disposable income in emerging Asian economies. North American processors also show continued growth in sectors such as large bakery items, tamper-evident clamshells and medical device packages. “The pace of product and package design is speeding up, with custom formers moving from prototype to production sometimes in less than four weeks,” Woldorf explains.
The Hytac XTL plug assist is the industry’s first and only material to combine the machined surface quality of epoxy syntactic with the durability and dust-free machining of thermoplastic syntactic foam. This is particularly important when working with sticky or transparent plastics because of the challenge of polishing thermoplastic syntactic materials. A significant side benefit of the formulation is increased toughness, allowing for very fine plug details, noted CMT. It is suited for use with PP, PET, PE, APET, CPET, HIPS, OPS, PETG, PLA, PS, PVC and RPET.
Also featured at K 2019 is CMT Materials’ Hytac CR, a copolymer plug assist formulated with friction enhancer to carry plastic deep into a cavity or specialty detail. Hytac C1R provides three to four times the toughness of epoxy-based syntactic foam.