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Articles from 2002 In October

Editorial: Predicting the future

As we reach the end of 2002, it seems appropriate to reflect on the year behind us and look forward to the year ahead. The first issue of this magazine for which I take credit or blame was the January/February 2002 issue. It has been a rewarding year. Readers have welcomed our concept and our efforts. All that is good, but it is looking backwards. Now we look toward the future.

While the direction of the economy and its impact on the plastics processing business is a deadly serious matter, it can help to take a lighter view of the business of predicting that future.

We know of at least three ways to predict the future, each of which offer equally poor results. The first is to use a crystal ball. But it?s been a tough year for crystal balls. At least one member of the plastics industry has been heard bemoaning ?My crystal ball is broken.?

Another technique is to use a dartboard. It is reported that a leading financial publication periodically chooses a portfolio of stocks by putting the stock listings up on the wall and choosing investments by throwing darts at it. If nothing else, the result is likely to be the oft-recommended diversified portfolio. Sometimes the dart-chosen portfolio even outperforms a portfolio chosen by esteemed investment advisors.

The third technique, apparently widely used in government circles, was brought to us by a prominent member of the plastics industry who shall remain unnamed. It involves gathering masses of data in whatever form available. After careful analysis of this data, highly placed personnel predict the future direction of the economy. The technique is known as SWAG, which stands for Scientific Wild Ass Guess. This technique has broad application in predicting sales, setting budgets, and so on.

In predicting the future, we like to get more favorable results than any of these three techniques provide. We find that if we stick to a few specific predictions, our batting average is really good.

Try these predictions:

  • The National Plastics Exposition will take place in Chicago in June 2003.
  • NPE 2003 will be held in McCormick Place.
  • Those who plan well will get better results from the show than those who don?t, whether as attendees or exhibitors. (PM&A will help you plan).

OK, it?s true that we?re not exactly going out on a limb. It is also true that we will continue to provide the best in plastics processing equipment coverage in the future. We need no crystal ball, darts, or complex data to predict that.

Happy Holidays, and see you in 2003.

Merle R. Snyder
Plastics Auxiliaries & Machinery


With this issue, we are officially changing our magazine?s name to Plastics Machinery & Auxiliaries (PM&A). This is not a very dramatic change from the former Plastics Auxiliaries & Machinery, and just one in a series of design changes made to the magazine over the past year under its new ownership by Canon Communications. The editorial mission is the same. Note that we are the only magazine highlighting auxiliaries in our title.

This magazine was originally launched as Plastics Auxiliaries. In due course ?& Machinery? was added, yielding the title Plastics Auxiliaries & Machinery. Canon Communications bought the magazine late in 2001, and retained the title until this issue.

Some readers will remember the important role that the no-longer-published magazine Plastics Machinery & Equipment served in providing information to processors regarding machinery and equipment. The current-day PM&A is in some ways a successor to that previous title.

PM&A continues to be the only North American new product tabloid magazine with the mission to inform you, our readers, about advances in the technology of machinery and auxiliaries needed to compete in today?s plastics processing business environment. And to increase the level of service to our readers, PM&A will publish nine issues in 2003, up from six in 2002.

Date stamps work with other stamp plugs

The Compact Series date stamp plug requires as much as 60 percent less space than traditional stamps, allowing more room for waterlines, slides, and other mold details. The 20 Series plug is a compatible replacement for the Euro style plug, while the Retro Series plug replaces the Euro style and other plugs. The Progressive Components name is etched on the side of each date stamp, providing moldmaking and molding personnel with a quick reference when replacements are necessary. Templates help users find the right date stamp plug for the application. All date stamp plugs have a revised arrow detail that fits standard slotted screwdrivers for easy installation. MicroDaters are also available in their entirety or as replacement rings and plugs.

Progressive Components, Wauconda, IL;
(800) 269-6653;

Iceman SC Series has scroll compressors

Iceman SC Series chillers feature a scroll compressor to provide quiet operation with high reliability. The scroll compressor uses half as many moving parts as conventional reciprocating compressors. This increases the reliability and efficiency of the compressor and reduces sound levels. The chillers are equipped with a hot-gas bypass system that stops short-cycling of the compressor under low load conditions. The Iceman SC Series is available in air- and water-cooled models, with 2- to 15-ton cooling capacities. It is also available in a Full Range System with both heating and chilling capacities. A microprocessor-based control with adaptive tuning provides accurate temperature control. A compact, portable cabinet conserves floor space. Brazed plate evaporators reportedly provide maximum cooling, and insulated noncorrosive plumbing and components minimize maintenance concerns and downtime.

Mokon, Buffalo, NY
(716) 876-9951;

Portable chillers, standard and custom

Milacron CA portable chillers are designed for process temperatures from 20 to 65F. Capacities range from 1/4 to 4 tons. Process pumps provide 1/4 to 3/4 hp and deliver .6 to 10 gal/min. Microprocessor controls are used on 2- to 4-ton models. Status indicators include power on, compressor, capacity control, alarm, reservoir level, refrigerant circuit, and low flow. Enclosure panels are constructed of stainless steel. All units are mounted on casters for portability. Fan-style condensers are used on air-cooled models, with tube-in-tube condensers used on water-cooled models. Air-cooled models are recommended where water supplies are inadequate or contaminated, or where process heat recovery for plant heating is desired. Air-cooled units are available up to 30 tons. Water-cooled units are used where tower water, city water, or other plant water sources are available for condensing and heat rejection. Water-cooled units are available up to 40 tons. If one of the standard models does not match the specifications required, a custom unit can be designed.

Cincinnati Milacron Specialty Equipment, Batavia, OH
(513) 536-2584;

Bulk loader control system for three pumps

A microprocessor-based central control system for bulk loaders can operate both weigh and nonweigh loaders from a single location but still allows individual control at each unit. The T-Link control system offers a back-lit, touch-screen control that uses a menu-driven format. This allows operators access to all control parameters while permitting input or editing of new data. Twisted-pair wiring connects the main control and individual units.

T-Link tracks actual materials consumption, inventory for each loader, and controls fill by weight, time, or volume. When paired with T-COM2 software, the T-Link can perform two-way, real-time, remote control of loaders through a PC. This reportedly creates complete and accurate management of all processed materials, with continuous monitoring of each loader.

Standard features include three-pump and single- or dual-material control, priority fill stations, nonfill alarms, communication failure alerts, and password protection.

Mould-Tek Industries Inc.
Scarborough, ON
(416) 285-5400;

Economical mold-temperature controls

Circulating-water mold temperature controls come in three configurations. Sub-Compact units are 13 by 26 by 26 inches. Direct-inject cooling provides fast response. Standard Heavy-Duty controls give molders a choice of direct-inject or indirect cooling, with separate cooling and process circuits to allow use of ethylene glycol and prevent waterline damage. The units have a 16 by 27-inch footprint. Vertical units are 17 inches wide by 21 inches deep. The upright configuration puts the control panel at a height of 49 inches. Vertical models are available in both direct and indirect cooling models, sized to 3 hp. All three models feature auto-tune microprocessor controls. A seal-flush system keeps seals clean and cool. The 9-kW heater is positioned vertically to maintain immersion and minimize the risk of damage, and it is insulated for efficiency. A horizontal pump mounting minimizes cavitation and maximizes flow. Protective devices include an internal bypass waterline, a heater/pump interlock, a high-pressure relief valve, and a low-pressure cutout. Prices for the mold-temperature controls start at $1645.

Molders Choice, Solon, OH;
(440) 349-6174;

Chillers offer tandem compressors

The CA and SW Series Compa-Chill chillers use high-efficiency scroll compressors. Tandem compressors are available from 71¼2 tons and higher to allow compressor staging and capacity control. The use of off-the-shelf components minimizes maintenance demands. The control panel can be detached for remote control and monitoring. Portable chiller units can be converted for use with a central chilling system to meet future requirements. Other features include a remote condensing unit, an in-plant chiller pump tank, a high-temperature alarm, and an isolation heat exchanger for cooling potable water.

Whaley Products, Burkburnett, TX
(940) 569-4116

Portable chiller uses condensing fan

A 15-ton air-cooled portable chiller with a condensing fan is the most recent in the Maximum line. It uses a propeller fan instead of a centrifugal blower. The unit has stainless steel lift-off cabinetry on a stainless and galvanized steel frame. It’s mounted on casters for portability, and topped with a protective fan shroud. The refrigerant circuit has a scroll compressor, filter-dryer, liquid line solenoid valve, sight glass with moisture indicator, brazed plate evaporator, and hot-gas capacity control. The coolant circuit uses a 3-hp stainless steel process pump, 65-gal insulated nonferrous reservoir, automatic water make-up system, and NPT fittings.

Advantage Engineering, Greenwood, IN
(317) 887-0729

Stainless steel portable chiller

Model SS portable chillers have stainless steel cabinetry and use stainless steel extensively throughout, including all brackets, internal framing, and support rails. The chiller is said to resist corrosion for an extensive period of time, regardless of the environment. The chillers are designed to allow fast, convenient access to critical components. Standard, off-the-shelf components also ease maintenance tasks.The chillers feature Copeland scroll compressors, brazed plate evaporators, and stainless steel Scot circulation pumps with their own filter and liquid refrigerant receivers. Water-cooled units include brazed plate condensers, an adjustable water regulating valve, and cleanable water filters. Air-cooled condensers are equipped with cleanable air filters. Model SS chillers are equipped with digital temperature readout with processor adjustable programming options that allow temperatures to be displayed and set to within .1 deg F. Hot-gas bypass allows automatic adjustment of the chiller for varying chilling loads. Standard safety features include high and low pressure water flow shut-offs, and indicator lamps to alert the user to potential problems and monitor the continuing operation of the chiller.

Wittmann Inc., Capitol Temptrol Div., Torrington, CT
(860) 496-9603;

Chillers target injection molding

Designed with the injection molding industry in mind, the Model ACP air-cooled stand-alone chillers are equipped with hermetic scroll compressors and stainless steel pumps, frames, and tanks. Stainless steel evaporators are also used, and temperature control is via solid-state electronics. Other features include a hot-gas bypass, a water flow switch, a freeze thermostat, and non-rusting water piping. The key to the chillers is reported to be the design of their stainless steel brazed plate evaporators. If 85F plant water is available for the condenser, water-cooled units up to 10 tons can be used. The chillers use coaxial tube-in-tube condensers. Large units use brazed plate condensers, with optional shell-and-tube design.

1st Choice Portable Chillers, Markham, ON
(877) 513-8310;