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Articles from 2000 In April

IMM Review: Plastic Injection Molding:Manufacturing Startup and Management

This fourth volume in Douglas Bryce's Plastic Injection Molding series is written in textbook form, making it appropriate for a classroom situation as well as the shelf in your library. Each chapter is complete with tables, figures, and questions at the end. There are 12 chapters, two appendices, answers to chapter questions, a bibliography, and an index for quick reference.

Chapter 1, Injection Molding Concepts, describes the history and basic operating process of injection molding. It provides a good, practical overview of everything from preparing the material to be molded to setting a mold.

Chapter 2, Materials, defines the terms that are unique to plastic materials and reviews the major material types along with key properties.

Chapter 3, Determining Primary Equipment Needs, considers what is needed to start a new product line and factors influencing what thermoplastic products will be molded.

Chapter 4, Determining Auxiliary Equipment Needs, defines and introduces auxiliary equipment. Along the way insights are offered on how dry is dry, what is dew point, and how to use an inexpensive and accurate method for testing for acceptable dryness called the TVI Test.

Chapter 5 defines utilities and discusses methods for determining such specific requirements as electricity needs for auxiliary equipment and lighting requirements for different areas.

Chapter 6, Material Storage and Handling, emphasizes that "proper storage and movement of raw materials are important to the success of any molding operation."

Chapter 7, Tool Room Requirements, asks what kind of tool shop you want to have. A minor shop cleans, inspects, stores, and takes care of component replacement. A major shop is capable of performing all work related to repairing damaged molds. A moldmaking facility is capable of not only repair work but also design and construction of molds.

In Chapter 8, Plant Layout, Bryce reviews how to lay out floor space most effectively, where to place machinery, labor efficiency as related to manual vs. automated operations, expansion considerations, building site criteria, and geographic location.

Chapter 9, Determining Costs, is one of the most important chapters in the book. Here Bryce addresses such key questions as what size operation you want to run, and whether you want to be a molder solely or a full-service vendor. Once you've defined the scope of your operation, you can determine your capital requirements. Areas to consider are building, land, and equipment needs.

Chapter 10, Organizational Structure, helps identify needs for accounting, general management, legal support, and so on. The functions of basic departments are outlined (quality control and product engineering, for example) as well as departmental positions, reporting relationships, and training.

In Chapter 11, Quality Control Concepts, Bryce notes that the amount of time and money spent each year on the achievement of quality demonstrates its importance. Another statement by the author is one I believe should be engraved in stone above every engineering department: "If functional parts are produced with nonconforming dimensions and they are acceptable to the customer, the print should be changed to reflect the acceptance."

Chapter 12, Effective Management Practices, defines what those are and discusses the importance of complying with industry standards, customer driven requirements, and quality and environmental issues.

Appendix A is short but concise, providing benchmarking formulas and industry averages. Appendix B contains a specifically designed form that can be used for qualifying a potential plastics molding vendor.

If you are a newcomer to the field, this book will be indispensable. If you are an old-timer, you will be able to brush up in areas with which you're familiar but want to make sure you haven't missed any new details. - Reviewer: Michael Morningstar, molding engineer, [email protected].

Plastic Injection Molding: Manufacturing Startup and Management is one of many books selected for injection molders that are offered through the IMM Book Club. For more information, call Renee Leatherman at (303) 321-2322; e-mail [email protected]; or visit

Bryce, Douglas M. Plastic Injection Molding: Manufacturing Startup and Management, (1999), 208 pp., tables, figures, appendices, index, $76.00.

Molding 2000 spotlights leading-edge technologies

As it has over the years, gas-assist injection molding once again led the topics discussed at the 10th international Molding 2000 conference and exhibition, held Feb. 28 to March 1 in New Orleans, LA. New developments in coinjection and super-precision molding also were covered. Presentations on the latest advances in emerging technologies included one from a Swiss visitor-Hubert Lorenz of Mimotec SA, discussing his company's intriguing UV LIGA technology for producing micromolds for the first time in the U.S. (see September 1999 IMM, pp. 79-80 for an initial report). New developments in decorating and inmold finishing also were addressed.

Jack Avery of GE Plastics updated the SRO audience on the continuing emergence of gas assist as a global mainstream process. He admitted that market research studies show that only three more molders have licensed their way into gas assist since his Molding 1999 presentation. However, he says that the use of the process by existing licensees is dramatically increasing.

Leading the way are automotive companies, including General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Delphi. At this year's SPI Structural Plastics Div. Conference in Vancouver, BC, 20 percent of the New Product Design Competition entries used gas assist.

Xerox is representative of the nonautomotive molders increasing their use of the process. At the 1999 Structural Plastics Div. Conference Xerox entered a component it developed with rapid prototyper Papago Plastics. Among other benefits, gas assist reduced the part's weight by 57 percent. (For more on Papago's use of gas assist, see p. 180.)

Figure 1. The Airpress III gas-assist technology, now available from Ferromatik Milacron, consists of four steps: (A) complete filling of the cavity and melt holding pressure phase; (B) expelling melt; (C) gas holding pressure phase; and (D) reduction of gas pressure.

Gas-assist Technologies
Avery's talk also covered the recent global alliances and technological developments of gas-assist systems suppliers. For example, Ferromatik Milacron North America has obtained patents on the full-shot Airpress III gas-assist technology. Dennis Richmond of Milacron presented a paper on Airpress III, in which gas and plastic are injected separately (see Figure 1).

The gas expands and fills the cavity completely along with the melt, producing a void inside the part and allowing uniform internal pressure to be exerted. Richmond sees particularly beneficial applications of the technology when it is used with Ferromatik Milacron's Mono-Sandwich coinjection molding systems. It lowers part weight of thick-walled multimolded parts while improving stiffness and aesthetics.

Avery also mentioned that following Incoe's agreement to provide North American sales and support of technology from Gas Injection Ltd. of the U.K., Incoe has developed a complete package of gas-assist products and services and has positioned itself as a full-service supplier.

Figure 2. Incoe's EGM process injects low-pressure gas through the core side of the mold, blanketing gas across the sealed area of the molded part.

At Molding 2000, Incoe's John D. Blundy told attendees his company also has licensed rights to sell External Gas Molding (EGM) from Asahi of Japan in both North and South America. EGM involves low-pressure gas injection through the core side of the mold, blanketing gas across the entire sealed surface area or selected sealed areas of the molded part (see Figure 2).

EGM replaces the normal packing phase of the cycle and compensates for volumetric shrinkage and cooling. Blundy sees beneficial application of EGM in a number of molding applications, not the least of which is inmold lamination, or backmolding. Battenfeld GmbH and Gas Injection also license similar technology, according to Avery.

Water-assist Molding
In addition to several studies on applications of process simulation software being conducted overseas, Avery also discussed work being carried out by the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV) in Aachen, Germany in developing what it calls water-assist injection molding technology. Following its anticipated commercialization in 2002, Avery believes, water assist will complement gas assist when it comes to coring out larger-diameter rod-like sections of parts such as automotive air ducts. Gas assist is more for coring out flat parts, thin walls, and ribs.

Cold water is injected into the melt in IKV's water-assist process and remains in the liquid phase. It is held at 290 psi during injection and 2176 psi during hold. The water can be drained while the part is still in the mold, or after ejection. This is different from Hettinga's Helga gas-assist process, which involves use of a proprietary liquid that vaporizes in the mold and forms gas channels. Drainage is unnecessary in Hettinga's process, Avery says.

In another gas-assist presentation at Molding 2000, Greg Crawford of Epcon Gas Systems discussed work at his company on integrating an SPC program into its control systems to track critical weights, measurements, and temperatures. Online SPC-based control has been found by Epcon to be an excellent means of consistently controlling the quality of traditionally short-shot gas-assist molded parts.

Editor's note: More information is available in a new book from the IMM Book Club. Gas Assist Injection Molding by Paul Dier and Rick Goralski is available for $99. To order, contact Renee Leatherman at (303) 321-2322 or visit our website at



Alternatives to gas assist

Gas assist and alternatives to the process popped up in a number of other Molding 2000 presentations. For example, two alternatives were discussed, each of which is quickly gaining in popularity: MuCell microcellular foaming technology was discussed by David Pierick of Trexel, and Sequential Screw Loading (SSL) by Simcha Kilim of Addmix. Pierick reminded the audience that, unlike gas assist, MuCell foams the entire part with microscopic cells without requiring injecting holes or voids. Part weight reduction, highlighted in Pierick's cost savings breakdown pictured to the right, is achieved without the need to address gas bubble placement or size (see IMM, October 1999, pp. 100-101 and January 2000, p. 53 for more).

MuCell also is not limited by part complexity, and is suitable for thinner-wall molding than gas assist. Still, it provides many gas-assist benefits, including reductions in fill, pack, and hold pressure and a resultant reduction in clamp tonnage.

Use of blowing agents in the core material of coinjected parts to reduce part weight and improve properties is only one of the benefits of the SSL process that Addmix's Kilim covered. As previously detailed (see July 1998 IMM, pp. 78-80), the greatest benefit of SSL is that it allows coinjection molding on existing, conventional, single-barrel presses of any size.

Kilim also announced that Addmix has a new do-it-yourself SSL CD-ROM. It guides users through setting up their SSL systems for repeatable production of high-quality multimolded parts, using their own materials and their own machines. Find out more about it on the Web (see contact box), or pick one up from Addmix at NPE (Booth N8723).



Contact information
Incoe Corp.
Troy, MI
John Blundy
Phone: (248) 616-0220
Fax: (248) 616-0225

Ferromatik Milacron
Batavia, OH
Dennis Richmond
Phone: (888) 645-2276
Fax: (513) 536-2624

Institute for Plastics Processing
Aachen, Germany
Walter Michaeli
Phone: +49 (241) 803806
Fax: +49 (241) 8888262

Hettinga Technologies Inc.
Des Moines, IA
Jeanine Hettinga
Phone: (515) 270-6900
Fax: (515) 270-1333
E-mail: [email protected]

Epcon Gas Systems Inc.
Troy, MI
Greg Crawford
Phone: (248) 597-3725
Fax: (248) 597-3728

Trexel Inc.
Woburn, MA
David Pierick
Phone: (781) 932-0202
Fax: (781) 932-3324

Addmix Ltd.
London, U.K.
Simcha Kilim
Phone: +44 (181) 459-7477
Fax: +44 (181) 459-7433

NPE: The Plastics Hall of Fame Inductees -- June 2000

The Plastics Hall of Fame will induct eight new members during a ceremony and banquet on June 22 during NPE week. Those elected to the Hall have shown "consistent dedication and extraordinary accomplishments, which have contributed to the growth of the industry and without which the industry would not have reached its present level of preeminence." As of this year, total membership in the Hall is 120, with 34 living members. Following are this year’s inductees:

  • Eric Baer is founder and first chairman of the Department of Macromolecular Science at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University earning a masters in chemistry and a doctorate in engineering, and worked as research engineer at DuPont. His career as an educator began in 1960 and eventually he was promoted to dean of science and engineering at the Case Institute of Technology. He was an early editor of The Journal of Applied Polymer Science and is the current editor of Polymer Engineering and Science. Baer has published 350 research papers, edited five books, and is considered one of the founders of the biomimetics field. Recently his research has centered on the hierarchical superstructure of polymers, emphasizing polymer morphology and mechanical behavior. He is currently director of the Center on Hierarchical Structures and the H.H. Dow Professor of Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve.

  • Rudolph D. Deanin began his 55-year career in plastics as an investigator in the World War II Synthetic Rubber program at the University of Illinois. He worked for 20 years in the industry as group leader and director at the former Allied Chemical and at DeBell & Richardson Corp. before founding the graduate program in plastics engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He supervised theses of more than 225 graduate students while developing and teaching courses to more than 4000 plastics engineering students. Deanin wrote what is considered to be a pioneering text on the relationships between polymer structure, practical properties, and applications—particularly in plastics. He has published more than 100 scientific papers and holds 36 U.S. and international patents.

  • Harold A. Holz has worked in the plastics industry for 52 years, convincing processors to develop the first applications for polyethylene—which eventually would become the world’s largest volume resin family. Holz worked at Union Carbide for 29 years, developing relationships that led to Tupperware, squeeze bottles, blown film, and Columbia Records’ vinyl resin LP record system. He also was a key participant in the industry’s conversion from conventional LDPE to LLDPE. Holz has been an industry activist as president of both SPE and Plastics Pioneers. He is director of The Plastics Academy, trustee of the Plastics Institute of America, and governor of the National Plastics Center & Museum. Holz has been a consultant for Marval Industries for more than 13 years.

  • Gordon B. Lankton is the first person to buy a small injection molding company, turn it into a global, half-billion-dollar enterprise, and then offer stock ownership to the employees. After earning a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, Lankton traveled through Europe and Asia on a motorcycle, visualizing his global corporation. That company would eventually become Nypro Inc., and would grow to include more than a dozen facilities across the U.S. and plants throughout Europe and Asia. Lankton established the first state-accredited school within his company to ensure the continued plastics technology education of employees and the public. Among the first to offer personal and corporate funding for the National Plastics Center & Museum, he enlisted others to do the same. He has been honored as Processor of the Year, twice as International Businessperson of the Year, and is a featured speaker for many educational programs.

  • Guy A. Martinelli began his career as an administrative assistant at Sylvan Plastics Inc. and eventually rose to become president of the company. As president of the New York section of the Society of Plastics Engineers, Martinelli chaired the annual technical conference, establishing standards that remain today. At the national level, he founded and chaired the Polymer Modifiers & Additives Div., was elected vp of engineering, and eventually SPE president in 1964. As chairman of the board for the Plastics Institute of America Inc., Martinelli spearheaded the formation of the Maximizing the Life Cycle of Plastics program, which led to the recycling movement in the industry today. As president of the nonprofit Chemical & Specialties Management Council, he addressed common industry issues including personnel, employee benefits, fundraising, and regulatory concerns. As president of the Plastics Pioneers, Martinelli helped create an educational fund for students pursuing careers in the industry. He founded his own firm, Accolade Plastics & Chemical Assoc., consulting in mergers and acquisitions. His peers named him Man of the Year in 1993.

  • Frank R. Nissel took extrusion from a mysterious process to a highly predictable science. He developed vented extrusion, built the first commercial sheet coextrusion line, and invented the Autoflex die. He began his career at Union Carbide in 1946 where he developed a high-speed milling test for dynamic evaluation of PVC heat stability, now an industry standard. As cofounder and vp of Prodex Corp., his developments led to other standard practices in high-intensity mixers and valved extrusion while building the first sheet extrusion line in the world with beta gauging equipment and automatic yield control. As president of Welex Inc., Nissel opened up key markets in more than 70 countries, designing processes for dairy containers, berry boxes, and food trays for the airline industry. He founded SPE’s Extrusion Div., earning him a Distinguished Service Award in 1992 and a 1995 International Business award. Nissel holds patents in 14 countries.

  • Don L. Peters, known throughout the industry as "Mr. Blowmolding," began his career in R&D at Phillips Petroleum Co. and 47 years later remains there as a principal engineer in blowmolding. His early developments include an insulated runner system for injection molding, but since 1964 he has worked exclusively as a blowmolding engineer. One of his most significant developments is part and mold design using moving sections to make one-piece, highly irregular shaped parts, otherwise not blowmoldable. He was a member of the team that developed the first commercial blowmolded automotive fuel tank and helped develop basic die shaping technology to improve wall thickness and an internal cooling method for blowmolded parts. Peters has presented more than 200 technical seminars, authored papers, and has written for blowmolding books. A member of SPE for 41 years, he was on the Blowmolding Div. board of directors for 15 years. His awards include SPE Fellow, Outstanding Service, Lifetime Outstanding Achievement, and a Phillips Petroleum Lifetime Achievement.

  • L.C. ‘Bud’ Rubens, recognized as the "Father of Polymeric Foams," began his career in the 1940s as a member of the legendary Dow Physics Lab, which made prolific contributions to Dow’s commercial success and to the plastics industry. The basic science in the foaming mechanism for high polymers that he developed has been applied to the production of almost all foam products. He invented Ethafoam and his work on organic blowing agents has been applied to almost all polymeric foam products including Styrofoam. Rubens holds 58 U.S. patents, 35 of which are in foam technology and high-impact polystyrene, and has written more than 20 technical papers. He received the Fachverband Schaumkunststoffe Gold Medal from the German plastic foam industry, was the first H.H. Dow Gold Medalist, and was only the sixth person to be promoted to Dow research fellow. Since his retirement in 1986 he invented a breathing and lung exercise device based on scientific similarities of the human lung cellulosic functions to the viscoelastic properties of open and closed cell foams. Rubens continues to work as a Dow consultant.

    Editor’s note: Election into the Plastics Hall of Fame is for those who have contributed to the development of plastics and the industry in the U.S. Criteria to qualify for nomination to the Hall include one or more of the following: a significant scientific, engineering, or equipment invention or breakthrough; development of an outstanding product, market, end-use niche, or business endeavor; long and valuable service to a segment, constituency, discipline, or association of the plastics industry; and a record of constructive, collaborative action with government, regulatory, academic, consumer, environmental, health, trade, and/or other industry-related groups. Up to nine living persons and five posthumous may be inducted every three years.

    If you’d like to attend . . .

    The 2000 induction ceremony and banquet, to be held Thursday, June 22 in the Grand Ballroom at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, will feature keynote speaker Frank Popoff, chairman of Dow Chemical Co., Midland, MI. A reception at 6:30 p.m. is followed by dinner at 7:30. Tickets are $125, or $1100 for a table of 10. Checks should be made payable to The Plastics Academy and sent to the attention of Michelle O’Donnell, SPE, 14 Fairfield Dr., Brookfield Center, CT 06805. For more information call (203) 740-5452.
  • Eyeing the competition first hand

    A recent SPI trade mission to Asia proved to be an eye-opener for at least two moldmakers in the group. Rick Finnie, president of M.R. Mold & Engineering Corp. in Brea, CA, and Roger Klouda, president of MSI Mold Builders in Cedar Rapids, IA, brought home a new perspective of competitive pressures from Asia. With all the publicity about China’s moldbuilding industry and articles about mold projects going to Asian shops, both Finnie and Klouda wanted to see first hand what they are up against.

    "I’ve had tools quoted in Asia, but I’m in no big rush to farm molds out to China," says Finnie. "I was over there on a fact-finding mission, looking forward to all the tours of the toolrooms. I was trying to find out if these guys are viable competitors, and they are."

    Finnie told IMM that he was impressed with the toolrooms. In most cases, shops in China have the same equipment, use the same software and hardware, and to some extent have even better equipment than U.S. shops. "The only thing they’re missing is the skilled labor," he adds.

    Roger Klouda was most impressed with the software programs used to track the mold builds. "You could look at monitors on the shop floor and see instantly at what stage of build any mold was," Klouda commented during an interview at the American Mold Builders Assn. conference in March.

    Like Finnie, Klouda came to the conclusion that the Chinese are formidable competitors and that U.S. moldbuilders must do things differently if they expect to compete and retain business at home.

    "We have to get out of the mindset that we’re just moldmakers," Klouda told the AMBA group at an Open Forum during the conference. "We’re in the plastics industry and we have to work with processors, work with other organizations, and involve ourselves with those who have government influence."

    Finnie agreed. "We’ve got to change the way we do things here to be more competitive," he said. "They’re very competitive, they work hard, they work long hours, and people are happy to have those jobs."

    Better Management
    Both Klouda and Finnie, who are members of AMBA, noted that management in Asian shops was much deeper than in U.S. shops. "In my shop of 17 moldmakers, there’s me, a couple of key guys, the moldmakers, a few specialty machinists, and another five people to support them," explained Finnie. "In Asia there are multiple levels of management including project managers, engineers, and a lot more designers—a high percentage of people in support of the actual manufacturing."

    Jobs were well planned out, he noted, with people sitting at computers detailing all the areas of the mold build, entering data. One shop Finnie saw had 30 seats of Unigraphics for a 200-person shop. It seemed they were working smarter on the front end to save man hours on the back end, noted Finnie.

    Klouda concurred. Mold shops have to become better managers of their time. "We have blocks sitting on the floor waiting for the next operation. We need to eliminate dead time, and that’s a management issue," he said.

    Asian shops are not without their shortcomings and problems, however, said Finnie. "They have a well-run organization but they’re not infallible," he noted about one large shop he toured.

    "If you’re building molds for commodity parts with a short life span, you’re probably okay to get the molds [in Asia] because the tool doesn’t have to last," said Finnie. "But if you have a tool that needs to perform for millions of parts for a long period, even they will tell you they can’t do it. They will admit that interchangeability isn’t their bag. They have not mastered that art. Everything I saw was being hand-fit together. That’s mostly obsolete in the U.S."

    Security in the shops is a high priority and theft of tools and equipment is a big problem, Finnie noted. "Over there, because of the income level, a micrometer is a week’s wages."

    Unfair Competition?
    Finnie is convinced that there’s definitely some unfair practices going on with purchasers of molds. "American toolmakers are being held to a different standard than Chinese toolmakers," he emphasized.

    He saw one mold ready for shipping that had gouge marks where something had crashed into the side of the mold. The workers had made some attempts to try to hide it. "Would you ship a mold with this giant blemish?" Finnie asked. "If I shipped a mold that looked like this to one of my customers, they’d wonder what I was doing."

    Although they are functional, Asian molds don’t have the cosmetics and "niceties" that Finnie’s customers expect from him. "Why do you accept molds like this?" he asks his customers. "What’s the thought process? It’s okay for them to be not up to par but I have to be perfect? My customers are content to get second-class tools for second-class prices, yet I’m supposed to compete with these people."

    Competitive Strategies
    Not long ago, in an effort to win business from a division of a large business equipment OEM that hasn’t built a domestic mold in eight years, Klouda asked outright, "What kind of premium could you give us if we could match the [Asian mold shop’s] delivery?"

    In this exercise, Klouda discovered that mold purchasers are willing to pay up to a 25 percent premium for the value that domestic molds provide over offshore tooling, "if we’re in the same delivery ball park," he emphasizes.

    "What I’m understanding is that there’s a value associated with a domestically produced mold, which approaches 25 percent more than an offshore tool, but only if we meet delivery requirements."

    In this case, Klouda won the work and beat the offshore shop’s quoted delivery time. Recently, MSI, which specializes in large molds for a variety of industries, completed a 66-by-110-inch aluminum mold in less than seven weeks. Another mold was completed in just eight days.

    In a similar situation, Finnie recently accepted a contract for a three-mold package he had quoted against an Asian shop. To get the work, Finnie negotiated with his customer a price that included the price of the mold the Asian shop quoted plus an estimate of the customer’s additional costs for travel expenses and importing the mold.

    "They told me, `Here’s what we’re willing to give you for the job because this is what we feel our costs would have been had we gone offshore. Can you do it for this?’" said Finnie. "That’s a quarter of a million dollars worth of work we’ve kept here."

    In the end, the prevailing issue may be this: What else can U.S. mold shops do differently to meet these global challenges?

    Contact information
    MSI Mold Builders
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Roger Klouda
    Phone: (319) 848-7001
    Fax: (319) 848-7004

    M.R. Mold & Engineering Corp.
    Brea, CA
    Rick Finnie
    Phone: (714) 996-5511
    Fax: (714) 996-6029

    Eureka! Sensing solutions with perceptual computing

    When "gee-whiz" technologies first appear, the practical-minded may dismiss them as passing fads. There’s no doubt this approach can be prudent at times, but it would be a mistake to overlook a new virtual reality tool called perceptual computing.

    For designers, who operate in one of the most visual of all disciplines, seeing large amounts of data clearly and intuitively can unlock a world of information and ideas. That’s the premise behind Muse Technologies’ software, called µuSE Development Environment 2000. Muse coined the name as an acronym for multidimensional user-oriented synthetic environment.

    Converting Information
    Essentially, the company’s perceptual computing tool deciphers vast amounts of information and translates it into sensory output—sound, graphics, and in some cases, motion. Appealing to the senses, according to Muse founder and former chief scientist Creve Maples, helps to feed the mind data in an extremely natural way, which promotes understanding and learning.

    Maples and Craig Peterson, managing director, strategic development, perfected the software while at Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque, NM), and then licensed the technology from Sandia to form Muse in 1995. "Muse addresses information overload in a variety of forms, particularly manufacturing, engineering, aerospace, and other advanced segments of the IT world," says Charlie Fitch, technical manager, product development. "It helps achieve the goal of engineers dealing with radically different types of data—namely, how to understand all of it."

    Muse is a software "shell" that takes data from any source (CAD, FEA, moldfilling simulation, pressure transducers, and so forth), integrates it with any input device (keyboard, mouse, joystick, microphone, or touch screen), and converts it into a four-dimensional realm (length, width, thickness, and time) on up to nine computer screens. Users can then manipulate the data using voice or other input commands. Unlike traditional virtual reality technology, which is far more expensive, this system doesn’t rely on head-mounted displays or data gloves.

    The software also permits multiple users connected via TCP/IP-compatible networks to look at the same simulation results—review data, fly around it, manipulate it, and change their position in space and time independently or cooperatively.

    From NASA to Earth
    Why would a tool that’s been embraced by NASA and the military make sense for more practical matters? What makes this software so relevant for plastics designers is the ability to see potential design errors during concept stages. The Muse FEA library lets you animate any variable in a number of ways. For example, using color, you can animate vectors of melt flow direction or pressure. Audio techniques allow you to listen to a tone that represents the pressure at the injection point, and the tone increases as pressure increases.

    Here’s an example: Data from a C-Mold simulation is "read" into Muse. Vectors showing velocity of the melt front appear in the animation. When two melt fronts meet, the vectors mix as well, providing a visual confirmation that the plastic is remixing and the potential for knitlines is reduced.

    Although the data for this simulation comes from the C-Mold application, it cannot be viewed or manipulated until Muse is added. The same is true for any modeling or analysis software connected to the Muse shell. "In every industry where we’ve applied this software," says Fitch, "users consistently find things they’ve never seen before in their data. Their most common response is ‘A-ha!’"

    Peterson and Fitch, a former C-Mold developer, recently worked with a Fortune 50 automotive OEM that had little experience with injection molding but was familiar with the perceptual computing process. Using Muse software, Peterson created a C-Mold reader to take data from moldfilling simulations into the Muse environment. "The company was working on the bumper grille for a high-end vehicle," Fitch says, "and after trying several different designs in Muse, knitlines were moved off the cosmetic surfaces and key areas were optimized for structural integrity."

    The OEM involved in the project also concluded that it was able to do these jobs faster and be more certain of the results. "It’s all about eliminating risk," adds Fitch, "being able to fully analyze it before going to a final design, and saving time and money." Reinforcing ribs on the back of the grille with the potential for sink marks and melt front splits were also evaluated. Peterson and Fitch used a surface morphing feature, an addition to the FEA library, which allows users to see pressure drops. They mirror the shape of the ribs on the back.

    Muse 2000 is a developer product that’s easy to use, according to Fitch, as long as the programmer has C or C++ and open GL programming experience. For those who prefer, Muse can write customized applications such as the C-Mold reader. Prices for the software start at $15,000 for a WindowsNT platform and $22,000 for Unix.

    Interfacing with Muse

    Working with the Muse system is a fairly intuitive process. Users can fly through a design, use a head tracker to change direction of their views by simply moving their heads, or issue voice commands. Here are the basic user-interface features:

  • The Craft is the primary vehicle for moving through and exploring a Muse-based synthetic environment. Users can switch at any time between three different crafts that each move differently, giving multiple ways to travel through data. It controls numerous features such as lighting, attaching and manipulating objects, and viewing additional data. The nose of the craft serves as a pointer for selecting objects in the environment for closer examination or control.

  • The Flat Panel provides the most basic means of interacting with the system. Its controls serve as on-screen equivalents of joysticks and other hardware devices so that users working without those devices can still issue every possible command to the system.

  • Voice commands can be used to increase speed and efficiency. Muse can "talk" to the user, and by using Application Specific Language, developers and users can build a lexicon of custom phrases that automatically execute commands and functions.

  • Users can grab or tether to objects in the environment. Tethering is as simple as pointing the Craft nose toward an object and then either clicking the Flat Panel Control console’s Tether button or pulling a joystick trigger. Once tethered to an object, the user can move and rotate the object. Locking to an object enables a user to move along with the object and see what the object sees.

  • For real-time collaboration, Muse automatically manages the linking, communication, state maintenance, group, and subgroup synchronization between shared environments.

  • The Craft has virtual walls on which user information can be posted. These virtual bulletin boards are called Sidewalls and can display information specific to the application, including text, running video, photographs, graphs, schematics, or anything else suitable to the application.

  • Muse allows users to control the speed and direction of time, as well as to stop time. This capability proves most useful, of course, in simulations and with other time-critical data, allowing a user to slow down events to observe them more closely, run time backward from a critical point to analyze its development, or stop time entirely to see a snapshot of the environment’s current state.

  • Users can mark a position within a simulation (time), in the environment (space), and the application state, and return to any or all using built-in teleportation commands. By returning to a marked time, a user jumps to a different point in the course of the simulation without changing the current viewpoint. Users can return to a marked time, space, or state with a single command.

    Contact information
    Muse Technologies Inc.
    Albuquerque, NM
    Christina Ward
    Phone: (800) 711-3899
    Fax: (505) 766-9123
    E-mail: [email protected]
  • NPE: On the road to NPE

    I was visiting a molder recently and started chatting with a few engineers on the staff. I asked, out of idle curiosity, if they planned to go to NPE. "What is it?" asked one, new to the company and industry. I explained that NPE, which stands for National Plastics Exposition, is a large, triennial plastics trade show held in Chicago, and that it’s a good place to see the latest in molding technology. This engineer said he thought it sounded pretty good and that maybe he’d stop by. Another engineer there, who knew NPE, started laughing. "You don’t stop by NPE," he said. "You go to NPE. You do NPE. Or NPE does you."

    If you’ve never been to the show, no amount of description, storytelling, or explanation can convey to the inexperienced what NPE is. To call it an exposition is technically accurate, but really an understatement. NPE is an event of unrivaled proportions in the North American plastics industry. It’s a big, busy, wonderful show that brings together for one week every major machinery, materials, and service supplier in the industry. On display in the most elaborate, gee-whiz fashion possible is the very latest in injection molding technology. Consider these facts:

    • NPE 2000 will consume more than 1.1 million sq ft of exhibit space at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
    • More than 1800 exhibitors are anticipated.
    • Exhibits are spread across five floors in three buildings.
    • Some 80,000 attendees are expected during the five-day show.
    Indeed, you don’t stop by NPE, but you certainly can go prepared. That’s where IMM can help. Following is a guide of what to know and do before you start your trek toward Chicago in June.

    Eyes Wide Open
    To start, quickly disabuse yourself of the notion that you can head to NPE and "wander" the show, meandering up and down the aisles, seeing what’s new. Wandering at NPE is like wandering through traffic in midtown Manhattan without a map. You would be quickly lost and then consumed, ignorant of what companies and products you missed in your wanderlust.

    To avoid this predicament, take advantage of the many resources available for planning a visit to NPE. At the top of the list are several products from IMM, including the online e-planner at, which lets you search and sort our database of molding-related exhibitors. In the June issue of IMM you’ll find that same database printed, as well as maps of the show.

    Inside this issue you’ll also find the Trekker, a comprehensive guide to Chicago and the show. You can use it to find your way around the city, find a hotel, get from your hotel to the show, or locate a good seafood or steak restaurant (see second article below).

    You can use these tools to familiarize yourself with the layout of McCormick Place and learn which companies are located where. Then, map out which companies and products you want to see. Put them in the order that makes the best use of your time, and follow your plan.

    If you’re attending the show with a group of people from your company, divide and conquer. The best way to waste time at NPE is to walk the show en masse with everyone from the plant, all of you observing and contemplating the same products and services. Assign a product, or line of products, to each person, letting each map out his or her plan of attack. You can report to each other at the end of the day and assess your progress.

    When to Go
    Once you’ve figured out who’s seeing what companies when, you have to figure out when to go. NPE is a five-day show, and, like many large trade shows, it has its own natural ebbs and flows throughout the week.

    The most exciting day is Monday, opening day. Anticipation is high, the adrenaline’s pumping, and bagpipers march down the aisles marking the start of the show. But this excitement is transitory, only lasts until noon or so, and gives way quickly to business. Still, Monday is a relatively quiet and less crowded day.

    If you want the undivided attention of the exhibitors you plan to see, the worst days to attend NPE are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. These are the busiest, most hectic, and chaotic days. These are the days sales people really earn their keep.

    The quietest and least-crowded day is Friday. By the end of the week, it’s commonly known, exhibitors are about out of gas. If you want to cut a deal on that new molding machine you’ve had your eye on, this might be the time to do it. Friday is also the day most exhibitors hold drawings for product giveaways.

    Before You Go
    To save yourself and your employer a few bucks, register to attend NPE ahead of time. If you register before May 19 (, you pay only $30 to attend and you get the show catalog for free. After May 19, or if you register at the show, it’s $60 and you have to pay for the catalog.

    If you’re trying to decide who from your facility should attend the show, check out This is the website for SPI’s National Certification in Plastics (NCP). This organization is offering onsite operator certification testing at NPE. It provides an opportunity for floor employees to see what the industry has to offer and gain valuable certification, all at one location. And for those signed up for certification testing, SPI will provide free admission.

    Also, consider attending one or several of the conferences offered at NPE. They’re designed and organized by the SPE this year and are free with your registration. A conference schedule can be found on p. 106.

    Getting to McCormick
    Once you’re in Chicago, perhaps at your hotel, and ready to go to the show, you have several options—taxi, shuttle bus, train, or your own vehicle.

    Shuttle buses are free and run from or near most major hotels downtown. They’re well run, operate on a regular schedule, and are the best transportation deal. Taxis are relatively easy to find in the morning en route to the show, but lines are notoriously long at the end of the day, and you could be forced to share a long ride with others.

    The Metra train stops directly under McCormick Place and has several stops through downtown. Free passes, provided by show organizers to attendees and valid throughout the show, might make this a crowded alternative, but certainly a budget-friendly one. If you drive to the show traffic jams are frequent and parking can be tricky. Check out the Trekker bound into this issue for more transportation information.

    At the Show
    McCormick Place, for the uninitiated, can be overwhelming in person, but there are some show basics to remember that will help you navigate.

    First of all, McCormick consists of three main halls—North, South, and East (sometimes called Lakeside Center). Holding all three halls together is the Grand Concourse, the long, bright, high-ceilinged hall between North and South.

    The North hall has three levels, but only two have exhibitors—Levels 3 and 1. Level 3 is the highest and largest, and the one you walk in on when approaching from the Grand Concourse. Level 2 of North is a mezzanine of shops, meeting rooms, business services, and food sources.

    The South hall has only one level, but it’s the largest single floor at McCormick; South is also where many injection molding-related companies are exhibiting. The East hall, accessed from the Grand Concourse through the walkway over Lake Shore Drive, has three levels, but only Levels 3 and 2 have exhibitors. Shuttles and taxis can deliver and pick up at any hall; there are also registration points at each hall. Confused yet?

    You will discover quickly, once you actually get to McCormick Place and walk into the exhibition halls, that timing is critical to moving around the show easily. You may want to consider organizing your visit to the show so that you hit the least busy floors first. In the morning, most crowds have not yet made it to the lower levels (North Level 1, East Level 2). These could be good places to start the day without having to weave through all the traffic.

    Eating at McCormick is also worth some contemplation. While most food at the show is not haute cuisine (although it can be priced like it), there are bright spots here and there. One is the Printer’s Plate, on the Grand Concourse. You’re also likely to find some decent food in remote locales throughout the show. It’s just a matter of looking and scrutinizing carefully.

    Some say that the best time to eat lunch is right after breakfast. This would be funny if it weren’t true. The busiest lunch spots are found in high-traffic areas—the two elevated restaurants in the South hall, and restaurants on Level 3 of North and East. Again, go to the lower levels to escape crowds. Also, consider a later lunch. Or just eat an unusually large breakfast.

    Have a Good Time
    If nothing else, when you go to NPE, enjoy it. The show comes only once every three years and it provides an unparalleled opportunity to see what the plastics industry has to offer. The vast array of equipment, machinery, technology, and services available to explore is phenomenal. So, get yourself registered, grab your maps, plan your visit, and hit the floor running. And be sure to stop by IMM’s booth (N6133) and say hello. We’ll all be there.

    Show tools

    Starting with this issue and continuing through September, you will find a variety of IMM publications/products to help you first negotiate NPE, and then sift through the new technology and products that are revealed at the exposition. Here’s a rundown of what you will receive.

  • The Trekker: Bound into this issue, The Trekker is your guide to Chicago for the week of the NPE. It is a compilation of valuable information and data covering airports, buses, taxis, trains, hotels, parking, restaurants, tourism, sporting events, and basics of the show. It has maps, it’s easy to read, and will be a lovely addition to your pocket for NPE week.

  • The e-planner: Our database of exhibitors is searchable by keyword or product category and generates a show workbook. See

  • The Show Planner: Bound into the June issue, The Show Planner is a guide to the show itself. It consist of two parts: The first lists exhibitors sorted by product category; the second is an alphabetical list of all exhibitors; both have booth numbers. This document should not leave your sight during NPE.

  • Hall maps: Also bound into the June issue will be three hall maps (one each for North, South, East). The accordion-folded maps contain a diagram of each level of every hall, and list alphabetically the companies you’ll find there. The maps also identify critical facilities, such as bathrooms, restaurants, exits, and first-aid stations. They’ll be great tools to help keep you focused and oriented at NPE.

  • August: In this issue of IMM you’ll get your first glimpse at the major new products and technologies revealed at the show. Our crackerjack editorial staff will cover the show and present its findings.

  • Showcase: This supplement to the September issue will be the final word on all injection molding related products, services, and technology presented at NPE. Broken down by product category, we’ll fill you in on everything you missed so that you can keep up to date.
  • The Materials Analyst, Part 32: A buyer's guide to analytical services

    This series of articles is designed to help molders understand how a few analytical tools can help diagnose a part failure problem. Michael Sepe is our analyst and author. He is the technical director at Dickten & Masch Mfg., a molder of thermoset and thermoplastic materials in Nashotah, WI. Mike has provided analytical services to material suppliers, molders, and end users for 15-plus years.

    When processors and end users encounter a performance problem with a raw material or a product, testing the material or product is typically one of the first items that comes up for discussion. It is an excellent way to collect information that may lead to a permanent solution for the problem at hand. The global economy is pushing manufacturing, assembly, marketing, and distribution activities farther apart geographically. In addition, shorter product development times make it increasingly important that a solution is found quickly when a problem does arise. Identifying the need for testing is the easy part; determining what types of tests are needed is a much more difficult undertaking.

    For the uninitiated, the landscape of available services is a bewildering array of abbreviations that stand for even more bewildering terms. And as a survey of the market will quickly reveal, these techniques can be expensive. It is important to spend money wisely. A good approach can save tens or even hundreds of dollars for every dollar spent in the lab. A poor approach can cost thousands and still leave the client wondering what to do next. It only takes one of these latter experiences to turn someone away from going to an analytical laboratory a second time.

    One of the things that we are asked to do from time to time is review previous analytical work that left the client wondering what to do next. Typically we find that the problem has been overanalyzed. This is not due to any dishonesty on the part of the laboratory. It arises from three conditions.

    First, many analysts are good scientists but have little familiarity with polymers. The specialized knowledge that comes from working in a particular field is something that we often take for granted. Just as a molder may be baffled by talk of DSC, GPC, and FTIR, a Ph.D. chemist who works primarily with nonpolymeric materials may not appreciate the significance of a measurement like molecular weight and may not understand the relationship of this critical parameter to properties.

    Second, even if the analyst is polymer savvy, he or she may not have any experience with processing. It is hard to envision all of the things that can go wrong in the molding process unless you have had the hands-on experience with those processes.

    Finally, the client and the analyst do not talk enough about the problem before the testing starts. Is the part new or is there a history of successful production? How many cavities does the mold have? Is the problem cavity specific? Was there a recent change in the raw material specification? If an analyst believes the problem has a particular cause, he will follow a certain line of testing to uncover that problem and neglect the proper tests.

    There is another impetus that drives the trend toward unproductive testing. It is our current infatuation with standardization. Obviously in an increasingly far-flung organization like our world economy, systems are important. The glue to hold the organization together has to come from somewhere. But too often, standards are written by people who do not understand the nature of the materials with which they are working. In this month’s article, we will highlight a couple of cases of misplaced attention. This will serve as a foundation for an extended discussion on what you as the client should expect from your analytical services facility.

    An Unreasonable Request
    The first case involves a specification for an aerospace application. Our client was developing an alternative material for the skin of light aircraft. This is obviously a critical application, and a lot of testing was required in order to satisfy the FAA that the material was strong enough, had the correct combination of strength, stiffness, and ductility, and could withstand the elevated temperatures and the fatigue that the plastic material might encounter. The proposed product was a composite based on a thermoset resin, and the reinforcement was a glass fiber.

    An extensive amount of testing was required to qualify the material, and over a period of approximately one year the hurdles were overcome one at a time. As our client was filing the final reports and paperwork, an "expert" consulting for the FAA came out of nowhere with a demand for a GPC analysis on the polymer.

    Now, for those of you who haven’t been following this series, GPC stands for gel permeation chromatography. Like all chromatography techniques, its purpose is to separate things that appear to be irretrievably mixed together. GPC is used to separate the various sizes of polymer chains in a material. Unlike most classical compounds such as water, salt, and sugar, commercial polymers are not made of molecules with a single molecular weight. Instead, they are conglomerates of long chains, medium chains, and shorter chains that form a molecular weight distribution that looks like a normal distribution curve. When we measure viscosity, we are indirectly measuring the effect of the average molecular weight. When we run a GPC, we get to see all of the components that go into that average.

    Whether they know it or not, molecular weight distributions are very important to both the processor and the end user. This is particularly true in the topsy-turvy world of polyolefins where new catalyst systems are making different combinations possible for the first time. Narrower molecular weight distributions allow for greater control over property profiles. Materials can be tailored to emphasize a particular characteristic such as tear strength in a film or melting point in a heat sealing material.

    At the same time, changing the molecular weight distribution curve also changes the rheology of the material. Narrower distributions result in materials that do not shear as efficiently. Therefore, for a given melt flow rate a material may require more pressure and a higher melt temperature to fill the same part. Property balances also change. All things being equal, a narrower distribution of molecular weight results in a material that is generally stiffer and stronger but may lack impact resistance.

    So if this property is of such value, what was the problem with the request from the FAA consultant? GPC involves getting the polymer into a solution. In order to analyze anything by GPC the polymer must be dissolved in a solvent so that it can be injected into an apparatus called a column. Once it is injected, the solution travels along the column. The largest chains in the polymer sample have little affinity for the column medium and they pass through fastest and are collected first at the other end of the column. The smaller the chain, the more it has a tendency to become adsorbed onto the medium and it takes longer to make it to the end of the column. A detector at the end of the column quantifies the relative concentration of the polymer sample as a function of time. Figure 1 shows schematically how the principle works and Figure 2 shows a result in the raw form of relative concentration vs. time.

    The problem lies in the nature of the material being tested. Remember that it was a thermosetting material. By definition, thermoset systems are crosslinked. These materials do not dissolve in anything. Certainly any material that remained uncured could find its way into solution, but this will give a skewed picture of the material because all that will be measured is the material that did not reach the desired state of cure. For this reason GPC is an inappropriate technique for testing the molecular weight distribution of crosslinked materials.

    The specification had been written for thermoplastic materials to prevent degraded materials, or materials of inappropriately low molecular weight, from being used in critical applications. The experience of the consultant was with thermoplastic materials. But it was useless in this case. It would be a harmless oversight if the request did not have the force of federal regulation behind it. It took a lot of discussion before the agency dropped the demand for a GPC. Once these things are written into this type of documentation, they take on a life of their own and are very hard to reverse. What is even worse about this case, however, is that our client had already found three laboratories that were willing to perform the work! They too had no experience with crosslinked materials and were not aware that these materials will not dissolve.

    A Costly Mistake
    Our second case involves a manufacturer of fittings made from acetal, which had begun to fail sporadically in the field. The end user was spending a lot of money in product replacement, and worse yet, was being held responsible by the end user for water damage that occurred when the part failed. Two laboratories had performed extensive testing and had come back with either no conclusions, or a laundry list that read like a troubleshooting guide of everything that could possibly go wrong.

    After we reviewed the reports we realized that no one had ever done a direct comparison of the molecular weight of a good and a bad product. In unfilled acetal the easiest method for performing this comparison is the melt flow rate test. Acetals are manufactured according to different flow rates, and the higher the flow rate, the lower the molecular weight. And as we have pointed out numerous times in this column, the lower the molecular weight, the lower the properties. This is especially true of ductility, as measured by either an impact test or elongation at break in a tensile test.

    The melt flow test showed that the good product had a melt flow rate of approximately 9g/10 min. The failed parts that we reviewed had a melt flow rate close to 30g/10 min. This did not represent degradation; it indicated the use of a different grade of material from the same product line. It was a simple mistake that cost a great deal of time and money. And it had been missed in a sea of other tests.

    Thirty-five years ago Jerry Garcia made a profound statement about good music when he said, "It’s not just about the notes that you play; it’s also about the notes that you don’t play." He could just as easily have made the same statement about analytical tests if he had been so inclined.

    Next month we will take a look at the bigger picture of deciding which tests should be performed and which ones should not.

    Contact information
    Dickten & Masch Mfg. Co.
    Nashotah, WI
    Mike Sepe
    Phone: (262) 369-5555, ext. 572
    Fax: (262) 367-2331
    E-mail: [email protected]

    NPE: IMM's complete guide to the NPE 2000 Conference

    The NPE 2000 Conference is an outstanding opportunity to hear some of the industry’s leading speakers talk about new technologies and trends to help ensure your business will succeed into the next century. The conference program, which is free to attendees, runs from Monday to Thursday and includes many sessions that relate directly to the injection molding industry.

    All conference sessions will be held in McCormick’s South Hall on Level 4, on the lake side one level above the main floor in Rooms S401 and S405.

    Injection Molding Machine Selection (Part 1), 1:30-5:30 p.m., S402
    How to Select an Injection Molding Machine
    Donald Allen, Phillips Chemical Co.
    This session will define the machinery requirements of both custom and proprietary injection molders.

    Extrusion Machine Selection (Part 1), 1:30-5:30 p.m., S403

    Injection Molding Gas Assist, Coinjection, 8:00-11:30 a.m., S405
    Application Case Study: Thin-wall Gas-assisted Molding
    Charles Mansfield, Delphi Packard Electric
    This presentation is a case study of an application in which gas-assisted molding technology was applied to a high-precision, thin-walled part.

    Two/Multimaterial Molding—The Moldbuilder’s Perspective
    Peter Elford, Hallmark Technologies
    This presentation will examine reasons for using multicolor materials, different types of applications, different types of molds, and startups in the future.

    Multimaterial Molding: Making the Right Choice
    Claude Bodeving, Husky Injection Molding Systems
    This presentation will give an overview and selection criteria of some of the technologies involved in selecting a multimaterial molding machine.

    Coinjection and Multimaterial Molding
    Helmut Eckardt, Battenfeld Injection Molding Technology
    This presentation will look at current and future trends of coinjection and multimaterial molding, including items molded in color applications as well as in grounding features.

    New Thermoplastics, 8:00-11:30 a.m., S402
    Technical and Business overview of BP Amoco’s Polyphthalamide (PPA) Engineering Thermoplastic
    W. Christie Crowe, BP Amoco
    This presentation will describe the Amodel product line for the electrical and electronics, transportation, appliances, industrial, and consumer markets.

    Liquid Crystal Polymers—Overview of Technology and Applications
    H. Clay Linstid, Ticona
    In this presentation you will discover the properties that make liquid crystalline polymers (LCPs) the material of choice for high-performance applications.

    Polylactic Acid: Performance Materials from Renewable Resources
    Michael Mang, Cargill Dow Polymers
    This presentation will report on recent advances in the development of polylactic acid technology.

    Advances in Thermoforming, 8:00-11:30 a.m., S401

    Extrusion—New Technology Advances, 8:00-11:30 a.m., S403

    Automotive Productivity Through Design, 1:30-5:30 p.m., S401
    Advances in Automotive Plastics Applications
    Suresh Shah, Delphi Automotive Systems
    This presentation includes the latest innovations in the area of automotive interiors, exteriors, chassis/hardware, and powertrain applications.

    Higher Levels of Integration for Interior Systems
    Ed Riehl, Visteon Automotive Systems
    This presentation will discuss how to achieve a higher level of integration into interior systems.

    Up to Carrying the Message?—Then You Can Become a Role Model Supplier
    Edward Martin, DaimlerChrysler
    The vision and goal-setting characteristics of role model behavior and the associated tactics and strategies used by role model suppliers will be presented.

    Vision of Invention and Innovation for Customer Value
    Gary Lawrey, Dow Automotive
    This presentation will cover the expanding role of material suppliers in bringing invention and innovation to support their customers better.

    Marketing and Management: E-commerce, 1:30-5:30 p.m., S405
    A Different Way of Doing Business
    Amir Raza, Mascon
    You will learn how processors can use extranet technology and computerized ERP capabilities to link customers with production planning, while accessing their inventory requirements.

    Expanding E-commerce Beyond Order Taking
    Tim Stojka, PlasticsNet.Com
    This presentation will examine PlasticsNet.Com’s successful expansion strategy of linking to technical information sites like SPE’s.

    Data Mining
    Bret Smith, Leo Wright, SAS Institute
    Opportunities for collecting and managing market data brought about by e-commerce will be discussed.

    Success Stories
    Jason Rubel, Polymerland
    This presentation will review Polymerland’s experience as one of the first plastics marketers on the Internet.

    Injection Molding Machine Selection (Part 2), 1:30-5:30 p.m., S402
    Questions and Answers
    Donald Allen, Phillips Chemical Co., Roundtable Discussion
    A panel of injection molding manufacturers will be available to answer your questions and discuss your concerns about machine selection.

    Extrusion Machine Selection (Part 2), 1:30-5:30 p.m., S403

    Injection Molding: New Technology Advances, 8:00-11:30 a.m., S405
    Injection Molding—A Vision of the Future
    John Avery, General Electric
    Many factors such as costs, economy, Internet, and technology that influence injection molding will be discussed, including their potential impact on the future.

    Al Ridilla, Accumetal; Steve Erickson, Noranda
    A general overview of magnesium thixomolding will be presented to include history, equipment, design considerations, economics, applications, and markets.

    Mucell Micro Cell Foam Molding Technology
    David Pierick, Daniel Szczurko, Trexel Inc.
    This presentation will describe benefits of microcellular foam molding technology and review successful applications of the technology to real parts.

    Injection Molding Metals and Ceramics
    Remco van Weeren and Michael Werner, Honeywell
    This presentation examines a new binder system for metal injection molding that allows production of large, thick parts that can compete with investment casting.

    New Thermosets and Composites, 8:00-11:30 a.m., S402
    Long-fiber Thermoplastic Composite Materials, Processing, and Applications (3rd presentation)
    Robert Boland, C.A. Lawton Co.
    This presentation will show the machinery required for processing long-fiber thermoplastics (LFT) and explain how the process is performed.

    Advances in Blowmolding, 8:00-11:30 a.m., S401

    Extrusion—Advances in Packaging, 8:00-11:30 a.m., S403

    Advances in Secondary Processes and Equipment, 1:30-5:30 p.m., S402
    Cost-saving Approaches to Drying and Material Handling
    Charles Sears, Dri-Air
    This presentation will discuss the currently available equipment for drying and material handling from beside-the-press styles to central systems.

    Molding System Automation—Diversity and Economic Impact
    Jim Forrester, CBW Automation
    This presentation will cover the diverse manipulations required to handle plastic parts from mold to package and describe challenging successful applications.

    Conveyor and Grinder Advancements
    Michael J. Anderson, The Conair Group
    This presentation will cover conveyor designs, product conveyability, hopper designs based on product, and controls for interfacing.

    Rapid Mold Changes
    Michael Martin, Master Unit Die
    This presentation will explain the MUD concept to quick-change tooling—a cost-efficient approach to plastics tooling that saves time and money at every stage of the production process.

    Appliances: Productivity Through Innovation, 1:30-5:30 p.m., S401
    Opportunities Provided by TPEs
    Gayle Tomlinson, Advanced Elastomer Systems
    This presentation is an overview of thermoplastic elastomers including how these materials can improve productivity and end-use performance.

    Delivering Performance and Aesthetics
    Bill Burgess, Eastman Chemical Co.
    A case history will be presented of plastic parts for appliances featuring material properties, part and tool design, processing, and assembly.

    Metallocene Polypropylene for Injection Molding
    Russ Spiller, ExxonMobil Chemical Co.
    This overview will focus on the enhanced material attributes and processing advantages of breakthrough polypropylenes for producers of injection molded appliance parts.

    Specialty Compounds for the Appliance Industry
    Steve Maki, RTP Co.
    Recent developments in specialty compounds (e.g., nanocomposites, platable compounds, and thermally conductive compounds) will be discussed.

    Marketing and Management: World Competition, 1:30-5:30 p.m., S403
    The Challenges of Managing a Global Business
    Robert Schulz, LNP Engineering Plastics
    The "hard" and "soft" issues around successful management of global organizations will be discussed.

    Rebirth of Automotive Competition
    Tony Bernardo, BASF
    This presentation will outline how to stay competitive in an industry in which restructuring, regulation, globalization, and technology are constantly changing.

    Micro vs. Macro Trends in the Market
    Roger Jones, Consultant
    Learn how restructuring, consolidations, portfolio swapping, and joint ventures will radically reshape the way the plastics industry does business.

    Global Competition from the Processor’s Perspective
    Brian Jones, Nypro
    This presentation will introduce a new business model for effectively competing in the postindustrial age and defining a strategy for winning.

    Marketing and Management: Site Selection, 1:30-5:30 p.m., S404
    Fundamentals of Site Selection
    G. David Moore, Moore Assoc.
    This presentation will be an overview of the issues and processes involved in selecting a site from the perspective of the plastics industry.

    The Geography of Plastics
    Timothy Venable, Site Selection Magazine
    This presentation will review North American historical concentrations, current location trends, the international growth for plastics, and implications for facility location.

    Dealing with Electric Utilities
    Robin R. Spratlin, Georgia Power
    This presentation will provide guidance on addressing the critical issues of availability, quality, and cost of electric power as well as rate negotiation.

    The Community Environment
    Gene DePrez, PricewaterhouseCoopers
    How to understand and effectively address environmental factors (e.g., regulation, incentives, and infrastructure) during the site selection process.

    Case Study of Company X
    To be announced

    Injection Molding Productivity and Troubleshooting, 8:00-11:30 a.m., S405
    Root Cause Corrective Action for Injection Molding
    Bill Porer, M.A. Hanna
    This presentation will examine root cause corrective action, a process for determining the basic source of any problem or unacceptable condition that exists in the workplace.

    Injection Molding Troubleshooting Logic
    Donald Allen, Phillips Chemical Co.; John Bozelli, IM Solutions
    Fundamental injection molding principles are used to provide a data-based strategy for process optimization and troubleshooting.

    Injection Molding Productivity Improvements
    Christopherus Bader, Kistler Instruments
    This presentation will examine advanced closed loop process control based on piezoelectric cavity pressure measurement.

    Finding the Right Method for Optimizing the Injection Molding Process
    Peter Rucinski, Moldflow
    This presentation will review a system that allows the molding process to be set up, optimized, monitored, and controlled in production with an intuitive, systematic, and documentable method.

    Advances in Commodity Plastics, 8:00-11:30 a.m., S402
    Status of the Polyethylene Business
    Irwin L. Levowitz, Exxon Chemical Co.
    This presentation will review the recent consolidation of the industry and anticipate the impact of that trend on the future.

    Polypropylene Global Outlook—Future Opportunities and Facing Up to the Challenges in the Year 2000
    Charles Platz, Montell Polyolefins
    This presentation will give an overview and current status of the global polypropylene business in terms of major markets and product and process technology.

    Dynamic Changes Under way in the PVC Industry
    Barry Hendrix, Oxyvinyls
    This presentation will identify and discuss the significant opportunities in vinyl markets for further penetration and continued growth.

    What’s New in Styrenics
    Jesse Roeck, Dow Chemical Co.
    This presentation will cover the latest innovations in styrenics.

    Extrusion Productivity and Troubleshooting, 8:00-11:30 a.m., S403

    Advances in Rotational Molding, 8:00-11:30 a.m., S404

    New Tooling and Toolmaking, 1:30-5:30 p.m., S402

    Mold Component Standardization for Improved Productivity
    Robert Salhaney, Ferromatik Milacron
    This presentation will demonstrate how productivity is greatly improved by the utilization of exclusive application-specific standardized components.

    Maintenance for Today’s High-speed Injection Molds
    Angelo Mora, Tradesco
    This presentation will cover a suggested preventive maintenance schedule for high-speed injection molds highlighting specific components to inspect regularly.

    Moldbuilding Material Overview: How to Improve the Life of Your Mold
    Patricia Miller, Uddelholm
    This presentation will examine the effect of methods used to make tooling materials, and how critical good material manufacturing techniques are to the longevity of the tool.

    Mold Coating to Improve Performance
    Ed Fabiszk, Micro Surface Corp.
    This presentation will focus on real-world results around spiral flow analysis, corrosion-resistant coatings, and wear-resistant coatings and treatments.

    Mold Design for the Millennium
    Dan Marinac, Cimatron
    This presentation will focus around process automation for mold and tool and die makers along with how to increase tooling productivity.

    Human Resource Issues in High-performance Machining
    Todd Jones, Methods Machine Tools
    This presentation will address specific areas of human skill improvement critical to the successful implementation of high-performance machining technology in the mold and die industry.

    A Model for Success in Reducing Moldbuilding Cycle Times
    John Hahn, MGS Technology
    In this presentation you will learn the secrets for expediting production molds, keeping them on schedule, and meeting your customers requirements.

    Taking Your Moldmaking International
    Robert Hart, Hasco America
    This presentation will describe the strategic direction of risks and rewards when taking your moldmaking international.

    Medical Productivity Through Innovation, 1:30-5:30 p.m., S405
    Polymers in Advanced Medical Device and Biomaterial Applications
    Jon Katz, Medical Device and Diagnostics Industry
    The presentation will review the important role of polymers, including drug delivery, artificial organs, tissue engineering and bioactive surface modification, as well as advances in cardiovascular, ophthalmic, and orthopedic biomaterials.

    PVC: Present Status and Outlook for Continued Application in Medical Devices
    Len Czuba, Herbst LaZar Bell Inc.
    This presentation will review the latest in the longstanding controversy surrounding PVC and its usage in the medical device industry including speculation about possible alternative materials.

    An Update on Medical Device Sterilization: What’s In, What’s Out, What’s Up and Coming
    William Young, Griffith Microscience
    This presentation will review the competition between high-energy radiation and ethylene oxide sterilization methods, and preferences of the medical device industry for the sterilization of plastic medical devices, as well as other sterilization methods.

    Current Medical Plastic Legal Issues: Regulation, Liability, and More
    John Luedke, Covington & Burling
    This presentation will provide the latest information on legal issues surrounding the application of plastics in the medical field to include the impact of recent legislation and regulatory compliance matters.

    Developments in Plastics Biocompatibility Testing and International Standards Compliance
    Paul Upman, North American Science Assoc.
    This presentation will be a digest of the most recent developments in biocompatability testing protocols, the evolution of global standards, and international standards compliance issues.

    Marketing and Management: World-class Suppliers, 1:30-5:30 p.m., S403
    Designing Products and Services
    Kurt Swogger, Dow Chemical Co.
    This presentation will overview processes and keys to Dow’s success in new product development and related systems.

    Marketing and Selling Products and Services
    Michael Urquhart, Husky Injection Molding Systems
    This presentation will cover Husky’s integration of customer needs to deliver injection molding equipment system solutions.

    Strategic Planning: The Beginning of Leadership
    Rhonda Germany Ballantyne, Booz-Allen & Hamilton
    This presentation will review best practices in strategic planning, particularly in rapidly changing markets.

    Leadership in Supply Chain Management
    To be announced

    Design Rapid Prototyping and CAD/CAM, 1:30-5:30 p.m., S404
    Advances in 3-D Modeling and How Small Companies are Making Use of These Materials
    Tom Mueller, Pattern Express
    This presentation will overview the impact of 3-D modeling on small businesses by allowing quick and accurate physical modeling using rapid prototyping processes.

    Advances in Selective Laser Sintering Process and New Materials
    David Leigh, Harvest Technologies
    This presentation will describe the usage of selective laser sintering to give fully functional prototypes to small businesses for verifying fit, form, function, and design.

    Rapid Time to Market Using CAE Tools
    Chari Krishnamachari, Pioneer Technologies
    This presentation will describe the use of CAE tools for product development—particularly to accelerate development and commercialization of products.

    The Phenomena of Rapid Tooling—Issues and Answers for Small Plastic Processors
    Barbara Arnold-Feret, Parts
    This presentation will focus on rapid tooling and application fit for injection molded tooling.


    Booth E-12017

    What's Hot! The Business-to-Business (B2B) electronic commerce module will allow processors using DTR's The Manufacturing Manager to provide real information regarding order status and delivery to their customers via a Web browser. Customers can also place orders or request releases against blanket purchase orders via the Web.

    Also new is the ASP delivery model, which allows processors to use DTR as their Application Service Provider (ASP). For a monthly fee, DTR will host The Manufacturing Manager application and the processor will access it through a Web browser. This eliminates server hardware costs and management at the processor's location, as well as initial software purchase fees.

    Existing Products On Display The Manufacturing Manager is a fully integrated, manufacturing, distribution and financial management software package designed for plastics processors. Features include single- or multi-plant sites; multiple currencies; multi-site inventory control; bill of materials; equipment, materials and labor planning; product forecasting; production scheduling; product costing; tool costing; manufacturing efficiencies; and complete financials. Circle 250

    Booth Personnel Randy Lockwood, Steve Alpert, Chuck Olmstead, Roger Aldrich

    Key Contact Gail Larson, Dir. Sales & Mktg. ­ Tel: 800-822-4387; Fax: 904-281-1112;
    E-mail: [email protected];
    Web Site: 


    Booth N-6374

    What's Hot! First is the introduction of a self-cleaning extruder vent stack with dual-compartment piece. One section has a through opening to the vented area on a twin-screw barrel. This section is adjacent to a closed and sloped bottom chamber and is connection by a narrow rectangular slot that acts as a venturi. Due to the high velocity through the venturi into the closed bottom chamber, some condensable gases can pre-condense. If this occurs, the sloped bottom ensures that the gasses drain out of the vent pipe connection rather than back into the process.

    The shallow design of the vent stack allows it to be attached directly to vent port adapters, which enables it to be heated by the barrel and eliminates the need for additional heat. Unit has a hinged lid assembly that can perform several functions, including visual inspection of vacuum performance and immediate signaling when the vent gets plugged. The shallow design also eliminates contaminant from collecting on the vertical walls and spilling into the melt stream.

    The company is also launching the Screw Stack-Out Program, which allows customers to send worn screws to Century for disassembly and inspection. A detailed report tells which parts can be re-used and which need be manufactured.

    Existing Products On Display The CS Back-Vented Combi Barrel was developed to allow a higher percentage of fill to be added to the melt stream via a side feeder. The vent is in a position upstream in the barrel and the side feeder is downstream in the barrel, so a dam is obtained in the melt section on the screw. This dam is said to allow entrapped air to escape via the vent but to prevent the escape of minerals and materials. Company says this barrel has been installed on Century, Werner & Pfleiderer and Berstorff extruders. It is available in 40, 58, 70, 92 and 133 mm sizes. Circle 230

    Key Contact Julie Finch Dir. Mktg. ­ Tel: 231-946-7500; Fax: 231-947-4456;
    E-mail: [email protected]