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Articles from 2009 In April

SPE pulls plug on annual thermoforming conference

Shifting focus towards its NPE2009 pavilion and  2010 event it hopes will be held in better economic times, the Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE; Brookfield, CT) thermoforming board has cancelled its annual thermoforming conference—the first cancellation in the event’s 18-year history. John Chalmers, VP of sales and marketing at sheet extrusion line manufacturer PTi (Aurora, IL) told PlasticsToday the move, while difficult, makes sense for a variety of reasons. “The SPE Thermoforming conference cancellation is a reflection of the difficult times our industry is facing,” Chalmers said, adding that the fact this is an NPE year likely figured heavily into the decision. “The Thermoforming conference has been an industry ‘must-attend’ for many years, and I have to think this will be one-time exception to the annual event.” PTi was one of nearly 80 exhibitors that took part in the 2008 event, held Sept. 20-23 in Minneapolis.

Originally scheduled for Sept. 19-22 in Milwaukee, the 2009 event will be held next fall in the same city. The division will now focus its energies on its multi-exhibitor Thermoforming World Pavilion at NPE2009 (June 22-26, McCormick Place, Chicago), implementing a new incentives program for current and prospective exhibitors. As part of the package, thermoforming sponsors can display a banner within the Pavilion, providing them with added exposure in the Machinery, Materials and Processing areas of McCormick Place for $2500. For an additional $900, the sponsors will be featured in SPE’s Thermoforming Quarterly magazine, which will have bonus distribution within the Pavilion for the entire week of the show. Sponsors will also be recognized in the post-NPE2009 Thermoforming Quarterly.

Citing corporate travel bans, among other issues, Brian Ray, division chairman and president of Ray Products Inc. (Ontario, CA), said, “As we were preparing the final stages of our Annual Thermoforming Conference, we realized there were significant headwinds preventing us from having a successful event.”

Companies that already submitted deposits for 2009 can request their return by sending a letter to Conference Coordinator Gwen Mathis, apply the deposit toward the 2010 event, or apply the money towards a NPE2009 Pavilion sponsorship.

In 2002, SPE launched a European version of the event, which was held last year April 3-5 in Berlin. [email protected]

Bioresin’s use in air filters wins prize

Four companies received the annual award for innovative application of plastics from the German Engineering Society’s materials engineering division (VDI Werkstofftechnik) this month for their work in developing and implementing the first successful production of an air filter system made from bio-polyamide ready for serial production. The four are:

Mann+Hummel’s Holger Findeisen (left) and Andreas Kloz accept the award.
Automotive plastics parts and systems supplier Mann+Hummel (Ludwigsburg, Germany), vehicle OEM Daimler AG, plastics supplier BASF, and parts supplier Robert Bosch GmbH. The air cleaner is supplied by Mann+Hummel. The polyamide used, supplied by BASF, consists of approximately 60% sebacine acid, which is derived from castor oil.

“We are very pleased indeed. This award shows that our investigations for using bio-based plastics are definitely on the right track,” says Andreas Kloz, project manager bioplastics at Mann+Hummel. [email protected]

European Bioplastics gets set for the future

As part of a strategic expansion it says will help it better handle the rapid growth of its market, European Bioplastics (Berlin, Germany), the industry association dedicated to furthering the bioplastics industry, elected a new board of directors, increasing the size of the board, and hired a new managing director. The strengthened organization is seen as necessary to better represent all of Europe.

New and expanded: The European Bioplastics board of directors includes (from left) Harald Kaeb, Philipp Depiereux, Erika Mink, Jens Hamprecht, Francesco Degli-Innocenti, Andy Sweetman, Joeran Reske and Hasso von Pogrell.

Andy Sweetman, Innovia Films’ global marketing manager of sustainable technologies, chairs the new board. The vice-chairmen are Francesco Degli-Innocenti at bioplastics supplier Novamont and Joeran Reske at materials trader and recycler Interseroh. After 15 years of board membership and 10 years as its chairman, Harald Kaeb will hold the position of secretary general within the association, working as spokesman and political advisor. Other board members are Philipp Depiereux (Alesco), Jens Hamprecht (BASF), Erika Mink (Tetra Pak), and Hans van der Pol (Purac), who was designated treasurer. The association has established two permanent working groups, “Bioplastics and the Environment” and “Waste and Recovery.”

European Bioplastics also has hired a full-time managing director, Hasso von Pogrell, who comes to the group after holding the same position for the association of the German sawmill industry.

The trade group is holding its annual conference this November in Berlin, with details here. PlasticsToday, along with Injection Molding Magazine and Modern Plastics Worldwide, are official sponsors of the event. [email protected]

Phthalate alternative recognized by ECHA

(Rosemont, IL), which markets dibenzoate-based Benzoflex plasticizer to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Genovique says the ECHA report calculated the Derived No Effect Levels (DNEL) for the butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) alternatives to assess human health effects, concluding that dipropylene glycol dibenzoate (DGD), marketed as Benzoflex 9-88, was more favorable than the other BBP alternative chemistries examined. The dibenzoate plasticizers are also discussed by ECHA as alternatives chemistries to dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP).

ECHA manages the pan-European chemical oversight program: Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) to ensure consistency across the European Union. The monitoring body recently commissioned technical reports to define alternatives to phthalate plasticizers on its Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) list, with products on that list possibly subject to authorization by the ECHA. This could force companies in the European Union to find a substitute or pay a significant penalty.

On March 21, PVC compounder Teknor Apex (Pawtucket, RI) announced a range of vinyl compounds made flexible with alternatives to phthalate plasticizers. Compounder and distributor PolyOne (Avon Lake, OH) also launched a line of non-phthalate and CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Information Administration) approved Flexible Vinyl Compounds under the Geon tradename.

As part of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Reform Act, former U.S. President George Bush signed a ban on six phthalates in August 2008. Those six had been banned in certain products in Europe going back to 2005, when the European Parliament barred them from children’s toys on July 6, 2005. [email protected]

Web portal lists Clean Tech opportunities in stimulus plan

features alerts on funding, clean tech funding resources, as well as links to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). Eric Koester, a lawyer at the firm, who also helped organize the Clean Technology Business Forum as part of the Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE) Global Plastic Environmental Conference (GPEC), told MPW the government stimulus package is in many ways seeking out clean tech. “It has been pretty interesting to see how much emphasis there has been recently in the stimulus plan among clean tech, and frankly, other early-stage companies,” Koester said.

According to Gordon Ho, leader of Cooley’s Clean Technologies practice group, “the flexibility and immediacy of the Clean Tech Portal is a great tool for us to quickly disseminate information and provide updates to our clients and readers as the Recovery Act continues to take shape and additional funding opportunities become available.”

The firm works to connect current and prospective clients to what it calls “unprecedented” funding opportunities. Cooley has also teamed with the Washington, DC-based lobbying firm McBee Strategic, and has assisted two clients in completing loan applications to the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program. If approved, the companies will receive approximately $400 million in low-interest federal loans to finance commercial scale-up of their clean energy technologies. [email protected]

Perrin takes on Global

Perrin Manufacturing Co. (City of Industry, CA) has acquired Global Plastics Ltd. (Surrey, BC) for an unannounced purchase price. Global, like Perrin, is an injection molder of dispensers for the Away From Home (AFH) dispenser industry, serving the janitorial/sanitation, paper, healthcare, industrial and food service markets.

Perrin is majority-owned by Kinderhook Industries, a midmarket equity investor. [email protected]

‘Micromarking’ molded parts—even the tough ones

(Plano, TX) say demand for the Vector Jet Laser Marking Technology introduced last year has surpassed all projections, with injection molded parts’ printing one significant reason. The company says a significant driver for accelerated sales has been the demand for “micromarking” of machine vision codes—such as data matrix/UID and barcode—that can be marked in small, isolated areas of molded parts, something that is difficult if not impossible using conventional printing methods.

The system is proving especially well-suited for injection molded applications where the molded parts are exposed to harsh environments, for example underhood and interior automotive components, firearms, medical products, and aerospace. Extruded stock shapes, profiles, tubing, and sheets requiring indelible marking are also significant application markets, according to Sabeen.

VectorJet can be used for permanent marking of such difficult-to-mark plastics as copolymer and homopolymer acetals (POM), nylons, polyolefins, and other chemically inert plastics.

Flatwork inspection

Werth (Old Saybrook, CT) recently introduced to the market its FlatScope device for fast, precise, and reliable inspection of flatwork pieces and extrusion profiles. Profiles up to 650 mm (diameter) can be measured on standard models; larger measuring ranges can be supplied upon request.

The unit is equipped with an image processing sensor with telecentric or zoom optics as required. Completely automatic measurement of complicated, low-contrast work pieces in Backlight and Surface Illumination can be done. In Grid Scanning mode, the entire measuring area can be scanned quickly, and all geometrical characteristics recorded and evaluated. Software supplied by the company is said to be simple enough to allow for even untrained operators to accurately conduct measurements.

UV weather testing device improved

Atlas Material Testing Technology (Linsengericht, Germany) has come out with a sample table, SunTray, that enables the operator to remove samples of plastics to be tested for UV light reactions from the Suntest CPS/CPS+ instrument without switching off the lamp. The sample table consists of a drawer that includes a holder in which six samples can be placed. The samples are positioned into the normal sample plane by turning the knob of the drawer. The apertures of the samples have a standard size of 50 x 50 mm. Standard XenoCal calibration sensors fit into the SunTray drawer for regular measurement and calibration of the light source.

Static pinning takes on new uses for sealing

Horizontal flow wrapping using shrink films to provide skin-tight packaging for cartons, food products, and pharmaceuticals is a popular packing method where the film is fed around a forming box to create a tube. Generally an overlap, often sealed together by heat-seal or heat-shrink processes, of 25-35 mm of film is needed. But due to tension on the film, the overlap can come apart if the seal is not formed correctly, causing high rejection rates and requiring rewrapping. Packagers often compensate by using wider films to produce a larger, more expensive overlap. Meech Int. (Witney, England) has come up with a method of sealing that it says can save money by reducing the overlap to only 3-4 mm. The Meech 992v3 30-kV static generator produces a controlled level of static charge operating in a constant current mode. The charge creates a temporary bond between the materials. When installed on a horizontal flow wrapping line, the pinning head on the Meech unit produces a charge that holds the film in place as it moves into the shrink tunnel.