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Articles from 2016 In August

Frigel unveils portable chillers with advanced control technology at K


Frigel, the self-proclaimed “pioneer in intelligent process cooling” based near Florence, Italy, promises yet another ‘first’ at K 2016: The company will introduce its portable chiller line and teach attendees how adanced 3PR control technology with Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity on its Microgel chiller/temperature control units can improve productivity and profitability. Stop by stand A60 in hall 11 for a lesson.

Frigel also will introduce K visitors to the company’s enhanced and expanded line of Heavygel air-cooled central chillers, which also feature the new control platform. It offers users numerous options while helping them lower costs with “industry-leading” energy efficiency ratings. Designed for global applications, the Heavygel air-cooled chiller line extends to more than 30 models, including units capable of operation in ambient temperatures up to 55o C (131o F).

Frigel has been developing intelligent process cooling systems since the 1960s. Its closed-loop Ecodry cooling system is installed at more than 5,500 manufacturing plants worldwide. An environmentally friendly cooling solution, Ecodry keeps cooling water clean and delivers substantial savings on water, chemicals, energy and maintenance. Frigel also manufactures and markets the Turbogel and Thermogel TICs, Aquagel pumping and filtration equipment and Heavygel central chillers.

“For decades Frigel has helped plastic processors worldwide leverage advanced process cooling technology as a way to more efficiently produce high-quality parts and products while saving money in the process,” said Frigel CEO Duccio Dorin. “Now, the use of the control technology on our Microgel and Heavygel products takes it to a new level. Additionally, our enhanced line of Heavygel chillers gives users greater flexibility in choosing a system that best meets their production and cost-saving goals,” added Dorin.

Global medical disposables market to hit $273 billion in 2020


Global demand for medical disposable products is forecast to grow 6.2% annually and reach a value of $273 billion in 2020, according to a new market report from the Freedonia Group (Cleveland, OH). The United States will remain the largest market for these products, but China has moved into second place, ahead of Western Europe, as it continues to upgrade its medical infrastructure.

For the purposes of this report, medical disposable products are segmented into surgical instruments, infusion and hypodermic devices, diagnostic and lab supplies, wound-care products, nonwovens, sterilization supplies, respiratory devices and other products. In 2015, surgical devices and associated supplies represented the largest portion of the $202.2 billion medical disposables market with 18.1%, followed by infusion and hypodermic devices at 15.7%.

Growth drivers in the United States include an emphasis on infection prevention, where single-use devices excel, and greater pricing flexibility than is available in Europe, where tight cost controls and fixed reimbursement rates are the norm. While China also is making an effort to prevent hospital-acquired infections, growth in the medical disposables space is largely a consequence of government initiatives to improve its healthcare infrastructure and better serve its massive population, including a burgeoning middle class that now exceeds the entire population of the United States.

As the medical disposables market grows, so does demand for the raw materials needed to fabricate these products. The Freedonia Group forecasts an annual 5.3% increase in demand to $15.8 billion in 2020, and the lion’s share of those orders will land on the desks of plastics producers and processors.

“Plastic resins will continue to account for the largest share of value demand among raw materials used in medical disposables production, or nearly 73% of the total in 2020,” write the authors of the report. Non-woven fabrics make up the largest share of the remaining 27% of materials, which also include rubber, paper and paperboard, and specialty metals.

The World Medical Disposables report can be purchased on the Freedonia Group website.

NuSil, Avantor merge to create 'global leader in ultra-high-purity materials'


Avantor Performance Materials (Center Valley, PA) and NuSil Technology LLC (Carpinteria, CA), both of which are portfolio companies of New Mountain Capital LLC, have signed a definitive agreement to merge. This merger will create the global leader in ultra-high-purity materials for the life sciences and advanced technology markets, according to a press release issued today. Demand for these materials is on a growth trajectory driven by technological advances, market expansion and the increasingly strict regulatory and performance specifications of the life sciences and other industries, said the companies.
Avantor, as the merged company will be named, will provide performance materials and solutions for the production and research needs of more than 6,500 customers across the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostics, aerospace & defense, and semi-conductor industries. The combination brings complementary technologies and advanced analytical capabilities together to create a portfolio of more than 30,000 products that meet increasingly stringent standards across technology-driven and highly-regulated markets. The company will be particularly well positioned to support the industrialization of the biopharmaceutical sector through its bioprocessing and biomaterials offerings with a focus on productivity and quality. Combined revenues will be over $700 million, growing at 14% per year.

NuSil will be among more than 600 exhibitors at the co-located MD&M Minneapolis and PLASTEC Minneapolis events in Minneapolis on Sept. 21 and 22, 2016. Click here for more information or to register to attend. Use the promo code PToday16 to receive free expo admission and a 20% discount on conference passes.

The merger creates exciting possibilities for NuSil customers, said NuSil CEO Ernest Waaser in a prepared statement. “The combined company will provide a more comprehensive suite of technologies and products for the life sciences and advanced engineering industries. Within life sciences, the technology and product portfolio will span the entire drug manufacturing lifecycle from discovery to dispense, medical devices and diagnostics and separation sciences. The advanced engineering industries will benefit from having access to the suite of high-purity materials for high-performance electronics and aerospace and defense applications,” said Waaser.

The transaction is subject to customary closing procedures including regulatory approval, and is expected to close in late September. Michael Stubblefield, Avantor CEO, will lead the combined company after the transaction closes.

Advanced composites will be $24.9 billion market by 2020

Omni tanker

Growing demand for composites will make that market worth $24.9 billion by 2020, according to a new report from MarketsandMarkets (Dallas, TX).

The Advanced Composites Market report looks at the market by type (carbon, S-glass, Aramid); manufacturing process; resin type (thermoplastics and thermosets); application (aerospace and defense, automotive, wind, sporting goods, pipe and tanks, construction and marine); and region. It also defines and segments the advanced composites market with an analysis and forecast of the volumes and values of each composite type.

Composite tanks designed by Omni Tanker Pty Ltd. in Australia received this year's JEC Innovation Award in the transportation category. Click here to view a slide show of all the winners.

The advanced composites end market is expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 7.2% between 2015 and 2020. Leading U.S. companies in this market include Cytec Industries, Owens Corning, DuPont, Plasan Carbon Composites, AGyu Holdings Corp., and Huntsman Corp.

Advanced composites are materials designed for enhanced performance in a number of applications through improvements in structural, functional or cosmetic properties. Carbon fiber and S-glass composites are used widely, as compared with aramid fiber composites. These three primary advanced composites are now used extensively in aerospace and defense, wind and automotive, and demand continues to rise for many other applications, said the report’s summary.

The report also identifies the driving and restraining factors for the advanced composites market with analyses of trends and opportunities.

The leading carbon-fiber composites manufacturers increased their capacity in North America and Europe in order to meet growing demand from the aerospace and defense, automotive, pipe and tanks, wind, marine and construction industries.

Advanced composites are used in the aerospace and defense industries, primarily in ballistic armor applications. High-performance carbon fiber has been used for many years in automotive, with new high-speed manufacturing technology allowing carbon-fiber composites to be used in the production of vehicles.

A sample of the report is available from MarketsandMarkets.

Tekni-Plex rebrands aerosol/pump dispensing manufacturing division

Tekni-Plex rebrands aerosol/pump dispensing manufacturing division

Tekni-Plex Inc. (Wayne, PA) has unified its aerosol and pump dispensing manufacturing under the brand name as Action Technology, a Tekni-Plex Inc. company (Clinton, IL), going forward.  The company has been operating under the Action Technology brand for the past 40 years and under the American Gasket and Rubber (AGR; Schaumburg, IL) brand for more than 70 years.

“We know that AGR has an excellent reputation and a long-standing history. However, because we serve a growing global customer base, we felt that it was important to make it easier to do business with us, regardless of geographic location. Going forward, Action Technology will represent the ‘go to’ brand worldwide for dispensing component solutions,” said Jim Carosella, Vice President/General Manager for Action Technology in the United States.

Action Technology is known as the global leader for punched and molded rubber and plastic gaskets, as well as wound and precut dip tubing, for aerosol and pump dispensing products.  The company sells billions of punched rubber and plastic gaskets annually. Its components are used to dispense thousands of food/beverage, pharmaceutical, personal care, industrial and household products worldwide, every day.

Action Technology has five manufacturing facilities in the United States, Belgium, Italy and China, as well as a contract manufacturing location in Argentina. Its manufacturing footprint means that it is the only dispensing component supplier that can standardize rubber and plastic dispensing component formulas across the world, claims the company.

“Our international production capability means that brand owners—and ultimately consumers—can benefit from consistent dispensing performance regardless of geographic location.  This is of particular benefit to those multinational brands that market their products in many different countries and regions and want the advantage of working with a supplier that can dual-source products,” said Carosella.

Trexel seeks to move beyond hardware and establish itself as an ‘engineering resource’


Trexel can point to hundreds of successful MuCell applications validating the weight savings and productivity improvement potential of its physical foaming technology. Still, said the company, many part designers and molders remain apprehensive about the technology because it has often taken a “leap of faith” that desired outcomes would be realized because they lacked the experience or the tools to predict the process accurately.

Successfully implemented mass-produced parts will be on display at stand B46 in hall 13 at K 2016, as well as the complete line of T-Series gas-delivery systems, featuring simple operation, dosing precision and long-lasting process reliability. In order to reduce the uncertainty and close the knowledge and experience gap regarding microcellular foaming, Trexel has developed a MuCell Engineering focus and a network of partners to guide customers through part and tool design.

Upon request, Trexel’s experts will handle project management for all engineering tasks, as well as serve as the central communication and coordination hub for the customer, and it will work with a small number of qualified partners to offer part and tool design services.

“Our best customers—those who have been using MuCell for years as a competitive advantage—have developed internal standards and guidelines to maximize the benefits of MuCell with every application,” said Brian Bechard, CEO and President of Trexel Inc. “Trexel is now focused on moving beyond only supplying the hardware to becoming an engineering resource, using our global experience to reduce the uncertainty by taking a more direct and active role in part and tool design. Our goal is to maximize the return on investment for every system we sell by enabling optimal results with every application.”

Trexel notes that the components exhibited at the upcoming K show in Düsseldorf, Germany, underscore how effective this approach can be. Although saving weight indeed may often be the first desired outcome, the expanded process and design options of MuCell offer additional advantages.

Dr. Hartmul Traut, Business Director, Trexel Europe, said, “One of the highlights is the automobile interior panel, with up to 60% shorter tooling time and, thus, faster component availability.” The component was produced using MuCell design, and the production processes and equipment were adapted accordingly. The results speak for themselves, Trexel noted: “50% faster cycle time, 40% lower weight, 40% lower tool costs,” said Traut, “giving our customer an enormous competitive edge.”

Trexel also continues to enhance its product line and improve the reliability and repeatability of MuCell equipment. The latest generation of gas-dosing equipment, the T-Series, will be on display at K 2016, including the latest product, the T-400, which completed the transition to the new platform upon its release in 2015.

“Our customers who have experienced the T-Series along with the older generation systems have nearly unanimously told us that the T-Series is easier to operate, has better precision and reliability and requires less maintenance than previous generations,” said Bechard. The simplicity of operation is something visitors can experience for themselves. The booth at the K will include the full range of systems: T-100, T-200, T-300 and T-400. The performance range of the T-Series spans very large foaming applications, such as dashboard supports or subfloor paneling, to small components, such as connectors, printer elements and lock casings for cans. The systems are available with or without a separate display. Live production cells will be running throughout the fair at partner companies, including Engel, Milacron and Haitian.

Multilayer fuel tube features inner layer of low extractable PA 612

Multilayer fuel tube features inner layer of low extractable PA 612

The use of fuels that contain alcohol, for example biofuels containing ethanol, can lead to the extraction of substances from the inner walls of conventional plastic gasoline lines. Under certain extreme conditions these substances can clog the fuel injection nozzles in the latest, sensitive fuel systems, which use small-diameter nozzles to create an atomized spray of gasoline and air for fuel injection in order to decrease fuel consumption. To reliably counteract this, the automotive industry is looking for new fuel line materials with significantly reduced extraction.

The new multilayer tubing system 4800 with an inner layer of low extractable Vestamid polyamide 612 offers significantly reduced levels of extractable substances.
The multilayer tubing 4800 supplements the proven 4000 series through a system with a low extractable inner layer.

For many years, Evonik (Essen, Germany) has been offering its MLT 7440 multilayer structure, a conductive system that fully meets the requirements. This system employs a Vestamid polyamide (PA) 12 outer layer, PA adhesive layers, an EVOH barrier layer, and a Neoflon EFEP conductive inner layer that is exposed to the fuel. Neoflon is a fluoropolymer supplied by Japan’s Daikin Industries. Conductive systems are commonly used in North America.

Evonik has now supplemented this offering with its new MLT 4800 non-conductive system. It is based on the MLT 4300 system, which employs an outer layer of Vestamid polyamide 12 and a barrier layer of ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) to prevent fuel permeation. In the MLT 4800 system, however, the PA 6 inner layer of the proven 4300 system has been replaced by a newly developed, low extractable Vestamid polyamide 612, which meets the latest requirements of automobile manufacturers. The mechanical characteristics, chemical resistance, and permeation behavior are on the same level as the MLT 4300, which is the most adopted MLT in Europe at present on account of its lower cost versus conductive systems.

Evonik will be introducing the technology at the K 2016 Show (Hall 6, Stand B28).

New plasma-injection molding process for hybrid components showcased at K 2016


Potential delamination and failures at the interface between plastics and metal pose serious and persistent concerns for injection molding manufacturers who produce components that combine dissimilar materials, such as for automotive lightweighting applications. To address these concerns, Plasmatreat (Steinhagen, Germany) and Akro-Plastic (Niederzissen, Germany) have developed a process that customizes the composition of an anti-corrosive plasma-polymerization layer according to the composition of the corresponding plastic compound.

The fully automated PT1200 plasma cell can be adapted to suit any conventional injection molding machine. It increases production speed and allows for a continuous production of injection molded plastic-to-metal components. The PT1200 cell includes the plasma generator, robot, control technology, plasma control unit, plasma jets, cables and consumables. Users can customize the system for their process, as required. To process parts, a six-axis robot, or, for smaller profiles, a two-axis gantry system, positions the metal inlay beneath a Plasmatreat Openair atmospheric plasma jet. The plasma jet removes contamination from the part’s surface and simultaneously activates the surface chemistry for coating. A second plasma jet applies a thin-film functional coating. The coating application is based on the patented PlasmaPlus process developed by Plasmatreat and Fraunhofer IFAM.

The plasma cleaning and coating process takes only seconds to complete, and provides a dry, environmentally friendly alternative to the slower and less-effective chemical cleaning and priming processes conventionally used in hybrid injection molding. The Plasmatreat process eliminates the need for time-consuming intermediate steps such as storage and drying, and allows components to be processed immediately after coating. Coated metal parts are transferred from the plasma cell to an injection molding cell. On entering the injection molding cell, a robot briefly maneuvers the parts under an induction heater before loading them into the mold. The PlasmaPlus coating creates a strong, covalent bond between the metal and injection molded plastic.

Supported by trade fair partners Kuka, Arburg and Krallmann, Plasmatreat and Akro-Plastic will demonstrate the entire process at booth G04 in hall 11. Visitors will receive stainless-steel sample parts that have been over-molded with PA6 GF30 plastic.

Plasmatreat GmbH is focused on improving the adhesion of inks, coatings, adhesives and sealants to plastic and improving the bond strength of molded rubber to a wide range of substrates. Plasma is frequently specified by manufacturers of automotive, medical, aerospace and electronic components, where performance is critical, reliability is important and adhesion failures are costly.

Axium Group buys KKT to expand presence in Germany

Axium Group buys KKT to expand presence in Germany

The Axium Group (Andrézieux-Bouthéon, France) has just finalized the acquisition of KKT Kaller Kunststoff Technik GmbH (Kall, Germany) from Heinz Glass & Plastic group (Kleintettau, Germany).

The Axium Group specializes in the manufacturing of global solutions in plastic packaging for cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical markets.  With two production sites in France, Acti Pack and Loire Plastic Industrie, and a site in Czech Republic, Acti Pack CZ, the PET packaging provider, which generates about €30 million in turnover, is focused on two segments: manufacturing by thermoplastic injection of standard or specific closure solutions and manufacturing of injection bi- oriented blowmolded standard or specific jars and bottles in PET.

Already situated in Germany through a sales office, Axium strengthens its industrial and commercial presence locally, confirming its pan-European presence as PET packaging provider.

KKT, whose turnover is around €17 million is specialized in the manufacturing of packaging solutions by injection stretch blowmolding, extrusion blowmolding and co-extrusion blowmolding. The company has a production site in Kall and delivers to food, cosmetic and chemical industries. KKT sold more than 140 million products in 2015.

This acquisition allows Axium to offer one of the widest ranges of standard PET jars and bottles. To meet all customers' demands for their specific development, the company delivers a wide choice of standard preform and machine platform. This offer is complemented by a range of standard caps and lids and reinforced today by a packaging range in HDPE & PP in complete synergy thus meeting all customers' needs.

Thermoforming Technology Group acquires Nalle Automation Systems

Thermoforming Technology Group acquires Nalle Automation Systems

Thermoforming Technology Group (TTG; Beaverton, MI) announced the acquisition of Nalle Automation Systems LLC (NAS) of Knoxville, TN, a manufacturer of automation systems for thermoforming and injection molding.  Bryan Redman, CEO of TTG, commented in the release, “We are excited to have NAS join the TTG lineup. As a team, we are now able to provide customers an even more robust turnkey offering of the most innovative thermoforming platforms in the industry combined with the premier production automation equipment.”

Founded in 1997, NAS designs and manufactures vertical bagging, shrink wrapping, sleeve wrapping and custom automation packaging machinery to count, stack and package products manufactured from various materials including paper, plastic and foam. These machines are used worldwide in the food and beverage packaging markets. The company operates out of a modern 32,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

NAS founder Tom Nalle said, “I look forward to continuing to offer industry-leading machinery and technology. Most important, we’ll continue to deliver the impeccable service on which I founded this business. This is an opportunity for us to grow our product line, as well as our product support and service offering.”

Bob Gordert, Director of Sales at TTG, commented, “The combined offerings of TTG via Brown, Lyle Industries and NAS allow us to provide a competitive edge in their markets. This collaboration promises to ensure that our customers continue to benefit from the most innovative machines and manufacturing methods. At the same time, NAS provides TTG with another entry into manufacturing markets and customers beyond thermoforming.”