) has added three mixers to boost production of its Formlite and other plug-assist materials for thermoforming. The new mixers—one in Schenectady, two in Schwarzheide, Germany—will increase production by more than 10 times the current levels, according to Nate Doyle, engineered products leader at Cyclics. Plug-assists are used in thermoforming to help stretch web material for applications like high-clarity fruit containers for food packaging and blister packs for drug packaging. Operating at higher temperatures than competitive plug-assist materials, including up to 220°C, Cyclics says its Formlite product works well with polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, and oriented polystyrene. Formlite reportedly is easily machineable for smoother surface finishes, with low thermal conductivity and thermal expansion at high temperatures.
Formlite, which is made from Cyclics’ CBT ultra-low viscosity thermoplastic, is available in rod and sheet form, with standard rod lengths of 24 inches with diameters from 2 to 5 inches in .5-inch increments. Standard sheets are 24-by-24-inch square plates, ranging from 1 to 4 inches thick and also available in .5-inch increments. Custom shapes and sizes are available.