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A side-gated hot runner system from Thermoplay promises perfectly round cylinders with even wall thicknesses throughout, very important traits in syringe barrels or pipettes. That application, which Thermoplay and its U.S. distributor, Alba Enterprises, showed off at PLASTEC West 2011 garnered a lot of interest from medically minded show attendees.

PlasticsToday Staff

February 17, 2011

2 Min Read
Alba introduces Thermoplay side-gated hot runner to North America at PLASTEC West

Thermoplay's side-gated hot runner for syringes.

Thermoplay's side-gated hot runner for syringes.

Thermoplay's side-gated hot runner for syringes.

Thermoplay's side-gated hot runner for syringes.

Thermoplay's side-gated hot runner for syringes.

Thermoplay's side-gated hot runner for syringes.

(Top) Thermoplay's side-gated nozzles come off at a 90 degree angle. (Middle) The design allows injection towards the cylinder's open end. (Bottom) The tips can be added to the nozzles in the mold.

Thermoplay notes that parts with long lengths in proportion to their diameter can have difficulty keeping the mold core from shifting during injection, with movement resulting in varying wall thicknesses. By positioning the injection points near the cylinder's open end, Thermoplay says there is less core movement. The company is promoting its new nozzle as a means to replace more traditional "tunnel" sprues used in similar applications.

By placing injection directly into the annular cavity wall, the nozzle structure allows easier machining of the injection system housing within the mold. The nozzle features a double plastic sealing ring, and the lateral injection makes for very clean gate.

To showcase the trueness of the shape at the show, Thermoplay's Antonio Delonghi rolled a molded syringe housing across the top of a mold cavity on display at Alba's booth. Delonghi said Thermoplay has installed some 8-drop systems utilizing the technology, with four nozzles per hot runner to mold a total of 32 syringes. Depending on the part size, more nozzles could be possible. The technology was introduced at last year's K show and although none has sold in the U.S. yet, there has been one system installed in Mexico. At PLASTEC, Alba Enterprises said the technology had generated a great deal of interest.

Tony Brusca, president Alba Enterprises, told PlasticsToday that the new Thermoplay system uses essentially the same nozzle body as other Thermoplay designs, with the special tip added after the mold and hot runner have been assembled.

Alba's booth also featured two of its 6-tonne microprecision Babyplast benchtop injection molding machines. One ran a liquid silicone rubber (LSR) cap, while the other molded Cereplast bioplastic into golf ball markers and rivets. Brusca noted that the Babyplast LSR system's injection unit can be switched out to run standard thermoplastics with a change over time of roughly 2 hours.

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