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Fight Scratching,

Marring

New Additive Approach


Protects Plastics Surfaces
Without the Cost of Hard Coating
12

New Flexibility in PET Drying,


Crystallizing

38 Service, Response Help


Compounder Grow
42

A property of Gardner Business Media

DECEMBER 2016

No- 12

VOL 62

Tips to Keep Your


IBC System Humming

Brilliant performance | ENGEL medical

Medical technology is an industry apart. Maximum product safety, absolute


cleanliness, precision in production, and complete documentation are essential
requirements. No compromises. After all, its a matter of health, quality of life
and life itself.
At ENGEL, we provide precise solutions to meet these stringent requirements.
Offering all-electric, hybrid or servo-hydraulic machine models, and a complete range
of cleanroom and automation equipment, ENGEL provides the high performance
package to suit your application.

With ENGEL medical. Its a matter of life.

www.engelglobal.com

VOLUME 62 NUMBER 12

4 FROM THE EDITOR


6 STARTING UP
CLOSE-UP
12 PET CRYSTALLIZER

KNOW HOW
16 Materials
20 Injection Molding

34

24 Extrusion
26 Tooling

ADDITIVES

No Hard Coating Needed

KEEPING UP WITH TECHNOLOGY

Heres test data on a new additive that improves surface durability of


engineering thermoplastics at very low loadings, and may even
improve mechanical properties.

48 Injection Molding

By Richard Marshall, TenasiTech

48 Blow Molding
48 Thermoforming

On-Site

38

Tips and Techniques

42

49 Compounding
49 Tooling
49 Heating/Cooling
50 Recycling/Scrap Reclaim
50 Materials

YOUR BUSINESS
52 Resin Pricing Analysis

Service & Response


Drive Growth of Custom
Compounder

Take These Steps To Maintain


Efficiency of Your IBC

Lanier Color has experienced an


eightfold increase in business since
2000. Its focus on technical support
and customer service help explain why.

The overall performance of a blown film


line depends on a properly tuned and
maintained IBC control system. Follow
these preventive-maintenance tips to
keep your system running smoothly.

By Jim Callari, Editorial Director

By Daniel R. Joseph, D.R. Joseph Inc.

PTonline.com

54 Gardner Business Index: Plastics


55 Market Watch
57 Marketplace
64 Processors Edge

Plastics Technology

ptonline.com

publisher
associate publisher
editorial director

@plastechmag

Rick Kline, Jr.


rkline2@gardnerweb.com
Jim Callari
jcallari@ptonline.com

executive editor

Matthew Naitove
mnaitove@ptonline.com

senior editors

Lilli Manolis Sherman


lsherman@ptonline.com
Tony Deligio
tdeligio@ptonline.com
Heather Caliendo
hcaliendo@gardnerweb.com

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Lou Guarracino
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Jackie Dalzell
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Sheri Kuchta Briggs


sbriggs@gardnerweb.com

marketing manager

Kim Hoodin
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ad production manager

Becky Helton
bhelton@gardnerweb.com

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2

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

Plastics Technology Handbook


Plastics Technology Mexico
Modern Machine Shop
Products Finishing
Automotive Design & Production

NPE Official Show Directory


Moldmaking Technology
IMTS Directory
CompositesWorld
Production Machining

PTonline.com

When you have the perfect balance of


speed and precision, youre unbeatable.
At Canon Virginia, the same expertise that has been the foundation of
our world-class products is available to support your business as well.
For more than 20 years, weve been designing, making and using highprecision, high-volume injection molds. So no matter the challenge,
we can provide personalized engineering to help develop the mold you
need for your complex plastic part.

cvi.canon.com

1.866.99.CANON

Canon is a registered trademark of Canon Inc. in the United States. 2016 Canon Virginia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

From The Editor

Get Ready for Molding 17


Now in its 27th year, Plastics Technologys
conference devoted to injection molding is
slated for April 4-6 in Charlotte.
You might not have your 2017 calendar yet, assuming you still rely
on the paper variety. But as soon as you get oneor even now, if
you keep track of your schedule on your
smart devicebest to keep April 4-6 clear.
Because thats when Plastics Technology
will be holding the 27th annual Molding
Conference. Molding 2017 will take place
over two-and-a-half days at the Sheraton/
Le Meridien Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.
Last years conference was a huge
success, as the lineup of attendee badges
Jim Callari
Editorial Director

in the accompanying photo attests. And


as I write this, my editorial colleagues
conference co-chairs Executive Editor

Matt Naitove and Senior Editor Tony Deligioare working on the


technical program, which is aimed 100% at injection molders.
One thing Matt and Tony did with last years program resonated very well with molders: They expanded the program to

Tooling: Intelligent molds, servo-electric tool actions, 3D-printed


tooling, advances in hot runners, and more.

include virtually every aspect of a molding operationnot just


what goes on between the platens, but also crucial areas such as

Robots & Automation: Collaborative robots; adding vision and

materials conveying, drying, feeding/blending, equipment main-

weight sensing to robots; when should you automate; and more.

tenance, best practices, ERP, and lots more. We found this formula
to have worked very well in our two Extrusion Conferences, the

Adding Value Through Decorating, Assembly, and Packaging:

second of which concluded Dec. 8.

Going beyond simple assembly and decorating, to packaging,


inspection, shipping, and more.

Last year, the conference program was expanded to


include virtually every aspect of a molders operation.
The Molding 2017 program will be similarly shaped.

Establishing & Maintaining a Robust Process:


Applying principles of Scientific Molding and other strategies to create repeatable molding processes.
Matt and Tony expect to have the program buttoned

The Molding 2017 program will be similarly shaped, and will


include sessions on topics such as these:

up shortly. So be on the lookout for more info from us in the


weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, best to bookmark
moldingconference.com and check in periodically for program

Emerging Technologies: Additive Manufacturing, Industry 4.0,

details, registration, hotel info, and sponsors.

predictive maintenance, and more.


Materials: Engineering materials, thermoplastic composites,
bio-based plastics, LSR, recycled/reprocessed materials, and more.
4

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

FOLLOW US
@plastechmag
@jimcallari

PTonline.com

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T ECHNOLOG Y A ND INDUS T RY NE W S

Star ting Up

Making Standard Robots More Collaborative


One of the many themes at Octobers K 2016 show in Dusseldorf was getting robots
to work more closelyand safelywith humans. On the one hand, suppliers introduced new models of so-called collaborative robots, or cobots, such
as the two-armed tabletop assembly model, dubbed YuMi (pictured),
from ABB Automation (U.S. office in Auburn Hills, Mich.; abb.com/robotics). Fanuc Automation (Rochester Hills, Mich.; fanucamerica.com), Kuka

Is rPET OK for
Hot-Fill Bottles?
Yes, as long as the recycled proportion
does not exceed 50%. Thats according
to a new study by Plastic Technologies,
Inc. (PTI), Holland, Ohio. Even at 100%

Robotics (Shelby Township, Mich.; kukarobotics.com), and Universal Robots (E.


Setauket, N.Y.; universal-robots.com) showed six-axis cobots.
Meanwhile, suppliers showed how to allow technicians access to conventional robots without shutting
them down altogether. Sytrama, sister company of
Negri Bossi (New Castle, Del.; sytrama-usa.com),
and Staubli Robotics (Duncan, S.C.; staubli.us)
demonstrated six-axis robots that use compact laser
scanners to sense the presence of humans. When
a person approaches within a certain distance, the
robot continues its cycle, but at a much reduced
speed, which Staubli calls Safe Limited Speed (SLS).
Coming even closer can cause the robot to slow
further and finally stop completely (Safe Operating
Stop, or SOS). It starts up again instantly when the
person moves away a certain distance. Staublis new
TX2 six-axis robots (pictured) define a Safe Zone
around the end-of-arm tooling to prevent collisions
with inanimate obstacles. These models also have a
sensory skin; when touched, it immediately brings
the robot to a halt.
Sytrama and Staubli agree that even with the
laser scanner, a physical barrier is necessary to
prevent accidental encroachments from hindering
robot operations, but full-height guarding may no longer be needed. One maker
of laser scanners is Sick AG in Germany (U.S. office in Minneapolis; sick.com). The
scanner is the yellow object at the bottom of the photo.

rPET resin use, the performance of


the bottle used in this study was still
acceptable, said Tracy Momany, v.p.
of PTIs product development group.
However, the typically thicker walls of
hot-fill bottles may result in slightly
more noticeable haze or yellowing
than in other applications such as
very thin-walled water bottles. The
study used a commercial, 500-ml, 27-g,
six-panel hot-fill bottle made of virgin
PET and two different rPET resins
added at 25%, 50%, and 100% levels.
The bottles were tested for hot-fill and
topload performance, wall thickness,
color, haze, crystallinity, and acetaldehyde (AA) content. All samples passed
the standard performance specs for
hot-fill bottles. Shrinkage increased
slightly with recycled content above
50%, but the bottles remained within
spec. The main drawbacks of high rPET
content were aestheticincreased
yellowing and haze. (Photo: left to
right, bottles of virgin PET, 25% rPET,
50% rPET, 100% rPET)
419-725-5613 plastictechnologies.com

A First for Beverages: Integrated PET Preform Molding, Blowing & Bottle Filling
At last months PETnology Europe 2016 show in Germany, Sacmi of
Italy (U.S. office in Des Moines, Iowa) presented what it says is the
first complete one-step preform production, stretch-blow molding,
and filling platform. This fully integrated system is not a true
one-stage injection-stretch-blow molding (ISBM) system, in that
it involves close synchronization of separate preform and bottle
production systemsrather than both functions in one machine
with the aid of Sacmi CPB Link, an automatic buffer system that
intervenes only as necessary and maintains the preforms in an
ultra-clean environment, Sacmi says. Eliminating the preform
storage unit typical of two-stage processes reportedly also eliminates preform cleaning and heating-cooling costs, allowing bottlers
6

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

to cut average bottle costs by 5-15% while keeping total energy


consumption for the complete system below 1 kWh/kg of processed
PET. Risk of moisture regain during preform storage is also avoided.
This new heroPET 4.0 system does not use injection molding
for preform production; rather, it uses Sacmis proprietary continuous compression molding process. It allows use of high-viscosity
PET that cant be used for injection molded preforms, which
provides higher-strength preforms that can be lightweighted by
0.2-0.4 g, about 4%. Lower temperatures and pressures in compression molding also reduce acetaldehyde formation, and the absence
of a gate allows production of flat-bottomed preforms.
515-276-2052 sacmiusa.com
PTonline.com

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T ECHNOLOG Y A ND INDUS T RY NE W S

Star ting Up

Ineos Acquires HDPE Pipe Maker

Ineos Olefins & Polymers, League City, Texas (ineos.com), has acquired one of largest HDPE pipe manufacturers in North America, WL Plastics of Fort Worth, Texas
(wlplastics.com), with production facilities in Kentucky, South Dakota, Utah, Texas,
and Wyoming, along with a new facility under construction in Georgia. With over 500
million lb of annual production capacity, WL provides HDPE pipe to oil, gas, industrial, mining, conduit, and municipal water and sewer markets.
Ineos, now the third largest North American HDPE and PP supplier, is one of
several PE producers planning to bring on major new capacity. Its 50-50 joint-venture
plant with Sasol, planned for startup in La Porte, Texas, by years end, will produce
940 million lb/yr of HDPE using Ineos Innovene S bimodal slurry technology. The
Ineos La Porte site already produces 1.3 billion/lb of PE.
In past decades, companies such as Phillips and Chevron had their own downstream
HDPE pipe operations, as did Occidental with PVC pipe. Perhaps this recent move by
Ineos signals a returning industry trend toward downstream operations for resin producers. Within recent years, moves of a similar kind include companies such as PolyOne
Corp., Cleveland (polyone.com), which acquired Spartech Corp., the leading producer
of custom plastic sheet and rollstock in 2013. This year, PolyOne also bought two
Colorado-based composites businessesGordon Composites and Polystrand. Another
example is Victrex, West Conshohocken, Pa. (victrex.com), the PEEK resin producer,
which last year acquired Kleiss Gears, a Grantsburg, Wis., molder of PEEK gears.

Auxiliary Equipment Suppliers Take Partners


To Boost Extrusion Offerings
At Octobers K 2016 Show in Dusseldorf,
two leading providers of resin blending,
drying, and handling equipment announced they were
teaming up with suppliers
aligned with extrusion.
Maguire Products Inc., Aston, Pa.
(maguire.com), and Italys Syncro srl
(syncro-group.it) announced a partnership to provide customers of both
companies with an extensive platform
of options for materials and extrusion
control. Maguire has invested in Syncro,
which will lead to a
portfolio of technologies combining Maguires experience in
materials handling and
blending with Syncros
extensive range of
extrusion control
systems.
At its booth, Maguire displayed an extrusion control interface with a 7- or 21-in.
screen alongside the new WXB series
of Maguire blending systems, which
combine batch functionality with lossin-weight control. At its stand, Syncro
showed its full range of extrusion control
equipment and systems.
Maguire has a substantial base of
customers with extrusion operations,
including blown and cast film, sheet,
pipe, profile, and compounding. Syncros
8

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

core expertise is in extrusion control


for blown and cast film, sheet, and
compounding. Syncro product lines cover
a full range of downstream software and
hardware to optimize line control. The
company also manufactures gravimetric
loss-in-weight feeders and blenders, air
rings, IBC control, bubble cages, and a
wide range of gauging systems.
Meanwhile, Moretto S.p.A. of Italy, a
producer of a broad range of auxiliaries
for conveying, feeding, blending, drying,
granulating, and mold-temperature
control (U.S. office
in Columbus, Ohio;
moretto.com), has
joined up with Contrex,
an Italian producer of
loss-in-weight blending
and extrusion yieldcontrol systems for
extrusion, as well as
pneumatic conveying
systems and blown
film air rings (photo), capacitive thickness gauges for blown and cast film,
bubble-width controls, bubble cages,
IBC systems, oscillating hauloffs, and
complete extrusion line controls.
Acquired last year by Moretto,
Contrex (contrex.it) operates as a separate Moretto company, but is integrating
Moretto components such as hopper
loaders on its blending systems and
chillers for its air rings and IBC systems.

Alpine Piled on the Layers


At K 2016
Hosokawa Alpine (U.S. office in Natick,
Mass.) ran whats believed to be a tradeshow first at Octobers K 2016
fair in Dusseldorf: an 11-layer
blown film line producing
barrier film using nylon and
EVOH. The line eclipsed the nine-layer line
Reifenhauser operated at K 2010 and the
seven-layer nylon-barrier line Battenfeld
Gloucester (now part of Davis-Standard)
ran at K 1998. Alpines line at this years
K featured
11 extremely
quiet,
grooved-feed,
65-mm, 32:1
L:D, watercooled
extruders and
a 560-mm X
Die, as well as
a new version
of its V air
ring designed
to maximize
output.
The
line was
equipped
with a filmstretching
unit built
into the
nip. The
design of
the system
offers
infinite
flexibility
by allowing
processors
to bundle 11
equal layers
in the
configuration of their choosing, says Dave Nunes,
president Hosokawa Alpine American.
Throughout the exhibit, Alpine ran
ExxonMobils Exceed XP8318 LLDPE
along with barrier and tie-layer resins
from DuPont, Ube, and Kuraray. Film
was produced at a thickness of 50
microns (with a gauge variation of 2%)
and layflat width of 1800 mm. Output
exceed 1200 lb/hr.
508-655-1123 halpine.com
PTonline.com

IF OUR NEW CHILLERS


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ENERGY- EFFICIENT,
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AND SING KUMBAYA.

Introducing the Thermal Care NQV Seriesthe only portable chillers that use patent-pending variable speed compressor
technology to deliver a cool 40% savings. They adjust to the load requirement you need, so energy consumption
matches actual demand. Even better, the incremental cost can be paid back in less than a year.
To feel peace and love for lower operating costs, call 888.383.8108 or visit thermalcare.com/NQ.
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T ECHNOLOG Y A ND INDUS T RY NE W S

Star ting Up

Left & Right Door Panels


from One Machine, One
Mold, Twin Robots
Arkal Automotive GmbH in Crock, Germany,
is producing two door panels in a single
shot with a multi-daylight mold and two
linear robots on a shared Z-axis. The two
door panels of 30% glass-filled PP are molded on a 1600-ton MX hydromechanical two-platen machine from KraussMaffei (U.S. office in Florence, Ky.) with the
aid of two KraussMaffei LRX robots in a TwinZ arrangement. This is the first
time KM has implemented twin robots
that are programmed and controlled
via the machines MC6 controller.
The robots are programmed via the
shared program editor, using KMs
new multiple kinematics software
that can control up to 24 axessuch
as four robots with three axes each.
Arkal currently produces around 3600
door-trim panels a week in three shifts,
alternating between left-right front
doors and back doors.
Arkal Automotive is based in Israel
(arkal-automotive.com) and has plants
in Auburn, Ala., and London, Ont., as
well as a sales office in Farmington
Hills, Mich.
859-283-0200 kraussmaffeigroup.us

BASF Plans Global Expansion


in Additives
BASF (U.S. office in Florham Park, N.J.) has
announced plans to invest globally more than
$218 million on capacity expansions and other
improvements in its plastic additives business.
Capacity expansions will be focused particularly
on antioxidants and light stabilizers at sites
in North America and Europe. One project will
expand capacity for Tinuvin UV stabilizers, especially benzotriazoles (BTZs), at McIntosh, Ala.
800-431-2360 basf.com

HRSflow Opens Service Center


in Mexico

After opening a state-of-the-art hotrunner manufacturing plant in Byron


Center, Mich., last year (see Nov. 15 Starting Up), HRSflow of Italy has established
a service center in Queretaro, Mexico, in
cooperation with WCS. It will provide 24-hr
spare-parts service to all of Mexico.
+52 (1) 442 38 62 975 mexico@hrsflow.com

New Injection Machine Safety Standards in Michigan Could Have National Consequences
In a bid to have the states safety guidelines better reflect the
national standard, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (MIOSHA) will start enforcing new machine safety
guidelines that have sparked more questions than answers for
molders and machinery suppliers. Whats more, there is concern
that a rule change by the influential Michigan state safety
agency could be adopted by other states.
Effective Jan. 1, 2017 operators of horizontal injection molding machines in Michigan will be required to comply with full
lockout/tagout (LO/TO) requirements if there is the potential for
harmful exposure to hazardous energy sources during maintenance
and servicing activities. Previously, mold changes through either the
front or rear gate of a horizontal injection press were allowed as long
as the machine had a functional mechanical safety plus two independent interlocks on the operators gate, as well as an emergency or
other stop that would shut off the motors that actuate the clamp.
MIOSHA has now changed the rulePart 62 Plastic Molding Safety Standard R408.16234so that it meets U.S. OSHAs
General Industry Safety Standard Part 85, The Control of
Hazardous Energy Sources. By Dec. 31, molders are instructed
to phase out procedures that allow for either the front or rear
gates of a horizontal press to be locked in the open position
during mold changes. MIOSHA recognizes that complying with
the Part 85 Lockout standard might not be possible on some
machines without shutting down the presss heating system.
10

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

MIOSHA has stated that there are exceptions to the LO/TO


requirements. These include maintaining or servicing presses if
there is machine guarding thats deemed capable of eliminating
exposure to hazardous energy. David Palmer, SPIs director of
industry affairsequipment council, noted that MIOSHA deems
routine mold or die changes to be maintenance and servicing
activity. According to OSHA CPL 02-00-147, setting up is any work
performed to prepare a machine or equipment to perform its
normal production operation. Setting up is not considered utilization of a machine or equipment and is classified as servicing
and/or maintenance, rather than normal production operations.
Machinery suppliers have pointed out to MIOSHA that during
a tool change molders want to maintain heat and have access
to a powered-up control, and the agency has recognized that,
noting that it would be allowable to use a separate energyisolating device that can be locked out during the die-changing
process for a motor, pump, or other equipment while leaving
power on to the heating elements and computer controls.
SPI: The Plastics Industry Association (plasticsindustry.org)
held a meeting in Chicago on Aug. 3 to discuss the rule change,
with a follow-up conference call on Nov. 17. In an email, Palmer
noted that the association had been working directly with
MIOSHA to reverse the changes to Part 62. SPI has also reached
out to Michigan molders asking for information it could use to
lobby on their behalf.

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P E T C R Y S TA L L I Z ER

Close-Up On Technolog y

Modular Drying Hopper Is Expandable


And Convertible to a Crystallizer
Unlike typical welded construction,
bolt-on sections provide flexibility
and easier transport and installation.
PET processors and recyclers, as well as molders of large parts

EXPANDABLE & CONVERTIBLE

from materials that may attract moisture, have a number of new

Paradiso explains that the building-block concept of the new units

and highly cost-effective options:

starts with the base cone, a 500-liter section that is welded to the

By Matt Naitove
Executive Editor

base frame. The legs can be removed or extended as needed to


Expand a drying hoppers capacity after

accommodate gaylord fill height or mezzanine mounting. The base


cone contains an internal process-air diffuser that is bolted in,

installation;

Convert a drying hopper to a PET crystallizer after installation;

rather than welded as is typical in the industry, so that it can be

Expand the crystallizers capacity at a later date.

removed if the system is later converted to a crystallizer.


On top of the base cone is a bolted 1500 L cylindrical section

These novel capabilities are afforded by a new development

with an access door; and more 1500 L sections that are identical,

from Wittmann Battenfeld, Inc., Torrington, Conn. The company is

except for lacking the door, can be bolted on top of that as needed.

just now introducing a totally modular drying hopper/crystallizer

Total capacity can thereby be customized from 2000 to 5000 L

that was conceived, designed, and built entirely by the U.S. opera-

for throughput capacities up to 6000 lb/hr or more. The bolt-on

tion of the Austrian Wittmann Group (wittmann-group.com). This

sections can be added after initial installation, unlike typical


welded hopper construction.

development

Expand capacity
after installation,
and even convert
a drying hopper
to a crystallizer.

Equally unusual, the modular hopper

was revealed
exclusively

can be converted at any time to a crys-

to Plastics

tallizer by adding an agitator insert in

Technology at

modular units and a gear motor sized for

Wittmanns

the variable agitator length. The agitator

October Open

arms have a self-coupling connection to

House and

the shaft. The universal hopper lid is built


to accommodate the gear motor.

Innovations Workshop in Torrington.

Paradiso notes a number of other

According to Michael Stark, divi-

special features and benefits:

sional manager for material handling


and auxiliaries, this development reflects

Modularity makes the system both very

the companys desire to push more


strongly into blow molding and extru-

cost-competitive and quick to ship,

sion. Nicholas Paradiso, engineering

because the components can be produced for stock.

manager for that division, points out that

The hopper or crystallizer can ship in

the modular units also have potential

sections on standard pallets, instead of

applications in hot-air drying for large


injection molded parts of polyolefins,
such as auto bumpers or fascias, that
require removal of surface moisture from
pellets or preheating the pellets for more
uniform processing.
12

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

Wittmann Battenfelds new, large


drying hoppers are built from
bolted-together modules and are
convertible to crystallizers using
modular agitator assemblies (right).

requiring a special side-loading truck to


transport a fully assembled, welded unit.
The units come fully insulated as standardincluding the base cone, which
is rare, Paradiso says.
PTonline.com

P E T C R Y S TA L L I Z ER

Close-Up On Technolog y

All cylindrical sections above the base cone have a sight

Paradiso adds that these units incorporate the companys Silmax

glass, which allows proximity level sensors to be installed

controller technology with Smartflow valve, Material Saver function,

on the whole hopper.

and communication with Wittmanns Drymax FC central dryers with

New, larger line heating elements can be bolted on at two different locationseither in the usual position on the back, or at

variable-frequency drive (VFD)


option for energy savings.

a 45 angle, which allows it to fit within the leg footprint.


The preceding feature, as

Insulation and
sight-glass visibility
from top to bottom.

Paradiso also notes that


Wittmann designed and engi-

well as overall modularity,

neered these systems with the aid

facilitate installation of the

of 3D-printed scale models. They

unit in tight spaces.

were filled with actual PET regrind

All cable ways are

flake and a 3D printed agitator with

internally located within the

a small motor was used to measure

insulation layer, hidden from

and graph the curve of motor

view, yet accessible if needed.

torque vs. agitator length in order

Non-lubricated graphite bearing sections to hold the agitator shaft can be added to any cylindrical module.

to size gear motors for the full-scale


system. Wittmann also used the

Wittmann has enlisted a partner company to design and build

scale models to design the oil-free

mezzanines. Modular construction eliminates need for a rigging

bearings to support the necessary

company to install the hopper/crystallizer with a mezzanine.

weight, torque, and temperature.


With this help, we were able to

QUESTIONS ABOUT DRYING?

design the agitator with a threefold safety factor and select motors

Visit the Drying Zone.

with a two-fold safety factor.

With the help of


an outside partner,
Wittmann Battenfeld
can also design and
build mezzanines.

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14

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

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Know How

MATERIALS
Finding Root Causes of a
Material Problem
More often than not, product failure is not
due to a single issue but to the interaction
between several factors.
There is a tendency in our current manufacturing environment
to drive investigations of non-conforming products to a root

Cause

Cause

Cause
Outdoor weathering is a challenging requirement for most
polymers. However, significant protection can be provided by
carbon black, and the addition of a suitable UV stabilizer can

explicit presumption of such an

enhance protection of the part surface and extend the life of a

endeavor, is that there is a single reason

component substantially. Ensuring the use of a material with

for a product failure. This approach

a UL flammability rating is a matter of following the regula-

misses the complex interaction that

tory guidelines. The low-temperature impact requirement was

involves the material, processing, part

codified into a test that involved dropping a 2-in.-diam. steel ball

design, and tooling.

onto a specific location on the part from a height of 4 ft while


the part was at a temperature of -35 C (-31 F). This was the test

articles that at some point assign root

that stopped the product-development process in its tracks. The

causes in these neat categories, stating

part failed the low-temperature impact test, exhibiting a brittle

for example that 40% of failures are due to poor design, 20% are

fracture and leaving a hole in the part that would allow a user to

due to poor material selection, etc. Usually these percentages

contact the electrical components within the housing.


The initial conclusion from this

are skewed according to the expertise or


bias of the person or people performing
the assessment. Designers will tend
to blame designs (unless it is theirs)
because they are attuned to the things
that can go wrong in this area. People

Failures dont fit neatly


into compartments with
no influence from any of
the other factors.

with specialization in materials will


similarly point to deficiencies in this
area because they know the details of what can go wrong.
But these types of analyses tend to reinforce the myth that

type of event can take any number of


directions. Often the molder gets the
blame for the failure and the discussion centers on the process parameters.
However, in this case the immediate
conclusion on the part of the customer
was that the wrong material had been

selected and a tougher compound was required. The material


initially selected was a polypropylene. That choice was based

failures fit neatly into these compartments with no influence

on the perception that the material was ductile, which it was at

from any of the other factors. This approach can also blind us to

room temperature. However, at the required temperature for the

the multiple paths that potentially exist for correcting a problem

impact test it did not perform as desired.

and can send us down a much more costly and time-consuming


path to a solution than is necessary.
Consider, as an example, a molded cover that was designed
to protect an assembly used in an outdoor environment. Several
key requirements are associated with this application. These

Finding a PP material with good low-temperature ductility is


not impossible, but it is challenging. PP homopolymers are typically brittle at temperatures below 0 C (32 F) even if the average
molecular weight of the product is relatively high. Copolymers

include good UV stability and good low-temperature impact

KNOW HOW MATERIALS

resistance. In addition, because the housing is close to live elec-

Learn more at PTonline.com

trical components, there was an additional requirement that the

Get more insights on Materials from our expert author:


short.ptonline.com/materialsKH

material must have a flammability rating of at least UL 94V-2.


16

PROBLEM

cause. The implication, if not the

Periodically, we see papers and


By Mike Sepe

Symptoms

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

PTonline.com

M AT ERI A L S

Know How

have better low-temperature impact resistance, and with the right formulation it is
conceivable that a product could be engineered to fulfill the impact requirements. The

SIDE-ACTION SYSTEMS
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challenge was much greater in this case because of the need to incorporate a flame retardant into the material to meet the UL 94V-2 requirement.
Chemically, PP is a hydrocarbon and therefore burns readily unless some modifications are made to the formulation. A variety of substances can be added to PP in order to
achieve some level of flame-retardant properties. But these substances need to be added
at significant levels and they frequently reduce toughness. So the prospects for finding a
material in the PP family that could fulfill the complete list of requirements was not good.
However, a closer look at the mold showed that this was far from just a materialselection issue. The part had been gated in such a way that a weld line formed in the
same area where the impact test was conducted. Many years ago, I went to a Glenn Beall

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design seminar and one of the slides that really stuck with me was the one that advised
against allowing weld lines to develop in areas of high stress.
Weld lines are unlikely to be as strong as the parent material. The strength that can be
obtained at a weld line is partly a matter of the material being molded and partly a matter of
processing conditions. Under optimal molding conditions, amorphous polymers such as
polycarbonate and polysulfone can produce relatively strong weld lines. Semi-crystalline
materials such as PP and nylon tend to produce weaker weld lines because of the rapid transition that they undergo as they cool from molten to solid. Fillers tend to erode weld-line
strength to an even greater degree because they do not melt with the polymer and therefore
they do not form a good bond when the flow fronts meet. They also displace the polymer that
does fuse. Even though flame retardants are not thought of as fillers, they essentially influence the properties of the compound in a manner similar to common fillers such as talc or
glass. And it can require a significant amount of flame retardant to keep PP from burning.

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Processing conditions also affect weld-line integrity. Mold-filling rates, melt and mold
temperatures, and pack pressures and times can all influence the integrity of a weld line.

!
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The angle at which the flow fronts meet when the weld forms will also have an effect

on the strength of the material. But even assuming optimal processing conditions, it is

CANT DO IT!

improbable that a weld line in a flame-retardant PP will have more than 70% of the integrity of the surrounding material. Once the mold-design consideration of gate location is
included in the problem-solving exercise, the simple conclusion that this is a material
problem is not so satisfactory.
And there was a third problem. When the part was analyzed in the lab, it was found that

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the material had been contaminated with nylon 66 at a level of about 5%. Very few polymers
mix well. Most of the time, contamination results in delamination, cosmetic problems,
and reduced performance. In this case there was the additional problem that typical melt
temperatures used to process PP are below the melting point of nylon 66. So there will be
evidence of unmelted material within the part. While strictly speaking this is a material
problem, it is not a reflection of the inherent ability of the selected material to perform.
Instead it is a material-handling problem, which is the responsibility of the processor.
So when diving into a problem-solving exercise, it is useful to keep in mind that
there is rarely one cause. More often than not, multiple influences converge to create

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18

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

failures. They all need to be captured in order to come up with the most efficient and
lowest cost solution to the problem.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mike Sepe is an independent, global materials and processing consultant
whose company, Michael P. Sepe, LLC, is based in Sedona, Ariz. He has more than 35 years of
experience in the plastics industry and assists clients with material selection, designing for manufacturability, process optimization, troubleshooting, and failure analysis. Contact: (928) 203-0408
mike@thematerialanalyst.com.
PTonline.com

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Know How

INJECTION MOLDING
Unraveling the Mysteries of Melt Temperature
Infrared technology can provide consistent and accurate readings
of melt temperature. Heres how to use it.
What is the melt temperature? The answer to that question certainly would be helpful for processing and troubleshooting. But
few molders would argue that it is one of
the key parameters for injection
moldingprobably because they have
had to make do without reliable melttemperature data so far.
While the question about melt temperature appears straightforward, it actually also
implies two other questions: What should
By John Bozzelli

the temperature be, and is the melt sufficiently uniform in temperature to specify

a single number? Unfortunately, there are no simple answers. Even


today there is no widely accepted and trusted method for measuring
temperature during processing in injection molding. But you might
find an infrared camera useful in getting some answers.
That said, how do you get a handle on what temperature to target
and how to measure it? First, lets tackle how to determine the target

Infrared camera image of a small purge shows a


maximum temperature of 459.1 F (target with square in
the center), while the center of the image reads 447.7 F.

temperature for your resin. Start by getting information on the specific


grade. Do not simply go with, Its a nylon or polystyrene. Today

up to set temperature in 15 min while the barrel zones or manifold

there are grades formulated with additives that drastically change the

take 45 min. That is one way to start degradation and black specks.

processing temperature; you want to be sure you are operating in the

After the appropriate heat-soak time, roughly 20 min for

recommended range for your specific material. Too high a melt temper-

smaller machines and up to 1 hr on larger ones, you can operate

ature may destroy the UV or antioxidant stabilizer; go too low and you

the screw. Just dont start by rotating the screw. My suggestion

can shear off the screw tip or have unmelts flowing through your barrel

is to leave the screw 50 mm back, and manually inject to clear

and mold. So take the time to find the suppliers recommended range

the check (non-return) valve. Then rotate the screw to purge and

and target the middle of that range, unless you have experience with

rotate to achieve shot size. As you purge, turn on your IR camera

this resin and already know the correct processing range.

and allow some time for it to self-calibrate (most do this auto-

Usually this data is available from the suppliers literature or one

matically). Make a purge and practice taking a picture (i.e., the

of the online databases for resins such as SpecialChems Universal

temperature) with peak or max turned on. That is, find the angle

Selector, which is accessible from the Plastics Technology website

that allows you to watch safely the purge as it is shot and sharpen

(ptonline.com). Look up the resin, find the specification datasheet

the focus. Most IR cameras do not have auto focus, and focus is

and look for something along the lines of processing details. Once

important for good results. Also, ensure the emissivity is at 0.95.

you have a target temperature, refer to my column in February 2014,


which details how to set barrel-zone temperatures.

Start making shots, ensuring you are slightly short, using first
stage (fill) only, and you are under velocity-controlled conditions.

With the barrel zones set correctly, turn on the heater bands and
watch to make sure that the barrel warms up uniformly. Ideally have

KNOW HOW INJECTION MOLDING

all zones, including the nozzle body and tip, come up to tempera-

Learn more at PTonline.com

ture setpoint evenly. Use this method for your hot-runner nozzles,

Get more insights on Injection Molding from our expert


authors: short.ptonline.com/moldingKH

tips, and manifolds as well. Do not let the nozzle body or tips heat
20

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

PTonline.com

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INJEC T ION MOLDING

Know How

Then add second stage (pack and hold) to make full parts. You

red dot is the center of IR beam area, a circle or oval. The diameter of

cannot determine melt temperature until the machine has run

the circle can be several inches, so make sure the area of the IR beam

several shots, as about 80% of the energy to melt the plastic comes

(circle) does not include anything but the purge or polymer. See the

from the mechanical shear and pressure within the transition/

accompanying photo for a representative IR picture of a small purge.


As for melt uniformity, rarely can this be achieved via a standard

compression zone of the screw. You will get an incorrect tempera-

general-purpose screw design. One of the

ture reading if you do not let the process


stabilize. How do you tell the process is
stable? When you see that fill time does not
change and the pressure at transfer stops
trending and varies within a given range.
After the process stabilizes, you are
ready to take the melt temperature. Back
the injection unit away from the sprue

It is important to capture
the image of the purge as
quickly as possible, as IR
does not penetrate and you
are really only taking the
temperature of the skin.

main reasons many molders use higher


temperatures than necessary is that the
melt quality is poor, consisting of melted
polymer and partially unmelted granules.
The melt uniformity test is straightforward: Start up running natural then add
a few granules of color and check uniformity of the color dispersion in the part.

bushing. If necessary, place cardboard in

Bottom line, IR temperature

front of the sprue bushing then purge,


capturing the IR image as you do so or immediately thereafter.

readings are easier to take than using temperature probes and are

Make sure the picture does not have the nozzle tip or heater band

far more consistent. Accuracy will usually be within 10 F (5

in view, and read the peak temperature of the purge.

C). What really stands out is that if you see differences between

It is important to capture the image of the purge as quickly as


possible, as IR does not penetrate and you really only are taking
the temperature of the surface or skin of the purged melt. If you
purge and then pull out the purge patty to measure temperature,
the surface will have cooled slightly. If you are using an IR gun, keep
in mind that the red dot is not taking the temperature reading. The

one run and another, they are real, as IR temperature readings are
repeatable and will be within 2 F (1 C).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Bozzelli is the founder of Injection Molding
Solutions (Scientific Molding) in Midland, Mich., a provider of training and
consulting services to injection molders, including LIMS, and other specialties. E-mail john@scientificmolding.com or visit scientificmolding.com.

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Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

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Email: sales@TempTek.com

PTonline.com

Know How

EXTRUSION

Processors ask screw designers


this question a lot. But neither
output nor melt temperature can
be predicted without details on
the polymer and head pressure.
An extruder screw is not a complete system in itself. Its just one
component that interacts with the extruder design, the rheology
and tribology of the polymer, and the
head pressure. You cant predict the
output and melt temperature of a given

The Shear-Thinning Effect

104
Apparent Viscosity, Pa-s

What Output
Can I Expect?

FIG 1

103
ABS 240 C
PA6 270 C
SB 220 C

102

101
100

PP 250 C
LDPE 240 C

101

102

103

104

Apparent Shear Rate, sec-1


The shear-thinning effect is different for every polymer
and grade. The individual curves are also offset up
or down as the temperature decreases or increases,
respectively. How the shear rate and temperatures
affect polymer viscosity in the tooling can result in
considerable variations in pressure drop through the die.

screw design without all of this information. For a given screw design and

By Jim Frankland

extruder, the output and melt tempera-

offset up or down as the temperature decreases or increases,

ture are strongly affected by polymer

respectively. The effect shear rate and temperature have on

characteristics and head pressure. As a

polymer viscosity in the tooling can result in considerable varia-

result such predictions are often

tions in pressure drop through the die.

inaccurate and have to be treated as an


educated guess at best.

With Newtonian fluids such as oil, water, or syrup, which

Die-flow calculations are quite complex due to the many


different shear rates and flow variations that occur in most dies.
A similar effect occurs in the screw, as its pumping capability is

have a fixed viscosity at a specific temperature, the pressure drop

also related to the shear rate, temperature, and resulting polymer

through the tooling is directly proportional to the output under

viscosity. The screw characteristic is determined by the difference

isothermal conditions. In other words, double the output and

between the drag flow and pressure flow. The pressure-flow calcula-

expect the head pressure to be doubled. This is called the die

tion depends on the viscosity in the screw channels. Because the

characteristic and is described as follows:

calculations are quite different in the tooling and the screw, there is
no parallel path to calculate the net effect, even if the two viscosities were identical. Each one must be dealt with individually.

Q = K Dp/, where:
Q = Output, Dp=Pressure drop through the die,
=Viscosity of fluid, and K=Die characteristic

Since at both ends of the extrusion process the pressure is atmospheric, the pressure buildup through the screw has to equal the
pressure drop through the tooling to achieve a balanced system. The

However, this does not apply to polymers that have non-

screw and tooling therefore interact to determine the actual output. As

Newtonian behavior or shear thinning with increasing shear rates

the pressure drop changes to push polymer through the tooling, the

and temperature. The polymer viscosity () is therefore a variable

specific output (lb/hr-rev) of the screw is affected in the opposite way

based on the shear rates and temperature through the die at the
desired output and must be determined from shear rate/viscosity

KNOW HOW EXTRUSION

data on that polymer to predict the head pressure.

Learn more at PTonline.com

As Fig. 1 shows, the shear-thinning effect is different for


every polymer and grade. Further, the individual curves are
24

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

Get more insights on Extrusion from our expert authors.


short.ptonline.com/extrudeKH
PTonline.com

E X T RUSION

FIG 2

Determining the
Operating Point

going into the polymer is increased, thereby increasing melt temperature. The increased
melt temperature means further reduced viscosity of the polymer and more pressure flow
in the screw but less pressure drop through the tooling. Its a moving target, and to estimate

Output, lb/hr

Extruder Output
Die-PressureDrop
Low-Pressure Die

the systems output you need knowledge of the polymer


viscosity, the screw performance, and the die characteristic.
Combining the die and the screw characteristics will
determine the operating point. The operating point will
be higher for a low-pressure die than for a high-pressure
die with the same screw design and polymer (see Fig. 2).
The point is that predictions of extruder output based
solely on screw design cannot be made with any degree
of accuracy without specific head-pressure and polymer

Die-Pressure Drop
High-Pressure Die
Pressure
Operating Point
When output is reduced by increasing
head pressure at the same screw
speed, the specific energy going into
the polymer is increased, thereby
increasing melt temperature. The
increased melt temperature means
further reduced viscosity of the
polymer and more pressure flow in the
screw. Combining the die characteristic
and the screw characteristic will
determine the operating point.

data. There are too many estimates involved without that

Since at both ends of


the extrusion process
the pressure is atmospheric, the pressure
buildup through the
screw has to equal
the pressure drop
through the tooling.

data to consider them accurate calculations. The more


data available, the more accurate the estimates.
In the real world, however, sometimes estimates must be made when planning a new
system. That usually involves estimates of the effect of viscosity in the screw and tooling
based on similar polymers, along with estimates of the die pressure drop based on the same
extrudate cross section compared with the planned output rate. Keep in mind how many
estimates or even guesses are involved before putting too much faith into this data.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jim Frankland is a mechanical engineer who has been involved in all
types of extrusion processing for more than 40 years. He is now president of Frankland Plastics
Consulting, LLC. Contact jim.frankland@comcast.net or (724)651-9196.

by pressure flow in the screw. Pressure flow


is a loss of output due to increasing head
pressure. What occurs is a sort of induced
reverse flow in the screwor a recirculation
of the flow in the screws pumping section
much like closing a valve on any fluid pump
(and a screw is a spiral pump). The higher
the tooling pressure drop, the lower the
screw output at a specific screw speedand
conversely for lower die pressure.
This interaction between the screw and
tooling creates the balance or operating
point between pressure drop through the
tooling and the screw output.Every extrusion system has an operating point, and
it can only be calculated by knowing the
tooling pressure drop and the resulting
pressure flow in the screw.

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higher head pressure, the specific energy


@plastechmag

Plastics Technology

25

Know How

TOOLING
Gating Revisited
An overlooked factor in injection molding has
outsize influence on the process and part quality.
I want to draw attention to a topic I feel the industry has not

me that there is not much information in the plastics industry on the

given enough attention to: the most restrictive point in the flow

impact of gating on the overall process. Most molders and moldmakers

path of the plastic in the injection pro-

have their own opinion on gate sizing and many do not keep an open

cessthe gate. This area, along with

mind on the impact gate size can have on the process and part quality.

runners, has been a

To establish gate standards you have

passion of mine. I am
still gathering some
information on runners and their impact,
but this article will
By Randy Kerkstra

focus on gating. I
wrote an article for

People often focus on


injection pressure-drop
studies, but the author
focuses more on the
amount of volume flow
through the gate.

this column on The

to consider material variation, part wall


thickness, and flow lengths. As I discussed
in my first article on gating, I tend to err on
the small side, going thin and wide when
possible; but with some materials, such as
glass-filled nylon, I tend to go much larger,
especially with larger parts where theres
more volume of plastic to move.

importance of Gate Geometry exactly two years ago (Dec. 14) to

Most of the efforts I have observed in the industry to control

bring some attention to this critical area in the flow of plastic to

the injection process involve measuring and controlling injection

the part. I feel that gates in general are still overlooked, along

pressure. This is, of course, a very critical parameter to control and

with the impact they can have on the process and part quality. So

to confirm you have a quality part. But I also feel the measurement

I wanted to revisit this topic in more depth.

of actual injection volume through the gate, and how it relates

Gating and its geometry or open area can have a big impact on
shear rates, gate seal, pressures, and quality issues. It still amazes

to injection pressure, would be a great tool for process analysis.


The gate is typically not a big focus unless there are pressureloss issues.
Pressure-drop

TABLE 1

studies are the

D-gate Advantages Compared to the Standard Sub-Gate or Tunnel Gate

common means

D-Gate Advantages

Sub-Gate Disadvantages

Reduced pressure loss thru the taper

More pressure loss thru the taper

gates impact on

Eliminates risk of cavity imbalance thru the taper

Can cause cavity imbalance if tapers are not exact

the process. A

Can decrease cycle time with gate seal

Can increase cycle time with gate seal

Allows gating into tighter areas and radii

Increased gate height/thickness

Reduced gate vestige

Increased risk of gate vestige

Reduced plastic flaking, cleaner break

Increased risk of flaking

to observe the

recent article I
read indicated
that pressuredrop studies
and the data
they present are
actually flawed.
(The article,
Questioning

.033

.074

the Science

.060
.125

.125

.060
Standard .060 orifice subgate
Gate area .0028 sq. in.
26

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

D-gate .033 thickness .125 cone


Gate area .0028 sq. in.

D-gate .060 thickness .125 cone


Gate area .0058 sq. in.

in Injection
Molding:
What are you
actually getting
PTonline.com

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Know How

TABLE 2

Cashew and Tab gates - Round/Square vs. Elongated

Elongated Advantages

Round/Square Disadvantages

Reduced pressure loss/fill


pressures based on area

Increased pressure loss/Fill pressures


(when thickness same as elongated)

Reduced cycle time with gate seal

Increased cycle time with gate seal


(with area same as elongated)

Less vestige with a cleaner gate break

Increases risk of vestige based on area

Reduces/eliminates high gate issues


on cashew gates

Increases risk of high gates based on area

Reduces gate blush

Increased risk of gate blush

Reduces jetting issues

Increased risk of jetting

Better flow transition from the


runner into the cavity

Does not always provide the best runner


to part transition with flow

in a Pressure-Loss Study? was written by John Beaumont and

pressure-drop studies was insufficient, I was involved with a

appears on his firms website, beaumontinc.com.)

part and process that was pressure limited at 24,000 psi, which

I want to bring up a couple of case studies to illustrate how

was the maximum machine pressure available. This was a poly-

the gate itself has impacts many do not consider or have not

propylene part that had two gates and excessive flow length. The

studied. A while back, before I started to find that reliance on

pressure-drop study showed that through the gates we had 9000

Storage

Conveying

Drying

Blending/Feeding

Heat Transfer

Size Reduction

Extrusion

Systems

TOOLING

psi pressure drop, and the rest was generated through the cavity.

volume of material that could move through the gate in the same

This specific grade of PP had a high viscosity, which contributed

amount of time, allowing the cavity to fill easier.

to the process being pressure limited. (Running a standard PP

Most would assume that the first enlargement of the gates from
0.020 x 0.080 in. to 0.030 x 0.080 in. was a 50% increase in gate area,

required a plastic pressure of only 9000 psi.)


Some people would have suggested using a higher-pressure
machine. I thought I could bring the pressure down slightly with a

and would allow a comparable increase in flow volume per unit


time. But you could also argue this was an even greater increase in
effective flow orifice. I have no idea of how

larger gate size but didnt think I would be able to


eliminate the pressure-limited issue. The gates
were originally 0.020 x 0.080 in. and I opened
them up to 0.030 x 0.080 in. We then did a pressure-drop study through the new gates, and there
was no change, it was still at 9000 psi, which I
found a little surprising. I then opened the gates

In my experience,
99% of the time the
problem is not the
runner but the gate
or hot-drop orifice.

thick the skinning of plastic around the gate


would be, but lets suggest 0.005 in. per side.
This may be a stretch, but I just want to paint
a picture. If we had skinning of 0.005 in. per
side at the original 0.020-in. gate thickness,
the remaining flow-channel thickness would
be 0.010 in. With the new 0.030-in. gate size,

to 0.040 x 0.080 in. and the pressure-drop study

the flow channel would be 0.020 in., a 100% increase in effective

still showed 9000 psi pressure loss through the gates.


Looking back, I see it was not logical to expect this to change

area and potential flow volume. With this theory, going to 0.040 x

much, because we were just shooting a minimal amount of

0.080 in. gate size would leave a flow-channel thickness of 0.030

material through the gates, and no matter how big they were we

in., an increase of 200% over the original size.

wouldnt see the impact without putting more volume through


the gate. We then shot the whole part, and to our amazement

KNOW HOW TOOLING

the overall pressure drop was now down to 17,000 psi, despite

Learn more at PTonline.com

the pressure-drop study still showing the same 9000-psi

Get more insights on tooling from out expert authors:


short.ptonline.com/toolingKH

pressure loss through the gate. Enlarging the gates increased the

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Know How

One other part running glass-filled nylon had a process that was also pressure limited at

My focus then went to the hot-drop

24,000 psi. Based on the pressure-drop study showing relatively little pressure loss through

orifices, which were at 0.080 in. or 2 mm. We

the runners and gates, it was assumed not much could be done to remedy the situation. This

opened them up to 0.14 in. (3.5 mm) and our

tool had four cavities and a hot runner with two hot drops, each feeding a cold runner and one

pressure drop subsided to 16,500 psi. Again,

gate to each cavity. The parts in this case a fair amount of flow length, which also pointed

this approach increased the volume of plastic

to the pressure loss being in the cavity as the study suggested. The process was pressure

to the part and ignored what the pressure-

limited when the part was 50-60% full and was not able to bury all the glass on the part at

drop study was suggesting. Both of these

the end of fill. The gates were 0.080 x 0.125 in. and we opened them up to 0.187 x .080 in. We

cases were eye-opening and cast new light

saw avery slight improvement but the part was still pressure limited at 80% full.

on what education in the plastic industry has


taught for years, and the lack of attention to
the influence of gates or hot-drop orifices. In
some cases, it just comes down to reducing
the restriction and increasing the volume of
material flow, and not always thinking about
the psi pressure drop.
These two case studies are just one
area of focus, and you really need to keep
an open mind about when you need larger

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gates and when you need smaller gates.


Like I mentioned earlier, I typically reduce
gate sizes to eliminate other defects and
molded-in stress, in some cases also
reducing gate-seal time and warpage.
Please reference my Dec. 14 article on gate
geometry.
Many people tend to focus on runner
size as much as gate size. While I agree that
the runner should always be a consideration, from my experience 99% of the time
the problem is not the runner but the gate
or hot-drop orifice. It depends on the length
of the runner; if the runner is short, I really
dont care if its round or square, because it
has no impact on the pressure loss unless it
is extremely undersized.

MORE ON FLOW VOLUME


VS. PRESSURE
My background is in moldmaking and repair.
I am not a processor and have not been educated to be one. But the case studies I have
mentioned are examples of how I came to
the perception that flow volume through the
gatesomething not generally focused on by
molderscan have a drastic impact on the
process; and the measurement of injection
pressurewhich molders do focus ondoes
not always show the impact. I will try to
paint a mental picture to help you visualize
how flow volume can impact the process.

30

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

PTonline.com

TOOLING

Lets use hydraulic-cylinder size as

have to dig where no one has dug before. Until the industry researches and studies gating along

an example. A 1.0-in.-diam. bore in that

with the all the variables of the plastic, machine, and part geometry, and creates a baseline

cylinder has 0.785 in.2 of surface area. A

standard for gate area and geometry, it should be questioned. The only suggested gate standards

cylinder with 2-in.-diam. bore has 3.14

I have seen are percentages of part wall thickness, but I have found these standards cannot be

in.2 of surface area in the bore, which is

relied on in many cases to resolve issues. I am always looking into that 20% of cases that cause

300 % more area than the 1-in. bore. If the

80% of the problems, which is where attention to gating can have a big impact.

hydraulic pressure being used was 1000


psi, the overall force would also be 300%
greater, at 785 lb of force with the 1-in. bore
vs. 3140 lbf with the 2-in. bore. But even

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Randy Kerkstra has been in the plastics industry for more than 26 years,
occupied frequently with troubleshooting injection molding. He is currently a tooling manager for a
large, multi-plant molding and manufacturing company. Contact: kbmoldingsolutions@gmail.com.

though the amount of force is 4X greater,


along with 4X the volume, the pressure per
square inch is still the same at 1000 psi. If
the cylinder bore were instead the gate size
or area, the increase in potential volume
flow and force into the part would also be

WHICH ELBOW PROBLEM


DO YOU NEED TO SOLVE?

400% and the measurement of injection


pressure would show no increase when in
actuality the volume flow and process have
drastically changed.
Lets use some realistic gate sizes and
volume changes. Going from a 0.020 x
0.080 in. gate to a 0.040 x 0.080 gate has
at minimum a 100% increase in potential
volume flow and force. And going from a
0.050-in.-diam. to a 0.100-in.-diam. gate

PROBLEM Wear and failure when


conveying glass-filled,
mineral-filled or other
abrasive pellets

Formation of streamers,
angel hair and snake
skins when conveying
plastic pellets

CAUSE Abrasive pellets hit the

Plastic pellets skidding


against the outside radius of
conventional elbows create
friction and heat, melting
pellet surfaces.

outside radius of conventional


impact elbows at high speed,
continually wearing through
the elbow wall.

has an increase of at least 250% in potential volume and force.


Again, this consideration of gate area
and volume is important mainly when
there is an issue with a pressure-limited

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to rotate, gently deflecting incoming
pellets around the bend.

Our current methods using pressuredrop studies focus on one parameter, and
assumptions of what is relevant can blind
us to the reality of what is happening inside
the mold. My conversations with numerous
processing technicians in the industry do
confirm that there is not complete understanding of the overall impact of flow
volume and cross-sectional area at the most
restrictive point in the melt path.
Some will suggest I am taking this gate
decades-old gate standards have robust

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thing a little too far. Molders using the

No impact means no wear and no fines and


no streamers, angel hair or snake skins.

processes, produce quality parts, and make


money. This is true, but as the industry
evolves and is looking for ways to become
more efficient with even more robust

45 and 90 elbows available in diameters ranging from 1.25 to 18 inch

process windows and improved quality, we


@plastechmag

Plastics Technology

31

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ADDITIVES

No Hard Coating
Needed

Now Theres an Additive That Improves Scratch/Mar


Resistance in Molded & Extruded Parts
Heres test data on a new additive that improves surface
durability of engineering thermoplastics at very low
loadings, and may even improve mechanical properties.

You want your new cars gleaming interior to appear like new for as long as possible.
After all, you paid handsomely for it. So you do your best to avoid knocks and gouges
in daily use. So theres no hiding your disappointment when, six months later, the

Processors and
their customers in
automotive, electronics,
and consumer-products
are looking for a way
to protect plastics
against scratching and
marring in storage,
transportation, and
usewithout the high
cost of painting or hard
coating. A new additive
may be the answer.

interior panels, consoles, and gearstick cover, appear scuffed and old.
Designers of these nylon or polycarbonate products cant rely on hardcoating or
painting the exposed surface to avoid this marring. Its simply too difficult and expensive.

34

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

PTonline.com

Scratch Resistance

Automotive OEMs are not the only ones concerned with scratch

against scratch or mar damage across a range of nylons of varying

and mar performance. Many molders and extruders of thermoBy Richard Marshall
TenasiTech

Solid-TT additive has shown significantly improved protection

plastics in consumer products, electronics,

viscosity and also with acrylics. The additive does not degrade the
polymers or cause significant discoloration.

and interior furnishings also demand

better performing resins that resist abuse and


retain their surface quality as long as possible.
Molders of such products are frustrated by the
high rate of scuffing appearing on their nylon
parts sometime between the injection molding
machine and their end-use customer. Some have
turned to a new and cost-effective approach.

The vast majority


of plastic products
in any given resin
market will never
have the benefit of
a high-performance
coating or painting.

Importantly, impact and drop resistance is


not impaired by the inclusion of the additive in
thermoplastics. This has been a major drawback
to previous attempts to create performance
additives for surface hardness. The additive also
does not affect the modulus of nylon 6.
When Solid-TT was added to an extrusiongrade nylon 6, mechanical properties were
significantly better than those of the same

TenasiTech (U.S. office in Marblehead, Mass.,


tenasitech.com) has developed a new additive called Solid-TT that

nylon without it. For example, there was a 41% gain in strain-at-

when compounded into resinsusually at only 1% by weight of

break for Nycoa 1637 nylon 6 with 1% Solid-TT, compared with the

the host polymerprovides significant improvements in scratch

nylon compounded without it. A 34% gain in toughness and 14%

and mar resistance without the expense of painting or hard coating.

gain in tensile strength were also recorded (see Fig. 2).

Molded parts and extruded sheets made with this


additive can withstand rougher handling without surface
marring (see Starting Up, Jan. 16). Here are further technical details and test data on this new technology.

SURFACE-TREATED CLAYS
Development of this additive began in the research
laboratories of The University of Queensland in
Australia. The research yielded patented organoclays
with a new type of surface treatment. The unique
organic treatment helps maximise the disassociation
of the clays when compounded into thermoplastics.
The additive is not intended to replace hard
coating. Companies that have already gone through
the expense and time required to establish a hardcoating line are unlikely to change. But the vast
majority of plastic products in any given resin market
will never have the benefit of a high-performance
coating or painting. Not only is hard coating too
expensive for many end-uses, molded parts with
curved surfaces are notoriously difficult to hard
coat efficiently. Furthermore, extruded sheeting is
commonly thermoformed, which involves stretching
the sheet. This can mean that hard coating is not an

A special surface-treated organoclay retains surface


gloss of nylons and acrylic without affecting UV or
chemical resistance, toughness, or modulus. It also shows
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option, given the potential for damage to the coating.


Solid-TT is a true polymer reinforcement, not simply a lubri-

Thermoplastics incorporating Solid-TT have undergone

cant or other migrating additive. So there are no issues with surface

1000 hr accelerated UV aging. The plastic did not show any

rub-off or long-term durability. Products made with the new additive

additional deterioration when compared with the neat resin.

can withstand routine cleaning and maintain glossy surfaces.


The additive is compounded into resins using standard twinscrew extrusion. The resins can then be molded or extruded as

QUESTIONS ABOUT ADDITIVES?

normal. Molders say that cycle time is not increased, and only a
slight increase in injection pressure is required.
@plastechmag

Visit the Additives Zone.


Plastics Technology

35

ADDITIVES
product must survive without excessive surface damage in normal use.
Sometimes a field test is as simple
as abuse with a pair of car keys, or a
fingernail. In other cases customers
subject their end product, such as a
ski or a bottle, to a use life typical
for its end market.
In tests, nylon 6 with Solid-TT
improved scratch resistance by 71%,
and transparent, cycloaliphatic
nylon 12 with the additive exhibited
improved scratch resistance of 55%,
according to the turntable-type
Erichsen Scratch Test (see Fig. 1).
Mar resistance is different than
scratch resistance. It is a change
to the surface such as color, gloss,

There is a wide variety of tests, but Solid-TT has shown good performance
in pencil hardness, Erichsen scratch, and Crockmaster mar tests.

or haze caused by friction or


rubbing, but without significant
loss of material from the surface.

Furthermore, the additive maintained the excellent pencil-

Rubbing tests are a good way to measure this: In so-called

hardness performance after UV exposure. Chemical resistance

Crockmaster tests, a mechanical finger drags a standardized

of the plastic is also unaffected, which is logical, given the low

textile against the plastic surface, using a consistent force, for

addition rate of this performance additive.

a predetermined number of cycles. To mimic normal use of an


automobile interior this testing can require up to 40,000 cycles

SCRATCH & MAR TEST PERFORMANCE

of cloth wiping. For mobile consumer devices, the number of

Scratch and mar behavior can be incredibly complex, and there is

cycles can be 5000 to 10,000 using a textile to match clothing.

no universally agreed-upon single test to measure performance.

In either case, a visual assessment is made of the plastic with

Among a wide array of tests, pencil hardness is a simple, shorthand

and without the additive.

method that can communicate across different polymers and is globally understood.

FIG 1

Improved Scratch Resistance for Nylon 6 and 12

Other tests, such as Erichsen Scratch (ISO


4586-2) and Taber Linear Scratch (ISO
1518:2001) are commonly used for scratch
testing. For mar resistance, friction and
wiping tests such as Crockmaster are
commonly used.
No method for guarding against scratch
and mar damage will qualify according to
every scratch test. This is true even for some
hard-coating methods. The Solid-TT additive

Erichsen Scratch (N) (Modified ISO 4586-2)


1.4
1.2
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0

Nylon 6

will not provide protection against more


aggressive, gouging-type scratching. Tests
such as Taber Abrasion can be very aggressive, and differentiating between polymers

Nylon 6 and
Solid-TT

4
3.5
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0

Nylon 12

Nylon 12 and
Solid-TT

Nylon 6 with Solid-TT improved scratch resistance by 71%,


and transparent, cycloaliphatic nylon 12 exhibited improved
scratch gains of 55%, according to the Erichsen Scratch Test.

containing Solid-TT can be very difficult.


It is common that the ultimate scratch or mar qualification

36

Solid-TT has been shown to significantly reduce the marring

happens in the field. Processors or their OEM customers may have

when these tests have been performed on nylons and acrylics.

their standard lab test as well as a required period of time that the

Similar results are expected for polycarbonates and other polymers.

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

PTonline.com

Scratch Resistance

FIG 2

400
350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0

an affordable option, and is unsuitable because the sheet will be

Property Boosts in Nylon 6


With Solid-TT

thermoformed to the final product shape.

41% gain

TenasiTech has measured the scratch resistance of the PVC/


PMMA alloy sheet and seen a tripling of the force required to leave
a permanent scratch, as per the Erichsen Scratch test (Fig. 3).

34% gain
14% gain
Tensile
Strength
(MPa)

Nylon 6

Toughness
(MPa)

Strain
(%)

Nylon 6 with Solid-TT (at 1% weight)

When Solid-TT was added to an extrusion


grade nylon 6, mechanical properties were
significantly better when compared with the
same nylon, which had also been compounded.
FIG 3

Improved Scratch Resistance of


PVC/PMMA sheet with Solid-TT

Erichsen Scratch (N) Modified ISO 4586-2


1.8
1.6
1.4
1.2
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0

PVC/PMMA

PVC/PMMA with
Solid-TT (at 1%)

PVC/PMMA alloys have shown very


promising improvements in anti-scratch
performance with the addition of Solid-TT.

BEYOND NYLON
Scratch performance for polycarbonates with Solid-TT has shown
pencil hardness of H, versus 2B without the additive. This
opens significant potential for PC molded products and sheeting
where hard coating remains too expensive an option.

Solid-TT additive has little or no effect on molding


and extrusion of nylon or acrylic compounds.

In external tests, PMMA formulated with Solid-TT showed


damage at 7H pencil hardness, vs. 4H without the additive.
Whats more, PET and PVC/PMMA alloys have shown very
promising improvements in anti-scratch performance with the
additive, though this work remains in development.
PVC/PMMA alloys are excellent options for sheeting in
airplane interiors, such as bulkhead partitions. They are very
tough and chemically resistant. But, like many polymers, they are
subject to scratch damage. Hard coating of PVC/PMMA sheet isnt
@plastechmag

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Marshall is CEO of TenasiTech Pty


Ltd., headquartered in Australia. He has 22 years of experience with
technology startups, venture funds, and top multinationals. He was
coauthor of a book chapter on the commercialisation of nanomaterials
for industrial applications, published in 2013. He has an MBA from
Oxford University, with Engineering and Science undergraduate degrees
from the Queensland University of Technology. Contact: (518) 572-8572;
richard@tenasitech.com, tenasitech.com.
Plastics Technology

37

On-Site

Lanier Color Co. Gainesville, Ga.

By Jim Callari
Editorial Director

Service & Response Drive


Growth of Custom Compounder
Lanier Colors
ownership team
consists of (l-r)
Blake Johnson,
technical dir.;
Selwyn Glanzer,
v.p. sales;
John Cothron,
president; and
Greg Walby,
dir. business
development.

Lanier Color has experienced an eightfold increase


in business since 2000. Its focus on technical
support and customer service help explain why.
When John Cothron went to work for Lanier Color Co. back in 2000, the custom compounder was just four
years old. It had two production lines, a small lab line, and about $3 million in sales.
Some 16 years later, the Gainesville, Ga., firm (laniercolor.com) has seven production lines, runs 24:5
out of a new 40,000 ft plant, employs about 75, and has annual sales of more than $25 million. It has
grown by double digits just about every year since 2000in some years by 20%save for a flat period in
2009-2010 during the housing crunch, which is pretty astonishing in itself, considering that a lot of its
customers are profile and sheet extrusion processors that serve the building and construction market with
siding, window lineals, base moldings, and bathroom partitions. We run a wide range of materials, but
the majortiy of what goes through here is flexible or rigid PVC, Cothron states.

38

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

PTonline.com

Lanier Color Co.

Lanier was formed in 1996 by Timm Scott and two partners.


Scotts background was color; he worked for PMS Consolidated, a

On-Site

and originals are compared for quality assurance, and products are
tested for regulatory compliance when required.

leading global color compounder (now part of PolyOne Corp.). Timm


Scotts son Dan is Laniers manufacturing manager. Scott and his

THE SERVICE MANTRA

partners sold Lanier in 2014 to Cothron, now company president, and

In the world of color, Cothron says, quality has become a given. He

three other employees: Greg Walby, dir. of business development;

elaborates, Were all using the same raw materials from the same

Selwyn Glanzer, v.p. sales; and Blake Johnson, technical director.

boxes, etc. So how does this explain Laniers rapid growth in Cothrons

In his 30-yr career, Cothron has worked in color, tool and die
making, and injection molding. His first mission at Lanier was
to put together operating systems for inventory management,
order taking, production, and more. He wrote the software, which
was fully operational by

You need to be able to


generate order entry
and inventory allocation at a press of a
button to initiate any
quick-change process.

2003. Lanier has since


hired a programmer to
add functionality to these
homemade systems
to make them more
robust. For a business
that does up to 25 product
changeovers a day, these

systems are critical to helping Lanier pivot quickly from one job
to the next. You need to be able to generate order entry and inventory allocation at a press of a button to initiate any quick-change

Lanier has the technology for die-face pelletizing,


but most of the time it runs strands.

process, Cothron says. We also try not to be capacity limited at any


time so well have more flexibility to jump from foot to foot quickly.
Lanier stages its production runs on seven twin-screw corotating compounding extruders from Leistritz Extrusion, Somerville,
N.J., so that most of its product changes involve purges and cleandowns; Lanier pulls screws and changes elements only about
10-15% of the time. The Leistritz lines range in size from 27 to 75
mm, including an older 27-mm for lab work. Lanier runs at a wide
range of outputs from 40 to 5000 lb/hr. The firm purchases the
extruders alone from Leistritz rather than buying a turnkey system
with upstream feeding and pelletizing systems. Our preference is
to engineer the system ourselves because we like to think we understand our applications better than our suppliers, says Cothron.
We get great technology and support from Leistritz (extruders.

A business that handles pigments can be messy, but the


production floor at Lanier is extremely tidy, as color houses go.

leistritz.com) and other equipment suppliers, but I doubt they are


thinking of Lanier Colors application when designing their next

tenure? Service and response time, he replies. The way we differen-

extruder. They are looking primarily at throughput. We are looking

tiate is through service. Thats our mantra. We work with customers to

for throughput too, of course, but our primary goal is dispersion and

help them with speed to market; as they get opportunities and develop

distribution in heavily loaded compounds. So our needs are a little

new products, the quicker they can get products to market the better.

different. Lanier uses feeding and blending systems from Brabender

In one real-world example, Cothron recalls the time a customer

Technologie, Mississauga, Ont. (brabender-technologie.com); and

had a unique opportunity to bring a new product to market for

scales, loading, and materials-handling systems from Tech-Weigh,

one of its clients, but the time frame it had to capitalize on this

Griffith, Ind. (techweigh.com). Lanier uses primarily strand pellet-

opportunity was short. They called Lanier. At about 8:30 am we

izing technology from Berlyn ECM, Worcester, Mass. (berlynecm.com).


Lanier separates its mixing and extrusion operations. During

QUESTIONS ABOUT COMPOUNDING?

extrusion, it pulls products off-line for quality-control checks

Learn more at PTonline.com

on lot-to-lot color control and pellet-size consistency. Samples

Visit the Compounding Zone.

@plastechmag

Plastics Technology

39

On-Site

Lanier Color Co.

took color and their polymer, performed a match, and they had 1000 lb by 4:00 pm. They

to formulating a product that fills a need or

were making their product and getting it to their customer the next day.

solves a problem. He states, As companies

Cothron continues, But service and response covers a lot of different things.

grow they tend to get more rigid in their

Sometimes a customer will run out of product. We quote 7-10 working days lead time, but

operation. What began as a primary focus for

were typically at a 4-5 working day range. That leaves us some flexibility so if someone

a company can change significantly. Lanier

needs something in an emergency, more often than not we can take care of it.

strives to maintain flexibility as we grow, and

TECHNICALLY SAVVY

focus on the customer. So to some extent we

we were established on the principle of


This kind of philosophy has helped Lanier pick up market share from competitors over

have gained market share as a result of those

the years. Sometimes this has been at the expense of larger companies that might be less

principles, but weve also gained through

nimble than Lanier. But as Cothron sees it, a better explanation is in Laniers commitment

helping customers achieve a technical


advantage with their products.
Cothron says his experience in molding

Complete Blown Film

X-DIE
V-RING

THE

& High Performance

helped him sharpen Laniers tech-support


efforts. He explains, In my first experience in
molding, we were running PE at 600 F. Why?
Because I didnt know any differently. When
that worked it was only because we were running at extremely fast cycles. But thats typically not what we see in the market. So if you
are designing a product for an application, you
have to understand things such as heat stability, weatherability, FDA regulations.
We do our best not to suggest or dictate
process parameters to a customer, Cothron
adds. However if a customer runs into a
technical issue thats process related, well
help if we can. Most of our technical service
is related to a customer that wants a product
that does X to the extent we can we design
and formulate a product to accomplish what
they are trying to achieve. Heat stability is a
big issue now. We have technology that
allows us to get dark colors that dont absorb
the kind of heat that you would typically see.
At first, customers would come to us
looking for speed and response at first, in

THE BLOWN FILM EXPERT S

ALPINE AMERICAN
www.halpine.com T: (508) 655-1123 F: (508) 655-9337
40

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

Lanier runs seven Leistritz twinscrew corotating compounding


extruders from 27 mm to 75 mm, and
uses another 27-mm for lab trials.
PTonline.com

Lanier Color Co.

order for them to grow. But in other cases

On-Site
Lanier has a
pristine lab where
technicians rely
on the latest
technology and
instrumentation
to match color and
perform tests on
weatherability and
other properties.

weve solved a technical issue or offered a


fresh solution to a problem. Its usually not
price or minimum order size that drives
customers to us. There is a need thats
presented and you try to meet it. Customers
know what they need and know what their
struggles are. They might know theyd be
better off if they had X. So how do you
provide X? You make yourself easy to do

to perform like the brown and tan that you more typically see? Lets just say the business of

business with and give the customer what

color is a lot of art backed up by science.

they are looking for.


While Lanier was founded as a color
house and still primarily focuses on that
area, it also does specialty compounds with

www.negribossi.com

specialty additives, UV stabilizers, flame


retardants, and antistatic agents for products
that have no color in them at all. Far more
often, we find products in the market that
are under-engineered, Cothron says. Parts
are fading and distorting because they are
absorbing too much heat. But if you know
the answer and know how to fix the issue,

ACCURATE. EFFICIENT. DEPENDABLE.

CAN BI O ST
Servo-Pump Injection Molding Machines
with New TACTUS Touchscreen PC Controller

youve got something to talk about.


Pigment selection is one way to minimize
heat buildup in decking, fencing, or windows,
Cothron elaborates. Another is the interrelationships between pigments. You can take
two pigments that perform very well on their
own and when you put them together they
are terrible. Or you can take two pigments
that dont perform well on their own and
when you put them together it looks pretty
decent. How do you get a black that doesnt
get too hot? You have to be pretty creative.
Technical acumen aside, Cothron

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believes color matching is equal parts art

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and science. Ive heard some people say that

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color is entirely science. But in reality, until


you can take all of that science and put it in a
box and feed it into a spectrophotometer and
have it read a standard and spit out an answer
at the other end, there will be art involved. A
customer will come to us and want a gold
or chrome-plating look without the gold or
chrome. You cant duplicate that with color.
But, the art is getting as close to it as you
can. How do you minimize heat buildup and
retain weathering resistance? How do you

Five flexible models in the 180500 tonne range


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go into the market with an orange that is


going to have exterior exposure but is going
@plastechmag

Plastics Technology

41

Tips and Techniques

Take These Steps


To Maintain Efficiency
Of Your IBC
The overall performance of a
blown film line depends on a
properly tuned and maintained
IBC control system. Follow
these preventive-maintenance
tips to keep your system
running smoothly.

Processors running advanced blown film lines are


well aware of the advantages of using IBC boost to
production, like a turbo charger does for a car. But
proper maintenance is required to keep any IBC
system running optimally. (Photo: Reifenhauser)

For blown film processors, taking advantage of internal bubble

an IBC system supplier for more than 27 years, D.R. Joseph has seen

cooling (IBC) is very desirable and quite easy. Anyone can pur-

a lot of IBC issues over the years. Last year, the company decided

By Daniel R. Joseph
D.R. Joseph Inc.

chase a blown film line that includes IBC as

to redo a study conducted in 2005 to see if anything had changed

standard equipment or an option. IBC pro-

in the areas where problems occur and how long it takes to solve

vides the same boost to production as a turbo

those problems. Our interest was to use this information to guide

charger for a car, at relatively low added cost, so not using IBC

our R&D development process. Of course, the information can also

leaves one at a competitive disadvantage.

be used in identifying PM tasks that will be likely to keep the system


For new adopters

Maintenance staff often


thinks of the IBC system as
a mysterious black box not
to be touched for fear of
messing it up. It really does
not need to be that way.

or those with little

running optimally, which is the main purpose of this article.


Figure 1 shows the various root causes that resulted in a

IBC system experi-

customer calling us for technical support. The data is from 780 calls

ence, preventive-

taken for D.R. Josephs second-generation IBC system between 2006

maintenance (PM)

and 2014. Of the areas listed, several need a short explanation:

action items are


often ignored and
omitted from the
schedule. Ignoring

Process: These are issues with an extrusion process variable


for example, excessive melt temperature.
Upstream (and Downstream) Equipment: These are issues

IBC PM tasks is so common because most of the critical elements

that pertain to extruders, primary nips, collapsing frames, and

of IBC are invisible. Maintenance staff often thinks of the IBC

air rings. Unsteady speed or improper setup for these items is a

system as a mysterious black box not to be touched for fear of

common problem.

messing it up. It really does not need to be that way.


The premise of this article is that achieving optimum perfor-

QUESTIONS ABOUT BLOWN FILM?

mance of an IBC system is directly linked to proper care and


maintenance of the system, including the invisible portions. As
42

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

Visit the Film Extrusion Zone


PTonline.com

BLOWN FIL M

FIG 1

Areas of Second-Generation
IBC Issues by Root Cause

FIG 2

Areas of Third-Generation
IBC Issues by Root Cause

Sensors

Air Flow

Air Flow

Process

Process

Sensors

Upstream

System

Site Electrical

Site Electrical

Flow Valve

Upstream Equipment

System

Customer Damage

Drives

Cage

Cage

Flow Valve

Pneumatics

Drives

HMI

HMI

Blowers

Pneumatics
Blowers
Occurrence, %
Frequency, %

Occurrence, %

Duration, %

Shown here are the various root causes of issues


with second-generation IBC systems, compiled from
780 calls taken by D.R. Joseph. In terms of frequency,
the number-one problem area was sensors.

Site (Electrical): These are issues of power loss, phase loss,

Frequency, %

Duration, %

An effort to make the sensor communication process


more robust and noise resistant in D.R. Josephs thirdgeneration system was successful. Both frequency and
duration are down significantly when compared with
the second-generation system. This data is based on
275 service calls taking 182 hr of tech support time.

AIR-FLOW PATHS

ground faults, and floating neutrals, which cause a whole host

The air-flow path is the single most problematic portion of the

of strange issues too numerous to list.

IBC control system in terms of both frequency of issues and


their resolution time. The heart of the matter is the very low

Notice that for the second-generation IBC systems, the

pressure inside a blown film bubble makes width control a very

number-one root-cause area was sensors. This is fairly common

delicate matter. Ideally, none of the blower-generated air flow

because the sensors take incredible abuse from ambient and

should escape into the atmosphere until reaching the exhaust

radiant bubble heat, misalignment from object strikes (sometimes

blower. In practice, this rarely happens, as small leaks are tolerated as long as they are

an operators head) and


operating 24/7 year after
year. Sensor communication signals are also
a source of issues from

The air-flow path is the single most problematic


portion of the IBC control system in terms of both
frequency of issues and their resolution time.

damaged cables, wires


pulled out of the back of the sensor, and induced signal noise.

before the flow valve.


Here are the PM
items for air-flow paths:
1. At least annually

(and after any work that requires ducting disassembly), walk

Figure 2 shows that an effort to make the sensor communication

the supply and exhaust air-flow path, checking and listening

process more robust and noise resistant in D.R. Josephs third-gener-

for leaks with the blowers running at least 70% of maximum

ation system was successful. Both frequency and duration are down

speed. In a noisy plant this is difficult to do by ear, and is even

significantly when compared with the second-generation system.

more difficult if the duct is covered in insulation, but it is

So taking the third-generation list as the priority sequence,

possible to see or hear issues by looking at ducting irregulari-

lets review what it takes to keep air flow, sensors, system, cage,

ties and checking near duct connection points. As a secondary

flow valve, drives, HMI (operator interface), pneumatic, and blower

note, avoid the use of spiral ducting, which leaks air and

issues down to a minimum with preventive-maintenance actions.

polymer residue.

@plastechmag

Plastics Technology

43

Tips & Techniques

2. Check and clean filters on a monthly

than a weak heart. During reinstallation,

basis. These include filters inside the

double-check that you have cooling hoses

cooling coils.

going to cooling pipes and not mixed up


with heating pipes. Also make sure the

3. Annually, open the access covers for

die-mounted hardware is assembled

the cooling coils and inspect the coils

correctly. Check after assembly by turning

for scaling or dirt buildup, which

on the cooling blower and removing an

reduces air flow through the coils. You

exhaust hose. There should be no air flow

can use a differential magnehelic to

coming from the exhaust hose.

provide an indication that the pressure


drop across the coils has increased to
unacceptable levels. A typical normal
differential pressure is less than one
inch of static pressure.
4. Once a year, replace the flexible

On bubble cages, new-style soft


rollers ensure no negative impact
on film quality. For IBC systems
that control the bubble-cage open/
close position, a smooth, consistent
movement is required to meet
todays layflat-control standards.

6. Finally, check the exhaust chimney


for accumulation of plastic. Since the
exhaust chimney is essentially a long
vacuum hose, it is common after a
bubble break for film to be pulled into
the chimney unless there is a screen
cap atop the chimney.

hoses connected directly to the die. This


is because the connection point at the die gets very hot and

SENSORS

decomposes even the best flexible hose over a years time. If time

IBC sensors can be problematic if operating guidelines are not

and budget are an issue, replace only the exhaust hoses. Use sili-

maintained. With proper care and alignment, these bubble sen-

cone-based hoses with smooth internal surfaces and that can

sors can last 5-7 yr. The mode of failure for an ultrasonic sensor is

handle up to 500 F (260 C). Hoses near heavy foot traffic often get

generally a slow, gradual decrease in sensing accuracy. However, a

stepped on and damaged. Consider mechanical protection for

swift end to the sensor can occur when mechanical damage

these hoses. Also, avoid sharp bends in flexible ducting and

occurs, particularly when the damage is to the sound-emitting

mitered metal elbows. Both will reduce air flow, which translates

portion of the sensor.

into production losses. Flexible ducting takes a lot of stress and

The keys to proper bubble sensing are alignment and posi-

heat and often fails internally without visual indication externally.

tioning the sensor within its operating range. Ultrasonic sensors

Dont be afraid to remove a perfectly good looking section of flex-

require straight line-of-sight alignment with the bubble. The

ible hose so you can see the inside.

most common failure with sensors is alignment, as sensors can


misaligned from

FIG 3

snagging by an

The Sensor Beam Angle

12 Signal

Cage or Mounting
Frame
Cage Rollers

There must be no obstructions


cage or stabilizerto the sensor
path that might interfere with
the signal. The typical ultrasonic
sensor has an included beam angle
of 12. As the distance from the
sensor to the bubble increases,
the area of the clear path required
increases as well. At a distance of
175 mm, the clear area required is
on the order of 38 mm. For layflatdetection sensors mounted on top
of the bubble cage, the clearance
has to be considerably larger.

unstable bubble.
Use this as a PM
guide for sensors:
1. Visually inspect
sensor alignment
and body integrity
on a weekly basis.
As the most
common sensor
issue is misalignment with respect
to the bubble, make
sure all the sensors

44

5. On an annual basis (or semi-annually if you run recycled mate-

are properly pointing at the bubble. If the face of the sensor is dam-

rials), remove the IBC hardware from the top of the die and verify that

aged, the sensor will not function properly. If the body of the sensor

all air-flow paths have no buildup of polymer residue in the air pipes.

is somehow crushed or the cable pulled out of the back, the sensor

Clogged pipes are the most damaging problem for the system's per-

should be replaced. Most sensors have an external LED, which will

formance, much the way that clogged arteries will end ones life faster

be illuminated with power or echo detection. Verify proper opera-

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

PTonline.com

BLOWN FIL M

At least annually (and after


any work that requires
ducting disassembly), walk
the supply and exhaust
air-flow path, checking and
listening for leaks with the
blowers running at least 70%
of maximum speed.

required by the CPU to start after a shutdown


(planned or otherwise). Note that lithiumion batteries will operate properly for
roughly 7-10 years if power remains on 24/7
(except for power failures or maintenance
shutdowns). Extended powered-off periods
will significantly shorten battery life. Some
systems will not restart after a power loss
with a dead CPU battery.

tion of the LED, as it could point to an alignment issue or sensor

2. Verify the controller parameters. Every controller has a set of

failure. For sensors without status LEDs, the system touchscreen is

parameters used to manage how the system responds to the pro-

usually the device by which sensor operation is checked.

cess. Parameters allow customization and provide flexibility for


processing different products. Company standard operating

2. Check for obstructions to the sensor path. The typical ultra-

procedures should include a periodic review of parameters on

sonic sensor has an included beam angle of 12. As the distance

process-control devices for which operators can access the

from the sensor to the bubble increases, the area of the clear path

parameter settings. Ask your IBC system vendor to see if it has a

required increases as well. For instance, at a distance of 175 mm,

method of easily verifying that all parameters are unchanged

the clear area required is on the order of 38 mm. But for layflat-

relative to an established standard.

detection sensors mounted on top of the bubble cage, the clear-

2. Every two to three years, use the system testing facility to verify

ance has to be considerably larger.

operation of the system inputs and output signals. Check with your
IBC supplier for instructions on how to perform this task.

3. Once a quarter, check the sensor cables for damage, exposed


wires, loose connectors. Sensor cables should not be hanging
from the back of the sensor or in a position that allows the
bubble to snag the cable.
4. Replace sensors that are more than seven years old. The
older the sensor gets, the weaker it gets, and eventually it cannot
sense the bubble at longer distances. We see this over and over:
sensors 10 to 20 years old and still in production. Sounds like a
good thing, but the

The older a sensor gets,


the weaker it gets, and
eventually it cannot
sense the bubble at
longer distances.

production rate is suffering as a result.

SYSTEM
System refers to the
main controller that
manages the inputs and
outputs required for IBC

control. Inputs come from the operator via a touchscreen in the


form of layflat target setpoint, air-exchange rates and pressure the
bubble creates when contacting the bubble-cage rollers (referred

Flow-control valves must be calibrated to the flow


backpressure generated by the narrow air paths
through the die. This is so the valve has the maximum
linear operating window to provide optimum performance over a large range of operating conditions.

to as cage contact). Outputs are to the variable-speed drives (to


manage air exchange), the flow valve (to manage bubble position

BUBBLE CAGE

relative to the cage), and the bubble cage (to manage layflat width).

The bubble cage is what stabilizes the bubble over the air ring to

Here are the PM items designed to reduce issues with the

ensure the cooling ring can provide a perfect flow of air over the

system controller:

outer surface. New-style soft rollers ensure no negative impact on


film quality. For IBC systems that control the bubble-cage open/

1. Check the CPU backup battery annually to ensure it is still

close position, a smooth, consistent movement is required to meet

working. CPU battery backup is designed to maintain critical data

todays layflat control standards.

@plastechmag

Plastics Technology

45

Tips & Techniques

Here are the flow-valve PM items:

The key to keeping the cage working


properly is periodic inspection of the

1. Monthly, verify there are no leaks

various components:

between the air-flow valve and the die.


1. Rollers: Inspect the rollers quarterly to

Leaking air between these two points

make sure they are moving smoothly and

will reduce the system layflat control

without cuts in the roller surface, which

capability by up to 20 mm.

will transfer marks to the film.


2. Monthly, inspect the pneumatic
2. Arm alignment: Inspect arms quarterly

regulator (if supplied) for proper pres-

to ensure all are parallel to each other.

sure and the presence of water. Water


condensate that exceeds the regulators

3. Cage alignment: Whenever the die is

collection capacity will enter into the

removed and reinstalled, drop a plum bob

flow valve and dramatically change the

from the center of the haul-off (when


closed) and adjust the die position to
ensure proper centering. Do this with the
extruder adapter pipes hot. Once that is
done, check the cage arms for centering
and correct as needed.

Most IBC blowers are arrangement


4 pressure type with motor, housing,
and impeller. Maintaining blowers
takes very little work, but not doing
the work can be very costly in terms
of lost production and very time
consuming, particularly if you have
to reopen the blower housing.

response and layflat-control capability.


Diagnose the source of the water or the
repair will be needed repeatedly. The
presence of water may damage some
pneumatic pressure devices; so have it
checked before restarting the line.

4. Cage diameter-control motor: Once a year,

3. Semi-annually, do the valve calibra-

inspect this motor, making sure the cage

tion process as specified by the system

opens and closes smoothly over the entire range of motion, and make

manufacturer. Make sure the IBC supply blower is operating prop-

sure limit switches are activating before the mechanical limit of the

erly and the impeller is rotating in the correct direction prior to

cage. Check again the arms for interference with other arms. Test and

calibration.

tighten all loose linkages to eliminate backlash, which makes size

Clogged pipes are


the most damaging
problem for the
system's performance, much the
way that clogged
arteries will end
ones life faster
than a weak heart.

changes more time consuming.

4. Every two or three years, remove the valve from the ducting to

Replace worn linkages con-

check for buildup of dirt, debris, or other foreign objects that may

necting shoulder bolts.

restrict air flow or valve movement.

5. Cage elevation screws:

VARIABLE-SPEED DRIVES

Annually, make sure the brass

Variable-speed drives manage the internal air exchange by sup-

bearings that support the cage

plying high-pressure cooling and exhaust air with separate blowers.

are in good shape by greasing as

Newer drives are very reliable but when problems do happen,

per the manufacturers recom-

locating the root cause can be difficult.

mendations. Double-check that

Here are the PM items to follow:

the cage is level and check the


chain tension that controls the

1. Annually, check the fault-history log of each drive to determine

individual screws that turn to

if a drive is experiencing periodic difficulties. Operators and main-

lower and raise the cage. If the cage is not level, one or more of the

tenance personnel tend to reset drives without diagnosing the root

elevating screws has jumped a tooth and will have to be retimed.

cause of the failure. Fault logs will show recurrent issues, which
need to be attended to before the drive or motor fails completely

FLOW VALVE (INCLUDING PNEUMATICS)

Look for:

in the correct position relative to the bubble cage. Flow-control

a. DC bus overvoltage caused by excessive deceleration.

valves must be calibrated to the flow backpressure generated by the


narrow air paths through the die. This is so the valve has the maximum linear operating window to provide optimum performance
over a large range of operating conditions.
46

and causes extended downtime.

The flow valve is the main control element for keeping the bubble

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

Verify deceleration settings.


b. Phase loss caused by incoming power problems.
Check the main supply.
c. Motor overheating, often caused by wrong nameplate
PTonline.com

BLOWN FIL M

details entered into the drive (dont overlook the

3. Greasing the motor bearings: Follow the manufacturers recom-

possibility that the motor is truly overheating).

mendations for the type of grease and greasing intervals. Blower


motors have two bearings. The outer bearing fitting is typically easy

d. Drive overheating caused by a failing or dirty drive-

to access; the inner requires a grease gun with an extension.

cooling fan or inadequate panel ventilation.

The overall performance of any blown film line depends on a

2. Any replaced drive must be reprogrammed exactly as the IBC


supplier states in its documentation. Failure to do this can result

properly tuned and maintained IBC control system. IBC control is

in DC bus overvoltage situations, as drive manufacturers default

just a machine like any other, except most of what it does is invis-

to typically 3 sec on the acceleration and decel-

ible to the human

eration. IBC systems with flow valves do not

eye. Your inability

need this rapid response, but systems without

An IBC system's "invisible" or hidden


details don't excuse poor maintenance
of what accounts for up to 50% of
added production capacity.

flow valves indeed require faster response and


typically require braking resistors. In either
case, getting the drive parameters set properly
is paramount for good IBC control.

to see air disturbances, ultrasonic


waves, or other
hidden details
does not excuse
you from main-

BLOWERS

taining a system

Most IBC blowers are arrangement 4 pressure type with motor,

that is responsible for up to 50% of added production capacity.

housing, and impeller. Maintaining blowers takes little work, but not

Diligently following the PM items here will keep the system

doing it can be very costly in terms of lost production and very time

running smoothly for years.

consuming, particularly if you have to reopen the blower housing.


PM items for pressure blowers are:
1. Rotation: The impeller will create pressure in both directions;
so whenever there is any maintenance on the blower motor or the
variable-speed drive, rotation must be double-checked.
2. Impeller-to-motor integrity: Whenever there is any work on the
motor, the impeller must be removed. The locking collar must be
replaced and properly tightened with the key installed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel R. Joseph founded D.R. Joseph, Arlington,


Tex., in 1987 to supply the blown film industry with engineering support.
That idea grew over the years into patented innovations, which resulted
in DRJ becoming a global leader in blown film bubble-management
systems. His current activities include R&D efforts for product development and training systems. He also runs the North American service and
support operations for Kundig International, a company specializing
in thin-film thickness-measurement systems. Contact: (817) 987-2030;
danielj@drjosephinc.com; drjosephinc.com.

EXTRUSION TECHNOLOGY LEADER


G-SERIES QUAD PLUS CO-EX SHEET SYSTEMS

QUAD CUP

Model GCH841830
Horizontal Five
Chrome Roll Stand

SIDE x SIDE

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Mechanism

US Pat. #9,139,393
Roll Lock-Out Safety
System

BARRIER

US Pat. #8,342,118
Sheet coating
system

STRIPES

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Linear bearing
assembly

World Class Sheet Extrusion Systems


M-ATEX Die Support &
Operator Platform

@plastechmag

Processing Technologies International, LLC | 2655 White Oak Circle Aurora, IL 60502 | Tel: 630.585.5800 | Fax: 630.585.5855

Plastics Technology

47

Keeping Up
With Technology
INJECTION MOLDING

BLOW MOLDING

IR Gauge Measures Parison


Thickness During Blow Molding
A bottle blow molder wanted to understand better the thickness
profile of the extruded parison during the molding process. Due
to cycling mechanical machinery within a 24-in. window around
the parison, a standard probe with a standoff maximum of 2
in. could not be used while the machine was running. Lumetrics, Rochester, N.Y., designed a custom infrared probe with a
standoff distance of more than 2 ft so it could measure wall
thickness of discrete areas of the parison just prior to mold
closing. This allowed the customer to optimize the parison
extrusion process. Lumetrics OptiGauge uses infrared interferometry to measure absolute thickness of clear or translucent
plastics. The gauge allows the blow molder to fine-tune the
setup in a matter of minutes vs. the previous hour or more.
585-214-2455 lumetrics.com

New Servo-Hydraulic
Presses With Larger, Faster
Touchscreen Controller
Negri Bossi North America, New Castle, Del., recently introduced the new Canbio ST series of servo-pump, toggle-clamp
injection machines from 180 to 500 metric tons. They utilize
new GH4 series hydraulic pumps from Bosch-Rexroth together
with the latest three-phase synchronous motors and drive
from Baumuller. The new servo-pump design is said to greatly
improve energy efficiency and reduce sound levels to 50 dbA
(comparable to a normal conversation). System response time
reportedly has been cut in half, and improved pressure overshoot control minimizes material waste through overpacking.
The moving platen rides on linear bearings; the clamp also
features generous tiebar spacing, long ejector strokes, and
parts-discharge access on three sides. The injection unit slides
on linear bearings and pivots with a quick barrel release.
A major feature of these presses is the new Tactus touchscreen controller with 43% larger (21.5-in.) display that can
be operated even when wearing gloves. The controller offers
communication speeds of only 2 millisec, vs. 4-8 millisec
for other systems. It also has configurable option keys for
quick selection and a Favorites function. Screens include
the cycle optimizer and energy-consumption monitor. Also
standard is AMICO software for remote real-time machine
monitoring, parameter modification, I/O configuring,
production reporting, software upgrades, etc.
302-328-8020 negribossi.com

Custom Probe Design Used In-Situ

Extruder

24"

ob
Pr

OptiGauge

Inconsistent
Molten Plastic
Shampoo
Bottle

Mold

Mold

Capture Thickness
Data
Optimize Extruder
Process Profile
Manufacture
Better Bottles

THERMOFORMING

Training for Thick-Sheet Thermoforming


The new Thick Sheet Thermoforming training course from
Paulson Training Programs, Chester, Conn. is available anywhere,
anytime, and on any deviceincluding a version offered on CD.
This in-depth, five-lesson course covers all aspects of the thicksheet thermoforming process, including how to solve problems
quickly and how to develop advanced troubleshooting skills.
48

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

Many of the conditions that cause part defects are explained.


The five lessons in Paulsons new course cover an introduction
to the process, properties of extruded sheet, heating, temperature control, vacuum and pressure systems, venting, mold
cooling, and finished part properties.
800-826-1901 paulsontraining.com

PTonline.com

NE W PRODUC T S FOR PL A S T IC S PROCE S SING

TOOLING

COMPOUNDING

Extruder Series Protects Special-Effect Pigments

Food-Grade
Rust Protection for
Packaging Molds
Chem-Trend, Howell, Mich., a supplier
of purging compounds and release
agents, has now added Lusin Protect
G 31 F rust-preventive agent to its line.
This product is a spray-on, wax-based
mold-maintenance product that is
NSF registered and complies with FDA
regulations for food-grade applications involving packaging molds where
incidental food contact is possible.
Unlike typical oil-based rust inhibitors, this dry film is nondripping, does
not creep between mold plates, slides,
etc., and can be easily removed by
molding a few parts, the company says.
It reportedly also does not leave oil
marks on transparent and optical parts.
It does provide lubricating properties.
800-727-7730 chemtrend.com

The Omega series of twin-screw extruders


from Steer, Uniontown, Ohio, is now
available with specially designed screws
for compounding special-effect pigments
with minimal damage to the sensitive
platelet structure, reportedly retaining
up to 80% of the pigment particle size in
the finished compound. Special patented
screw elements are said to eliminate
shear peaks, which Steer says are the
biggest cause of attrition and damage to
pigment particles. The mixing elements
also prevent stagnation, degradation,
and resultant char formation.
The Omega lines barrel-to-screw gap
and screw-to-screw gap are maintained

at less than 0.25 mm to have a fully wiping


effect rather than a shearing effect, while
addressing the issue of leakage. The
deeper root depth (1.71) draws more of the
resin into the screw root and away from
the shear forces that occur when the melt
contacts the barrel wall, the company says.
Explains Rob Roden, Steers assistant
v.p., The root of all evil is shear. The
standard elements used by the industry
today are brutal, and reduce pigmentparticle size by half due to various
inefficiencies. Therefore the quality of the
compound is compromised.
330-563-4407 steerworld.com

HEATING/COOLING

TCU Covers the Basics


The RQE Series Basic mold-temperature
controller from Thermal Care, Niles, Ill.,
is designed for simple operation at an
economical price. The units controller has
easy-to-use buttons, LCD display, and adjustable tuning parameters. The high-flow pump
can provide up to 70% more flow for its size.
Units are available in 12 kW and 0.75 or 2 hp,
with a three-year warranty.
847-966-2260 thermalcare.com

Strong history. Bright future.


www.maag.com

@plastechmag

Maag. Gala. Automatik. RE Scheer. The brands you know


and trust proudly building better solutions for you, together.

Plastics Technology

49

Keeping Up With Technolog y

MATERIALS

RECYCLING/SCRAP RECLAIM

MATERIALS

Force-Fed Granulator
For PET Bottles

Ultra-Heat-Resistant
ETFE For Wire & Cable

Herbold USA, Slatersville, R.I., is offering


a new force-fed granulator for PET bottles.
Model SMS 100/160-9-2 SB3 has a rotor
that is 20% larger than current offerings,
which allows the granulator to operate at
higher throughput rates (up to 7 tons/hr).
Material is fed into the cutting chamber
via a patented mechanism with three
vertically
mounted
screws. This
arrangement
reportedly offers
several
advantages
over gravity
feeding,
including
consistent
feed rates,
reduced
power
consumption, no flyback, quieter operation, less wear on the cutting chamber,
and reduced fines and dust.
The knife geometry positions inclined
rotor knives and stator knives at the
same, but opposing angles, providing a
true double cross-cutting action.
(401) 597-5500 herboldusa.com

A new ETFE fluoropolymer from AGC


Chemicals Americas, Exton, Pa., is
formulated for industrial and automotive wire/cable insulation as well
as seat-heating cables. It withstands
temperatures up to 392 F (200 C).
New Fluon ETFE C88AXMP-XT is said
to meet the increasing demands on
automotive cables that must be lightweight and maintain performance when
exposed to high underhood temperatures and aggressive oils and coolants.
This material is 20%
less dense than FEP
fluoropolymer, and
its high flow rate
reportedly provides
fast processing. It is
suitable for all wire
cross sections (0.3 to
10 mm2). Improved
crack and abrasion
resistance and
enhanced mechanical strength are also
claimed. AGC also
offers a full range
of compatible color
masterbatches.
800-424-7833
agcchem.com

LLDPE for
Demanding
Films
Three new LLDPE film grades based
on a special catalyst technology
have been added to the Dowlex
line from Dow Chemical, Midland,
Mich. They boast improved toughness, puncture/tear resistance, and
hot-tack strength.
The new grades are aimed at a
range of demanding film applications: GM 8070G for heavy-duty
shipping sacks and collation shrink
films; GM 8071G for consumer liners;
and GM 8480F for blown and cast
stretch films.
800-441-4369 dow.com

BOY
VV

EconPlast
Servo Drive

EconPlast

Procan ALPHA

Insert moulding

Industry 4.0

Spritzgiessautomaten
More than 45,000
successful machines
www.boymachines.com

n design
e
v
o
r
p
ll
e
W
logies
new techno
BOY Machines, Inc. | Exton, PA 19341 | Ph 610.363.9121 | Fx 610.36
610.363.0163 | E-Mail: sales@boymachines.com

50

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

BOY has become the leading


supplier for injection molding
machines up to 110 U.S. tons
clamping forces.
With efficient Servo-Drive, the
EconPlast technology and the
control Procan ALPHA BOY
sets standards world-wide.

PTonline.com

NE W PRODUC T S FOR PL A S T IC S PROCE S SING

MATERIALS

MATERIALS

High-Concentration LGF-PP
For Automotive

Gamma-Stable Nylon &


PC for Medical Products
A new line of PC and nylon 66 compounds
for healthcare and medical applications
is said to exhibit reduced color shift after
multiple cycles of gamma sterilization.
The new ColorRX and glass-reinforced
Instruct compounds come from Infinity
LTL Engineered Compounds, part of the
Americhem group of companies, Morrisville, Pa. The compounds are available
in clear, transparent, and opaque colors,
and Instruct grades come in a range of
glass loadings. These products are made
in ISO 13485 compliant facilities, and
are offered in short lead times with no
minimum order quantities.
856-467-3030 ltlcolor.com
MATERIALS

Purging Compound for Film


And Injection Molding
A new-generation purging compound
from Asaclean-Sun Plastech, Inc., Parsippany, N.J., is said to be well suited to
blown and cast film extrusion as well as
injection molding applications. Asaclean
UF2 grade reportedly allows for faster
color and materials
changes, and effective removal of color
and carbon contamination. It can be
purged without
removing the die
and is said to effectively remove gels
and contamination
that are not carbonized. It also boasts excellent compatibility
with PE resins.
973-257-1011 asaclean.com
@plastechmag

A new family of long-glass PP compounds for automotive semi-structural


applications is reportedly the first on the market with an 85% concentration
of long-glass fibers (LGF), allowing processors to achieve cost savings of up to
10% through reduced compounding expenses. Enlite PP LGF 1851 and 1852 from
Trinseo, Berwyn, Pa., are commercially available from a new production facility in
Midland, Mich.
The compounds are said to represent a step-change improvement over the
previous industry benchmark of 60% LGF. Their dispersability is reportedly as good
as 60% LGF while delivering good impact resistance and durability in the final
part. The outstanding pellet robustness of Enlite 1851 and 1852 is said to minimize
generation of loose fibers during air conveying.
888-798-7661 trinseo.com

New Chemical Free


Karl Fischer Alternative

Vapor Pro XL

MOISTURE SPECIFIC ANALYZER

Improved repeatability, precision, exibility and an advanced user interface


the Vapor Pro XL is the latest in moisture specic analysis technology
from Computrac. Its upgraded heater increases the high limit for testing
temperatures to 300C, making it ideal for testing high temperature
engineering plastics such as PEI and PEEK.

CALL US TODAY 800.528.7411

by Arizona Instrument LLC

azic.com/vpxl

Plastics Technology

51

YOUR BUSINE S S

Resin Pricing Analysis

Polyolefin Prices Drop; Ditto for PET


PE, PP, PET prices head down, PS and PVC flat for now.
In early November, lower PP, PS, and PET prices were the concensus forecast for the last two months of the year. PE and PVC,
By Lilli Manolis Sherman
Senior Editor

however, were generally expected to be

Resin Grade

flat. But supply/demand fundamentals

POLYETHYLENE (railcar)
LDPE, LINER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
LLDPE BUTENE, FILM . . . . . . . .
NYMEX FINANCIAL FUTURES
DECEMBER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
HDPE, G-P INJECTION . . . . . . . .
HDPE, BLOW MOLDING . . . . . . .
NYMEX FINANCIAL FUTURES
DECEMBER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
HDPE, HMW FILM . . . . . . . . . . .

were changing and, in the case of PE,

lower price offers were emerging.


Those are the views of purchasing consultants from
Resin Technology, Inc. (RTi), Fort Worth, Texas (rtiglobal.com),
CEO Michael Greenberg of the Plastics Exchange, Chicago
(theplasticsexchange), and Houston-based PetroChemWire
(PCW; petrochemwire.com).

PE PRICES FLAT TO DOWN


Polyethylene prices stayed put in October, following Septembers
5/lb hike. As expected, an October 4/lb price initiative failed to
gain industry support. But further change was underway as Nova

Polyethylene
Price Trends
LDPE
OCT

NOV

Chemicals offered customers a 3/lb discount, effective Nov. 1.


Suppliers had been expected to hold on
firmly to their September 5 increase, but
industry dynamics were likely to weaken
their grip. At Octobers end, PCW reported
that market chatter was focused on poten-

LLDPE Butene
OCT

NOV

HDPE
Injection
OCT

NOV

Market Prices Effective Mid-November 2016

tial price decreases in the last two months

/lb
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90-92
76-78
46
46
89-91
79-81
44
44.50
92-94

POLYPROPYLENE (railcar)
G-P HOMOPOLYMER, INJECTION
NYMEX FINANCIAL FUTURES .
DECEMBER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
IMPACT COPOLYMER . . . . . . . . . .

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74.5-76.5
46
46
76.5-78.5

POLYSTYRENE (railcar)
G-P CRYSTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
HIPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

90-92
96-98

PVC RESIN (railcar)


G-P HOMOPOLYMER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
PIPE GRADE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

77-79
76-78

PET U.S. (truckload)


BOTTLE-GRADE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

55.25

of the year, but noted that suppliers were


citing firm pricing in the bellwether Chinese
market, as well as data showing healthy

lower than contract prices, compared with a more typical 5-7 differ-

domestic demand, to counteract expecta-

ence. Ditto for export prices, which were 15 lower than contract

tions of lower prices. The Plastics Exchanges

prices, vs. a more typical 7-10 discount. Somethings got to give,

Greenberg reported availability of deeply

he said, adding that suppliers inventories were growing while some

discounted, spot prime-resin railcars, with

softness in domestic demand had emerged.

certain PE grades dropping below preSeptember levels. The lone standout, he

HDPE
Blow Molding
OCT

NOV

HDPE HMW
OCT

52

NOV

Plastics Technology

noted, was tightly supplied clarity LDPE.


Mike Burns, RTis v.p. of client services
for PE, saw strong likelihood for the

PP PRICES DROP
Polypropylene prices dropped 1.5/lb in
October, once again in lock-step with pro-

September 5 hike sloughing off before

pylene monomer. Prices were very likely to

years end. He expected that other suppliers

drop farther in the last two months of the

were likely to offer price concessions similar

year. In fact, suppliers margins which held

to that of Nova Chemicals. He pointed out

at about 11.5/lb through October (down

that current PE contract prices were 5 above

from the April high of 25.5/lb) were

what they should have been. At the same

expected to erode much further going into

time, spot prices were as much as 10/lb

next year. Contracts for 2017 were being

DECEMBER 2016

Polypropylene
Price Trends
Homopolymer
OCT

NOV

1.5/lb

Copolymer
OCT

NOV

1.5/lb
PTonline.com

YOUR BUSINE S S

renegotiated in a much different environment than the previous

PVC PRICES FLAT TO HIGHER

year, according to Scott Newell, RTis v.p. of PP markets. Suppliers

PVC prices, which had remained flat for the seventh consecutive

are showing more flexibility in their negotiations as they are

month through September, were still unsettled for October at press

trying to regain the market share they lost to imports, said Newell.

time. RTIs Kallman ventured that prices could remain flat or per-

At Octobers end, PCW reported that PP spot prices were flat to

haps rise by 1.5/lb of the 4 October hike

lower, yet buying activity was lackluster owing to ample supplies.

that suppliers were trying to implement

Both PCW and Newell noted that spot import offers had lost their

after Septembers 2.75/lb ethylene con-

edge, as domestic spot prices had become much more attractive.

tract increase. However, spot ethylene

Greenberg reported spot PP prices shedding 2/lb by late October.

prices were rapidly dropping into

We are now seeing a large gap develop between contract and spot, as
generic prime has slipped back to the low seen during the summer.
Offgrade PP prices dropped much more due to challenges

PVC Price
Trends
Pipe
OCT

November, and lower prices were expected

NOV

for October and November contracts.


Adding to suppliers difficulty in

from imports. With planned and unplanned shutdowns of both

increasing prices was the continued

PP and propylene monomer pretty much over with last month,

buildup of inventories and seasonal

inventories were on the rise. Suppliers were reported to be throt-

decline in demand. Kallman characterized

tling back on production due to the significant excess in inventory

domestic demand through October as flat,

and demand being a bit soft. According to Newell, if suppliers are

but exports were declining.

Gen. Purpose
OCT

NOV

successful in their aim to regain lost market share, there is a likely


potential for resin to get tight once again next year.

PET PRICES INCH UP, DROP AGAIN


Domestic bottle-grade PET prime resin prices averaged 54.6/lb, down

PS PRICES FLAT TO DOWN

2/lb from September, based on PCWs Daily PET Report. The price

Polystyrene prices were flat in October, after having moved up a

represents PET on a delivered Chicago basis. Prices rose in mid-October

total of 5/lb in the two previous months in step with higher

by 0.65/lb, after DAK Americas declared force majeure on PET ship-

benzene and ethylene prices. But the trajectory for both feed-

ments from its plants in the Carolinas in the aftermath of Hurricane

stocks took a reverse turn. October benzene contract prices

Matthew. By Nov. 3, the force majeure had been lifted as feedstock deliv-

dropped nearly 20/gal to $2.31, and November contracts were

eries returned to normal levels. Domestic

expected to settle around $2.20/gal. Late-settling October eth-

PET prices were still down due to an

Polystyrene
Price Trends
GPPS
OCT

NOV

ylene contracts were expected to shave

ongoing glut of imports and domestic

off up to 2/lb from the September 2.75/

supply, according to Xavier Cronin, senior

lb increase and possibly more in subse-

editor for the PCW Daily PET Report.

quent months, as all plants were back in

HIPS
OCT

NOV

Meanwhile, U.S. imported PET (pack-

operation, according to Mark Kallman,

aging grade) averaged 49.7lb, up 1.1/lb

RTis v.p. of client services for engi-

from September (on a delivered duty-paid

neering resins, PS, and PVC.

PET Price Trends


Bottle Grade
OCT

NOV

2/lb

0.65/lb

U.S. ports basis, in some cases including inland delivery in super sacks).

PCW reported PS spot prices as flat to

Higher prices for PET from Brazil, which represents about 11% of all

lower in response to slowed demand and

imports, was one reason for the higher monthly average price of imports.

adequate supply. PCW also reported that

U.S. imported PET rose 27% year-to-date in August. Imports from Mexico,

spot styrene monomer prices were 2.5/

the largest source, grew by 16% in that month over August 2015,

lb higher amid active buyinglevels not

while imports from Taiwan, the second largest source, grew by 98%.

seen since April. According to Kallman, a

M&G Chemicals Project Jumbo, the worlds largest PET plant,

monomer outage at a Westlake Chemical plant, along with strong

under construction in Corpus Christi, Texas, will now come on

demand from Asia due to monomer outages there, were pushing

line during first-quarter 2017. The original end-of-2016 startup was

prices upwards. Still, PS prices are more closely tied to benzene

delayed by supply and equipment issues related to the plants PTA

and ethylene pricing. At least for GPPS, Kallman expected prices to

feedstock section. The latest capacity estimate is for 2.4 billion/lb.

be flat to 1/lb lower in the years last two months.


In contrast, the price pressure on HIPS was upwards,

QUESTIONS ABOUT RECYCLED RESIN PRICING?

as October butadiene contract prices moved up 3/lb and


November contracts were nominated at 6-8/lb higher, driven
by the Asian outages.
@plastechmag

Read the latest on recycled PET prices at


short.ptonline.com/rPET
Plastics Technology

53

YOUR BUSINE S S

G ARDNER BUSINESS INDE X: PL A S TIC S

Octobers Index50.1
Mid-size plants drive growth among processors.
With a reading of 50.1, the Gardner Business Index showed that
the plastics industry expanded for the first time since May. The

The Northeast was the fastest growing region, and has recorded
an index of 54.8 in each of the last two months. The South Central

index has increased in each of the

region dropped significantly, falling to its lowest level in at least

last four months. (Readings above

the last two years.

50 indicate expansion; below 50

Facilities with

indicates contraction.)
While custom processors

employees contracted

contracted for the first time in four

for the third time in

months, the rate of contraction

four months.

was small. Plastic/rubber product


Steve Kline Jr.
Dir. Market Intelligence

Plants with 100-249


employees grew for the third
straight month and for the
20th of the last 24 months

more than 250

Processors with

manufacturers as a whole grew for

fewer than 20 employees have contracted every month since January

the third month in a row. Among

2015, although their index bottomed in December 2015. The strength

major end markets, the electronics

of the plastics-processing market has been in mid-size facilities.

industry grew for the second month

Plants with 100-249 employees grew for the third straight month and

in a row and was the fastest-growing industry in October. The


medical industry contracted for the third month in a row.

for the 20th of the last 24 months. Companies with 50-99 employees
have expanded since December 2015. And processors with 20-49

New orders grew for the third month in a row. The rate of

employees have grown in three of the last five months.

growth has been constant over those


three months. Also, production has
increased for the last three months, but
the rate of growth slowed in each of
those months. Further, the production

Plastics Industry Business Index


70
Values above 50 indicate growth

index generally has trended down since


March. The backlog index continued to
contract but improved in each of the
last four months. The low level of the

60

backlog index has kept the total index


down in recent months.
Employment increased for the

Oct.
2016
Index
50.1

50

first time since May. The export index


showed that exports were virtually
unchanged in October. This was the

40

highest level for the export index since


December 2014.

JUL 16

JAN 16

JUL 15

JAN 15

JUL 14

JAN 14

JUL 13

last two months, pushing the index

JAN 13

prices has accelerated sharply in the

JUL 12

April. The rate of increase in material

Values below 50 indicate contraction


30
JAN 12

Material prices have increased since

to its highest level since October 2014.


Prices received increased for the second
month in a row. The prices received index has improved steadily
since June 2015. The future business expectations index dropped
in October to virtually its lowest level of 2016.
54

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steven Kline Jr. is part of the fourth-generation


ownership team of Cincinnati-based Gardner Business Media, which is
the publisher of Plastics Technology. He is currently the companys director
of market intelligence. Contact: (513) 527-8800;
email: skline2@gardnerweb.com blog: gardnerweb.com/economics/blog
PTonline.com

YOUR BUSINE S S

MARKET WATCH

Construction Spending Slowing


But market outlook remains strong.
Construction spending has been growing at a slower rate recently,

increased 10.7%, for the second month of growthboth at double

but the 10-yr U.S. Treasury bond rate and housing permits are

digitsin a row. The annual growth rate accelerated to 2.9%, which

Steve Kline Jr.


Dir. Market Intelligence

was the second month in a row of accelerating growth.

moving in a direction that points to fur-

The change in the real 10-yr Treasury rate is a likely cause for

ther growth in construction spending.

Septembers increase in housing permits. Changes in the interest

Lets look at the underlying factors.

rate lead changes in housing permits by about 12 months on average.


Real 10-Yr Treasury Rate. The real (inflation-adjusted) 10-yr

In fact, housing permits seem to have bottomed six months after

Treasury (T-Bill) rate was 0.70% in September, falling below 1%

interest rates started falling on a year-over-year basis.

for the fourth month in a row and reaching its lowest level since
February 2015. Since the Federal Reserve Bank announced it was

Total Construction Spending. The real value of construction put in

raising its overnight rate, the real 10-yr Treasury rate has dropped

place in September was $106,189 million. Compared with a year ago,

in each of the last 10 months. A significant reason for this is that

this was an increase of just 0.5%, the slowest rate of growth since

the rate of inflation, while still low historically, has picked up

construction spending started the current growth cycle in December

from what it was in 2015. In September, the annual rate of infla-

2011. The month-over-month rate of change has grown at a deceler-

tion was the highest since October 2014, according to the

ating rate since September 2015. The annual rate of change peaked in

Consumer Price Index. The year-over-year change in the real rate

the same month and has grown at a decelerating rate since then.

(the nominal rate minus inflation) fell to -115 basis points.

Annual construction spending is growing at a rate of 3.2%, which is the


slowest rate since January 2012, the last time spending contracted.

Housing Permits. There were 107,600 housing permits filed in

Residential construction spending is slowing as well. Month-

September. In four of the last five months, permits were above

over-month growth decelerated to 2.3% in September, which was the

100,000. While the number of permits was still relatively low

slowest rate of growth since January 2012. The annual rate of growth,

relative to the last four decades, the level is almost the highest

now 13.4%, has decelerated nine months in a row.


In the short term, the trend in construction spending is negative

since 2007. Compared with one year ago, housing permits

for products, parts, and production


of equipment used in construction. However, the change in the real

-800

20

10-yr Treasury rate and the change

-640

16

in housing permits are moving in a

-480

12

-320

-160

Real 10-Year Treasury Rate


@plastechmag

Jan 16

Jan 14

-20

Jan 12

800

Jan 10

-16
Jan 08

640
Jan 06

-12

Jan 04

480

Jan 02

-8

Jan 00

320

Jan 98

-4

Jan 96

160

Real Construction Spending

positive direction, which should help


Real Construction Spending
, 12-Mo. Rate of Change

Real 10-Year Treasury Rate,


12-Mo. Rate of Change

Real 10-Year Treasury Rate Leads Real Construction Spending

maintain growth in construction


spending and may even cause growth
to accelerate next year.
Bottom line: The business for processors serving commercial and residential construction markets should
remain quite strong.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steven Kline Jr. is part


of the fourth-generation ownership team of
Cincinnati-based Gardner Business Media,
which is the publisher of Plastics Technology.
He is currently the companys director of
market intelligence. Contact: (513) 527-8800
email: skline2@gardnerweb.com
blog: gardnerweb.com/economics/blog
Plastics Technology

55

WEBINAR

a feature of PTonline.com

Wednesday, December 14th

WATCH ON-DEMAND NOW AT:

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Understanding and Solving Extrusion and


Coextrusion Problems with Simulation
This webinar will present several extru-

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This helps to avoid costly, inefficient,
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Polymer melt
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instabilities in
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PRESENTER
Dr. John Perdikoulias,
Engineer and President, COMPUPLAST

John Perdikoulias is a licensed, professional


engineer with over 30 years in the plastics
industry. He holds both a Bachelor and Master of
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a Ph.D from the University of Waterloo, Canada. He
is co-founder of COMPUPLAST; providing simulation
software and services to the polymer processing
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for a major equipment manufacturer. He helped
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layer blown film dies in the world. Since then, he has
used simulation to help many companies improve
their polymer processing equipment and efficiency.

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Plastics Technology

57

SHOWC A SE

ECO melt filters offer a new

perspective for PET processors.

PTonline.com

Your #1 Plastics Processing Resource


from Plastics Technology!

FEATURING

Best Practices &


Processing Know How
New Technologies & Products
Knowledge Centers
Tips, Techniques &
Troubleshooting
Materials Database
PT Blog
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Extend screen life from


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Buss Laboratory Kneader MX 30-22

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For more than 60 years Buss Kneader technology
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info.us@busscorp.com
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58

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

PTonline.com

MARKETPL ACE

This is Plastics Technologys online listing for plastic processing equipment


builders, material suppliers, auxillary manufacturers and more.

WWW.NOVATEC.COM

WWW.WITTMANN-GROUP.COM

Worlds largest selection of dryer technologies and blenders


with unmatched system design and control capabilities.
1-800-BESTDRY (1-800-237-8379)

Wittmann
Battenfelds
website provides
global access to
the full range of Battenfeld injection molding machines, process
engineering, customer service, training and turnkey solutions, in
addition to automation and auxiliary equipment including Wittmann
robots and automation, material conveying, drying, blending,
granulating and water temperature controllers.

WWW.ADVANTAGEENGINEERING.COM

WWW.RAPISTAK.COM

Manufacturer of high quality water and oil temperature controllers,


portable chillers, central chilling systems and cooling tower systems.

Managing molds
and dies can be
time consuming
and difficult, thats
where our Mold Management Systems help you manage your
inventory, become better organized, protect your investment and
create a safer working environment. For more information email us
at ptsales@rapistak.com.

WWW.MACAUTOMATION.COM

WWW.SCREENCHANGER.COM

Manufacturers of fully automatic, continuous screen changers for


every segment of plastics processing (blown & cast film; sheet,
co-ex, foam, pipe & profile, blow molding, filaments & fibers,
pelletizing, BIAX) for use with all families of thermoplastics.

MAC serve the Plastics Industry


with auxiliary equipment
including: Conveyors, Plantwide Equipment, Automated
Box-Fill Systems, Portable
Resin Bins, Part/Runner
Separators and diverters, Inspection Tables, Cleanrooms, Drum and
Gaylord Filter Covers, Air Conveying Systems, Robot Guarding, Mold
Side Curtains, Tie bar Sleeves and Under-Press Part Chutes.

WWW.CVI.CANON.COM

HILMA-USA.COM

Canon offers custom mold making solutions. Contact us at


1.866.CANON or visit www.cvi.canon.com to find out more.

Hilma-USA.com is a new
responsive website from Hilma
Div. of Carr Lane Roemheld,
which provides detailed
technical information on a
variety of products, including magnetic quick mold change systems for plastics. Designed for mobile, as well as desktop computers, the site also links to case studies, tech support and company
data. Visit the new site today!

WWW.MAGUIRE.COM

WWW.PPE.COM

HITECH

Leaders in continuous melt filtration since 1969

The perfect blend of simplicity and control.


Over 100 pages of easy browsing packed with useful information
on Maguire Blenders, Loaders, Granulators, Feeders, and Liquid
Color Pumps.

@plastechmag

With a continually expanding range of products,


PPE is the largest supplier of molding accessories
to the plastics industry. With offices in Ohio,
Nevada and Florida, PPE provides fast delivery
and the personal attention that your order
deserves. Contact us at 1-800-362-0706,
sales@ppe.com or visit www.ppe.com

Plastics Technology

59

MARKETPL ACE
PROGRESS THROUGH INNOVATION

You can get copies of literature from


suppliers listed on these pages by
sending an e-mail to the address
provided at the end of each writeup.
Or, where provided, contact the
company by phone or fax.
DRY-CONVEY-BLEND-EXTRUSION
Novatec is one of the largest
U.S. based manufacturers of
resin drying and conveying
equipment for the plastics
industry. Together, with
Maguire Products, we
offer the largest line of
manufactured resin
handling equipment in
North America.
Product Overview:
www.novatec.com/about
Baltimore, MD sales@novatec.com

MECHATRON FEEDERS
The versatile
MECHATRON feeder
handles a wide variety of
materials. Quick and easy
disassembly from the
non-process side of the
feeder simplifies cleaning
and maintenance. Feed
rates from .002 to 1,100
cubic feet per hour.
Whitewater, WI mktg@schenckprocess.com

AQUATHERM TEMPERATURE CONTROLLERS


RQE Series Temperature
Controllers are built for
dependable operation using
quality components such as
high flow pumps, twin tank
assemblies, and Incoloy
sheathed heaters. The large,
user-friendly controller
interface makes operation
simple and also provides a
wide array of system and
diagnostic information.
Niles, IL info@thermalcare.com

RAPISTAK-MOLD MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS


Mold storage a mess?
Rapistak-Mold Management
Systems help you manage
your inventory, become
better organized, protect
your investment and create
a safer working
environment. For more
information email us today.

Blasdell, NY ptsales@rapistak.com

60

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

Complete overview of the


company, its history and
the relentless product
developments that have
made it the leading
manufacturer for plastics
processors worldwide. Its
innovative products
include injection molding
machines, robots and
automation systems,
auxiliary equipment .
Torrington, CT info@wittmann-ct.com

SOLUTIONS FROM 55-7700 TONS


Since 1947 Negri Bossi has
been providing innovative,
cutting-edge technical
solutions for the injection
molding market. Today
Negri Bossi NA offers an
extensive product portfolio
of injection molding
machines ranging from 55 to
7700 tons that includes LSR
and multi-material models.
New Castle, DE sales@negribossiusa.com

SINGLE
AND TESTERS
TWIN SCREW EXTRUDERS
DRY-CONVEY-BLEND-EXTRUSION
MELT
FLOW

FULLY AUTOMATIC SCREEN CHANGERS

S. Hackensack,
NJ
cwbi@cwbrabender.com
Baltimore,
MD
sales@novatec.com
Horsham,
PA
sales@tiniusolsen.com

Hackensack, NJ aalroy@screenchangers.com

CANON MOLD MAKING SERVICES

PPE GATE CUTTERS - LOWER PRICES

20mm
Clamshell
Novatec
is one
of theinlargest
Melt
indexer
comes
Segmented
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manufacturers
of
manual
orTwin-Screw
motorized
Extruder:
Compounding,
resin drying
conveying
versions
and and
loaded
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Pilot
Scale
&
Nanocomposites
equipmentand
forefficiency:
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capability
applications
for product
industry. Together,
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touch
development.
Clamshell
Maguire
Products,
we
screen
control;
tapered
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allows
visual
offer the
largestsimple
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weight
design;
processing
assessment,
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resin
release;
USB
connectivity
easy
screw
mounting,
handling
equipment
and
Horizon
softwarein
for
quick
cleaning.
Segmented
North
America.
SPC
analyses;
optional
screws
offer
numerous
Product or
Overview:
manual
motorized
processing
possibilities..
www.novatec.com/about
extrudate
cutter.

Scan this code to view our


state-of-the-art facility,
skilled craftsmen and
innovative technologies in
action. You can also contact
us at 1.866.CANON or visit
us at www.cvi.canon.com
to find out more.

Newport News, VA cvi.canon.com

CLEAR-VU LOADING SYSTEM


Provides all the benefits of
a central loading system
with the added convenience
of portability & low
maintenance. Brochure &
video describe this
complete vacuum
conveying system that will
control up to eight stations.
Receivers allow full view of
the loading action.
Aston, PA info@maguire.com

FILMEX CAST FILM EXTRUSION SYSTEMS


W&Hs modular cast film
line for PP, barrier, stretch
and specialty film up to 11
layers. Designed for
widths up to 142 with a
film thickness of 0.4 12
mil. Maximum output of
3,600 lbs/hr.

Lincoln, RI info@whcorp.com

HITECH screen changers


operate on a truly continuous principle in harmony
with the rest of the extrusion process. The screen, in
the form of a long ribbon,
moves slowly through the
screen changer at an infinitely adjustable rate to
blend smoothly with the
polymer flow.

PPE offers the best variety


of Gate Cutters at the
lowest prices in both our
Economy and Premium
styles. With 74 different
cutters to choose from
including heated & pneumatic, youre bound to find
what you needed right here
at PPE. www.ppe.com

Macedonia, OH sales@ppe.com

PLASTRAC AUTO-DISC
Plastrac Inc. manufactures
Disc-based Blending and
Dosing equipment for all
plastics processing. AutoDisc features gravimetric
self-calibrating Dosing
units and multi-ingredient
blenders. Plastrac has
recently added a Powder
Additive Feeder option to
the Auto-Disc Series.
Edgemont, PA info@plastrac.com

MELT FLOW TESTERS

Melt indexer comes in


manual or motorized
versions and loaded with
capability and efficiency:
three-zone heaters; touch
screen control; tapered
weight design; simple die
release; USB connectivity
and Horizon software for
SPC analyses; optional
manual or motorized
extrudate cutter.

Horsham, PA sales@tiniusolsen.com

PTonline.com

High Performance
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1-800-797-9244
www.elmgroveindustries.com
E-mail: sales@elmgroveindustries.com

FEATURING

PTonline.com
Your #1 Plastics Processing Resource
from Plastics Technology!

Best Practices &


Processing Know How
New Technologies & Products
Knowledge Centers
Tips, Techniques &
Troubleshooting
Materials Database
PT Blog
And, much more

IMPROVED NAVIGATION
Optimized search and
reorganized navigation
make it easier to research
the products, processes
and suppliers you need.

ENHANCED DESIGN
Larger article formats, more
product images, redesigned
emphasis zones.

PTonline.com

@plastechmag

Plastics Technology

61

SPECIAL SERVICES

CL A SSIFIEDS

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To place your classified ad contact Chris Brock at: 440-639-2311

62

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

or fax 513-527-8801

PTonline.com

ADVERTISERS INDE X
ADG Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Expo Plasticos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Processing Technologies International LLC . 47

Advantage Engineering, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

HammerTek Corp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

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AEC, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Hosokawa Alpine American . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

Rapistak Corp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Arizona Instrument . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

IMS Industrial Molding Supplies . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30

SPE Automotive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Boy Machines Inc .

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TempTek Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

C .W . Brabender Instruments, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Negri Bossi USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Thermal Care, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Canon Virginia Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Novatec Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32, 33

Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Conair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28, 29

PCS Co . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

www.pcs-company.com

www.wittmann-group.com

PFA Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

www.adgs.net

www.advantageengineering.com

www.aecinternet.com

www.azic.com

www.boymachines.com

www.cwbrabender.com

www.cvi.canon.com

www.conairgroup.com

Engel Machinery Inc .

www.engelglobal.com

. . . . . . Inside

Front cover

Entek Extruders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
www.entek.com

www.expoplasticos.com.mx

www.halpine.com

www.imscompany.com

www.maag.com

www.negribossi.com

www.novatec.com

www.pfa-inc.com

Lou Guarracino
District Manager
215/327-9248
Fax: 513/527-8801
loug@ptonline.com

MIDWEST/MOUNTAIN/
SOUTHWEST/WEST

Ryan Mahoney
District Manager
513/766-5863 Fax: 513/527-8801
303/903-0220 (mobile)
rmahoney@gardnerweb.com

OHIO/INDIANA/MICHIGAN/
SOUTHEAST/WESTERN PA/
UPSTATE NY, CANADA

Jackie Dalzell
District Manager
330/558-0487; Fax: 513/527-8801
216/233-6794 (mobile)
jdalzell@gardnerweb.com
CLASSIFIED/RECRUITMENT
ADVERTISING
Chris Brock
440/639-2311
Fax: 513-527-8801
cbrock@gardnerweb.com
@plastechmag

Rapid Granulator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

www.ptm.rapistak.com

www.speautomotive.com

www.temptek.com

www.thermalcare.com

www.whcorp.com

Wittmann Battenfeld, Inc .

. . . . . . . .

Back Cover

For additional product information, refer to


this companys Advertising/Data Sheets in
PLASTICS TECHNOLOGYs 2017 PROCESSING
HANDBOOK & BUYERS GUIDE

Plastic Process Equipment, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7


Inside Back Cover

www.ppe.com

SALES OFFICES
MID-ATLANTIC/NORTHEAST

www.ptiextruders.com

JAPAN
Toshiro Matsuda
Director of Overseas
Operations
Plastics Age Co. Ltd.
(03) 256-1951
KOREA
Chang-Hwa Park
Far East Marketing Inc.
(02) 364-4182
Fax: (02) 364-4184
femchp@unitel.co.kr
TAIWAN
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J&M Media Corp.
886-4-2296-5959
Fax: 886-4-2293-9730
may@jandm.com.tw
www.jandm.com.tw
CHINA
Lucy Xiao
Beijing Vogel Consulting
Co. Ltd.
(86-10) 63326100
Fax: (86-10) 63326099
lucy@vogel.com.cn

EUROPE (except Italy)


Edward Kania
RGH International (UK)
44-1663-750242
ekania@btopenworld.com
ITALY
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Com 3 Orlando sas
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Fax: 39 (02) 48301981
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Vogel Business Media India
Pvt. Ltd.
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paresh.navani@vogel.de

PLASTICS TECHNOLOGY (ISSN 0032-1257) is published


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Printed in the U.S.A.


Plastics Technology

63

PROCESSORS EDGE

JESA SA VILL ARS-SUR-GL NE, SWITZERL AND

Automation Cuts
Production Time For LED
Lighting Units by 89%
Robot-assisted overmolding
helps Swiss company compete
with low-wage countries.

A highly complex but compact cell was delivered to JESA by


Arburg as a turnkey system. (Photos: Arburg)

Replacing five manual assembly steps with a combination of

screw plastication, hydraulic accumulator injection) and an

injection overmolding and robotic insert loading and part

Arburg Multilift V Cartesian robot. The system also includes a

By Matt Naitove
Executive Editor

removal helped a Swiss manufacturer

palletizing station and

save almost 90% in production time for


automotive LED lighting components.

Founded in 1969, JESA of Villars-sur-Glne specializes


in custom-made ball-bearing solutions. One such product
is a dynamic adjustment mechanism for multi-directional

Five manual assembly


operations replaced
by overmolding with
robotic insert loading.

LED car headlamps. JESA (jesa.com) produces millions of

conveyor line from


Schuma Maschinenbau
GmbH of Germany
(schuma.com), a feed
and singulation unit
from Afag Automation

these complex components annually, using a turnkey injection

AG of Switzerland (afag.com), and a complex gripper from Barth

molding cell supplied by Arburg (U.S. office in Rocky Hill,

Mechanik GmbH of Germany (barth-mechanik.de). Arburg

Conn.). The automated cell cut production time from 90 sec with

(arburg.com) sourced, set up, commissioned, and delivered all

manual assembly to 10 sec, helping ensure JESAs continued

the components to JESA as a turnkey system.

competitiveness in Switzerland against low-wage countries. (The


firm also has a plant in China.)

The process starts when the top-loading robot with extended


Z-axis picks up four ball-bearing inserts per part at two loading
positions (three at one
position, one more at the
other) using a pneumatic
gripper and places them
in a four-cavity mold.
A total of 16 inserts are
thus held in the gripper.
After overmolding
with polyetherimide
(PEI) engineering
resin, the robot
demolds the finished
parts and sets them

The complex robot gripper at right holds


16 inserts of two different types to place
in four cavities (3 + 1 in each cavity).

With the automated cell, only insert


loading and downstream visual inspection
and storage are now performed manually.

down in a metal tray. A


conveyor system then
channels the transport
trolleys with the trays

These LED lighting actuators with integral ball bearings

64

out of the system. Loading the inserts into trays and down-

are produced in a cell based on an Arburg Allrounder 470 H

stream visual inspection and storage are the only manual

hybrid press (100 metric tons, servo-electric toggle clamp and

operations.

Plastics Technology

DECEMBER 2016

PTonline.com

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TO ORDER CALL TOLL FREE 800-362-0706
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P LASTIC P ROCESS E QUIPMENT, INC. www.ppe.com sales@ppe.com


PPE
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PPE

PPE
SOUTH

11218 Challenger Avenue, Odessa, Florida 33556


727-834-8888 800-282-6783 Fax: 727-834-8873
Toll Free: USA, Canada & Mexico
8303 CORPORATE PARK DRIVE, MACEDONIA (Cleveland), OHIO 44056, U.S.A.
216-367-7000 Toll Free: 800-321-0562 Fax: 216-367-7022 Order Fax: 800-223-8305
6385 Montessouri Street, Las Vegas, Nevada 89113
702-433-6385 800-258-8877 Fax: 702-433-6388

800-362-0706

WITTMANN
Your Solution to Industry

Integration is seamless, since we manufacture all the equipment, the challenge


of combining miscellaneous and wide varying data protocols is not an issue!
One and Done! Injection molding machine is the central interaction point for all connected auxiliaries
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Global exchange of information

Contact Us for
More Details!
WITTMANN BATTENFELD, INC.
One Technology Park Drive | Torrington, CT 06790
Tel: 860 496-9603 | info.us@wittmann-group.com

West Coast Tech Center

Corona, CA | Tel: 860 496-9603

Midwest Tech Center


South Elgin, IL | Tel: 847 531-0015