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Plastics West 1990.


At this year's SPI/SPE Plastics Show & Conference - West, held October 2-4 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, technical presentations and seminars kept pace with the whir of the exhibit's automated machinery in revealing the dynamism of the plastics industry. While the technical sessions cleared paths to new conceptual understanding, the SPE seminars built bridges in the grittier domain of practical knowledge. And in the display booths of many exhibitors were the new products that make these journeys so much easier.

Attendance for the three-day event, which featured 206 exhibitors, peaked at 4400 and included a total of 237 registrants for the seminars. Eighteen seminars were presented, offering instruction on topics ranging from adhesive bonding technology to thermoforming technology for industrial applications.



The technical conference featured six sessions, each of which focused on a particular subject: plastics in the world economy; secondary operations and decorating; an update of molding materials; practical equipment advances; recycling/resource and waste management; and designing/engineering with plastics.

The paper "Recent Advances in Ultrasonic Plastic Assembly," by Shawn Davis, Branson Ultrasonics Corp., described advances in ultrasonic assembly equipment, such as 40 kHz technology and microprocessor-controlled systems, that have enhanced control of the ultrasonic assembly process. The process is said to be an efficient method of assembling or processing rigid thermoplastic parts or films and synthetic fabrics. The paper also covered advances in ultrasonic application and joint design.

"Beyond Prototypes: Using Stereo-Lithography for Production-Quality Parts," by Frost Prioleau, Plynetics Corp., illustrated how StereoLithography can be used to shorten the time required to design and develop complex, production-quality parts. StereoLithography is a process for making plastic parts, without tooling or machining, from a CAD database. The paper included information on molded tooling techniques that can be used to produce parts that conform to specified dimensional tolerances and material properties.

In his paper "100% On-Line Inspection for the PET Container Industry," Kevin Zarnick, of AGR International, Inc., reviewed inspection techniques currently used for detecting defects in the production of PET containers. He described the need for, and benefits of, an on-line system that would detect defects in both preforms and finished containers. He also explained processes and machinery for detecting short shots and nick finishes in preforms, and for detecting neck folds in finished containers.


"Thermoforming Technology for Industrial Applications" reviewed the fundamentals of thermoforming and sheet extrusion, including various thermoforming techniques and applications. Instructor William McConnell stressed the importance of ensuring that thermoformers work with a consistent sheet. "Quality control must be tight, because the sheet must have consistent, uniform properties that are repeatable from run to run. Similarly, sheet extruders must work with a consistent resin," he said. Techniques for vacuum, pressure, mechanical, twinsheet, and slip thermoforming were examined.

The seminar "A Designer's Guide to Part Design for Economical Injection Molding" focused on how to correctly design a plastic part that is to be injection molded from a specific material. According to instructor Glenn Beall, different materials require different designs: A part as simple as a stiffening rib, for instance, requires one design for polypropylene and yet another for ABS. "If you change materials, you must also change the design," he warned, noting that the results of failing to recognize the differing design requirements of various materials are increased costs of tooling and poorer quality of parts.


The technology exhibition featured a wide variety of plastics machinery, equipment, and materials. Exhibitors from across the U.S., as well as Canada, Italy, and Taiwan, demonstrated their wares in 40,000 [ft.sup.2] of exhibition space - they included manufacturers, moldmakers, thermoformers, processors, and service companies. Fourteen companies exhibited at the special Thermoforming Pavilion, which has been regularly featured at the SPI/ SPE show since 1987. Among the exhibitors:

Autoroll Machine Corp., Middleton, Mass., displayed its M25 semiautomatic universal screen printer and its Padflex 250 pad transfer printing system. The M25 screen prints a wide variety of plastic bottles and other flat, cylindrical, conical, and oval parts. The Padflex 250 is said to offer substantial improvements over the Padflex S and Padflex T models, including increased horizontal pad stroke and improved vertical pad stroke control.

Bekum Plastics Machinery, Inc., Williamston, Mich., introduced a new series of multilayer blowmolding extrusion heads for the processing of post-consumer recycled materials. The BKB extrusion heads produce a three-layer parison, using virgin material for the inner and outer layers and in-plant regrind and post-consumer recycled materials for the middle layer. They are said to be adaptable to high-output shuttle-type machines; their primary applications include household and industrial chemical bottles and containers, large containers, and industrial parts and building products.

T.G. Branden Corp., Lake Oswego, Ore., introduced its Shotscope S9000 Plantwide Information System for injection molders. The system reportedly monitors up to 26 process parameters, including injection pressure, screw rotation time, mold temperature, and shot weight. It is said to allow immediate process feedback at each molding machine by displaying the shot profiles and comparing the results of the parameter analysis against user-set limits. The presence, at each molding machine, of a large screen display, data entry unit, and process analyzer unit gives floor personnel access to shot profiles, data screens, and the downloading of molding setup sheets.

Brush Wellman Inc., Cleveland, exhibited two new beryllium copper mold alloys, Protherm and Moldmax. Protherm reportedly provides high thermal conductivity and excellent corrosion resistance to PVC and other corrosive plastics; it can be used for reaction injection molding, expandable polystyrene foam processing, and injection blowmolds for corrosive plastics. Moldmax is said to provide peak hardnesses and wear resistance similar to that of the tool steels; it is used for pinch-offs, neck rings, and handle inserts for blowmolds, as well as for injection molds and mold inserts.

Carter-Day Co., Minneapolis, modeled its new vertical drop multiclean aspirator, which uses vertical and cross-sweep aspiration to search out and remove paper, dust, and other light materials from recycled plastic flake. The vibration-free system is said to have a capacity of up to 180 tons/hr. Because it has few moving parts, the machine requires little maintenance.

CEAST USA, Inc., Fort Mill, S.C., highlighted several instruments for polymer testing and evaluation. The Automatic Notchvis is a microprocessor-controlled unit that is said to rapidly and automatically notch samples for resilience impact tests. It uses interchangeable knives with constant profile to notch up to 50 specimens in every cycle. The Resilvis is a fully robotized pendulum that is used for Izod tests. It automatically positions specimens at clamping pressure in Izod condition, and reportedly provides a high rate of repeatable impact. A compatible personal computer prints the test results.

Boy Machines Inc., Exton, Pa., featured injection molding machines, the 30 T 2, and 50 T 2, which have clamping forces of 30 tons and 55 tons, respectively. Both models have a direct hydraulic locking unit that permits rapid change of molds. They also feature a control system that reportedly allows for quick and precise entry of set-point values, preparation of mold setup sheets, three stages of injection pressure, and two injection speeds.

Among the products displayed by Feeder Systems, Vista, Calif., were a new low profile unscrambler for plastic bottles and containers, and a parts handling system that meters and aligns the plastic housing of a medical pump assembly. The unscrambling system transports bottles from a bulk hopper to the production operation, and handles bottles ranging in size from 1/2- to 4- oz capacities. It consists of an FS-40 unscrambler; an elevating bulk hopper with a capacity of 8 [ft.sup.3]; a 12-ft, SKF flat-top chain conveyor; and a PLC-1 programmable logic control package. The parts handling system is said to speed the production of plastic housings for a small medical pump assembly. It meters plastic units from a manually fed, prefeeder bulk hopper, down a sloping chute, and into a centrifugal orienting bowl. The plastic parts drop onto the rotating centrifugal disk, travel to its periphery, and make contact with the bowl's rotating outer rim, which selects one of eight possible positions into which the part may be oriented, depending upon the required alignment task.

HPM Corp., Mt. Gilead, Ohio, unveiled a new 200-ton toggle injection molding machine, said to be the forerunner of a new toggle line of injection molding machines that the firm plans to introduce in 1991. The machine features a compact design and a fully independent ejector/core system, which permits independent control of the core and ejector motion. Its front and rear safety gates reportedly ensure better guarding and greater access to the mold and clamp areas.

The Hull Corp., Hatboro, Pa., introduced its new model 110-600P injection molding machine, which is designed for polyester bulk molding compound (BMC) and other thermoset materials. The machine features a clamping force of 600 tons, and is said to offer precise temperature control as well as high rates of injection and plasticizing. The firm also announced the development of its CP-100 (100-ton) hydraulic press for compression molding. The CP-100 is designed mainly for molding advanced composites. Because of its heavy duty design and extended temperature range (100 [degrees] F to 1000 [degrees] F), the press is expected to be used for aerospace and other highly sophisticated applications.

Integrated Bulk Systems, Inc., Lynwood, Wash., showed its new Accuflow-IBS Controller, which continuously monitors entire extrusion flow systems. The system's closed-loop control begins at the holding bins and extends through the vacuum chambers and vibratory blender and mixer to the extruder. The controller reportedly self-adjusts to meet required rates and is said to provide immediate information concerning flow rate, formulas, alarm events, and inventory.

Kleerdex Co., Mt. Laurel, N.J., unveiled its new Kydex 6200 thermoplastic sheet. The material was developed specifically for mass transit interior applications, such as the window reveals of a subway car. It is said to meet and exceed the requirements of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration for both flame and smoke retardancy. It is also said to be virtually impervious to stains.

LaserMike, Inc., Dayton, Ohio, exhibited its Model 182-38 control system. The system is designed to measure and control, during production, the ID, OD, and wall dimensions of extruded hose and tubing. It is said to provide automatic compensation for products that shrink or expand during the curing process, and it also furnishes real-time SPC reports. The reports include current size data on all three product dimensions, as well as accumulated SPC data in the form of histograms, X-bar, and range charts.

Lloyd Instruments, King of Prussia, Pa., displayed its L6000R Research Grade Materials Testing System, which offers multilingual displays and real-time computer control. The system is equipped with a comprehensive data analysis and system control software package, which reportedly allows the user to control testing over a wide range of conditions, including the parameters of cycling, constant load, and strain rate. Its accessories include contacting and noncontacting extensometers for measuring strain of rigid plastic and elastomeric samples.

Matsui America, Inc., Anaheim, Calif., featured its DMZ dehumidifying hot-air dryer. The system is used to dry acrylic, polycarbonate, and other similar resins in the molding of optical disk substrates; it is said to be capable of maintaining resin temperature at a constant level. The sealing of its heater box reportedly eliminates air leaks.

National Tool & Manufacturing, Kenilworth, N.J., exhibited its new guided bar ejection system, which provides guidance and alignment for ejector systems of molds. The system is made completely from A2 Tool Steel, and is hardened to achieve 54-56 RC. It features three drill holes, of 0.250-inch diameter, that allow the user to install dowel pins for halting the movement of the ejector plate in three different positions.

The Webart 6500 On-Line Thickness Sensor for Blown Film, recently developed by Ohmart Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio, uses a nuclear transmission-style beta sensor to measure the thickness of cast and blown film. The sensor reportedly does not touch the film that it measures, and is equipped with software that enables the user to fine tune the calibration of the sensor.

Plastics Technology Laboratories, Inc., Pittsfield, Mass., illustrated the extensive testing and SPC services that it offers to material suppliers, molders, compounders, and end-users. The firm offers such services as characterization of incoming raw materials; verification of the retention of material properties during molding; and testing chemical compatibilities with specific environments. It also offers ongoing QC support through secondary finishing operations and establishes readouts for a wide range of physical property analyses.

Process Control Corp., Atlanta, illustrated its line of Automatic Scrap Recycling (ASR) systems, including the new RMT Series Refeed Machines. The RMT machines can be used with gravimetric extruders and in situations of limited headroom. All of the ASR refeed systems recycle scrap generated during the production of film, tape, and extrusion-coated products. A refeed machine feeds the extruder a compacted inner core of ground scrap that is surrounded by virgin material. The machine reportedly maintains a consistent scrap-to-virgin ratio by metering the ground scrap and allowing the virgin material to feed by gravity.

Tantec Inc., Schaumburg, Ill., featured its new S-Line, a static bar and power pack line for eliminating static buildup that occurs in plastics processing. The power pack is repairable and reportedly features high integrity cable connections that ensure reliability and safety. The static bar features integral cable grounding that permits easy installation.

Technology RX Inc., San Fernando, Calif., introduced its Hydra-Jaws Mold Clamping System and its Hydra-Latch Knockout Bar Latching System. Hydra-Jaws features hydraulic clamping nuts that adjust to different thicknesses of mold clamping plates; it reportedly eliminates the high cost of individual mold modifications because it requires no backplates on the molds. The Hydra-Latch system reportedly allows the user to connect knockout bars to the knockout plate on a molding machine simply by turning a control knob - no new holes or bolts are needed. Instead, each knockout bar is fitted with a latch pin that connects to the system's hydraulic power supply.

Wayne Machine & Die Co., Totowa, N.J., exhibited a sheet line that incorporates a 1-1/4-inch extruder, an 8-inch sheet die, and an 8-1/2-inch takeoff unit. The sheet line is designed for laboratory and small scale production and reportedly can process LDPE, HDPE, HIPS, ABS, and EVOH. The firm also offered information on a variety of roll finishes.

Wilmington Machinery Inc., Greensboro, N.C., illustrated its line of continuous rotary blowmolders, featuring the REV Blowmolder. The REV is said to provide a precise and consistent clamping motion around the trapped parison, which is held by the die head at the top and the clamp at the bottom. The parison is thus tightly controlled under tension - this reportedly permits uniform distribution of material, leading to tighter specification and lighter bottles.

X-Rite, Inc., Grandville, Mich., featured its new X-Rite 968 Spectro-Photometer, a portable unit that is said to provide both tri-stimulus and spectral data for color measurements. The spectro-photometer displays tri-stimulus color values for each measurement, and stores spectral data in intervals of 20 nm. Its optional SpectroStart software displays, on a split-screen format, tabular data and spectral curves for each sample measured.


At Plastics West, it was announced that the SPI/SPE Plastics Show & Conference series would henceforth be consolidated into a triennial event called Plastics USA. The show that will initiate the new scheduling format will take place Oct. 12-15, 1992, in the McCormick Place exhibit complex in Chicago. Thereafter, each triennial show will follow SPI's National Plastics Exposition (NPE) by approximately 15 months.

PHOTO : Some 4400 visitors to the SPI/SPE Plastics West show examined the products and services of more than 200 exhibitors. The event was held early last month at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

PHOTO : The new 110-600P injection molding machine offers a 600-ton clamping force and large shot capacity. Hull Corp.

PHOTO : The S-Line eliminates static buildup that occurs during plastics processing. Tantec Inc.

PHOTO : The Hydra-Jaws system permits quick mold change. Technology RX Inc.

PHOTO : The unscrambler conveys bottles and containers from a bulk hopper to the production operation. Feeder Systems.

PHOTO : Wayne Machine & Die Co.'s laboratory sheet line incorporates a flex-lip sheet die and a sheet takeoff unit.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Society of Plastics Engineers, Inc.
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Title Annotation:exhibition
Author:Shortt, Mark W.
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Date:Nov 1, 1990
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