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SPE's Thermoforming 2002: The Science of the Art.

The 12th annual SPE Thermoforming Conference, sponsored by the SPE Thermoforming Division, was held at the Nashville Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, September 15-17.

In his welcoming address to attendees, SPE President Dr. Claudius Feger stressed the importance of the organization's dedicated volunteers. It is important, he said, that the volunteers of SPE's Thermoforming Division not only are working within their industry, but also are cognizant of the part their industry plays in the North American community. Dr. Feger announced that following the 2001 Thermoforming Conference--through a rebate to sponsors and exhibitors that provided an option to make a donation to the American Red Cross, with the Thermoforming Division offering to match the donation--the Division presented the American Red Cross with a check in the amount of $16,100. The 2001 Conference took place soon after the tragic events of September 11.

Spotlighting "The Science of the Art," the conference included exhibits representing more than 120 companies that provide products and services to the thermoforming industry worldwide, plant tours showing plastics industry--related businesses in action, workshops, a technical program, and the Parts Competition and Showcase. More than 1000 attendees registered for the event.

Keynote Speaker Views Business Climate From Unique Perspective

The keynote speaker, introduced as Dr. Ted P. Owens and expected to speak on the topic of "Science Can Help You Solve Any Problems," deviated quite unexpectedly-and to the audience's delight-from the pre-announced presentation. Turning the subject instead to "The Funniest Thing About American Business," and, at the close of the address, revealing his true identity as Durwood Fincher, aka "Mr. Doubletalk" (an entertainer who appears on many national network television programs), he reminded his audience of industry professionals of such relevant facts as "global is biggg," and that, when it comes to business, "indecision is the key to flexibility."

Mr. Fincher, who aptly assessed his audience as commanding a high level of professional expertise, concluded his talk on a note of obvious admiration: "[This group] can solve problems that don't exist," and "It doesn't matter what is being said, [this group] always has an answer...

Lean Manufacturing Can Fatten Profits

One of several conference workshops aimed at expanding attendees' technical know-how, "Lean Manufacturing for the Thermoforming Industry" was presented by Charles Beasley, manufacturing consultant for the University of Tennessee, Center for Industrial Services. The Center is affiliated with the nationwide Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which maintains more than 400 locations serving all 50 states and Puerto Rico, linked together through the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The goal of MEP is to make available to small and medium-sized manufacturers the knowledge and expertise of manufacturing and business specialists who assess a company's current level of efficiency and map out solutions for improving such things as processes, materials engineering, quality and business management systems, human resource development, product and market development, plant layout, and environmental concerns.

Mr. Beasley cited the history of lean manufacturing, beginning with Henry Ford's establishment of 'the Ford Motor Company and continuing with the celebrated Toyota Production System. The benefits of "lean," he said, encompass a reduction in lead time, increase in productivity, reduction of work in progress, quality improvement, and better utilization of plant space-all factors that contribute to greater profits. The six-hour workshop included group discussions and exchange of ideas, and some hands-on demonstrations of concepts.

Special Awards and Scholarships

Stephen Sweig, chief engineer at Profile Plastics Corp., was named Thermoformer of the Year. Mr. Sweig's many years of service in the plastics industry have truly emphasized the "science of the art." He has been instrumental in the development of many innovations and features now commonly used in thermoforming machines--for example, flexible PC machine control, setup data PC storage and retrieval, encoder platen positioning, platen lock-up for pressure and twin-sheet forming, and machine/mold interfaces for automatic operation of articulated mold features.

Steve Hasselbach was presented the Division's Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Outstanding Achievement Award went to Roger Kipp.

Segen Memorial Scholarships for the year 2002, in the amount of $5000 each, were awarded to two students: Ronald G. Egres, Jr., a PhD candidate in chemical engineering at the University of Delaware, and Christopher B. Kostyk, who is studying aerospace engineering at Iowa State University. David C. Schoff was presented the Griep Memorial Scholarship. He is seeking a Master's of Engineering in Professional Practice, a degree designed specifically for practicing engineers, from the University of Wisconsin--Madison.

Parts Competition and Showcase

Made up of six industry professionals from the cut sheet and roll fed industries, the panel of judges for the Parts Competition selected winners based on criteria that included technical mastery, creativity, surface finish, market viability, originality, material difficulty, mold complexity, and secondary operations. The People's Choice Award was bestowed on the entry receiving the greatest number of votes cast by Conference attendees and exhibitors. Following is a description of the award-winning parts, listed according to competition category:

People's Choice Award

Aquatic Fitness System Dimension One Spas Vista, Calif.

The Aquatic Fitness System vacuum-formed shell for the AquaFit 19 Dual Temp--a product that incorporates a hot tub area for hydromassage on one end and an aquatic fitness/swimming area on the other--was winner of the People's Choice Award. Manufactured by Dimension One Spas, the AquaFit 19 Dual Temp measures 19 ft long x 8 ft wide x 4 ft deep. Its two water-feature areas are incorporated within one formed part. Users may set different water temperatures in each area: cooler for aquatic exercise and warmer for hydrotherapy.

The shell of the AquaFit 19 Dual Temp features two of Bayer Plastics' engineering thermoplastics: Centrex 833 ASA/AES weatherable polymer over Lustran 752 ABS resin. The Centrex and Lustran resins are coextruded into sheet for Dimension One Spas by both Spartech Plastics and Primex Plastics. It typically takes the company two months to design and manufacture a mold necessary for a part as difficult to pull as the AquaFit 19 Dual Temp, because the part has two distinct sections, separated by a barrier wall, that need to be formed without incurring webbing or chill marks.

Cut Sheet Competition

Automotive Award

Front Fascia for the Renault Thermoform S.A.

Cajica, Cundinamarco, Colombia

The front fascia for the Renault, produced in Colombia by Thermoform S.A., won the Automotive Award. The Renault is distributed in the Andean Free Trade Zone, comprising the countries of Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, and Ecuador. The mold design and thermoforming method for the front fascia were developed by Arthur Buckel for Thermoform S.A.; Borke Mold Specialists assembled the mold; and the material (TPO) was supplied by Washington Penn Resins.

The fascias are formed on a closed-chamber machine with the sheet-clamping frame curved to match the mold platen, thus reducing the sheet drawdown on the sides. The hot sheet is billowed and the mold moves into the billow, achieving a uniform thickness.

Material Handling Award

Intake Manifold Pack TriEnda Corp.

Portage, Wis.

The "Pigeon Hole" Intake Manifold Pack from TriEnda Corp., designed for the packaging and transport of plastic intake manifolds for automobiles, was winner of the Material Handling Award. The package holds and protects 18 manifolds per pack. Each pack consists of two single-sheet HDPE mirror-image pallet/covers, three twin-sheet HDPE trays, and a set of two steel U-shaped frame assemblies that provide vertical support and assist in assembling the pack into a single functioning unit.

A unique feature of the pack is the utilization of the interior geometry of a twin-sheet tray that creates a "pigeon hole" fashion tray; this geometry holds the manifolds in place. The pigeon hole pack protects the manifolds and, at the same time, allows users easy access to the parts. Conventional HDPE thermoformed dunnage required assembly-line operators to remove several layers of trays to reach the parts, resulting in additional costs for labor and storage space. The TriEnda pack reduces these costs. Each pack is self-palletized--two packs can be stacked during transport and several during storage.

Consumer Entertainment Award

Health Club Recumbent Bike Side Covers Profile Plastics Corp. Lake Bluff Ill.

Health Club Recumbent Bike Side Covers from Profile Plastics Corp., with molded-in texture and style that give the product a "solid, understated" look, won the Consumer Entertainment Award. Made from 0.170-gauge high impact polystyrene (HIPS) supplied by Spartech Corp., the bike side covers are formed in machined aluminum molds built by A&M Model & Pattern. Articulating undercut in the molds allows left and right halves to match up without the overlap joint found on similar products.

All holes are formed in, including those on the underlap, virtually eliminating the possibility of a mismatch. Lettering is molded in to create a smooth, consistent surface for foil hot stamping.

Point-of-Purchase Award

Round Banquet Folding Table Alltrista Industrial Plastics Co. Fort Smith, Ark.

A 72-inch Round Banquet Folding Table from Alltrista Industrial Plastics Co., a Division of Jarden Corp., was recipient of the Point-of-Purchase Award. The lightweight plastic table is constructed with two thermoformed sheets of high-quality, impact-resistant ABS, formulated with UV inhibitors on the exposed surfaces for protection from prolonged exposure to the sun. The table's large size and multi-component assembly presented challenges to designers.

The design of the table bottom incorporates the advanced structural characteristics of the half sphere; the "interlink" design helped enable the tables to pass the BIFMA International testing standards for load requirements.

Electronic Enclosure Award

High Resolution Imaging System Specialty Manufacturing San Diego, Calif.

A High Resolution Multicolor Digital DNA

Imaging System that requires a unique capability--the elimination of all external light while incorporating a user-friendly hinged door for access--won the Electronic Enclosure Award. A press-fit interface between the pressure-formed faceplate and structural foam enclosure provides the foundation for the mating, two-part pressure-formed door assembly. When the door is closed, a full 360[degrees] light dam between the door and face is created by a transitioning track of tongue-and-groove design. The placement of required hardware, and the ease with which it can be attached, are facilitated by locating pockets precisely formed in place.

The imaging system assembly is molded from ABS/PVC material extruded by Spartech Corp. The CNC aluminum mold construction and forming are by Specialty Manufacturing, Inc.

Multipart Assembly Award

Medical Diagnostic Unit for Blood Analysis Productive Plastics, Inc.

Mt. Laurel, NJ.

A Medical Diagnostic Unit for Blood Analysis, used primarily to detect sexually transmitted diseases, won the Multipart Assembly Award. Designed by Integrated Design, the multipart assembly from Productive Plastics includes six vacuum/pressure-formed components and a large fabricated polycarbonate window fastened to the top canopy. The formed components were made using aluminum temperature-controlled tooling from Tooling Technologies. The Kydex T (a PVC/acrylic, UL94 V0-rated FR material) was supplied by Kleerdex Corp. and finished with Sherwin-Williams Polane paint.

Each part has undercut details to ensure close tolerance, line-to-line fit. In addition, the deck-component openings required forming tolerances of [+ or -]0.010 inch to fit machined components that protrude through each opening. Because the product incorporated various processing techniques and each needed to match both color and gloss, the finishing requirements were critical. Pressure forming was the chosen process based upon the anticipated annual production quantity of 150 units, the cost effectiveness of the material and process, and the ability to meet application requirements.

Industrial Award

Stealth Grill

Spencer Industries, Inc.

Dale, Ind.

The Stealth Grill, winner of the Industrial Award, required Spencer Industries to totally redesign and reconfigure the initial drawings to make the product, a hood for a "reefer" unit (a refrigeration unit located on the front of a refrigerated trailer) suitable for twin-sheet thermoforming. Total CAD drawings were incorporated and furnished to the customer for evaluation and approval. One of the most important considerations in the design was to ensure that the part deadened the noise created by the diesel refrigeration unit.

Additional areas of concern revolved around twin-sheet contacts on a curved surface, utilizing a filled olefin material with its inherent dimensional instabilities, and the close tolerance requirements for CNC trimming and fit of the product to mating parts. The twin-sheet concept of producing the grill, however, provided the customer with a considerably more durable part at a much lower cost than that of alternative processes. The mold was built by Vantage Tooling; the material used was Paxon talc-filled polyethylene.

Roll Fed Competition

Consumer Packaging Award

Retail Package for Crayola Crayons Universal Protective Packaging, Inc. Mechanicsburg, Pa.

The Consumer Packaging Award went to Universal Protective Packaging for its Binney & Smith, Inc., Crayola Crayons container. A market study conducted by Binney & Smith revealed that clear plastic packaging for the Crayolas was an excellent alternative to the traditional chipboard container.

The company's packaging designer presented a packaging concept, and the design group of Universal Protective Packaging further developed it into the design with features that allow all 96 colorful crayons to be easily viewed by the user and enable the product to be displayed to optimal advantage on the retail shelf. The final result was a package that is formed, welded, loaded with product, and shipped from the Universal Protective Packaging facility to Binney & Smith's distribution center.

Consumer Housewares Award

Clamshell for Box Insert into Window Creative Forming, Inc.

Ripon, Wis.

The Clamshell for Box Insert into Window, produced by Creative Forming for one of Procter & Gamble's Olay "Total Effects" line of skin-care products, won the Consumer Housewares Award. Requirements included a clean, contoured front panel for product presentation through a carton window. In addition, maximum product anti-rotation was required by the clamshell, with minimal product contact. Creative Forming achieved these requirements through a system of deep undercuts and snaps, which tightly contact the jar at points just over jar center. The snap system presented stacking challenges that were overcome by the design, which permits the snaps to "crush in" while the clamshells are in a stack, and then easily "pop out" when the product jar is loaded into the clamshell.

Critical Barrier Award

Central Venous Catheter Inner Procedure Tray

Prent Corp.

Janesvile, Wis.

The Prent Corp. designed and tooled the improved Central Venous Catheter (CVC) Inner Procedure Tray, winner of the Critical Barrier Award. Traditionally designed kit trays included sterile wrap to be unfolded and laid atop the patient, providing a sterile field for tray placement for the physician's use when performing the procedure. Medical personnel often found it difficult to position the tray securely on the wrap, making the contents of the tray inconvenient to reach and increasing the potential for contamination of the sterile components.

The redesign of the tray involved cutting an opening into the sterile wrap to match the tray cavity size. The wrap is sealed to the flange of the tray, thus combining the sterile field and tray into one integrated unit that provides increased stability and integrity. Radio-frequency sealing bonds the tray to the cellulose fiber wrap. The trays are formed from 0.030 blue-tint PETG material, utilizing a high-speed, in-line thermoforming process.

Consumer Electronics Award

Retail Packaging Andex Industries, Inc. Escanaba, Mich.

A retail package that totally encloses the product (an optical rangefinder), yet allows the product to be tried out by the consumer (the focus wheel can be turned), won the Consumer Electronics Award. Compared with the previously used hang-up package, the redesigned package from Andex Industries is smaller in size, yet maintains horizontal product presentation for standup counter display. The tri-fold package design, with internal die cuts, has contributed to increased sales of the product.

An additional feature of the package design is that tooling inserts were constructed that allow for the optical rangefinder package to be run to enclose just the product itself, or with a cavity for a neck strap or a carrying case. This approach reduced both tooling and production costs. The package is formed using 20 mil PVC supplied by Klockner Pentaplast.

Food Container Award

Baby Bottle Liners PBM Plastics, Inc. Newport News, Va.

Baby bottle liners from PBM Plastics won the Food Container Award. PBM Plastics uses the melt-phase thermoforming process to produce uniform, thin-wall, deep-draw barrier or non-barrier containers and liners. The company's primary product line is private-label 4-oz and 8-oz baby bottle liners that are formed using plastic billets cut from LDPE (supplied by Print Pack) via a roll-fed system and using aluminum and steel tooling from Future Mold.

The company's melt-phase system offers greater utilization of the material, resulting in less waste and lower costs. Additionally, the melt-phase thermoforming process produces a more uniform product with higher package integrity.

Industrial Packaging Award

Multiple Lens Handling and Shipping Tray Universal Protective Packaging, Inc. Mechanics burg, Pa.

Multiple Lens Handling and Shipping Trays won the Industrial Packaging Award. When Optical Coating Laboratory requested the design of trays and lids to accommodate handling and shipping of five different-sized contact lenses, the company expected to be presented with designs for two or three different-sized trays with lids. The traditional method of packaging the lenses had included individual protective pouches made of fabric.

Universal Protective Packaging examined drawings of the coated lenses and their critical apertures and created a single tray that could accommodate all five lenses. The stackable tray, which holds two lenses on top and three on the bottom, can hold multiples of any of the five lenses.
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Title Annotation:Society of Plastics Engineers
Author:Blanco, Alice
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2002
Words:2867
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