Winners original, complex ... plastic

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: September 27, 2011 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Construction, Medical, Thermoforming, Design

SCHAUMBURG, ILL. (Sept. 27, 11 a.m. ET)  — A CT-scan enclosure assembly netted Productive Plastics Inc. of Mount Laurel, N.J., the two top honors — the People’s Choice and the Judges’ Award — at the SPE Thermoforming Division’s 2011 parts competition.

The large housing assembly is made from 10 components, all of them pressure formed from Kydex PVC/acrylic sheet. Productive Plastics also makes a bed to go with the CT scan equipment, according to Evan Gilham, vice president of manufacturing.

Thermoforming was the obvious choice for making the housing, a small-volume application with annual volumes of 225-250 units. The plastic parts fit onto a metal bracket assembly. Gilham said Productive makes the entire CT-scan enclosure then ships it to the customer. 

TekPackaging LLC (TEQ) of Huntley, Ill., picked up silver for sterile packaging for Thoratec Corp.’s HeartMate heart pump. TEQ turned out a more-sophisticated tool to improve the package and solve quality problems Thoratec was having. TEQ’s tool used plug-assist, special coding, heated cut dies and a special mold finish for better release of snaps. Also, TEQ converted the tool from male to female, for better sealing and flange-thickness distribution.

 Industrial:

Cleveland-based Amros Industries Inc. grabbed gold for its adjustable bathtub protector made for plumbing products supplier Oatey Co. Amros uses in-line thermoforming to mold the large part, which is 46 inches wide by 60 inches long.

Used to protect the tub during construction work, the product has a bellows-type design that crews can extend downward to fit tubs of different depths up to 16 inches — so distributors, retailers and contractors can carry one compact size.

Silver went to Oakwood Energy Management of Taylor, Mich., for its SafetyPlastic energy absorbers, made by roll-fed in-line thermoforming with a series of conical depressions, used to absorb energy on the 2011 Toyota Avalon. The sheet is super-high-impact polypropylene copolymer with 40 percent recycled content. The parts are formed, trimmed, marked by ink-jet printing and stacked in-line.

The lightweight part has undercuts designed to hook and snap to upper and lower surfaces of the aluminum bumper beam.

Heavy-gauge

Vacuum forming:

The giant ValuStair won gold for LRM Industries International Inc., which uses its patented STF Sheetless Thermoforming technology to make a set of stairs that measure 22 feet long and 4 feet wide at its plant in Rockledge, Fla.

LRM produces the big thermoformed parts by a process that uses trolleys moving around a circular track, said Bart Berghuis, vice president of product management and customer and technical service. An extruder equipped with a sheet die coats a mold with a sheet of warm plastic, which is then vacuum formed into the part, cooled and removed by a robot.

Minimizer of Blooming Prairie, Minn., earned silver for an exterior Chrome Poly fender to cover wheels on semi trucks. The mirror-finish fender uses a corrosion- and dent-resistant film. Orion Plastics Inc. of Edmonton, Alberta, extrudes the thermoplastic olefin sheet, which is laminated to Soliant Fluorex bright film from Akzo Nobel NV.

Pressure forming:

Freetech Plastics Inc. picked up gold for a DNA imaging system, a scanner that does genetic analysis using high-performance lasers and optics.

Freetech of Fremont, Calif., said the main challenge was to form variable geometries and extensive undercut features.

Silver went to Specialty Manufacturing Inc. of San Diego, for a pet-tag engraver. Design elements include the extensive use of undercuts for mounting purposes and added part stiffness and precise alignment to the surfaces of mating components. A window is mounted on formed-in threaded inserts. The company forms custom-color Kydex sheet into the engraver components.

Twin-sheet

Associated Thermoforming Inc. of Berthoud, Colo., won gold for a footboard used on a bariatric bed system. It functions as a footboard and has a handle to move the bed. The twin-sheet part has a molded-in aluminum weldment for structure — a challenge, officials said, because the sheet loses heat due to the delay between leaving the oven and forming to the mold as the inserts are installed. Associated Thermoforming used various process controls and molding techniques to overcome those issues.

Spencer Industries Inc. of Dale, Ind., won silver for Resistall partitions used in public restroom stalls, which replace traditional metal dividers. Spencer pressure forms the high density polyethylene side walls, doors and pilasters using a new patent-pending air-displacement system that assists with the forming and internal cooling. That eliminates the “blow needles” found with twin-sheet products.

Extruded profile HDPE interior rails are robotically placed between the two sheets during the forming process. Tooling Technology LLC provided 15 twin-sheet molds for the project. The high-volume partitions require five-axis trimming stations.


Comments

Winners original, complex ... plastic

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: September 27, 2011 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

China's Shide Group, BASF unveil 'revolutionary' all-plastic window profile

April 23, 2014 9:10 pm ET

SHANGHAI — The PVC window profile market in Asia is expected to increase four-fold by 2025, and Chinese building products maker Dalian Shide...    More

Aston Martin learned what we've known about complex supply chain

April 23, 2014 1:32 pm ET

The story of the United States' trade deficit with China (over $318 billion in 2013) is one that most of us are familiar with. Cheaper labor costs...    More

Some medical devices could get faster approval with new FDA rules

April 22, 2014 7:41 pm ET

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing an expedited approval for medical devices for devices aimed at the diagnosis or treatment of...    More

Image

Two Ohio groups team up to accelerate development of future medical devices

April 22, 2014 9:55 am ET

The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron and Cleveland-based design specialists Nottingham Spirk announced a strategic partnership that the two...    More

JM Eagle reopens shuttered Colorado plant with 8 PVC lines

April 18, 2014 1:02 pm ET

JM Eagle has reopened its Pueblo, Colo., plant with eight PVC pipe extrusion lines back in operation following an 18-month shutdown.    More

Market Reports

Market Data Book - Rankings & Lists

A one-stop download of Plastic News' exclusive annual lists and processor rankings containing essential data including sales, employees, end markets, materials and more.
EXCLUSIVE EXCEL FEATURE: full mailing address details for available plant locations.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Mold Making and Tooling Review and Outlook 2014 North America

This report provides in-depth analysis of the mold and toolmaking market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats, the latest developments in production and labor and equipment trends impacting moldmakers.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events