Winners original, complex ... plastic

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: September 27, 2011 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Medical, Construction, 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

Westminster Tool creates academy to find, train future toolmakers

August 22, 2014 2:06 pm ET

Westminster Tool Inc. begins its own Westminster Academy to find and train skilled employees.    More

Image

Prosthetic arm concept wins in student thermoforming competition

August 22, 2014 1:56 pm ET

Pressure forming company Freetech Plastics Inc. has returned with its annual Student Thermoformed Part Competition, intended to expand the exposure...    More

Image

Composite bridge maker also leading the way in installation

August 22, 2014 1:21 pm ET

Lightweight, low maintenance and strong, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) bridge decks finally are crossing the line from specialty projects to wider...    More

Image

Faerch Plast doubling capacity in UK

August 20, 2014 9:42 am ET

R. Faerch Plast A/S, one of Europe’s leading producers of plastic containers for the food industry, is set to double production...    More

Image

Pactiv selling building products unit to Ireland's Kingspan

August 19, 2014 3:54 pm ET

Irish building material manufacturer Kingspan Group plc is acquiring the insulation business of Lake Forest, Ill.-based Pactiv Building Products for $...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events