Energy savings, sustainability highlighted at Engel packaging open house

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: April 26, 2013 2:53 pm ET
Updated: April 26, 2013 3:06 pm ET

Image By: Gayle S. Putrich Engel's Packaging Days include a demonstration of a 12-liter pail with an integrated handle molded on an e-motion 2440/420 T US press with a cycle time of 10.2 seconds. The mold was supplied by Top Grade Molds of Mississauga, Ontario.

Related to this story

Topics Packaging, Machinery
Companies & Associations Engel Holding GmbH

YORK, PA. — When, in 2007, Weatherchem Corp. landed a client that would boost business by 25 percent, the company had to expand — but carefully and within its existing 45,000-square-foot facility.

Robert Rodgers, technical engineering manager at the Twinsburg, Ohio-based injection molder, said it was a unique opportunity to get in on the all-electric press trend.

"It can be really hard to justify a new machine," Rodgers said. "Especially a new kind of machine. But we were growing. And from the standpoint of growing, [the Engel machines] were more attractive because we were growing and we were able to do it more sustainably than we originally thought possible."

Sustainability and green manufacturing were only some of the buzzwords tossed around as Austrian press maker Engel and its partners highlighted the abilities of their electric presses and other packaging trends April 24-25 at the company's North American headquarters in York.

Making the move from hydraulic to electric has not been as popular in the United States as is has in Europe and South America, said Christoph Steger, vice president of Engel Austria GmbH's packaging unit. But he said the projected 60 percent energy savings and 80 percent water cooling savings make an attractive argument for those in the market for new presses that are proving themselves more every day.

"Two years ago, this wasn't something people thought you could do on an electric press," said Joachim Kragl, Engel North America's director of advanced molding systems and processing, holding up a bright green 12-liter pail fresh off the Engel e-motion 2440/420 T US with an optimized thermally balanced cooling and air delivery system mold by Top Grade Molds of Mississauga, Ontario.

"And we're running at 10.2 seconds right now," Kragl said. "That's pushing the envelope. The kind of pail was the last frontier for electric presses."

The difference between a traditional hydraulic press and an optimized all-electric press is like the difference between driving a Yaris and a Formula 1 race car, Steger said, but getting a new trend rolling can be slow at first.

"Generally, but especially here in the U.S., no one wants to be first. This is not exclusive to injection molding. We see it with all the new technology in our portfolio," he said.

Of the energy savings, Weatherchem's Rodgers said: "That's real. And that couldn't be more attractive. There is no getting around the kind of energy usage we see in plastics. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to our customers and to society to use it well."

Weatherchem is now a part of Mold-Rite Plastics LLC.

The continuing green trend extends from manufacturing processes to products themselves.

John Fleischer, Universal Dynamics Inc.'s vice president of sales and marketing, addressed the growing push from consumers for biodegradable plastics and industry's slow but steady response.

"Bioresin is not something that's fading away," he said. "It's predicted to grow at a 15 percent rate for the foreseeable future," he said.

While the advantages of PLA are many — from the composting and cogeneration disposal options to the fact that it can be run on existing equipment — there is a learning curve, especially when it comes to material handling and transport, Fleischer said.

"Reducing energy consumption is going to become a way of life," he said. "HIPS, ABS, PET, styrene, PP, these could all be replaced with PLA and to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars saved per year by processors."

But processors must take the plunge and learn about PLA's drying characteristics and get ahead of potential conveyance issues first.

Lightweighting is also a trend that shows no signs of disappearing. Trexel Inc's MuCell technology adds nitrogen bubbles to plastic. The foaming result, said Brent Strawbridge, Trexel's vice president of North American sales, is a lighter part that meets sustainability goals, is more dimensionally stable, made at a lower cost without affecting the product's recyclability.

But ever-decreasing weights does more than keep customers and environmentalists happy. Constant mold and process refinements put money back in processor's pockets, said Johannes Strassner, chief sales officer at Swiss mold-maker Schöttli AG.

One Schöttli customer was churning out 614 million 2.2 gram standard cap closures per year with a 4.5 second cycle time. After a series of generational refinements, it is now making 790 million standard cap closures functionally identical to the old ones, but weighing in at 1.7 grams each on a 3.5 second cycle on the same 96-cavity system running 8,000 hours per year — at a $473,000 savings in resin costs.

"We are forced by our customer more and more to optimize energy consumption for the mold," Strassner said. "We are seeing with this drive to increase efficiency, findings from one operation help us to optimize many other functions. Saving time, saving money, saving energy, wherever we can this is where things are going."


Comments

Energy savings, sustainability highlighted at Engel packaging open house

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: April 26, 2013 2:53 pm ET
Updated: April 26, 2013 3:06 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Sealed Air moving headquarters, 1,200 jobs to Charlotte, N.C.

July 23, 2014 2:06 pm ET

Sealed Air Corp. — which is known for its Bubble Wrap brand — is moving its headquarters from Elmwood Park, N.J., to Charlotte, N.C., and ...    More

Image

Successful packaging is about more than the materials you use

July 23, 2014 1:49 pm ET

“People do not forget how packaging makes them feel," says Marla Donahue. "Remember how frustrated you felt when you couldn't get that...    More

Image

Munson Machinery expanding assembly, testing operations

July 22, 2014 2:02 pm ET

Munson Machinery Co. Inc. is expanding its headquarters factory by about one-third in Utica, N.Y., where the company makes mixing, blending and size-...    More

Image

Beer maker Carlsberg enlists suppliers for 'upcycling' project

July 22, 2014 11:14 am ET

Carlsberg Breweries A/S in Denmark has started an ambitious project with its suppliers to optimize its packaging for the purpose of “upcycling....    More

Image

Global market for plastic containers to top 46 million metric tons by 2021

July 22, 2014 10:56 am ET

German research company Ceresana has released a study saying that it expects the global market for plastic containers to rise to 46.2 million metric t...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

More Events