BOSTON-Four different plastics processes were used to make the overall winner in the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Structural Plastics Division new-product design competition, held April 4 in Boston. The Ektachem 9501RC fluids analyzer uses low-pressure structural foam molding, extrusion blow molding, injection molding and thermoforming to make the cabinet for Johnson and Johnson Clinical Diagnostics of Rochester, N.Y.
The part ``represents the results achieved by applying early vendor and tooler involvement and a team approach,'' which focused on overall results rather than individual successes, according to Johnson and John-son. The three major resins used in the analyzer's construction are polycarbonate, polyphenylene oxide and polyphenylene ether.
The five judges were not satisfied with presenting the analyzer cabinet with an overall award. They were so impressed by the process in which metal hinges on the cabinet's blow molded front access door were encapsulated that they also presented the cabinet with the first prize in the Single Part Division.
In all, judges led by Bayer Corp.'s Harry George selected 14 superior entries from among 97.
Other categories and their winners include:
Medical/scientific. Opera Chemistry System's blood plasma analyzer received a special judge's award. The cabinet, made by Gregstrom Corp. of Woburn, Mass, has 21 molded parts utilizing pressure forming, foam-filled rotational molding and some cast polyurethane in concert with sheet metal.
The molding processes and ease of assembly cut the time to build one machine from a day to an hour, according to the manufacturer. The analyzer was designed by Integrated Design Systems Inc. of Great Neck, N.Y., with molds by Beverly Pattern of Beverly, Mass.
Recycling. Stamford, Conn.-based Xerox Corp.'s business copying machine enclosure was produced from 100 percent post-consumer polycarbonate/ABS, polystyrene and ABS.
Industrial. A safety yoke by Electric Safety Products Inc. of Roswell, Ga., used 9 pounds of polycarbonate and PET in an injection molding process designed ultimately for catching and moving downed power lines. The device's molder is Plastics Manufacturing Inc. of Harrisburg, N.C., which used molds made by CBC Marketing Inc. of Northborough, Mass.
Materials handling. The Combi Gear Pump of FF Pumps Ltd. in Drogheda, Ireland, took top honors in part because of its reaction injection molding manufacturing process. The nylon block copolymer pump is unusual in that its two moving parts can pump as much as 1 liter of highly viscous fluid in one revolution, yet it weighs less than 35 pounds. The pump is designed by Peter Carolan of Dundalk Regional College in Dundalk, Ireland, with molds made by Amber Jet Ltd. of Ardee, Ireland.
Transportation. General Motors Corp. light trucks will feature the door module panel entered in the competition by Delphi Interior & Lighting Systems of Troy, Mich. The device boasts a 98 percent reduction in parts - from 61 to three - in a gas-assisted injection molded unit that incorporates everything from the door's window frame to inner door components. According to GM, the unit also helps decrease assembly time by 84 percent. The unit was designed by David Hlavaty of Delphi Interior and Lighting, and is produced on molds made by Hi-Tech Mold and Engineering Inc. located in Rochester Hills, Mich.
Agricultural/lawn & garden. Moline, Ill.-based Deere & Co.'s Stealth concept riding mower uses three bonded polymeric components to replace the 153 steel parts in the machine's frame - in fact, the smooth, monocoque cover of the riding mower is the machine's frame. Designed by Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., the molds for the mower were made by Venture Industries of Fraser, Mich. The mower's major frame parts were injection molded of 40 percent long-glass-fiber-reinforced PU for its lower part and molded-in color polycarbonate/polyester for its upper part.
Recreation. Huffy Sports' 48-inch polypropylene basketball backboard earned first place thanks to its unique incorporation of graphics in an injection mold to produce the item in a single operation. The molds are designed by MSI Mold Builders of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; a low-pressure structural foam molding process is used to complete the mold decorating, according to Huffy Sports in Waukesha, Wis.
Telecommunications. An injection molding machine with 2,500 tons of clamping force is used to make a one-piece polycarbonate telephone booth for German Telekom. Three injectors with a total shot capacity of 191 pounds manufacture the 132-pound part using a low-pressure structural foam process. The 408,000-pound mold used to make the part features 13 hydraulic core systems, a hot manifold system with eight drops and 32 heating zones. The mold was made by J. Zimmermann Nachf of Gladerback, Germany, and the booth was designed by Busse design Ulm GmbH of Elchingen, Germany.
Consumer products. The Aeron office chair by Herman Miller Inc. of Zeeland, Mich., uses gas-assisted and regular injection molding. The chair features an encapsulated assembly that provides support and tension to the seat and back of the chair itself. The chair was designed by Don Chadwick of Santa Monica, Calif. Its mold maker is Quality Die & Mold Corp. and its molder is Cascade Engineering Inc., both of Grand Rapids, Mich.
Consumer electronics. Cited for its novel use of gas-assisted injection molding, the ``virtual guitar'' entered by Altitude Inc. of Somerville, Mass., is molded of 40 percent talc-filled PP. The molded part itself makes up the module and neck of the guitar, to which all other parts are assembled to ``withstand the abuse of young aspiring rock musicians,'' according to the manufacturer.
Gas-assisted molding provides faster cycle times, with less stress and sink-free molding with reduced tooling and product assembly costs, over other designs, according to original equipment manufacturer Ahead Inc. of Bedford, Mass. IPL Inc. of St. Damien, Quebec, molded the part on tools made by I. Thibault Inc., also of St. Damien.
Appliance. Milfoam Corp. of Hamden, Conn., entered a RIM process delivery chute system for EEC International Corp.'s vending division. The company was looking for a flexible assembly to cushion the fall of a glass bottle of its Snapple fruit beverage from as high as 40 inches in a vending machine capable of handling all 50 varieties of its juice products. The PU elastomer chute flexes sufficiently, but is durable in hard daily use. Milfoam molded the part; the tool was made by a subsidiary, Milfoam/Arrow Diversified of Ellington, Conn.
Computer/business equipment. A polycarbonate ``sub-notebook'' enclosure developed by molder Plastics Manufacturing Inc. of Harrisburg, N.C., for IBM Corp. won first-place honors in this division.
The thin-wall injection molded part has an average wall thickness of 0.047 inch, yet maintains high strength, rigidity and electromagnetic protection for the computer's internal components.
The mold maker for the enclosure was G.M. Tool of Elk Grove Village, Ill.
SPI's Structural Plastics Division is located in Washington.