DES MOINES, IOWA - Stabilizer fins for a gambling ship and a bread stick orienter for packaging baked goods would not seem to have much in common, but they do at Adapt Plastics Inc. Those are just two of the items the Rockford, Ill., injection molder has made for a growing set of clients.
``We just shipped the bread stick orienter to the customer, Kraft Foods, this week,'' said Adapt President Larry Phippen, who was attending the June 4-5 Mid-States Plastics Conference and Exhibition in Des Moines. ``It was one of the most difficult pieces we have done.''
The orienter is an 18-inch-high, 8-inch-diameter cylinder of solid polyurethane composite, with a rectangular cavity in the middle that spirals 180 degrees from its top to the bottom. The piece is part of a stack of similar components, used to organize and compress bread sticks before they are packaged.
Phippen said the difficulty in molding the piece was designing the central rectangle and molding it so that the baked goods turned exactly 180 degrees as they bunched together and were forced through.
``Kraft wanted to be able to see the sticks as they were organized in the hole, and the whole assembly is turned by controlling rods that fit through the solid part of the piece,'' he said.
Phippen said the company is concentrating on molding composites, and it recently has done applications as diverse as rings for chemical toilets on Amtrak trains and the fins for the ship.
``Those were some of the larger pieces we have done,'' he said of the fins.
``We made four of them for this ship that is being built out in Seattle.''