Plastics News correspondent Bill Henson reported these items from the Association of Rotational Molders' fall meeting, held Oct. 5-8 in Oak Brook, Ill.
ARM names officers, attendance goes up
The 22-year-old Association of Rotational Molders reported record attendance at its fall meeting in Oak Brook.
Marilyn Wade, chairwoman of the group's public relations committee, said about 700 people from 37 countries registered for the event. Another 1,400 attended the one-day Rotoplas '97 exhibit in nearby Westmont, where 74 firms exhibited at 125 booths.
The group's 1996 fall meeting in Vienna, Austria, drew slightly more than 600 attendees, said Wade, president of Rochester Rotational Molding Inc. in Rochester, Ind. The group's 1994 trade show, also held in Westmont, had 800 attendees.
The next Rotoplas will be in fall 1999 at an as-yet-undetermined location. ARM's spring meeting is set for March 29-April 1 in Maui, Hawaii, and its 1998 fall meeting will be Oct. 18-20 in Dallas.
ARM elected Thomas Niland, head of El Paso, Texas-based Niland Co., its president for 1997-98. Patrick Long, president of Formed Plastics Inc. of Carle Place, N.Y., is vice president. Wade is ARM's new secretary and treasurer.
Four firms receive awards for products
Four companies won product achievement awards for innovative design and processing techniques in a competition voted on by ARM members.
Product of the year honors went to Pawnee Rotational Molding Co. of Maple Plain, Minn., for the Tennant Panda 6080 Power Sweeper frame. The indoor/outdoor sweeper consists of a frame and eight other rotomolded parts involving 41 inserts and two molded-in graphics. Pawnee also received the innovative state-of-the-art award for the sweeper.
In the conversion category, American Rotational Molding Group Inc. in Anaheim, Calif., won for Splash, a 69-by-43-by-20-inch personal fishing craft that is the mother of fishing float tubes.
The large-product award went to Formed Plastics Inc. in Carle Place, N.Y., for a 10-foot weather sensor tower, built for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Kelch Corp. in Cedarburg, Wis., won in the PVC category for the Ronald McDonald Merchandiser. The 48-inch-by-60-inch statue and bench is crafted from a three-piece mold with many undercuts.
Board authorizes funding for research
ARM's board of directors approved spending $60,000 for a three-year scientific project.
ARM hopes to fund rotomolding research involving multidimensional bubbles, heat-transfer and stress issues with a $373,000 grant from the National Science Foundation in Washington, and a $100,000 grant from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
Both NSF and the University of Nebraska are expect to approve the proposed funding, which was contingent upon ARM pledging $60,000.
Rotomolding sector growing worldwide
Roy Crawford, Queen's University professor of engineering materials in Belfast, Northern Ireland, said rotational molding is the fastest-growing sector of the global plastics industry, expanding at 12 percent a year.
In Australasia, that rate jumps to 25 percent, said Crawford, director of the university's School of Mechanical and Process Engineering. The economy of rotomolding is fueling that growth, he said, noting that process control improvements make rotomolding ``every bit as precise as injection or blow molding.''
In the United States, toy production dominates the rotomolding industry, with toys making up roughly 47 percent of the sector's business, he said. But he warned that level of industry dependency is dangerously high. In Europe toys account for just 4 percent of rotomolding's business.
Association honors 4 for their service
ARM presented distinguished service awards to Glenn Beall of Glenn Beall Plastics Ltd. in Libertyville, Ill.; James Braeunig, vice president of Hedstrom Corp. in Ashland, Ohio; Tom Schidel, vice president of Rotocast International Inc. in Miami; and David Mulligan, president of Roto Plastics Corp. in Adrian, Mich.