Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom reported these items from the Western Plastics Expo, held Jan. 12-14 in Long Beach, Calif.
Oberg, Bayer team up for film insert molding
Oberg Industries is film insert molding display lenses for hand-held electronic devices using Bayer Corp.'s polycarbonate resins and PC films.
``The process makes the decorative artwork basically impenetrable to abrasion wear,'' Bob Burt said in an interview at Oberg's Western Plastics Expo exhibit. Burt is plastics market segment director at Oberg's Chandler, Ariz., facility. Deliveries will begin in March.
A machine in Engel's WPE exhibit demonstrated the Oberg-Bayer technology.
Tekra Corp. of New Berlin, Wis., applies a hard coating on the front side of the PC film, and Oberg decorates a second surface and cuts the lens to size. The hard coating ``improves the strength of the surface by five times,'' Burt said.
Oberg places the decorated film into a mold, and the injection molding process encapsulates the ink between the film and the PC molding resin. Bayer's resin and film groups in Pittsburgh worked closely with Oberg.
Film insert molding permits decoration in larger quantities than hot stamping or pad printing and can lower costs and apply more process controls, Burt said.
``We are able to use a controllable silk screening process and decorate a sheet of plastic that may contain 50-75-100 parts and then we can either die cut them out or laser cut them out and do the molding,'' he said.
Initially, Oberg will use the process instead of pad printing for the display lens in a cellular-phone product line.
Oberg is creating a clean-room environment with lasers, robotics and monitoring cameras to do film insert molding, which will also compete with cosmetic printing.
Currently operating seven injection molding machines of 28-300 tons, Oberg Arizona is identifying the best press size for insert molding the lens technology.
Rotinics rotomolds bakery dough bins
Rotonics Manufacturing Inc. is rotational molding large dough bins for a bakery replacing traditional stainless steel units.
``One customer is getting a total of 36 at four a month starting in February,'' Keven Kempton said in an interview at Western Plastics Expo. Kempton is sales representative in Gardena, Calif., with Rotonics' material handling division.
The 850-gallon dough bins of 0.375-inch-thick linear low density polyethylene are ``cheaper, lighter and easier to clean'' than stainless steel ones, Kempton said.
Aljo Welding of Ontario, Calif., delivered the mold in November, and the unidentified bakery tested a prototype for three weeks. The bakery lets dough rise in the bin for four hours and then lifts the bin about 10 feet to dump the dough into a mixer.
The LLDPE bin costs about $1,100, weighs 250 pounds and is easily steam cleaned. A stainless steel bin can cost $2,300, weigh 565 pounds and develop rust spots that catch dough and become difficult to clean.
One person can pull a loaded plastic bin on casters; two are needed to move a loaded metal unit.
``We can do 10-20 a day,'' Kempton said, referring to bin production capacity at the Gardena plant.
Dynisco Polymer Test offer Inoex products
Dynisco Polymer Test of Morgantown, Pa., is now distributing the extrusion process control products of Inoex GmbH in North America.
``We have not sold anything like this,'' said John DeChristofaro, sales manager of Dynisco Polymer Test lab instruments.
Bad Oeyhausen, Germany-based Inoex has penetrated the European market with its gravimetric feed systems, ultrasonic gauges for controlling wall thickness of extruded pipe and the Promex intelligent optical sensor to measure complex extruded pipe dimensions.
The line's previously limited North American presence will change under the exclusive September agreement between Dynisco and Inoex.
Dynisco Polymer Test makes laboratory-based and on-line polymer melt viscosity measuring systems and broadens its range with the Inoex offerings.
Sonobond presents plunge welder unit
Sonobond Ultrasonics of West Chester, Pa., introduced an $8,500 integrated plunge welder to compete in the low-end market for ultrasonic welding machines.
Sonobond has integrated the power supply into the welding head of the new SureWeld product line extension, said Kyle Kimbro, vice president of sales. Usually the power supply and welding head are sold separately.
The unit can weld, stake, rivet, insert metal fasteners and spot weld plastic assemblies. Kimbro said the SureWeld is targeted at automotive and electronic markets and small end users providing services for molders. Sonobond is a subsidiary of Inductotherm Inc. Cheaper, lighter and easier to clean than its stainless steel counterparts, Rotonics Manufacturing Inc.'s 850-gallon dough bins are composed of 0.375-inch-thick linear low density polyethylene.