Plastics News reporter Bill Bregar and correspondent Roger Renstrom reported the following items from the Western Plastics Expo, held Jan. 12-14 in Long Beach, Calif.
Autojectos presents new molding machine
Autojectors Inc. of Avilla, Ind., operated a new 40-ton rotary vertical insert molding machine and two other presses at its Western Plastics Expo booth and projected additional offerings by mid-1999.
``A whole new line [is] ready to break [with] all new tonnages,'' said Mark Garrison, sales and marketing manager. ``People can expect a more standard tonnage vertical machine with a much bigger platen than any of our competitors.''
Autojectors, primarily a maker of vertical insert molding machines, plans ``to go head-to-head with competitors on tonnages'' and may make an announcement at the June 15-17 Plastics Fair in Rosemont, Ill., he said.
Garrison said planning for the expanded line began before Milacron Inc. acquired Autojectors in May 1998. Autojectors was a private-label supplier to Milacron for five years before the ownership change.
The new relationship has provided Autojectors with ``more access to their engineering,'' Garrison said.
At WPE, the hydraulic-clamp rotary 40-ton unit features a secondary pump instead of an accumulator ``so the main pump can continue to do the injection profile,'' Garrison said. The unit, available in shuttle or stationary models, has a base price of $89,000. It extends a line first introduced at NPE 1997.
Autojectors also operated an Indigo 110-ton toggle horizontal injection molding machine that is made at the Milacron plant in Ahmebabad, India. The flexible mid-range machine, priced at $62,000, has ``a larger platen area than most machines this size,'' Garrison said.
Granulator line to see broader distribution
Distributor GRT Inc. of Sun Valley, Calif., wants to broaden its representation for Morita Seiki granulators in North America, said Gabriel Torres, GRT sales director.
``We have sold about a dozen in the U.S.'' since agreeing in January 1998 to handle reintroduction of the line, Torres said. Morita Seiki Kogyo Co. Ltd. has been making granulators in Japan for 30 years and supplied Wortex until Conair bought them out, Torres said.
The grinder line ranges from 2 horsepower, costing $5,500, to 100 horsepower, at $60,000, Torres said.
Gammaflux improves 9500 system software
Gammaflux LP has enhanced software on the 9500 series hot runner temperature control system that it introduced in October.
The value-added improvements are built into the 9500 without additional charge, said Lee Jones, director of global marketing.
``In what we call our adaptive tuning, the system will actually go out on startup and automatically check with the configurations of tool we are running,'' Jones said.
``It will then select the optimum tuning parameters that are necessary for differentiating between a tip, which is normally very fast in its response, and a manifold, which because of its mass is a bit slower,'' he said.
A molding operator gets an automatic setup and the best tuning parameters regardless of differences between one manufacturer's hot runner and another, Jones said.
Two other software enhancements involve the addition of individual personal identification numbers for multiple operators and bitmap imagery so an image of the hot runner manifold can be displayed on the 9500 series operating screen.
Novatec expanding services, systems
Novatec Inc. of Baltimore is emphasizing its systems capability for the plastics industry.
``We increased the systems group by one person to a total of four'' and will add another installation and systems manager by mid-February, doubling that commitment, said James Smith, national sales manager.
Principally a producer of resin dryers and blenders, the firm can provide complete pneumatic conveying systems, including vacuum pumps for railcar unloading, pressurizers, silos, surge bins and hoppers.
Novatec also launched 24-hour customer service, effective Jan. 4, providing contact with a service technician at any time.
By March, the firm aims to expand its blender line, now limited to a unit handling 600 pounds per hour. The additions will blend 100 pounds per hour and 1,000 pounds per hour, Smith said.
Novatec will hold additional seminars during 1999 on its lean manufacturing and total productive maintenance programs. The ongoing effort, begun three years ago, will turn large dryer and assembly operations into work cells this year, Smith said.
Novatec employs close to 200, including nine service technicians and 14 workers in a two-shift computer-aided-design department.
Sales during 1998 increased 6.3 percent over the previous year, Smith said, but he would not disclose sales figures.
Rheometer measures range of shear rates
A new Kayeness rheometer has dramatically lowered the price of tests of flow and viscosity at Plastics Technology Laboratories Inc. in Pittsfield, Mass., President James Beauregard said.
The average price for a rheological test for one material is now $275, he said.
PTL bought a Kayeness LCR 6000 capillary rheometer. Before buying the new piece of equipment, PTL was limited to single-point ``snapshots'' of a material's viscosity. Now the lab can measure viscosity across a range of shear rates.
National Tool debuts 4-drop hot runners
National Tool & Manufacturing Co. introduced a complete mold base with a four-drop hot runner system, priced at $6,940 for three months.
``No one has really come forward with a complete package,'' said Tom Worcester, product manager for the runnerless technology group. ``It's a value-added type of system because each and every nozzle is independently controlled.'' Usually one cluster unit controls the heat.
The completely wired system has mastip hot bushings with standardized bodies and replaceable cores and tips. By early February, National Tool plans to offer delivery of the system within 7-10 working days.
``A lot of people are hesitant to invest in a hot runner system because of the cost,'' Worcester said. ``A typical four-drop hot runner system can cost almost $6,000."
National Tool, based in Kenilworth, N.J., employs 300, manufactures in Kenilworth and Mountainside, N.J.; Greenville, S.C.; and Newbury Park, Calif. It has warehouses in Newbury Park, Cleveland, Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City, Mo.
Raytek sensors get Windows upgrade
Raytek Corp.'s no-touch temperature sensors, for blown or cast film production and thermoforming, now run on Windows NT and Windows 95.
The DataTemp TX software can create charts with information from up to 15 sensors. The system can show a plant's actual machines on the computer screen. The user positions sensors along the production process.
The sensors are designed for monitoring continuous production processes.
Raytek, of Santa Cruz, Calif., used to offer only a DOS version.
The Western Plastics Expo drew more than 5,000 people to Long Beach Convention Center, according to show sponsor Advanstar Communications. Show manager Julie Ichiba said 4,309 attendees visited WPE. Exhibiting companies brought another 873 people, she said. Advanstar held the Western Powder Show at the same time.