Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items during Display Applications Conference and Display Works 2000, held Jan. 31 to Feb. 4 in San Jose, Calif. Tool-Less Plastic increasing production
Tool-Less Plastic Technologies LLC of Mukilteo, Wash., is boosting production of low-volume plastic enclosures and is considering a Southern California manufacturing site.
"We package a lot of flat panels" for high-end products, said President Jim Fowler. "Our technology ends up somewhat rectangular without complex curved surfaces or contours."
A run may involve 100 housings a month to enclose a $1,000 flat-panel display going into a $10,000 medical or electronics product.
Mostly, Tool-Less uses sheets of acrylic, high-impact polystyrene and ABS. The licensed technology works with most sheet-extrudable thermoplastic materials that can be machined and, if assembly is required, solvent bonded.
The firm employs 14. It operates four computer numerically controlled bed routers, table saws and a bending machine. Tool-Less had 1999 sales of about $600,000 and anticipates reaching $1.2 million this year.
TTK Kunststoff-Technologie GmbH of Munich, Germany, licenses the fabrication technology and manufacturing system. Tool-Less' license area is west of the Rocky Mountains in the United States, but it can sell products anywhere.
Dark Field offers microinspection device
Dark Field Technologies Inc. of Shelton, Conn., has developed a $200,000 device for microinspection of any kind of display with a clear or metalized glass or plastic substrate.
About half of the early-generation plastic versions use polycarbonate, and the remainder, polyester.
"Those are the resins we see in the display industry so far," said President Timothy Potts.
The special telecentric laser scanner provides real-time, 100 percent protection for 10-micron defects on web widths to 1.6 meters, Potts said. Recently introduced, the scanner is an extension of Dark Field's existing product line.