Plastics News correspondents Roger Renstrom and Steve Toloken gathered these items Jan. 8-10 during the Anaheim, Calif., trade expositions of Medical Design & Manufacturing West 2001, Pacific Design & Manufacturing 2001 and Plastec West 2001.
UFO Design seeks continued expansion
Custom thermoformer UFO Design Inc. of Huntington Beach, Calif., is developing its new injection molding capability and plans to add automation at recently acquired thermoformer SF Technology Inc. of Cerritos, Calif.
"We have been looking for expansion," said Hemant Patel, sales and marketing vice president for both businesses.
UFO acquired SF's assets from President Red Fraser and Margaret Sedenquist in April. Fraser continues as a consultant.
SF employs 30 and operates five thermoforming machines. The company occupies two buildings totaling 25,000 square feet and had sales of $2.4 million for the year ended Oct. 31, 1999. SF was formed in 1974.
UFO was established in 1985. It employs 16 and operates four thermoforming presses in a 15,000-square-foot plant.
UFO has a five-axis, computer-numerically-controlled trimming capability on a couple units, Patel said. "We want to do the same at SF."
In mid-1999, UFO added injection molding, acquiring presses of 350 and 750 tons.
"We may acquire more machines in time," Patel said. "The transition of UFO into injection molding is a big step."
UFO and SF operate in similar markets but without customer overlap. "That was surprising," Patel said.
Four of six owners of the jointly held businesses are involved in daily operations.
G.N. Plastics buys German machine co.
Canadian thermoforming equipment manufacturer G.N. Plastics Co. Ltd. has bought a smaller German machine maker to get control of a new design and fill a niche in its product line.
Privately held G.N. completed the purchase in June, but technical sales representative Glenn Durnford declined to provide details, including the name of the company that was purchased.
The German company was small and subcontracted most of its manufacturing, Durnford said at the Medical Design & Manufacturing West 2001 show in Anaheim.
G.N. bought the firm because it fills a niche for deep-drawn, plug-assist thermoforming machines in its product line, he said.
"It fits our client niche well. Our machines are well-suited for entry-level thermoformers," he said.
The company has started making the machines at its headquarters in Chester, Nova Scotia.
Kuntz's latest press boasts versatility
Kuntz Manufacturing Co. Inc. of Santa Ana, Calif., introduced a vertical-injection liquid silicone molding machine with capability for standard molds up to 8 square inches. The LSR 2010 machine costs $50,000-$75,000, depending on options.
The unit can mold implantables such as intraoccular lenses and pacemakers and do insert and over-molding of medical and nonmedical parts. The absence of a barrel screw means the machine reduces the processing waste of liquid silicone rubber.
"Typical purchasers would be custom molders who benefit from the quick changeover," said Anita Jul Brown, Kuntz sales and marketing manager.
An earlier model used the horizontal injection method and accommodated mold bases of 4-6 square inches.
Delphi's material resists flame, heat
Delphi Technologies Inc. is licensing a flame- and thermal-resistant material for possible aircraft, construction, energy-saving and transportation applications.
The base resin blends high density polyethylene and chlorinated PE with fire retardants, thermal and oxidative stabilizers, foaming agents, char formers and inorganic fillers.
When exposed to flames, "the material off-gases initially and begins to form a ceramic-type char, and that char is what ends up becoming the thermal barrier," said Richard Marczewski, executive director of licensing at Delphi Technologies' research laboratories in Shelby Township, Mich. "It maintains its structural integrity, unlike other materials that sag or drip. This material does none of that."
The company recently patented the intumescent material.
The technology subsidiary of publicly traded Delphi Automotive Systems Corp. used a burner to demonstrate the material's resistance at its Pacific Design & Manufacturing booth.
Foster Corp. debuts lubricated products
Custom compounder Foster Corp. of Dayville, Conn., introduced a low-friction urethane compound and is developing more lubricated compounds.
"We are adding a couple more lubricated products in the first quarter and other new products in the second quarter," said Kevin Thompson, executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Under a new exclusive arrangement, Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont's Performance Lubricants division supplies Foster with a proprietary inert polymer additive that the compounder uses in the compound.
Foster employs 45 and has sales of about $10 million. The Connecticut facility, now 22,000 square feet, was established in 1989, and its Las Vegas plant, now 10,500 square feet, began operations in 1994.
GMS Research touts tracking technology
Recently formed GMS Research of Fontana, Calif., is marketing a software system with strong documentation capabilities for plastics processors.
The GMS program offers extreme tracking for injection molders that are targeting medical parts, said President Alok Sharma.
"We do all sorts of tracking of specification numbers in every lot," he said. "We track every single part that you make in your plant."
Injection molder Andercraft Products Inc. of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., has developed and tested the software since 1995, according to Angela Wells, GMS account executive and Andercraft national sales manager. "Just now we are starting to sell the program."
GMS installs a Web site in the user's database server so the processor becomes completely Web enabled, Sharma said.
A basic module costs about $40,000 for a 30-press location, and the statistical-process-control module can add $60,000 for up to 110 machines. Also, GMS offers a bar scanner module for $20,000-$40,000.
Larry Noggle, former owner of SPM Inc., has been named chief executive officer and chief operating officer of AMA Plastics Corp. in Corona, Calif. AMA's owner, Mark Atchison, is Noggle's nephew, and both men's fathers started Anaheim-based SPM.