The following items were gathered by Plastics News senior reporter Bill Bregar and correspondent Frank Antosiewicz at the MassPlastics 2002 show, held March 27-28 in Fitchburg, Mass.
Allrounder All-Drive makes its U.S. debut
MassPlastics 2002 marked the U.S. debut for Arburg GmbH & Co.'s electric injection press, the Allrounder All-Drive.
First introduced last year at K 2001 in Germany, the modular machine lets customers mix and match the type of drives, either hydraulic or electric. For example, at MassPlastics, electric motors ran every function except the nozzle contact force and an unscrewing mold, which were run by hydraulic power.
The press, with 88 tons of clamping force, molded a medical port-protector part on a hydraulic unscrewing mold. The 16-cavity mold is owned by Boston Scientific Corp. in Glens Falls, N.Y.
Friederich Kanz, president of Arburg Inc., the firm's U.S. unit, said offering hydraulic power for certain functions, especially molds, makes the All-Drive attractive.
``I believe it's a good concept,'' he said at Arburg's booth. ``The customer has existing molds. A lot of molds have [hydraulic] unscrewing units or core pulls.''
Many competitors offer all-electric presses, or hybrid electric/ hydraulic machines that offer one rigid arrangement for power. But Arburg wanted to give customers the power to choose, depending on the application, for each injection press, Kanz said.
He said interest was high in the technology during the show. And the week before, Arburg hosted 150 U.S. customers at its headquarters in Lossburg, Germany. Visitors took factory tours, saw 40 presses operating and heard lectures on technical subjects.
Arburg is able to offer an all-electric version of the Allrounder All-Drive, Kanz said.
Brookfield Rapid adds 3-D milling system
Brookfield Rapid Solutions of Hudson, N.H., is adding a new wrinkle to its rapid prototyping arsenal, with the addition of a three-dimensional laser milling system that it showed at MassPlastics 2002.
After a two-day run at the show, the Deckel Maho Lastertec DML 40SI was installed at Brookfield's home plant.
``What makes it unique is its very accurate depth control,'' said Steve Ettelson, president of Brookfield Rapid Solutions, noting it can vaporize a 0.0004-inch cross section of material at a time.
He noted that the advantage of the system is that it doesn't need a lot of programming, but rather works directly from computer design data. The machine can be used on ceramics, metals and graphite. It is used to create small cores or cavities or parts and also for engraving.
Brookfield Rapid Solutions, which employs 40, was started in December 1995. It is part of Scitech Plastics Group, based in Kansas City, Mo.
Apps4biz.com unveils business software
Apps4biz.com, which does behind-the-scenes Web hosting for small and midsize companies that need business services, rolled out improved business software applications.
The firm, based in Andover, Mass., has targeted plastics processing for its initial industry focus for a simple reason - company leaders have roots in plastics.
Peter Lopes, vice president of sales and marketing, was operations manager at TRW Automotive's injection molding plants in Massachusetts. Mark Gies, a product consultant, held positions at TRW's automotive fastener molding plant in Westminster, Mass., and at MacNeill Engineering Worldwide Inc., of Marlborough, Mass., which molds cleats for athletic shoes.
Apps4biz.com, through its Web site, offers services such as inventory and supply-chain management, order processing and electronic commerce.
The latest version boasts new features such as an embedded report writer, a financial integration tool that allows Apps4biz products to be integrated with most financial accounting software, and improvements that allow users to move quickly through screens.
Apps4biz.com, founded in 1999, targets companies with sales of less than $50 million that may not be able to afford to create an in-house software system.Customers rent applications and access them over the Internet or buy the software.