Plant-floor plastics employees, ranging from apprentices up to master-level experts and engineers, have something new for their workbenches - the Society of Plastics Engineers seven-book Plastics Technician's Toolbox.
SPE rolled out the series during the 2002 Annual Technical Conference in San Francisco.
Forty-eight industry experts contributed to the books. The first three volumes focus on fundamentals needed for all plastics technicians, regardless of their area of processing - things like basic polymer science, design of experiments, testing, quality, safety, hydraulics and blueprint reading. Books four through seven focus on injection molding-specific areas.
SPE hopes to add volumes on extrusion - using the same first-three fundamentals books, said Nancy Herdegen, manager of plastics education services for SPE.
``People are hungry for fundamental basics,'' she said.
SPE officials touted the toolbox series, two years in the making, as an unprecedented, hands-on training resource for plastics technicians. The books are designed to be on the desk of plant-floor technicians for reference.
The writing style is conversational. Editors tried to keep the books on the technician level, but with more detail and on-the-job focus than most textbooks, according to Timothy Womer, a member of the steering committee that put together Plastics Technician's Toolbox.
``This product raises the bar in technician training,'' said Womer, vice president of engineering and manufacturing at New Castle Industries Inc., a screw and barrel maker in New Castle, Pa.
The four injection molding-specific books cover machinery, including the clamp end, injection unit, controls and auxiliary equipment; molds, including mold and part design, hot and cold runners, gating, venting and mold-plate sequencing; and processing and trouble-shooting, including machine maintenance and shut-down procedures, mold maintenance, computer flow simulation and a heavy dose of chapters on materials-related issues.
The seventh book is a pocket guide for trouble-shooting.
The toolbox covers up-to-date injection molding technology, including MuCell, gas-assisted molding, all-electric machines and tie-barless presses.
A short biography of each author is included.
Plastics Technician's Toolbox costs $550 for SPE members and $695 for nonmembers. Brookfield, Conn.-based SPE is running an introductory offer of $485 for SPE members until July 1.
For the fundamentals books only, the price is $358 for SPE members; nonmembers pay $452. The injection molding books are priced at $193 for SPE members and $243 for nonmembers.