Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items at several multidiscipline trade shows, held Feb. 19-21 in Anaheim, Calif.
Packaging systems destined for Europe
Free-Flow Packaging International Inc. of Redwood City, Calif., has placed hundreds of its newest on-demand air-cushion-packaging systems in the domestic market and will carry the product into Europe in April.
FP International introduced the Novus C machine in November and has more than 300 in the field doing on-site production, said Larry Lenhart, vice president of marketing and sales administration. The machine can produce 70 lineal feet per minute of pre-configured air cushions of low density polyethylene film.
``The Novus C is designed to do four or five things by just changing the film,'' Lenhart said. Four of the configurations include void-fill, replacing paper loosefill; block-and-brace arrangements replacing paper; wrap corners, replacing foam-in-place; and traditional bubble material.
FP makes interior packaging materials and equipment at numerous U.S. and European sites.
Ultrasonics offering new bench-top welder
Ultrasonics For Less, of Sparks, Nev., introduced the hand-held Zapper HG 602 ultrasonic plastic welder. The model extends the firm's line of bench-top welders.
The lightweight unit has an ergonomically designed hand grip and trigger and is useful for staking plastic studs to join dissimilar polymers, spot welding and inserting studs into plastics.
A company-developed converter changes a Zapper power-supply-generated electrical signal into mechanical vibrations that pass on to the work piece.
Syspro's software aimed at distribution
Integrated software supplier Syspro of Costa Mesa, Calif., demonstrated a Material Yield System that has drawn interest from processors.
The system extends the inventory-management capabilities of Syspro's software for manufacturing and distribution.
The program makes automatic yield calculations from full plastic sheets, rods or tubes including stock remnants.
It also helps with returning scraps to inventory and assigns value to the remnants.
A Syspro customer, Tri-Star Plastics Inc. of Shrewsbury, Mass., prompted development of the Material Yield System because Tri-Star had more than 40 percent of its inventory lying around in remnants.
The system ``can give a full value of return in six to eight months in most companies,'' said Joey Benadretti, Syspro senior vice president.
Tri-Star, which manufactures and distributes cut plastic shapes, uses Syspro's enterprise-resource-planning software and collaborated in developing the new system, which was completed in early 2002.
Syspro was established in 1978 and employs 410. In September the firm shortened its name from Syspro Impact Software Inc.
Colt's sees success with new automation
Colt's Plastics Co. Inc. of Dayville, Conn., said it has experienced improved cycle times, reduced labor costs and scrap reduction by adding automation, and it may add more within six months.
The company has added three Milacron injection molding machines and six Yushin robots for parts removal. Each new press - two with 225 tons of clamping force and one with 220 tons - came equipped with a robot, and three other robots were installed on existing equipment.
Michael Warford, vice president of sales and marketing, said: ``The consistency of the robotics with the molding presses has just dropped our scrap to phenomenal levels.''
The company molds and decorates cosmetic jars and caps mostly of glycol-modified PET and styrene acrylonitrile styrene. About 95 percent of the work involves Colt's tools. The firm has in-house capabilities for screen and hot-stamp printing and ultraviolet-light-curable vacuum metalizing.
The firm has 29 Milacron machines of 50-250 tons and 19 rotary compression presses, including two now being retrofit. Colt's employs 130 in 145,000 square feet of space.
Clean-room process aims to save money
HK Plastics Engineering Inc. has developed a proprietary molding process certified to Class 100 clean-room standards at its Oceanside, Calif., plant.
The HP Hepa Cell is less expensive to operate than a Class 100,000 clean room, said Vice President Ron Krippner.
``Our customers experience an economic benefit and cleaner air,'' he said.
Krippner gave an example. ``A four-cavity medical lid we run costs approximately 11 cents each in a Class 100,000 molding clean room. Using the HK Hepa Cell, costs have been reduced to 9 cents each. That's an 18 percent cost reduction for our customer.''
The cell is positioned under the press, Krippner said.
HK Plastics Engineering employs 130, operates 18 presses with clamping forces up to 400 tons and is registered under ISO 9002.
Tek buys machine, upgrades clean room
Tek Packaging Group invested more than $1 million to buy a third Kiefel pressure forming machine and upgrade a clean room to Class 10,000 from Class 100,000.
Huntley, Ill.-based Tek operates a total of 13 high-speed all-electric pressure formers making parts for medical, electronic and retailing applications.
In December, President Sam Mazzola introduced his design concept of the custom-thermoformed radio-frequency-sealed Tek Squeeze Pak, which has a self-closing opening and distortion-printed graphics. The package of clear or colored PVC can accommodate up to eight colors for graphics. Patent applications are pending.
ISO 9001-registered Tek employs 60 and occupies 85,000 square feet, including the 12,000-square-foot clean room. Tek is a division of Filtertek Inc.