The following news briefs were compiled by Plastics News staff and correspondents from NPE 2003, held June 23-27 in Chicago.
Vistar booth closed after check bounces
Extrusion equipment supplier Bandera Luigi Costruzioni Meccaniche SpA could not exhibit during the last two days of the NPE show because its booth was shut down by the show's organizer.
Bandera shared booth space with its U.S. sales representative, Vistar Machinery International Inc. of Canyon Lake, Calif. On the fourth morning of the show, Bandera manager Stefano Palmieri arrived at the booth to find it shut down by the show organizer, the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
Palmieri said Bill Boyer, Vistar's president, had warned him the night before that the booth might be shut down because Vistar could not pay its portion of the booth fee. Vistar and Bandera exhibited at NPE 2000 without any problems, Palmieri said in a telephone interview from his office in Busto Arsizo, Italy.
Boyer said he had expected to represent more companies at the shared booth, but they did not provide their payments in time.
Barbara Voss, SPI's show director, said she gave Vistar every chance she could. SPI accepted a check from Vistar the day of exhibitor move-in but the check soon bounced, she said.
``Vistar expected more participation at their booth,'' Voss said in a telephone interview. Vistar signed up for an NPE booth in the spring, well after the exhibitor space draw.
``I've never had to shut down an exhibit before in my 23-year tenure in this business,'' Voss said.
Bandera initially contacted Plastics News after the show to explain the shutdown. Palmieri said he wanted to publicize why Bandera's booth was vacant for the last two days because it could have conveyed the wrong image.
``We are not having financial problems,'' Palmieri said.
A few days after his telephone interview, however, Palmieri tried to retract any publicity about the closure, indicating a story could be more damaging than silence.
line of small presses
Toshiba Machine Co. Ltd. introduced an ECN series of all-electric injection presses and showed its first remote machine communication system, dubbed iPaqet.
The ECN replaces Toshiba's EC series, with 45-390 tons of clamping force. The EC designation will continue to cover all-electric machines of 500 tons and larger, said Tim Glassburn, vice president at Toshiba Machine Co. America of Elk Grove Village, Ill.
The ECN sports a number of design changes, including a standard wide platen, a relocated safety drop bar and an injection unit position locator with four positions that improves plastic pressure and boosts part quality, according to the company.
Toshiba also relocated the servomotors for the injection unit, reducing the machine's footprint and opening up the design. The ECN now has a tie-bar grease seal so it runs more cleanly, and a tie-bar bushing dust seal.
The injection unit is stronger, since the guide-bar span was shortened. Modifications to the barrel include a newly shaped feed-throat opening, which improves charging capability when running regrind or resins with irregular pellet size, the company said. Toshiba also made it easier to access the barrel.
The ECN has the same basic drive system as the EC, using a belt and ball screw.
Toshiba also released iPaqet software, which can do real-time monitoring of up to 24 injection presses. It displays current values and monitors the machines with X/R charting. The system includes a variety of logs. The software stores molding setup files.
Geiss reports sales
of machines in U.S.
Geiss Thermoforming USA LLC of Elk Grove Village, Ill., has placed four thermoforming machines with a total value of $1.85 million in U.S. locations between November and March.
Two machines went to the GE Plastics product development center in Pittsfield, Mass. Profile Plastics Corp. of Lake Bluff, Ill., and another customer making Thule ski boxes bought the others.
Geiss USA, an independent sales representative for Geiss AG of Sesslach, Germany, opened a 2,000-square-foot technical center and showroom in November. Geiss USA has two service people and six sales representatives. The firm makes vacuum forming and computer numerically controlled trimming machines, said Manfred Geiss, owner and managing director.
Geiss AG customizes designs and machine programming using proprietary software, offers an adjustable clamping system in both axes and integrates halogen heaters into the equipment. The firm first decided to pursue the North American market in early 2002.
The Geiss product line includes a $100,000, hand-loaded test and development machine and fully automatic full-level machines costing $350,000-$800,000. In the high-technology category, Geiss in late 2002 introduced its automated TT-in-one machine with vacuum and trim presses and two handling units, one or more rails and up to three linear motors. In January, Geiss delivered the first TT-in-one unit to a Denmark customer making polystyrene horticultural trays in 300 sizes.
Geiss AG employs 130 including a Hong Kong office and produced 122 machines last year.
Macchi SpA displays
Modularity, economical shipping and a small footprint are key features of the Macchi Coex Flex 3 blown film system.
Macchi SpA ran the three-layer film system at NPE and was to ship the show system to Transco Plastic Industries of Montreal, said General Manager Alessandro Macchi. It will be the third Macchi film line operated by Transco.
Macchi said the Coex Flex 3 easily replaces a monofilm system because it takes up about the same amount of plant space. Modular construction allows the system to be shipped in its own container, which converts to the system's main electrical housing during installation, he added. It can be installed in four or five days, about half the time most competing lines take, he said.
The NPE system was running three-layer film at 65 pounds per hour through a 10-inch die.
Thickness deviation for the 1-mil film was only 1.9 percent on a 2 Sigma basis, the company said.
Standard components include bimetallic barrels, infrared barrel heating for energy savings and quick cooling response times. Other standard parts are Coex Flex dies with low operating pressure to allow flexibility in choosing materials, filtered and insulated air-ring and internal bubble control blowers to reduce noise and dust, nonmarking bubble guides and control-panel conditioning systems to maintain proper temperatures in demanding plant environments. Each film roll is bar coded to correlate with its production conditions.
Macchi said the Coex Flex 3 system has become the company's most popular system, although it also supplies five- and seven-layer lines and recently entered cast-film systems. The firm builds about 80 extrusion lines a year in Venegon, Italy, and exports most of them. It soon will have capacity to build and test more lines, Macchi noted. It is doubling the size of its test area, now capable of testing eight lines at once, for next spring. It will increase production capacity by 20 percent this year by adding metalworking machinery.
Macchi is boosting its profile in North America by recently opening an office in Guelph, Ontario. Macchi North America Corp. plans to expand the office to include technical service and parts.