Plastics News senior reporter Bill Bregar gathered these news briefs from NPE 2003, held June 23-27 in Chicago.
Union conflict keeps presses from show
A union dispute in the port of New York two weeks before NPE led to some nerve-wracking moments for Fortune International Corp.
Fortune sells injection molding presses made in Taiwan by Victor Taichung Machinery Works Co. Ltd. The union conflict kept two presses from getting to the show, but Fortune still had two other machines to run.
The shipping company kept containers holding the two blocked presses in Panama. The machines finally were scheduled to arrive at Fortune headquarters in Somerset, N.J., on the Thursday of NPE week, too late to make it to Chicago.
Close quarters find
legal foes friendly
Talk about bad booth location. When NPE 2003 started, Bauer Compressors Inc. and Epcon Gas Systems Inc., locked in a four-year legal battle over controllers for gas-assisted injection molding, learned they had booths right next door to each other.
Which begs the question: Should any gas-assisted technology suppliers have to endure a week side-by-side at a trade show?
Bauer, headquartered in Norfolk, Va., displayed a sign that said, ``Are you worried about gas-assist litigation? Ask us how you can avoid it.''
But what Plastics News really wanted to know was this: Did they exchange ``booth neighbor niceties,'' those friendly exchanges and joking around?
``A little bit. But now we're just ignoring each other,'' said Jon Erikson, president of Epcon, based in Rochester Hills, Mich.
Paul Dier, Bauer's sales and technical specialist, was diplomatic: ``It's strictly professional. The show is the show. The courtroom battle is the courtroom battle.''
Vintage Van Dorns
try new technology
Amid the robots, just past the laser printing machines, visitors to NPE 2003 got to see two vintage hand-crank Van Dorn injection molding presses - not one, but two.
The plunger presses were worth more than a quick ``would-ya-look-at-that!'' The old presses were out to prove a point for RJG Inc. and Beaumont Runner Technologies Inc.
Mike Fettig, engineering technician for RJG Inc., spent his NPE running a Van Dorn Model 1 Midget Molder.
The company, headquartered in Traverse City, Mich., had the machine hooked up to a screen showing a real-time live analysis of the injection shot, to demonstrate how its valve-gate technology can control the shot.
``Ours is older than Beaumont's,'' said Fettig, who added that people who stopped by RJG's booth were allowed to try their hands at the hand-crank press.
``It's been a lot of fun,'' Fettig added.
Erie, Pa.-based Beaumont demonstrated its MeltFlipper on a 1944 Model 1 Van Dorn injection press supplied by Penn State Behrend in Erie.
The MeltFlipper is a small, steel attachment that rotates, or ``flips'' the melt to balance the amounts of high- and low-viscosity resin flowing into each mold cavity.
Beaumont also introduced software to help companies diagnose all the bugs during the initial mold-sampling stage. The company calls it the 5-Step Process.
Both firms delivered the same message: If their products work on an ancient machine cranked by hand, they will work on today's advanced injection presses.
Presma molds items
new to U.S. market
Presma Corp. displayed some exotic products made by structural foam molding, including a very heavy base to hold construction signs on a highway.
President Romano Discacciati said Presma supplies special machines to a German molder, which blends old ground-up cables, metal and all. A twin-screw extruder feeds a piston injection system.
``We are using a twin-screw machine, which is very unusual in injection molding,'' he said.
Presma of East Brunswick, N.J., was introducing the sign-holder application to the U.S. market.
Presma also displayed a side-gusseted, square-bottom plastic bag with integrated tubular handles.
The firm's sister company, Plastimac, developed a machine that automatically inserts the handles into the bag.
Discacciati said U.S. bag makers can use the technology to compete against T-shirt bags coming from China.