Plastics News staff reporter Steve Toloken covered the following items at Plastics USA, held Sept. 28-30 in Chicago.
Fanuc case studies support automation
Hoping to boost awareness of how automation can make North American manufacturers more competitive against low-wage countries, Fanuc Robotics America Inc. has launched a public education campaign.
The Rochester Hills, Mich.-based company developed a Web site, www.saveyourfactory.com, where it posts case studies. The campaign does not include competing robot makers, but it does include partner companies that do material handling or other systems integration, according to Catherine Powell, senior marketing analyst.
``Automation is absolutely critical for North American manufacturers to be competitive in the world market,'' said Fanuc Chief Executive Officer and President Rick Schneider.
Fanuc claimed welding firm Lincoln Electric Co. in Cleveland automated and cut piece-part costs from 84 cents to a level competitive with the 30 cent-per-piece cost in China, when shipping and duties are figured in.
North American manufacturers lag behind Europe and Japan in automation, according to the company.
Conair dryer uses Munters technology
Conair Group introduced a new Carousel Plus dryer that the company says brings technology used in other industries to plastics.
The dryer uses molecular-size desiccant technology developed by Swedish firm Munters AB, rather than placing desiccant beads in a tower, Conair said. The dryer uses a wheel to rotate desiccant filters, requires less maintenance and reduces contamination more common with beads, Conair said.
The model has a smaller footprint and cuts the number of components, compared with Conair's previous model.
The dryer also requires much less time, about 90 minutes vs. six hours for the older models, said Conrad Bessemer, president of North American operations for the Pittsburgh-based company.
The dryer is manufactured at Conair's Franklin, Pa., plant.