The Society of Plastics Engineers Antec 2005 conference drew 2,658 visitors, including exhibitors, to Boston's Hynes Convention Center May 1-5. Plastics News senior reporter Bill Bregar gathered these new product items from the event.
Firm offers software that analyzes molds
Suhas Kulkarni, a University of Massachusetts-Lowell graduate and veteran senior process engineer at Southern California injection molding shops, developed a program called Nautilus designed for qualifying molds and process optimization.
Kulkarni formed his consulting company, Frontier Injection Molding and Material Technologies Inc., last fall in Oceanside, Calif. Antec 2005 marked the first time he has exhibited at a trade show.
Kulkarni's molding background includes work at Distinctive Polymers Inc. of Vista, Calif., and Molding International and Engineering Inc. of Temecula, Calif.
He also teaches a course in injection molding at the University of California at San Diego and provides in-plant seminars.
The software is not for closed-loop process monitoring. Instead he said, ``it's a hands-on, at-the-machine software'' that helps establish a good molding process, and document it, before full production begins.''
Nautilus software measures, and provides graphs and worksheets covering in-mold rheology, a process window study; gate seal study; mold qualifications reports and logs; full dimensional analysis from part measurements; setup and operator instructions, including imported video or photographs; mold design and part design checklists; and a mold inspection checklist.
A mold machine compatibility report tells which molds can fit in which machines. The software also helps the documentation of water-line diagrams.
The full version of Nautilus is available for $795. The viewer version, designed for those who want to view the files only, costs $195. Frontier offers a free demonstration version.
Master Precision tout quick-change molds
Master Precision Products Inc., which specializes in small injection molds for making dog bones and other test specimens, now is selling a complete package of its quick-change molds and a 44-ton Fortune injection molding press.
In other news, the company now does complete test specimen molding for clients that want to outsource production of the specimens.
The company, through its Master Precision Test Specimen division, is marketing the molds/injection press package as a complete molding cell. The controller on the laboratory-sized Fortune press is preprogrammed with parameters to run specific molds from the company. The mold is selected and the process is automatically set up with the touch of a finger on the controller.
The package sells for less than $80,000. The Fortune-brand Vh-40TS presses are made by Victor Taichung Machinery Works Co. Ltd. in Taiwan.
Master Precision President Stephen Drake said customers of test specimen molds include resin manufacturers and compounders. Lab personnel at those firms may not be adept at injection molding, so they need something that is easy to use, he said.
That same logic led the Greenville, Mich., mold maker to create its World Mold, a type of quick-mold change for small specimen molds. World Mold includes a base that stays in the machine and a series of removable mold plates that can be quickly changed by hand. The plates have automatic water-connect lines and soft-touch handles.
JSW introduces low-price extruder
Japan Steel World Ltd. introduced a new lower-priced laboratory extruder, the TEX28V.
Michael Millsaps, sales and marketing manager for JSW's operation in Edinburg, Ind., said the TEX was designed for the U.S. market, which wants a standardized lab machine. The twin-screw compounding extruder offers high speed and high torque, he said.
The package includes a die heat and breaker plate as standard. A wide feeder and side feed barrel are optional.
The extruder has a screw speed of up to 1,200 revolutions per minute. The screws have a diameter of 28 millimeters and a length-to-diameter ratio of 42-1.
Millsaps said JSW plans to have TEX extruders in stock for immediate delivery.
Manville rolls out its StarStran glass fibers
The Engineered Products Group of Johns Manville Corp. used Antec 2005 to roll out its StarStran LCF chopped glass fibers specially designed for direct long-fiber thermoplastic composites - with benefits of excellent fiber dispersion, wet-out and mechanical strength.
Klaus Gleich led the team that developed StarStran as research associate of Manville's foams and composites technical center. He also is chairman-elect of the Society of Plastics Engineers' Composites Division.
The Denver-based company said direct long-fiber thermoplastics work by compounding the material and feeding it directly into an injection molding machine, without the separate step of making pellets. D-LFT is mainly focused on structural and semi-structural large automotive parts, like running boards. Other markets include construction and infrastructure products and sporting goods.
D-LFT is popular in Europe, where 45-50 lines are running, according to John Sage, business manager for reinforcements at the North America Engineered Products Group. North America has only six D-LFT lines, but Sage said the market here is poised for growth.
Manville offers StarStran in lengths ranging from a 0.5-1.5 inches, bulk delivered.
Manville worked with Brabender Technologie Inc. of Mississauga, Ontario, which makes feeding systems for compounding lines. Sage said the feeder helps open up the bundles of glass fibers, giving StarStran good dispersion throughout the compounded material. Moisture inside the fibers also helps the fibers to open up, he said.
Poor dispersion can lead to bundles of glass and areas with mostly just resin, which can weaken the part and hurt surface quality, Manville said. To get the fibers to disperse, a processor often cranks up the shear force, but that can damage the fibers.
BASF unveils data on DPHP plasticizer
BASF Corp. presented a technical paper at Antec 2005 on a new DPHP plasticizer for PVC.
BASF is investing $60 million in a series of projects at its factory in Pasadena, Texas, including to convert production to DPHP (di-propyl heptyl phthalate), which is a butene-based material, from the current propylene-based DIDP plastizer. Richard Kozlowski, technical service representative, said BASF will continue to offer the DIDP (diiso-decyl phthalate) along with the DPHP material. Both go by the trade name Palatinol.
DPHP offers superior weathering resistance, a benefit for applications like roofing membranes, geomembranes and tarps to remain flexible that take a beating from sun and moisture. Kozlowski said moisture can draw out the plastizer, making those products brittle.
Other applications include flexible PVC parts for automotive interiors and wire insulation.
In other news, Florham Park, N.J.-based BASF now has the capability to do water-assisted molding at its North American engineering plastics unit in Mount Olive, N.J. BASF installed a unit from Cinpres Gas Injection Ltd.