The following briefs were reported by Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom from NPE 2006, held June 19-23 in Chicago.
UniTherm planning production in China
UniTherm Insulation Systems Inc. of Lewisville, Texas, set up a joint venture for the European market and is working to establish an Asian presence.
In February, UniTherm and Iso Covers Ltd. of Manchester, England, agreed to market UniTherm products in Europe. And by the end of the year it hopes to have a manufacturing start in China, said UniTherm President Dan Sherrill.
At the show, Sherrill touted the company's insulation blankets, which he said can generate a payback in less than 12 months with energy cost savings of at least 35 percent.
UniTherm employs 29. Sherrill said he expected a sales increase of more than 22 percent for the 12 months ended June 30 vs. the previous year.
Herrmann Ultrasonics relocating to new site
Herrmann Ultrasonics Inc., which is relocating to a new site by September, introduced new products including a Food and Drug Administration-compliant ultrasonic welder, a table-top rotary indexing unit and a USB port for downloading and device interfacing.
The company offers the welder as part of an add-on software package under FDA standards for log-in and traceability. The self-contained, semi-automated indexing workstation integrates with digital controls at all frequency and power levels. Its velocity can be adjusted. A USB port enables users to transfer weld programs, production data and process charts onto storage devices for remote use with any Windows-compatible computer.
The business plans to relocate several miles within Illinois to a 20,000-square-foot facility under construction in Bartlett, from current quarters in Schaumburg. The site will have applications laboratories for Herrmann Ultrasonics' plastics, nonwovens and packaging divisions. Groundbreaking at the Bartlett site was May 15.
Parent firm Herrmann Group is based in Karlsbad, Germany.
Watlow control loop features integration
Watlow Electric Manufacturing Co. introduced its EZ-Zone ST integrated thermal control loop.
The firm characterizes the product as revolutionary and the first to integrate temperature control, power control, safety shutdown and power disconnect in a single package. The control loop does away with crowded control panels, hard-to-find status information and the need to deal with multiple suppliers for discrete components.
Compared with other control loops, the EZ-Zone ST has fewer components, fewer wire terminations and lower cost per loop or zone, according to Don Commare, product marketing manager with Watlow's Winona, Minn.-based controls division.
The company is targeting extruders, blow molders, and sheet and film processors.
A temperature controller connects to a high-amperage, solid-state relay with options such as a temperature-optimized heat sink, current measurement, over/under temperature limit and digital communications.
In April, Watlow received UL 50 certification for the EZ-Zone ST under Underwriters Laboratories' enclosures standard.
Watlow, with headquarters in St. Louis, employs 2,500 globally, including almost 200 in the controls division.
Eurotherm introduces general-purpose PLC
For small-ton injection presses, Eurotherm Inc. introduced a general-purpose programmable logic controller that provides integrated and total machine control.
Called the Maco Compact, the device meets baseline needs and, with options, can meet additional requirements. The product can support an open or closed-loop process control that avoids the setup of tuning parameters.
Another product specifically for blow molders, the Maco Compact Breeze controller, allows an operator to obtain parison-only wall-thickness control. The controller can be retrofitted to many blow molding machines.
Separately, Eurotherm has developed software providing Web-based data acquisition, analysis, reporting and diagnostics.
The company also demonstrated an advanced method for synchronizing the plastic being filled and shot from two accumulators on a two-sided industrial blow molding machine.
The Model 32H8i melt-pressure indicator displays a scrolling safety message to help establish parameters including set point, time remaining and current. Display colors can be preset to identify changing alarm conditions.
The Model 3504 melt-pressure controller offers precision control of key process variables and has a display that can be customized and is supported by iTools PC-based software.
The Extrusion Master 3c control system was developed for small extrusion lines. EM-3c advances features of the earlier model by transferring the functionality to a Windows CE-based operator station.
Leesburg, Va.-based Eurotherm is a subsidiary of Invensys plc.