The Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming Division gave out 19 awards at its annual parts competition, from among 43 entries for products that represent new achievements in thermoforming applications.
For the first time, the division added a category for a college award.
The awards were given at the group's annual conference, held Sept. 16-20 in Nashville.
In its cut-sheet category, SPE awarded the following products:
* Henrickson Bumper & Trim of Crest Hill, Ill., won the automotive category for a commercial vehicle fascia.
According to the entry form, this was the first three-piece commercial vehicle bumper combining a thermoplastic olefin and bright paint film with chrome-painted steel. The product demonstrates the ability to take the already-challenging task of thick-sheet thermoforming of Class A parts two steps further by combining TPO and bright paint film.
The bumper also won the People's Choice Award.
* Peninsula Plastics Co. Inc. of Auburn Hills, Mich., won the consumer product category for its Soccer Wave. The product is formed from high density polyethylene in a twin-sheet design. The product had to be durable, portable and watertight with a one-year warranty against product defects.
* Associated Thermoforming of Berthoud, Colo., won the twin-sheet product award for a surgical helmet. The polypropylene part was formed on a high-speed rotary press.
* Specialty Manufacturing Inc. of San Diego won the multipart assembly award for manufacturing a seven-piece pressure formed assembly, part of a multiplexing micro-array processor used for genomics and proteomics. The plastic parts need to be aligned in a static position, so alignment has to be very precise. The assembly is formed from an acrylic/PVC alloy in two molded-in colors. Extensive undercuts on the textured parts are what really make the alignment work, according to company officials.
* Freetech Plastics Inc. of Fremont, Calif., won the electronic enclosure award for its dental laser machine. According to its entry, the thermoformer partnered with the end user to manage the design and manufacture of the new dental laser program. Challenges included significant undercuts, draft angles, molded-in textures, existing structural integration and draw ratios.
* Associated Thermoforming also won the industrial application award for a battery cell processing tray formed from ABS and polycarbonate.
* CSL Plastics Inc. of Langley, British Columbia, won the point-of-purchase category for a display for a scarecrow motion-activated water sprinkler to scare animals away. The twin-sheet product is molded from clear acrylic to enable the product to demonstrate its function in a watertight case.
* Louis Garneau Sports of Saint Augustin, Quebec, won the recreational product category for a bicycle helmet. The helmet, formed on a cast aluminum mold, is a PC shell padded with molded expandable polystyrene.
For the roll-fed category, the division awarded the following products.
* PWP Industries of Vernon, Calif., won the consumer packaging category for tamper-resistant food packages. The containers, made from PET and polylactide, are intended to offer an alternative for food packaging companies currently using various tamper-resistant techniques such as adhesive labels, shrink bands, ultraviolet bonding or ultrasonic welding. The company said these approaches require significant investment in capital equipment and labor, as well as increased equipment maintenance and higher materials costs.
* Prent Corp. of Janesville, Wis., won the medical packaging category for a catheter tray. Formed from high-impact PS, the tray holds multiple configurations of catheters and dilators used in various surgical procedures. Undercuts secure the device handle and tubing, while five die-cut fold-over flaps secure multiple sizes of catheters and dilators. The company reported that the primary design challenge was to contain and protect any of a variety of delicate catheters and dilators without the use of a retainer or protective tube. The product needed to be highly visible and easily removable by the end user. Prent used white HIPS with 10 percent modifier for strength and durability.
* Plastic Ingenuity Inc. of Cross Plains, Wis., won the electronic packaging category for an inward flange tray. Formed from HIPS, this tray holds a cell phone and uses a manufacturing process to achieve a vertical flange that is trimmed inside the outermost formed features of the tray.
* EDV Packaging of Barcelona, Spain, won the food container award for its baby-food packaging. The barrier container is formed from PP and ethylene vinyl alcohol.
The cup has a mouth diameter of 80 millimeters and a brim capacity of 140 cubic centimeters. Its depth is 50mm. According to EDV's entry form, the EVOH layer allows the firm to achieve properties for oxygen, moisture and UV- ray barriers. The barrier structure allows hot filling and withstands thermal treatments. The cup can be heated in the microwave.
* Amros Industries Inc. of Cleveland won the industrial packaging category for its car door shield.
The water and sound-deadening shield used during car door assembly is formed from nonwoven PE and PE foam. The part is molded on a water-cooled aluminum tool with a temperature-controlled aluminum plug assist. Two layers of material have to be preheated to different temperatures and then formed simultaneously, maintaining different profiles of top and bottom layers and permanently bonding them together.
* The Perfecseal unit of Bemis Co. Inc. of Mankato, Minn., won the most challenging roll-fed application category for its well assay plate. The tray is thermoformed from PC on custom-designed and fabricated tooling. Officials said they believe that Perfecseal is the first U.S.-based supplier of deep-draw PC trays. The ability to achieve deep draw with PC adds to the complexity of the tray.
Perfecseal is also capable of verifying that the wells are pin-hole free.
* Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH of Karlsruhe, Germany, won the best international entry award for a cell culture micro-array tray. The PC product is formed on a circular brass-plate mold with mechanically micro-machined cavities.
Two universities were honored for products.
* Illinois State University in Normal, Ill., won the best overall process in the plug-assist and CNC-trimming category, for a playing-card tray. Formed from ABS, this is an organizer for games like Uno or Rummy where pickup and discard piles are required.
* San Jose State University in San Jose, Calif., won the best artistic design category for a birdhouse molded from PS. The product incorporates the roof, drain hole, entrance and hanger into one piece.
* San Jose State also won the assembly category for a flower vase formed from PS on a wood mold.