A southern California demonstration trailer for plastics recycling and processing which has been idle for two years is back in operation with a solar panel and a donated 22-ton Boy injection molding machine.
We just put in a solar panel to charge batteries for the low-voltage demand for the trailer, and we put in a new mold and a machine, said Terry Price, chairman of the plastics department at Cerritos College in Norwalk.
Also, we are looking to put in a wind generator so the trailer is truly green and demonstrates alternative sources of power, Price said in a recent telephone interview.
The revamped trailer's first field use is slated for Kids Eco Fair, an environmentally themed event Aug. 7 at Long Beach State University.
Members of the Western Plastics Pioneers saw the newly outfitted trailer in May.
It is equipped with equipment that can grind, pelletize and mold plastics. Typically, the resin from a 1-gallon milk container is sufficient to mold 26 frog-style paper clips using a two-cavity mold.
Spencer Knapp, president of the Western Plastics Pioneers, said that over 11 years, the organization has donated $32,000 in support of the trailer, which became operational in 2000. Before that, the former American Plastics Council now part of the American Chemistry Council donated $20,000 and the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. gave $6,000.
Cerritos College owns, insures, maintains, stores and manages the trailer.
There would not be a trailer without Cerritos, said Chris Mitchell, district sales and applications development representative with the Ontario, Calif., office of Toshiba Machine Co. America.
Mitchell arranged last year for donation of the Boy machine, which was operating at Rancho Alamitos High School in Garden Grove, Calif., until the school terminated its plastics technology program.
When they closed that program a year ago, I got them to give that machine to Cerritos for the demonstration trailer, Mitchell said. The machine is now 14 or 15 years old.
Previously, original equipment makers Nissei, Arburg and Toshiba would consign injection molding machines for use in the demonstration trailer, contingent upon the presses' eventual sale and removal.