If you were one of the 200,000-plus visitors to K 2010 in Dusseldorf, you couldn't have missed the curly black walking-stick giveaway. The canes, produced on ST Soffiaggio Tecnica srl machinery at the show, at times seemed to be carried by half the attendees and the other half wanted to know where to get them.
When the resin finally ran out Nov. 3, the eight-day show's last day, the company had produced and given away more than 5,700 sticks, said ST principal shareholder Luca Moltrasio.
It was really satisfying for us we did not think we would have such a success, he said.
During the show, close to 5,500 pounds of DuPont's Zytel nylon 6/6 was run through the ST-E-Move machine, the company's first all-electric suction blow molding unit.
Moltrasio said company officials thought hard about what to produce at the show and had two key requirements in mind they wanted to show the full potential of three-dimensional suction blow molding technology and they wanted a part visitors could carry away with them.
The walking stick idea came initially from Fausto Preda, one of the process engineering team at the company's Monza, Italy, factory. But the entire engineering and marketing team got behind that idea, developing the original spiral concept to accommodate a 15-ounce water bottle.
When the team arrived on site in Dusseldorf, however, a quick change of plan was called for. At the show they were selling water in square bottles, so we had to find another use. Fortunately a beer bottle is also a perfect fit, said Moltrasio.
With a queue running around the stand all day and every day, the walking stick certainly achieved its prime design criteria. In addition, it achieved a valuable benefit for the company.
Our machines are used mainly for car air ducts under the hood, said Moltrasio.
But we have had some interest in other applications. Furniture makers and garden-tool makers people that did not know about 3-D suction blow molding.
In addition to ST and DuPont, partners in the K project included Italian duct mold maker ATE and automation supplier Comau.