A 60-ton Sodick Plustech V-Line injection molding machine with a two-stage exact-dosing plunger system turned out syringe parts made of medical-grade Topas COC material as part of Nypro Inc.'s “Technology Day” offerings June 10 in Clinton.
Also sharing the spotlight were an Arburg, a Männer and a Husky press, as well as various tables touting materials, coatings and other innovations. More than a dozen companies participated at the event, organized by the Clinton-based custom injection and contract molder and mold maker.
The idea is to showcase new technologies at a different Nypro facility four times a year, said Nypro's technology director, Michael McGee. Previously this year Nypro hosted a day in China and one in Mexico before bringing it home to a research and development area at NyproMold Inc. in Clinton, McGee said.
The event includes top technology ideas from Nypro's three global divisions — covering consumer and electronics, packaging, and health care — as well as its extended networks.
“It is part of our extended enterprises. What it means is that when a customer walks in the front door, they get all that Nypro offers,” he said. “On any given day at Nypro, leading brand companies are working on brand development.”
Plustech Inc.'s Len Hampton talked about the 60-ton Sodick Plustech press on display.
The press can be used for high-speed thin-wall applications as well as high-precision optics, said Hampton, national sales manager for Schaumburg, Ill.-based Plustech. Nypro has been testing the 60-ton machine since February.
“We don't have any [Sodick] machines in our organization,” McGee said, “but this is a collaboration to look at the model and explore where we can take it.” He noted that the machine is being tried out on various applications.
Nearby a closed-loop 5-ton Männer micromolding system was spinning out tiny gears. The machine, offered by Otto Männer Vertriebs GmbH, was introduced at Germany's K show last year, according to Männer key account manager Dieter Schweigert. He said the system, which combines a number of functions, had been in development for three years.
An Arburg 55-ton electric Allrounder also was producing microparts. “What's unique is the [Arburg Inc.] micromolding unit can be adapted to standard machines,” said Todd St. Pierre, Arburg's regional sales manager.
“It doesn't become a dedicated machine for only micromolding. Rather than sit idle, it can run standard sizes,” St. Pierre said.
Husky business manager Dave Prince said Nypro is using standard sizes on Husky's Hylectric platform at all of its facilities. By sticking to 300-, 400-, 500- and 650-ton sizes, a Nypro facility is able to get delivery of a machine in about two weeks, Price said, whereas normally delivery is a wait of 14-16 weeks.
McGee stressed that Nypro offers solutions involving more than new machines or technology. For example, he said, Nypro molds millions of inkjet printer cartridges for companies like Lexmark and Hewlett-Packard, and its relationship extends to what happens to the cartridges after they have been used.
That's why recycler Close the Loop Inc. of Hebron, Ky., was at the event — to explain how it takes those cartridges and breaks them down to reuse the plastic.
“We have various collection programs. All material is brought back to our facility and put through a series of sorting and refining processes to produce pellets. They are fed back into the manufacturing chain,” said operations director Dean Vukovic.
The recycler's Kentucky plant has been fully operational since 2008, Vukovic said. The firm got its start in 2001 in Australia, and has been growing along with the need to recycle imaging consumables to keep them out of landfills.
“We expect to recycle in 2011 about 50 million cartridges,” Close the Loop President Jim Tocash said by telephone.
Among the materials Nypro displayed was a polyglycolic acid — a solid gas barrier material — offered by Kureha America Inc.
“In a multilayer PET bottle, we put [PGA] inside and it extends the shelf life more than double,” said Jeffrey Sherry, vice president and general manager of Kureha's packaging material business.
Sherry said consumers want smaller portions or lower calorie counts, preferring smaller bottles. Smaller bottles have a shorter shelf life, but a 12-week life span can be pushed to 25 weeks with PGA.
The day was also an opportunity for Nypro to showcase its own employees.
Safety manager Bill Collins talked about the six-step ascension improvement model, a plan to boost factory safety that rolls out next month.
As an example, the show had designated a pedestrian walkway for visitors, who otherwise would have needed to wear steel-toed safety shoes in the plant.
Jim Elliott, advanced technology director, talked about a more benign coating that contains less volatile organic compounds and is entering the second phase of testing. A two-year development program run with various paint firms recently produced a coating with 65 percent less VOCs, he said.