BELFAST (Dec. 23, 10:45 a.m. ET) — Representatives from global rotational molding companies met in Northern Ireland recently to hear about the latest developments of the European Commission-backed Rotoflex Project.
Hosted at the Centre of Excellence for Rotomolding at Queen's University in Belfast, technicians, product managers and engineers from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and several European Union nations were updated on the work of the project, which among other things aims to develop an automatic feed system that can be retrofitted to standard rotomolding machines, helping to cut cycle times and energy costs by a third.
Gareth McDowell, managing director of 493K International, one of the project's 13 partners, said the event's objectives - to announce results of the three year Rotoflex project and the “exposition of equipment designed and built for the material feed experiments” - had been “resoundingly met.”
In addition, it “provided a platform for interested parties within the industry to explore this type of in-oven material feed system.”
McDowell said: “Rotoflex, as a multi-million euro project, clearly needed to present the results of this endeavor. It's a hot topic for rotomolders as increasingly strict regulations, in particular in the U.S., are pushing rotomolders to consider barrier techniques to reduce vapor emissions from small fuel tanks.
“This inevitably means moving towards multilayer molding technologies, such as Rotoflex's in-oven multi-shot system.”
He added: “The molding industry should pay attention to the outcomes, as those who do not keep an eye on what is happening in the US could get stuck with a lag time which would leave them behind the industry curve, and ultimately be less profitable.”
He added that while the new regulations did not apply directly within the European Union, it would inevitably have a global impact “and may be followed in other jurisdictions”.
With around 450 processors Europe's rotomolding business is estimated to be worth 3 billion euros ($3.91 billion) annually.
By implementing its recommendations the consortium behind the Rotoflex Project believes more than 30 million euros ($39.17 million) of cost savings can be made each year across the region.
Other members of the Rotoflex Project include the British Plastics Federation and Smithers Rapra.