Silver in the pressure-formed category went to Saint-Gobain PPL in Puyallup, Wash., for a nine-part package that create an enclosure for a robot being developed by Adept Technology in California for laboratories and SC wafer fabrication, in clean rooms.
The parts must fit with very tight and even parting lines, according to Saint-Gobain. That required all but two of the parts having deep draws and undercuts. Tooling is CNC-machined from an aluminum billet that is gun drilled with water cooling lines. One part has a silk screened Adept logo.
Profile Plastics Inc. of Lake Bluff, Ill., won the silver award for a twin-sheet, pressure formed spine board used to transport victims for medical treatment. Molded from ABS sheet, the board has molded-in straps.
Profile uses two textured, machined aluminum, water-cooled pressure form tools to create a single hollow shape with 22 pinch regions.
It has a slip-resistant surface.
roll-fed or heavy-gauge
The award went to Universal Protective Packaging Inc. of Mechanicsburg, Pa., for a patented Geospring thermoformed recycled HDPE end-cap packaging for the hard disk drive industry.
Universal forms the parts on a Sencorp 2500 thermoforming machine using roll-fed black sheet.
Because of the size of the mold, maintaining optimal mold temperature and ensuring adequate material distribution over the mold presented challenges. The mold's temperature was controlled by using bubbler baffles, and material distribution was overcome by using a plug assist.
The end cap gives maximum protection during transportation with its spring system, which uses harmonic bellows that form a flexible ridge for shock and vibration absorption. When dropped from a height, the rapid deceleration caused by the impact engages the spring system and efficiently dissipates the shock and vibration. Also, the end caps are compact, lightweight and nestable, reducing box size and warehouse space requirements.
Philadelphia-based CW Thomas LLC won for an airline seat pocket assembly using three thermoformed components and value-added fabrication. Two of the parts are pressure formed and one is vacuum formed. All three molds are single cavity tools, CNC machined aluminum. There is an aluminum brace in this unit also.
CW Thomas forms the parts using custom-colored, aircraft-grade acrylic-PVC.
All parts are trimmed, and the hole positions for assembly are routed.
CW Thomas officials said the plastic seat pocket saves weight, and reduces costs, from the traditional metal assemblies.
value-added and assembly
Specialty Manufacturing Inc. of San Diego won for an assembly for a large medical device, made from pressure-forming, including some twin-sheet parts.
The material is custom-colored acrylic/PVC, made on textured tools, machined from block aluminum.
Specialty Manufacturing assembles the glass to the upper housing, to reduce assembly time for the customer.