Quebec molder snags top SPE award
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Medical and automotive applications win big at Plastics for Life Global Parts Competition at ANTEC 2016.
A vacuum thermoformed medical part developed by a Quebec-based molder has won the Grand Prize at the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) 3rd annual Plastics for Life Global Parts Competition.
Manufactured by Laval, Que.-based Plastitel Inc., the vacuum thermoformed TPU pods serve as the support surface of the Isolibrium patient bed from Stryker Corp. “The pods are the main support surface of the IsoLibrium bed, facilitating patient mobility and ensuring regular movement,” SPE said. “This aids in the function of vital organs, reduce bed sores, and improve circulation. Two major challenges were ensuring a minimum thickness on every individual pod and accurately measuring them.”
The Plastics for Life Global Parts Competition was part of SPE’s ANTEC 2016 conference, held in Indianapolis, Ind., on May 23-25. A panel of judges selected the winners of the Global Parts Competition from among a wide range of parts that had already won in competitions at previous SPE events during the past year. In addition, a People’s Choice award was presented to the part that received the greatest number of votes from ANTEC attendees.
In addition to the Grand Prize, the other award categories and winners are:
SUSTAINING LIFE: Delphi Automotive PLC (Gillingham, UK) for an overmolded polyamide heated tip fuel injector for Honda Motor Company. “An electrical heater within the injector is energized by the vehicle controller, rapidly heating the ethanol fuel and thereby dramatically improving vaporization and reducing emissions,” SPE said. “By making possible reduced fueling during engine warm-up, these injectors also offer reduced emissions on ethanol and gasoline applications. Total hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions were reduced by between 40% and 70%.”
PROTECTING LIFE: Promogroup (Milan, Italy) for a plastic/metal hybrid floor rocker reinforcement for the 2015 Fiat Chrysler Jeep Renegade. “This honeycomb reinforcement was designed for high-energy, high-speed side impact crashes,” SPE said. “The use of this solution reduces the component weight by 45% versus the steel solution, or 1 kg/vehicle, with the added benefit of a 10% cost reduction. This new technology sets a precedent for similar applications across the body structure, including 30-40% mass reduction from each reinforcement, performance comparable to high strength steel, and ease of assembly.”
QUALITY OF LIFE: Sonoco Plastics (Hartsville, S.C.) for a 39-ml blow molded VariBlend dual dispensing bottle. “The VariBlend dispenser sits atop a two-compartment bottle,” SPE said. “A new design locks securely to ensure the package will travel without leaking and the product will maintain its integrity. Consumers can select different formula strengths by turning the dial on the dispenser, satisfying their demand for product personalization and freshness. Six positions exist, or brand owners can set fixed ratios. Keeping products separate until time of use keeps them fresher for longer. Designed for products that come in multiple strengths, require ingredient segregation, offer shade/ colour selection, or need mixing and blending. Submitted by toolmaker FGH Systems.”
IMPROVING LIFE: Productive Plastics Inc. (Mt Laurel, N.J.) for nine pressure formed parts for covers for an MRI medical scanning device. “Utilizing cast and machined molds to ensure no shrink tolerance and CNC linear tolerances for molded in dimensions,” SPE said. “All parts utilized pushers to pre-stretch materials. Use of Sekisui’s Kydex T sheet made it possible to maintain the required wall thickness and consistency over multiple runs. The parts include undercuts and are formed in mating parts to better line up for fit. The assembly allows for the parts to fit a separate metal frame that is assembled at the staging location. This custom hardware reduced the amount of tools required to install and service, and reduced the total time required for installation and service.”
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: SureCan Inc. (Salt Lake City, Utah) for a blow molded gasoline can. “The 2.2 and 5.0 gallon makes it possible to direct how and where fuel is dispensed, with a rotating nozzle, thumb trigger, and hand support grips at the bottom,” SPE said. “The thumb safety trigger securely seals the vent on top of the can. The thumb button assembly is made up of two main parts, the thumb button itself and the safety trigger. The vent does not open or release any air unless the safety trigger is pulled straight back and then depressed with the main thumb button. On average the SureCan releases fuel at a rate of about 2 gallons per minute.”