Canadian Plastics

K Show Wrap-Up: The Leading Edge Leaps Ahead

"The attendance is down but the quality is up."In the words of a company president exhibiting in the Canadian Pavilion, this summarizes the recent K Show 2001 from the exhibitors' point of view. Indee...

December 1, 2001   By Michael Legault



“The attendance is down but the quality is up.”

In the words of a company president exhibiting in the Canadian Pavilion, this summarizes the recent K Show 2001 from the exhibitors’ point of view. Indeed, 94 percent of exhibitors said they expect post-show business to result from the show, according to a survey conducted by K-Show officials.

By all accounts, the show from the attendee or buyer’s perspective was also exceptional for the sheer amount of new product introductions and breakthrough technology on display. No doubt, many an engineer or company president returned from the show with a lengthy wish-list. For those unable to attend the show, here is a brief summary of some of the more interesting developments in primary processing equipment found at K 2001. (Injection molding technology is covered in this month’s Technology Trends section on p. 6. ; as well it was previewed in our November issue, which can be accessed at www.canplastics.com)

One of the more exciting “made-in-Canada” developments at this year’s K Show was the announcement of an agreement by Ryka Blow Molds Ltd. and Weber Manufacturing Ltd. to make nickel-shell stretch blow molds. The process will produce cavity inserts from mandrel masters and reduce mold delivery time by up to 30 percent (see full story in moldmaking section, p. 21).

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Another noteworthy development at this year’s show, according to one executive at a Canadian bottle-blowmolding firm, was the number of quality, competitively-priced machines made by Asian companies.

“Many of these Asian manufacturers build machines with many of the same components, such as Moog controllers, used by the brand name companies,” the executive reported. “The pricing, however, is much better.”

This same executive also liked a blow molding machine for prototyping manufactured by MCP Equipment of Great Britain. The MCP 50/E is specifically designed to produce prototype bottles and containers, thus eliminating the need to use regular production machines to make small numbers of prototypes. An epoxy-based material is used to make functional tooling in as little as three days. The machine has a small footprint suitable for a laboratory.

Husky Injection Molding System’s 144-cavity Micropitch mold for preforms is designed to increase mold cavitation in 600-ton machines. The 144 cavity mold increases output by 50 percent over a 96 cavity, 600-ton system. The Micropitch stack design accommodates preforms with thread finishes up to 30 mm in diameter.

Additionally Husky’s new IndexSB (stretch blow) combines the Index 125 preform molding system with a servo-driven blow molding machine for greater productivity and versatility. The company is targeting lower volume applications with the IndexSB — mainly those producing less than 50 million parts per year. Potential markets for the IndexSB include household cleaning products, cosmetics, health and personal care, and food and beverage containers.

“The IndexSB gives molders flexibility in one system without having to maintain several different machine models,” says Dave Whiffren, Husky’s sales manager for the IndexSB.

Sidel claimed what is says is the stretch blow molding speed record for PET bottles using its 10-cavity SBO 10 Series machine. The machine produces 1.5 L bottles at a rate of 2000 per hour per mold, for a total of 20,000 bottles per hour for the entire machine. The bottles molded included surface engravings and surface treatment, and weighed only 26 gm, the lightest 1.5 L bottle in the world. Sidel also announced that the maximum guaranteed output rate for its Series2 machines will increase from 1,400 to 1,530 bottles per hour per mold.

EXTRUSION — FILM, SHEET

Brampton Engineering Inc. introduced Aquafrost, a water-quenched, multilayer blown film line. The film technology uses water as a cooling medium to produce film with high clarity and softness not ordinarily found in multilayer blown film. Other features of Aquafrost-produced film include balanced orientation and deep draw thermoformability at output rates similar to cast film. Bramptom developed Aquafrost in response to customers’ need to compete with cast film products.

A five-layer production scale Aquafrost line is being demonstrated at Brampton Engineering’s Blown Film Technology Center in Brampton, ON. The five-layer line uses a Streamlined Coextrusion Die, resulting in rapid structural change-overs, minimum degradation and long periods between cleaning. The line operates at 2.1 kg/hr/mm, which is 2.5 times the rate of conventional upward blown film rates and competitive with cast film rates. The line is available for trials.

Reifenhauser GmbH displayed its three-layer Filmtec 3-1700 IBC blown film line for general purpose, flexible blown film production. The line incorporates new concepts in screw design which enable processing of various grades of both conventional and metallocene-catalyzed resin without changing screws. The service life of the plasticizing units has been increased by coating the barrel and screw components with a special hardening technology. Melt channel length has been reduced to a minimum leading to shorten purging periods. Melt fracture during the processing of LLDPE and metallocene composites is minimized or prevented by improved die heaters.

Macro Engineering exhibited its MacroPack stackable coextrusion die equipped with the company’s patented Advanced Multilayer Technology. The die is uniquely suited for the production of barrier films with nylon, EVOH and/or PVDC.

Sweden-based Axon Plastics Machinery has developed a “two-in-one” film extrusion line for the production of small-width packaging film tubes with two bubbles from the same extruder. The extruder is equipped with a feed block for two melt streams. The two melt streams are individually adjustable for an equal or different split of the two streams, depending on film tube dimensions.The two-station line can be expanded to a four film station line using the same extruder.

Macchi’s seven-layer blown film line makes laminating film from a wide array of polyolefins, as well as EVOH and nylon for enhanced barrier properties. Films for thermoforming can have gauges down to 17 microns. A special coextrusion head design reduces interfacial turbulence among layers, producing a more uniform tolerance throughout the multilayer structure.

A new flat-die clamping system replaces labor-intensive tasks required for die cleanouts and color changes with a mechanized process that clamps and releases the die halves in less than one minute. Extrusion Dies, Inc.’s “Boltless” die system is unclamped or reclamped with the flip of a switch, enabling extrusion processors and web converters who do frequent split-and-cleans to increase machine uptime. The patent-pending boltless system is available only on new dies, according to EDI.

EXTRUSION — PIPE, PROFILE, COMPOUNDING

Davis-Standard and its partner for international projects, a+g Extrusion Technologies demonstrated a dual window-profile line featuring a GP 94 extruder, tooling and downstream equipment. The line comes with a base Mesa Pack control system and was configured in two independent tracks; one side producing a typical U.S. window profile and the other a European one. The company also displayed two recently patented screws, the DSB-V and DSB-VI. Tests show the DSB-V provides uniform melt temperature across a wide range of screw speeds; while the DSB-VI is targeted for the growing groove-feed extrusion market.

Boston Matthews brought out a new range of extruders with AC vector drives and improved output. The machines feature the ExtruPro control system which facilitates remote diagnostics via modem and comes with a disc drive for storage of recipes and downloading of operational data.

Leistritz introduced its ZSE 110 HP twin-screw extruder. The ZSE comes with 110-mm diameter screw and is the first extruder of its size with heating cartridge technology. The machine can achieve screw speeds up to 1200 rpm, torque of 16900 Nm and throughput up to 10 ton/hr. Typica
l applications include filling and reinforcing of polyolefins and compounding of engineering thermoplastics or elastomers.

THERMOFORMING

Meico’s FCS 750 E is the all-electric version of the hydraulic FCS 750 unit. Designed with forming, cutting and stacking stations, the machine handles all PET, PS, PVC and PP roll-fed sheet. It features a low-noise, energy-efficient, quick-tool-change system that incorporates inline forming and punching machines. The base model includes double independent heater banks, and independent top and bottom platens on the forming and cutting stations.

Reifenhauser introduced the Mirex C3-900, a compact extrusion/thermoforming line pre-assembled on a self-supporting frame. The frame also functions as the bottom of a standard 20-ft shipping container. The three-layer coextrusion line has a capacity of 300 kg/hr of polypropylene and 450 kg/hr of polystyrene. The machine can produce sheet ranging in thickness from 0.4 to 2 mm, with a width 750 mm at a speed of 40 m/min.

The combination of a laser cutting system and a digitally-controlled Shelley Powerform PF1512DC Series thermoformer is able to mold and trim technical parts at reduced cycle times and lower production costs. The system, which was displayed by Cannon, features new software that handles not only sequence and heater control data, but also vacuum speed, mold release features, mold insert movements and regulation of the clamp frame.CPL

The quality of Asian made blow- molding machinery is improving, according to one company executive at the show.


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