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SPE picks annual thermoforming parts competition winners

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Profile Plastics, headquartered in Lake Bluff, Ill., wins big for its "surgical system cover set.”

The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has announced the winners of the SPE Thermoforming Division annual parts competition.

The awards were presented during the Thermoforming Division’s annual conference, held in September in Schaumburg, Ill. They were presented in twenty categories. The categories and winners are:

“People’s Choice” and Heavy Gauge Pressure Form – Gold. Profile Plastics, Lake Bluff, Ill., for the “Surgical system cover set.” “This cover set is designed to attractively enclose a surgical waste management system used in hospital operating rooms,” SPE said. “The latest generation of these parts made from female pressure form tools results in improved cosmetic appearance, fewer formed parts, faster assembly and lower cost, primarily due to molded in features from complex tools that were not possible with previous generation parts made from male vacuum form tools.”

“People’s Choice” and Heavy Gauge Pressure Form – Gold winner: The surgical system cover set.

“People’s Choice” and Heavy Gauge Pressure Form – Gold winner: The surgical system cover set.

Roll Fed Consumer – Gold.  Jamestown Plastics, Brockton, N.Y., for the “Click it Clam.” “This innovative clamshell design has a patented locking feature which allows it to be easily opened and closed with one hand,” SPE said. “The user simply has to push on the lower part of the flange under the pin, which forces the wall to deflect, releasing the pin and allowing the lid to pop open. Simply snap the lid back down to close and it is secured when you hear the audible ‘click.’”


Roll Fed Consumer – Silver.  Transparent Container Company, Addison, Ill., for the “Sharpie Markers tray.” “The Sharpie .022 PVC tray was designed to be easily filled by hand with the 30 markers, yet still meet Walmart’s required external measurements,” SPE said. “This allowed the finished package to be easily stored and displayed onsite. The structural design of the PVC tray for the markers displays them in an orderly fashion and also provides a place for consumers to store them conveniently at home.  In addition, it keeps them secure during shipping and display at Walmart.”

Roll Fed Recycled – Gold.  Innovative Plastech Inc., Batavia, Ill., for the “Book and recorder clamshell.”The book and recorder clamshell is a hanging package, designed to hold both a music book and a musical instrument for sale at retail stores,” SPE said. “The package is made from .020-inch clear recycled PVC. For security of contents while hanging, the clamshell is designed with 6 button snaps around the perimeter of the package. The platform snap loses its effectiveness with such a long package, so the button snaps provide additional consistent and sure closure. Once purchased, it can be repeatedly opened and shut by the customer so that it acts as a protective case for the instrument as well as the music book.”

Roll Fed Medical – Gold.  Barger, Placon’s medical specialists, Elkhart, Ind., for the “Medical liner to protect orthopedic implants.” “This thin‐gauge, vacuum formed TPU medical liner offers rugged protection for medical orthopedic implants as well adding impact resistance to the containing PETG sterile blisters,” SPE said.

Roll Fed Medical – Silver.  OMG, Via Torino, Italy, for the “Surgical knives sterilization unit.” “A revolutionary thermoforming machine able to produce – starting from roll‐fed or sheet‐fed PS plastic rolls or sheet – a ready‐to‐use surgical knives sterilization container,” SPE said.

Heavy Gauge Vacuum Form – Gold.  Associated Thermoforming, Berthoud, Colo., for the “Touch Tower.” “Manufactured for a major soda producer, this is multi‐part beverage dispensing system employs LED touch technology for the dispensing choices,” SPE said. “Vacuum formed from 0.125-inch gauge high gloss metallic silver, black, and red materials, the structure is derived from assembling to the skins vacuum‐formed ribs.”

Heavy Gauge Vacuum Form – Silver.  Electro-General Plastics, Grove City, Ohio, for the “Koala assembly.” “The koala ear withholds a metal bracket between the outer and inner koala ears to improve its strength and ease the assembly of on location install,” SPE said. “To construct the koala assembly, MP 55420 structural adhesive metal is used to bond the metal to the ABS and the 1707 Weld‐on adhesive is used to bond the ABS to the ABS. Many different glue brands were tested for the bonding of the koala ear parts. The 1707 ABS substrates (Weld‐on adhesive) changed the outer color to orange where the outer and inner ears had a tight fit. This was resolved by using 100 per cent silicone in these tight areas. This resolution fixates the three parts, inner ear, outer ear, and internal metal bracket, together to create one durable assembly.”

Heavy Gauge Pressure Form – Silver.  Providien Thermoforming, San Diego, Calif., for the “Fascia and door front to an automated microbiology system.” “This enclosure assembly serves as the fascia and door front to an automated microbiology system,” SPE said. “The assembly is a mix of single sheet and twin sheet pressure formed parts providing an aesthetic and functional entry point into the system.  Material is custom colour acrylic‐PVC blend and is formed on a mix of textured and smooth multi‐cavity production tools. The tools are built from machined aluminum and include embedded temperature control.”

Heavy Gauge TPO – Gold.  Brentwood Industries, Reading, Pa., for the “Dash assembly.” “Dash assembly for low entry heavy truck cabs, made up of twenty components – six thermoformed, two machined, and twelve injection molded louvers,” SPE said. “The show surface of the main dash top is pressure formed while the other thermoformed duct work components are vacuum formed out of TPO. The duct work is assembled to ensure airtightness by using VHB tape and gaskets. The TPO processed is a custom colour matched LyondellBasell E3400.”

Heavy Gauge TPO – Silver.  Plastitel, Laval, Que., for the “Bus cargo doors.” “The bus manufacturer has always used FRP for many of its exterior parts,” SPE said. “All of its side skirts and baggage doors were converted from traditional FRP to a TPO using a twin sheet thermoforming process. Combining the TPO and twin sheet process reduced production time, removed the painting process, and improved the aesthetics.”

Heavy Gauge Value Add – Gold.  Medallion Plastics, Elkhart, Ind., for the “Motorhome interior dash.”Using ceramic tooling that is non‐water cooled, Medallion Plastics is able to use innovative design techniques to allow for negative drafts on the tooling to produce high-end-looking automotive parts for the RV industry,” SPE said.

Heavy Gauge Value Add – Silver.  Allied Plastics, Twin Lakes, Wis., for the “Propeller case.” “The case had to be built very tough, because it needs to pass UPS shipping drop test standards,” SPE said. “This project started out as a single sheet case, but it was soon realized that a twin sheet design was needed to offer the robustness to protect the prop inside. The propeller is secured in the case by a nylon dowel and receiver.  The prop hub sits snugly on a receiver in the center of the base. High density foam, mounted on the dowel, fits between the propeller hub and top cover. The dowel – secured on the top half – fits within the receiver to interlock the propeller in place. The top and bottom halves of the case are secured by four steel locking clasps.”

Heavy Gauge Innovation – Gold.  Profile Plastics, Lake Bluff, Ill., for the “Body protection plates.” “Two twin‐sheet parts are designed to absorb large amounts of energy at a controlled rate for use in personal protection application,” SPE said. “Sophisticated tool and process design was required to achieve strict customer cosmetic and technical requirements, including a challenging multi‐planar pinch geometry.”

Heavy Gauge Innovation – Silver.  Hampel, Germantown, Wis., for the “Calf-Tec unit.”  Designed to replace wood hutches that house diary calves, the Calf-Tec hutch is formed on a large (2) up male cast aluminum tool, multiple zoned temperature controlled with a deep draw and curved to match the cover,” SPE said. “The front is formed on a large (2) up twin‐sheet cast aluminum tool, multiple zoned temperature controlled with a deep draw and vertical twin sheet edges. There is a large amount of plastic welding overall, and incorporated features for secondary attachment of other parts: door, pins, pails, etc. The cover is formed on a large (2) up twin‐sheet cast aluminum tool, multiple zone temperature controlled and curved to match the hutch.”

Twin Sheet – Gold.  Associated Thermoforming, Berthoud, Colo., for the “Wheel chair shower.”  “The single oven twin-sheet process creates a part that is very strong, withstanding the point‐loading of a person in a wheelchair concentrated on the contact of the two wheels only,” SPE said. “The top surface has features molded in it to facilitate draining and the attachment of the walls and doors. Both parts are formed from 0.187-inch gauge virgin high gloss ABS.”

Twin Sheet – Silver.  Corvac, Kentwood, Mich., for the “Underbody shield.” “The panel assembly serves as an underbody engine compartment closeout with an integral service door,” SPE said. “Its function is to protect sensitive components in the engine compartment from infiltration of water and debris, provide enhanced underbody aerodynamic airflow benefitting fuel economy, and assist in overall acoustic performance.”

Sheet Fed Recycled – Gold.  Valley Industrial Products, Fort Valley, Ga., for the “front face of a decorative wall protection system.” “This laminated, vacuum formed product is utilized as the front face of decorative wall protection system,” SPE said. “The film is pre‐laminated into extruded 100 per cent post-industrial regrind polyester material, produced on a twin-screw dryer-less extruder. The front face of film is topside printed by UV (solvent-less) screen printing technology. Total assembly is then vacuum formed using a temperature controlled array of frosted, incandescent reflective bulbs.”


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