NPE2018 Show Daily - Wednesday

NPE is truly ‘Breaking the Mold’ as a multifaceted experience, with activities, discoveries and opportunities to satisfy the needs of anyone who works in the plastics industry or has a need to know about plastics

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WEDNESDAY N PE 2 018 M AY 9 TH Are Blown Film Processors Geমng the Biggest Bang for Their Resin Buck? By Jim Callari Plascs Technology North America looks like a good place to process plasঞcs these days. The polyolefins business is by most accounts booming. New plants are opening, bringing with them more resin capaci- ty and more finely-tuned polymers. Opportuniঞes for flexible packages beckon on a global basis. But North American blown film processors may not be fully taking advantage of what these materials and new market opportuniঞes are offering. Why? Two words: Old equipment. Such is the viewpoint of David Nunes, president of Hosokawa Alpine American (Booth W1971), a leading supplier of extrusion technology for the high end of the blown-film market. "What we tell our customers is simply this: 'Don't fall in love with your assets. They don't love you back. In fact, they hold you back.'" Nunes figures that more than half of the 15-20 billion lb of polyethylene (PE) consumed for film annually is run through machines that are 10-20 years old, or older. By most esঞmates, resin accounts for at least 70% of a film processor's overall expenses, and Nunes makes a compelling argument that film producers are leaving money and opportuniঞes on the table if they conঞnue to process on equipment that doesn't offer the latest capabiliঞes in throughput, gauge control and quality. "When you buy new equipment technology you're invesঞng to make your operaঞon more producঞve, efficient and, most importantly, profitable," he says. "Replacing 20-year-old ma- chinery with the superior technology available today will pro- vide significant output gains that minimize labor and overhead costs. Addiঞonal collateral benefits include dramaঞc improve- ments in efficiency and quality that improve downstream prinঞng, laminaঞng and converঞng." Nunes is a proponent of the benefits of "incremental ca- pacity," which he says he heard first from long-ঞme film extru- sion execuঞve Bill Seanor, now CEO of Overwraps Packaging. He explains: "Let's say you have a line running at a rate of X lb/yr, and you invest in technology that gets you 1 million lb more. In that scenario, your only incremental cost is resin. So whatever your spread is between your cost of resin and your sales price per pound goes straight to the bo•om line." Nunes is also among those machinery suppliers advocat- ing "five as the new three," referring to the number of dis- crete layers in a film structure. Processors can improve per- formance, get into new markets, and increase sustainability by making the jump to five-layer blown film technology for non-barrier applicaঞons. "Material companies have done a great job developing new resins, and advances in blown-film equipment just over the past few years have been extraordinary in terms of out- put, stability, flexibility, gauge control and more. And while many film producers are doing a great job of reinvesঞng, there is a long way to go before the total installed base in North America is updated so that processors can compete in the global marketplace." NPE2018 New Technology Focus: LSR in the Spotlight By Mahew H. Naitove Plascs Technology These watchstraps are one of two demonstraঞons of dual-durometer LSR-on-LSR molding at Arburg's booth. Undiminished interest in liquid silicone rubber (LSR) is evident in molding demonstraঞons by at least nine injecঞon machine builders. Arburg (Booth W1325) is showing two examples of two- shot LSR/LSR molding—one producing a watch strap in two colors and another making a dual-durometer membrane for valves used in medical and automoঞve applicaঞons. The largest press from Boy Machines (Booth W2503), Boy 100E (110 tons) produces LSR protecঞve sleeves for cable ends in a 128-cavity mold from Elmet. Engel (Booth W3303) is showing automoঞve headlight lenses with light guides. They run on a 120-ton, ঞebarless, all-electric e-victory machine with a metering/pumping system and two-cavity mold. The mold uses a cold-runner valve-gate system with valves that are pneumaঞcally actuated but the pin strokes are set electrically. The ServoShot so[ware adjusts the pin openings to balance the fill and equalize the weights in the caviঞes. KraussMaffei (Booth W403) molds LSR medical dosing caps, or "duckbills," on its PX 51-55 SilcoSet all-electric ma- chine. Maruka (Booths W1103, W911) molds LSR magnifiers on a Toyo Si-110-6. Milacron (Booth W2703) runs LSR on a Milacron-Fanuc Roboshot 140. The retrofi•able LSR package includes a spe- cial Milacron screw and barrel. Negri Bossi (Booth W363) is operaঞng a 180-m.t. press in its Canbio ST servo-hydraulic toggle line, molding a ping pong paddle from PBT, TPU and both foamed and solid LSR. Nissei (Booth W923) is teaming up two presses to mold a magnifier. The thermoplasঞc casing is made in a new NEX-IV all-electric press (121 tons), and then a robot passes the part to a FNX-II hybrid (121 tons) to overmold the LSR lens. CAE simulaঞon so[ware provider Sigma Plasঞc Services (Booth S30023) demonstrates an unusual two-color LSR molding applicaঞon and compares the actual results with its "Virtual Molding" predicঞon. 17

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