PLASTICS NEWS INTERNATIONAL
Current website: www.plasticsnews.com/


 

PLASTICS NEWS INTERNATIONAL was a quality four colour print publication circulated throughout the world each month.
Content is from the site's 2008 archived pages after a new redsign of the site and from an earlier iteration of the site with 2000- 2001 archived pages.

If you have inadvertantly ended up here while searching for Plastic News go to its current website found at: www.plasticsnews.com/. Plastic News is a weekly, 46000-circulation trade newspaper and digital platform delivering global business news and insights of the global plastics industry.

 




PLASTICS NEWS INTERNATIONAL 2010

 

About Plastics News International

PLASTICS NEWS INTERNATIONAL is a print and electronic E-Zine for South East Asia Pacific Australia and New Zealand.

You may not be aware of the increasing profile of PLASTICS NEWS INTERNATIONAL in the South East Asia and Pacific region, and the exciting advertising opportunities presented by our access to key industry decision makers in this rapidly changing market. Many of the plastics industry suppliers in the South East Asia area are already taking advantage of our increasing penetration into this vibrant economic sector, because they are getting excellent value for their advertising dollar.

PLASTICS NEWS INTERNATIONAL LINKS BUYERS AND SELLERS

We open valuable links for buyers and sellers of plastics products for mutual and lasting satisfaction through our print and electronic publications.

We have a major commitment to research and develop effective communication techniques to ensure that we remain leaders fostering the growth of plastics products trade.

Cover Stories
The following are a collection of articles from our print version of PLASTICS NEWS INTERNATIONAL. Graphics and tables are not included. Why not subscribe to our print version and receive vital information every month about plastics in South East Asia, the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand?

 


 

 

December 2008

"Represented in Australia by: HBM Plastics & Packaging Technologies Pty Ltd Ph +61 2 8814 3100

Injection moulding for energy savers: KraussMaffei launch of all-electric AX series at Fakuma 2008

The all-electric injection moulding machines from 50 to 350 tonnes combine proven toggle mechanics with extreme operator friendliness. Competitive pricing policy and short setup times for AX machines will deliver further reductions in total cost of ownership. The AX rounds out the company's product range, adding a lower-priced electric machine series for standard applications to its portfolio of highly custom usable solutions. The new series seamlessly continues the company's reputation for engineering excellence.

The AX features a centrally lubricated, low maintenance, five-point toggle for the clamp and a moving plate non precision roller bearing guides with friction upto80percent lower than a sliding support design. The high precision platen guides guarantee very high platen parallelism, helping to prolong mould service life. The water cooled converters are regenerative capable, harvesting braking energy and controlling the servomotors with high efficiency.

A number of energys having engineering measures have made the AX Series over 50percent…and in many cases up to 60 percent more energy efficient than a comparable modern hydraulic  machine. This is a major success in the drive towards energy efficiency BluePowerf from KraussMaffei.

The uper slim machine can be supplied as a complete production cell, with an integrated linear robot and safety housing, that shrinks space requirements by around 25percent.

The user-friendly MC5 Touch control system coordinates all machine functions and the integrated robot via a real-time Varan bus. This simplifies operation and full fault diagnosis for all machine functions, boosting safety and reliability for operators and machine.

Byfitting uniformconnectors, the companyopens uptoAX customers its premiumplasticising units, tried-andtestedin thecompany's CX and EX machines.

These screws have extended service lives, due to outstanding resistance o abrasion and corrosion,and deliver very high plastic sing performance and a homogenous melt.Screw performance teamed with electric drive technology enables the AX to deliver precisely repeatable shot weights.

Easy access to all machine modules and the swing-out injection unit make for shorter set-up times. This improves the productivity of theAX machines, especially for processing small batches. With the launch of the AX machines in Q32008, three clamp sizes will initially be on offer…80,100 and 180 tonnes…covering a wide range of applications. Within a short time, the company expects to be offering a finely scaled range of machines spanning 50to 350 tonnes.

At the Fakuma, acombined AX 100- 380 and fullyintegratedLRX 50 linear robot produced PA66 connector strips for automotive electrical systems in a cycle time of just eleven seconds. The robot, which is integrated into the machine housing, removes the parts and sprue, tosses the sprue into a container and drops the parts on a conveyor belt.

AX series

The AX series utilises a simple, tried-and-tested clamp design, based on an optimised 5-point toggle, that ensures constant reproducibility on the clamp side and low energy consumption. AX machines feature proven plasticising units made from high quality components and reliable drives and deliver consistent parts quality under standardised production conditions whilst being versatile and easy to maintain. They offer affordable entry to the world of allelectric injection moulding machines, all the while giving plastics moulders the reassurance that they are using KraussMaffei technology.

Technology

With clamp sizes ranging from 500 to 3500 kN, the AX series covers a wide production spectrum. It is designed around a proven clamp design that features a 5-pointdouble toggle drive. This type of drive is perfect for all-electric standard machines because of its optimum force/ path transmission. The electric drives offer compelling dynamics and low energy consumption.

Enhanced clamp design ensures high precision

There is a long tradition of using 5-point double toggles in all-electric injection moulding machines because of their high positioning accuracy and repeatability. For the AX series, the kinematics have been extensively overhauled. Optimally designed joints and a powerful ball screw provide variable force transmission at high opening and closing speeds. The spindle is driven by a timing belt. Consequently, it now only takes a small motor output to generate high speeds and forces. An automated central lubrication system ensures that the toggle moves extremely smoothly. The benefits to users of this rugged design are low power consumption, high precision and long term reliability.

Proven plasticising unit for accustomed production quality

Theplasticising unitof theAX seriesoffers the same superiorquality for which the CX and EX seriesare alreadyknown on the market. Itsbackflow valve, screw and barrel offer identical wear protection andare precision manufactured to the same high standard, aguarantee that they all deliver the same outstanding performance. The wear parts in the plasticising units accordingly have high life times

TheAX plasticising unit is interchangeable with those from the EX and CX series. Users can therefo redraw on equipmentandknow-how which theyalready have. This boosts flexibility, because they can lay their hands much faster on the required components. The outcome is shorter downtimes and, conversely, longer machine uptimes. Moreover, the plasticising units are characterised by their broadspectrum processing, good quality melt and their versatility for all kinds of plastics.

Intelligent drive concept: efficient, compatible, responsive

Like the EX series, the AX machines feature electric drive technology with optimised servo motors for converting the brakingenergy into electricity. This solution further reduces power consumption by up to 10 per cent anywhere in the world. Thanks to the implicit converter technology, the machines can operate on any power supply on Earth. The smooth, belt-driven, precision transmission provides low moved masses and further reduces energy consumption. Leak-monitored, water cooled type HT11 converters lessen the burden on the indoor climate, because the water removes the heat. The servo motors have a compelling high response and, in conjunction with an MC5 controller, offer high precision control. Exactly reproducible movements are the outcome.

AX-machine + LRX robot = More productivity per square metre

The AX enclosure has been extended to accommodate the conveyor belt and serves to protect the robot as well. Thus, there is no need to additionally isolate the robot with safety fence and gate. This integrated, compact design saves around 25 per cent of production space over comparable systems. The parts are removed at the end of the machine on the non-operator side… offering increased flexibility as regards positioning of the machine. Customer benefits include low energy consumption through electric drive technology featuring optimised servo motors, which convert the braking energy into electricity.

The AX series reduces power consumption by up to 60 per cent, depending on the part, relative to hydraulic machines… and demonstrates even greater potential savings on water consumption… up to 70 per cent compared to hydraulic machines

 


 

 

November 2008
Philipp Kaiser Regional sales manager at WITTMANN Kunststoffgeräte GmbH, Vienna

Focus on productivity: Wittmann central material handling system

To improve productivity and simultaneously reduce cost, not to mention the many other advantages, Metchem decided to install a central drying and conveying system. Besides the energy saving of about twenty per cent and the material savings of about two per cent, the system significantly reduced labour requirements because of the reduction in maintenance and centralisation of the raw materials

Centralisation of the raw materials. An efficient and smooth operating material supply is indispensable for every plastics processor and the drying system, in some ways, is the heart of every plastics production line.

Before material is processed by the injection moulding machine the resin has to be optimally dried. This eliminates moisture, avoiding the formation of bubbles and flow marks

Special features of the drying system

Metchem uses a central drying system to dry different resins including PA6.6, GF30, POM, ABS, and PE. The system consists of two Wittmann Drymax 900 twin bed desiccant dryers supplying each of the 13 drying hoppers… with a total capacity of 3,500 lires… with 900 m³ of dry air per hour.

Special attention was given to the energy saving systems and safety functions that had to be integrated. Among the essential functions of the installation was the dew point controlled regeneration of the desiccant beds.

Based on actual measurement of the dew point, activation of the respective desiccant bed is delayed, resulting in shorter regeneration cycles and hence, energy savings.

'SmartFlow' is the company's intelligent method of airflow control resulting in energy savings of up to thirty per cent. It is a fully automatic method of regulating the air control flaps, making the necessary adjustment for airflow to meet the specific requirements of different materials and fluctuating material quantities.

Another feature, the material protection function, monitors the material throughput at every drying hopper. In cases where the throughput is decreasing significantly under the preset value, the drying temperature is lowered automatically, thus preventing over drying of the resin and thermal degradation.

To minimise space requirements, the entire drying system has been installed on a platform. A further enhancement to the user-friendliness has been made by linking the drying system to the control of the conveying system. This offers the convenience of a single control for the entire facility.


 

Three vacuum lines The conveying system was split into three independent vacuum lines. The first line feeds the drying hoppers and the second, with a maximum conveying distance of 75 metres, loads the four injection moulding machines. Both these lines are equipped with a single stage side channel blower which offers multiple advantages. It offers low investment and ensures a contact free process of compaction. The conveying air is free of oil and dust particles that could cause contamination of the resin. At longer distances however, a side channel blower is reaching the limits of its capabilities. For the overlapping range of performance Wittmann reverted to a claw vacuum pump. This is also a dry operating device and was used for the third vacuum line with conveying distances of over 80 metres. The drying hoppers are loaded using A200 and A300 series material feeders, which can be adapted to the different hopper capacities with their modular construction. As an option, the feeders are equipped with a capacitive level sensor that again, has special advantages. On one hand, the material flow stops automatically when the fill level is reached. This avoids overfilling and minimises the run time of the pump. Another advantage is provided by the company's patented 'residual material time visualisation system' that records the drying time of the material in the drying hopper. This data can be recalled via the high resolution VGA touch screen of the system control as a table or as a graphic presentation. In addition, the operator has the choice whether or not to stop the feeding of the injection moulding machines in the event the preset throughput is overstepped.

Production safety through system reliability
The RFID-coded coupling station CODEMAX contributes to the production safety. Simply, via remote control, a specific stored material can be assigned to any injection moulding machine. The control identifies the manifold coupling to which the respective tube must be connected to and checks the connection. If the connection has been correctly made, conveying of the material can be started. In the event of a wrong connection, conveying is automatically suppressed and the control screen shows an error message and the troubleshooting instruction. With the user-friendly M7.2 control the operator can conveniently access a multitude of settings and controls. By means of different menu views, control procedures in all areas of the drying and conveying system can be optimally managed. The material flow view provided via the control screen is of particular importance. There the fully documented material flow is visualised in all of its states and phases, from the starting point to the final destination at the injection moulding machine.

Typical for every moulded part, different preparation steps are needed… for example, drying, colouring or adding of regrind… all steps of the material flow are graphically displayed, as it is possible to embed everything into the freely configurable control.

This total monitoring of every aspect of the complete system allows immediate intervention and guarantees proper problem analysis using accurately recorded material data.

The system can be linked to the existing computer network via a personal computer, therefore providing the operator with additional flexibility. This integration enables the manufacturing department to monitor the whole production process from the office and to adjust the process if necessary. Using the intranet/ Internet it is possible to mirror the M7.2 control screen on any personal computer.

 

Metchem uses the standard OPC protocol to select and save all relevant process data, having installed the OPC server software on one of their computers. In addition, it is possible to choose as to which data should be selected and processed locally, from the simple collection of dew point values to displaying the errors of all peripheral equipment. Thus, the company can present a transparent production report for customer audits showing the process parameters used.

The close interaction of all hardware and software components provides maximum flexibility and process safety, independent of production requirements. Philipp Kaiser

 



 

  • December 2008
  • KraussMaffei launch of all-electric AX series at Fakuma 2008.
  • November 2008
  • Focus on productivity: Wittmann central material handling system.
  • October 2008
  • Sumitomo All Electrics - Number One in the world.
  • September 2008
  • Ausplas 2008 - where plastics means business.
  • August 2008
  • Will Mars and Jupiter help save the Earth?
  • July 2008
  • Material selection for plastic design.
  • June 2008
  • Think versatile, think thermoforming, think Flecknoe.
  • May 2008
  • Water changes everything.
  • April 2008
  • Non returnable PET line at Coca-Cola.
  • March 2008
  • Wittmann - progress through innovation.
  • January-February 2008
  • Highly cost effective with servo driven power savings.
  • December 2007
  • How a little polyester covered aluminium gel pack changed an industry.
  • November 2007
  • Choose carefully before buying... your future may depend on it.
  • October 2007
  • The future looks rosy for polymers.
  • September 2007
  • Visit K Show where imagination becomes motion.
  • August 2007
  • Ausplas 2008.
  • July 2007
  • Resin dryers comparison.
  • June 2007
  • "How much extra am I spending on manufacturing my product?"
  • May 2007
  • LS Cable & HTS: a winning combination.
  • April 2007
  • Nothing faster...
  • March 2007
  • Plastic reader will revolutionise publishing.
  • January-February 2007
  • Ecodry offers alternative for cooling towers that saves water and maintenance.
  • December 2006
  • Opportunities for investment emerging as China's chemical industry continues to expand.
  • November 2006
  • AUS purchases rights for revolutionary PU blowing agent.
  • October 2006
  • Martogg LCM - Life Cycle Management Systems.
  • September 2006
  • APN - Expanding beyond PVC compound.
  • August 2006
  • Haitian-Wittmann: now the complete turnkey package.
  • July 2006
  • Engel showcases multi component production cell technology.
  • June 2006
  • Vacuum forming and heating.
  • May 2006
  • Profitable welding and leak testing.
  • April 2006
  • Applied Machinery... building a strong and satisfied customer base.
  • March 2006
  • Battenfeld launches compact HM series machines.
  • January-February 2006
  • Safety of injection moulding machines.
  • December 2005
  • Bayer MaterialScience: A diverse portfolio.
  • November 2005
  • GE Plastics satisfies global eco-label requirements for Fisher & Paykel Appliances.
  • October 2005
  • ARBURG's SELOGICA with 'direct' operation
  • September 2005
  • Fleming Plastics Dynamics... delivering the goods for 24 years
  • August 2005
  • Ausplas 2005 Preview
  • July 2005
  • Consonic - a leader in automotive applications
  • June 2005
  • GE ecomagination at work
  • May 2005
  • Flecknoe thermoformers: bigger and bigger
  • April 2005
  • Alliance strikes gold in the West for Chende.
  • March 2005
  • Battenfeld Australia... the power to succeed
  • January/February 2005
  • Ausplas 2005: looking good!

 




PLASTICS NEWS INTERNATIONAL 2000 -2002

We take pride in communicating the very latest news, events and trends in the industry, with special features for processors of plastics, their end users and their suppliers.

This Web Site is an on line companion to our print magazine. It offers exciting new information, services, and data to download by those who manufacture or design products that are made out of plastics and other composite materials.

 

PLASTICS NEWS INTERNATIONAL is a print and electronic E-Zine for South East Asia Pacific Australia and New Zealand.

You may not be aware of the increasing profile of PLASTICS NEWS INTERNATIONAL in the South East Asia and Pacific region, and the exciting advertising opportunities presented by our access to key industry decision makers in this rapidly changing market. Many of the plastics industry suppliers in the South East Asia area are already taking advantage of our increasing penetration into this vibrant economic sector, because they are getting excellent value for their advertising dollar.

PLASTICS NEWS INTERNATIONAL LINKS BUYERS AND SELLERS

We open valuable links for buyers and sellers of plastics products for mutual and lasting satisfaction through our print and electronic publications.

We have a major commitment to research and develop effective communication techniques to ensure that we remain leaders fostering the growth of plastics products trade.

 

cover story

The following is a collection of articles from our print version of PLASTICS NEWS INTERNATIONAL. Graphics and tables are not included. Why not subscribe to our print version and receive vital information every month about plastics in South East Asia the Pacific Australia and New Zealand.

 


 

July 2002

 BM Blow Moulders Now Available in Australia

Melbourne-based BF Machinery has extended the range of equipment it offers the plastics industry by acquiring the agency for Italian blow moulding machine manufacturer BM srl of Italy.

Established for twelve years, BM is a small company that builds 25 machines per year. It specialises in total plant manufacture and is dedicated to the highest quality workmanship.

The company prides itself on establishing working partnerships with its customers and regards machinery purchases as joint ventures. Its personnel have a history of working within the blow moulding industry and are abreast of all its technical and commercial developments.

Some two years ago, BM began to consider entering the South East Asian region, and after evaluating several options, finally chose the BF Group as its partner for the area. The company's first machine sold in Australia is now up and running (see sidebar).

The BM blow moulding machines are available in a range from 50ml to 60 litres in single and double station models and with single or multiple extrusion heads. The COEX version is able to produce containers of from two to six layers.

The plastification unit's DC motor is controlled by a precision electronic driver interfaced with the machine's advanced microprocessor control system, with the motion transmitted to the screw via a gear reducer.

The closing unit is driven through a proportional valve by a double-acting hydraulic cylinder to ensure fast and shock-free movement. Easy access is provided for mould changes.

The blowing unit is tightly fixed to the machine's loading structure at two points for optimum stiffness and calibration. The upward/downward motion of the nozzle is controlled by an hydraulic cylinder, the speed of which can be regulated to meet varying production requirements.

Software-driven parison thickness control at 76 points ensures repeatability of cycles and minimum material wastage.

Varying cubic capacity pumps, accumulators and single proportional valves sourced from leading global suppliers guarantee the machine's high performance with minimum energy consumption.

BM machines are available with five parison cutting options, a leak tester and automatic deflashing.

Equipment sales and service provider

BF Machinery was formed in 1988 by Charles Briffa and George Fergus as a specialist provider in the repair and refurbishment of plastics processing machinery.

The business was quickly extended to include the overhaul and modification of large hydraulic cylinders and components and total refurbishment consisting of mechanical and hydraulic overhauls and PLC installations.

An engineering facility was then added to provide in-house general and specialist engineering and machinery work and enable work to be carried out on a consistent and high quality basis.

In 1996 the BF Group built a special purpose factory complete with a 10 tonne overhead crane, 200 amp power supply, fully equipped testing facility for electronic components, an extensive library, a secure spare parts storage area, and a showroom.

In 1998 the group acquired the service division of Remtron, making it the largest company in Australia providing hydraulic, electrical and mechanical service support to the plastics industry. This 24 hr service is provided by a team of fully specialist tradesmen.

Over the years BF has also established itself as a sales agent for a range of European machinery manufacturers. Its portfolio includes Sandretto injection moulding machines, Reifenhauser extrusion lines for blown and cast film, sheet and thermoforming extrusion systems, AFS corona treaters, and Lemo bag making equipment.

First sale

BF Machinery's first customer for a BM machine is Melbourne-based Class Plastics, a company established in 1990 as a manufacturer of 15 to 25 litre chemical containers.

Class Plastics recently saw a need in this market for a 5 litre container, and after researching what equipment was available, decided on a BM twin die machine.

The company is well satisfied with the machine's performance, and says its next purchase will be another BM blow moulder.

Graphics can be seen in our print version. Ask for a free copy.

With the machine are Class Plastics directors, Tony Jordan, Armando Marcolin and Mario Nastri together with BF Machinery product manager Bob Daley (third from left).

With its extensive product range, comprehensive nozzle products and gating styles, Husky has the hot runner technology solutions to satisfy a wide range of applications from tight access and small part mouldings with less than 0.1g to large parts weighing over 15kg.

Recent product launches have seen Husky more capable than ever of supplying complete hot runner and moulding solutions.

Valve gating with 25.4mm spacing

Valve gate hot runner nozzles have been available for hot runners for nearly 30 years. Valve gates offer several part quality and processing benefits to the injection moulder including superior gate quality over thermal gate parts, elimination of drool and gate string, improved physical properties with lower moulded-in stress, cycle time reduction, the ability to balance family moulds and control weld line location with sequential valve gating, and fast fill rates required for thinwall parts.

Positive gate seal is the key to valve gate performance. When the valve stem is moved forward into the closed position, either by pneumatic or hydraulic actuation, the cavity is isolated from the melt in the hot runner. The positive seal eliminates gate stringing and drool and the resultant gate vestige is no more than a witness mark the diameter of the valve stem.

The positive seal of the valve gate allows the use of larger gates with no impact on cooling time as compared to thermally gated parts. Also, larger gates benefit the moulded part by reducing moulded-in stresses caused by small gates and allow faster fill times. Fast fill times are critical for thinwall part quality where cavity fill must be completed in 0.5 seconds or less.

The benefits of valve gating, however, have not been readily available to moulders of small components with compact mould bases. Cavity spacing for small parts has often been dictated by the minimum spacing required for the valve gate nozzle and in many cases the mould-maker has to build moulds larger than necessary in order to meet the spacing requirements for the nozzles.

Husky's 500 series hot runner nozzles permit tight cavity spacing with a minimum pitch of 25.4mm between drops. With throughputs up to 20g/sec, the 500 series nozzles are ideally suited for products in the closure, cosmetic, technical and medical markets. Just like larger valve gates, these new nozzles can be used with a variety of resins. Applications such as family moulds requiring independent valve operation are possible with valve gates.

Stack platens

Stack platens allow a moulder to run two single-face moulds together in the same machine...doubling machine output without having to double the size of the machine.

Stack platens run in a similar way to stack hot runners but their ability to run existing single-face moulds gives the moulder flexibility and the ability to greatly improve productivity. Another benefit is that different mould sets can be used on a single stack platen. The only criteria is that each mould half must have the same toleranced shut height. Additionally, the projected surface area and part weight for each mould should be similar.

A manifold bolted to the stationary platen directs melt from the machine nozzle to an offset sprue bar. The sprue bar conveys the plastic to a manifold in the centre section that is fitted with two opposing nozzles. The two single face moulds seal with the nozzles in the centre section. Mould mounting is accomplished with the platen bolting pattern repeated on the stack platen plates.

A stack platen can be run in a stack-ready machine and is also retrofittable in an existing moulding machine. When investigating the possibility of a stack platen there are several machine factors that must be considered.

Clamp opening: Stack platens, like stack moulds, require approximately double the shut height and opening stroke relative to single face applications.

Clamp tonnage: Although a benefit of the stack platen is the ability to run two moulds without having to double the clamp tonnage, the actual tonnage requirement is approximately 10 per cent greater than that of a single face tool. This is due to the projected area of the sprue bar.

Injection capability: The machine must provide double the plasticating ability than a single face mould. Careful consideration must also be made to ensure that the injection unit can deliver the large shot size with a fill rate comparable to that achieved with the single face tool. Inability to match the fill time could lead to poor quality parts.

Tie bar and machine ways support: The tie bars and machine ways must provide sufficient support for the stack platen plus the cavity plates as well as accurate, repeatable alignment during mould open and close to prevent damage to cores and cavities.

Unlike a standard stack mould, the moulding machine does not require sprue break and a machine nozzle shut-off. The manifold on the stationary platen does not move and therefore has no separation from the machine nozzle.

UltraFlow nozzle tip

Fast colour change performance and elimination of flowlines are important requirements of a hot runner, especially in the packaging, cosmetic and housewares markets. The UltraFlow nozzle tip cuts colour change time by up to 75 per cent depending on the resin and moulded part.

The tip uses the same principle as spiral dies used in blown film extrusion where flowline elimination is critical. Spiral grooves within the tip both blend and overlap the melt to remove flowlines generated in the hot runner and to improve colour dispersion and melt homogeneity. The nozzle tip can be used with both hot tip and valve gated hot runners with no modification to the mould steel.

Products that require frequent colour change can be a drain on productivity. After changing the colour in the machine barrel the hot runner must be cycled to fill the melt channels with the new colour. Long colour change times lead to lost production time as well as scrapped resin.

Using the UltraFlow tip, a 72 cavity mould running a 3.0g polypropylene closure was able to complete a colour change from blue to white in only 67 shots, resulting in a colour change time reduction of 30 minutes. This not only saved production time but the resin savings was estimated at 11,000 kg per year.

When moulding cosmetic closures with metallic flake-filled resin, the challenge is to disperse the colourant, eliminating flowlines and surface imperfections. Flowline elimination was achieved on a 5.2g cosmetic cap moulded from SAN with 10 per cent metallic mix. The 24 cavity mould was able to produce flowline-free parts in 2 shots and colour change was accomplished in less than 10 minutes.

Additional benefits due to the blending of the melt in the UltraFlow nozzle tip include production of flowline-free parts made of metallic or other platelet-filled resins, elimination of preferential flow generated by a valve stem or single exit hot tip, thermal and mechanical melt homogeneity that provides uniform cavity filling, uniform molecular and filler/reinforcement orientation that leads to dimensionally stable parts, and stronger part wall and gate due to the elimination of weldlines.

Pronto hot runners

Husky has added two styles of 8-drop hot runner systems to its Pronto program, offering rapid delivery of complete, configurable hot halves. Pronto hot runner systems are now available in 2, 4 and 8-drop configurations and allow for almost unlimited nozzle pitch, exact nozzle length specification and a selection of hot tip, valve gate, or thermal sprue gating styles.

Industry estimates indicate that 75 per cent of moulds manufactured are 8 cavities or less, thus allowing Pronto hot runner systems to cover the majority of requirements for the mould market.

Mould makers can specify the hot runner design directly on-line at www.hotrunners.com using Husky's Design Center. Complete hot runner systems are available at reduced cost compared to custom systems and are delivered within 4 weeks!

Pronto hot runner systems are designed to match standard North American imperial plate sizes for D-M-E, National and Omni mould bases, European metric sizes for HASCO mould bases, and Asian metric sizes for FUTABA mould bases, further reducing delivery times.

System performance is guaranteed with each application being reviewed and fully optimized, including melt channel sizing and nozzle selection. Pronto hot runner systems feature Husky's patented 750 Series nozzles and include a 3-year leakproof guarantee.

Designed for user-friendliness and functionality, Husky's new hot runner website offers up-to-date information, the company's hot runner design centre with CAD downloads, a database of application case studies, literature download capability, and detailed descriptions of products and services.

Alternative technologies and specialised applications

Husky also has extensive experience in building multi-material, co-injection hot runners and sequentialy valve gated moulding solutions. Multi-material moulding gives plastic products a distinct look, feel, or functionality by moulding different resins or colours onto the same part.

Hot runner technology simplifies this process by eliminating the cold runner, making part transfer from one cavity to another simpler.

Husky has the answers to the unique challenges of multi-material moulding... the use of two or more manifolds, proper spacing of drops, rotating moulds with sensitive shut offs and the increased chance of plastic leakage.

Co-injection hot runners can be used for parts requiring a skin made of one material and a core made of another. One three position valve gate provides the necessary precision and flexibility to control the core-to-skin ratio. As with all Husky hot runners, manifold and nozzle drops are optimised for proper residence time, melt channel sizing and pressure drop of both materials.

Sequential valve gating offers advantages over traditional gating and cold runner methods when moulding large components, a family of parts in one mould, or parts which are complicated to fill. Sequential valve gating allows the individual gates to be opened and closed with the valve stem at any time during the injection process.

Using this method, the moulder has the ability to reduce injection pressure on thinwall and large part moulding, move the weldline of two melt fronts to a non-critical area of the part or eliminate the weldline completely by filling from one end of the part to the other. Balancing and fine tuning of individual parts can be achieved in family moulds.

 


 

May2001

KRATON Polymers…the Gold Standard in Polymers

The KRATON Polymers Business pioneered the development of styrenic block copolymers in the 1960s and today remains the world's leading manufacturer and supplier of the technology. Its product portfolio currently contains more than 100 grades of polymers and compounds, all of which possess unique performance and manufacturing characterisitics that can be used to enhance the aesthetics, touch and functionality of applications, from footwear to road surfaces.

These polymers are a range of high performance styrenic-based thermoplastic elastomers that can be cost-effectively engineered to meet manufacturers' specifications in component products. There are four component products within the group, each with its own benefits and hallmarks of quality.

KRATON D & KRATON G polymers enhance the performance of products with their flexibility and elasticity and good dielectric and reprocessable properties. When combined with other products, KRATON G can also enhance oxidation and weather resistance and increase processing stability.

KRATON Liquid and IR polymers complete the product portfolio. The first is a family of developmental products that are made up of reactive liquids able to provide added flexibility and toughness while the latter are polyisoprenes, characterised by their high levels of purity, transparence and resilience to bring benefits in the manufacture of blood bags, teats and surgical gloves.

KRATON polymers can be utilised in a variety of adhesive formulations, including packaging tapes, coatings and sealants, labels and road markings. Typical characteristics include superior adhesion and tack and solvent free processing. They can also offer manufacturers opportunites for the radiation curing of rubber-based pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs).

KRATON D-KX222 polymer and KRATON Liquid polymers offer formulators the chance to choose a curing method to suit their equipment. With the ability to be cured on hot and warm melt systems using either ultra-violet (UV) or electron beam (EB) technology, adhesive processors can find a formulation suitable for high performance tape and label applications. The fact that these adhesives can be cold cured and applied in situ means they can also cross over to another key end-use area for the business, Roads and Roofing.

The use of polymer modified-bitumen is common in the construction industry, and bitumen enhanced with KRATON polymers can reduce maintenance costs in roads and roofs by improving weather resistance and increasing flexibility and strength at both hot and cold temperatures. They have been used in many testing environments such as in the runway at Almaty International Airport in Kazakhstan and the Malaysian Grand Prix. Sepang Circuit in Kuala Lumpur.

Described as simply the best Formula One track in the world and voted the most challenging championship track of 1999, the Sepang circuit, which contains KRATON D-1101 polymer modified bitumen in the mix, can withstand Formula One championship speeds of up to 310km/h.

KRATON polymers are widely used in the footwear industry. They can help manufacturers produce cost-effective soling compounds with differing and enhanced capabilities. From improving grip and water resistance in boots for industrial and domestic purposes to providing added comfort in leisure and work shoes, manufacturers can produce hard wearing, longer lasting shoes without compromising the latest trends in design.

AW Compounders Ltd developed a product called Ultralex that is based on KRATON G polymers. Used in heavy duty construction boots, this product can offer flexibility to soles and boot shafts, preventing cracking while insulating the boot and keeping feet warm. The extra grip on the sole help wearers to stay on their feet on uneven or wet surfaces. The boots also offer chemical resistance, an important requirement for safety boot materials.

The Alloys and Polymer Systems part of the business encompasses a variety of end-use products. From adding a softer touch and anti-slip grip to the handle of toothbrushes to improving the water and UV-resistance of disposable cameras, KRATON polymers help OEMs design and produce products to the specification required.

Multibase INC, a leading custom compounder of engineered thermoplastics and elastomers, recently worked with KRATON to develop a product that offers airbag manufacturers a material design solution for airbag covers. By combining KRATON G with other materials, an innovative product called Multiflex was created. It can be easily moulded and processed while remaining functional in cold weather.

Airbag manufacturers can now remain assured that their product will still deploy quickly upon impact, even in the coldest climates without becoming brittle and inflexible.

Future developments in all sectors of the KRATON Polymers Business will be strengthened by the recent acquisition of the business by Ripplewood Holdings, LLC, a US-based private equity firm. Under new ownership, the business is free to grow and to maintain its position as the world's leading manufacturer of styrenic block copolymers while continuing to expand both organically and through acquisition.

With Ripplewood's agreed backing, KRATON's mission is to build on its heritage and solid foundation within the chemicals industry by acting faster and seeking out new business opportunites and by being more responsive to the needs of its customers and the markets in which they operate.

The KRATON Polymers Business is truly global with six manufacturing facilities located in Japan, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil and the USA. Well-established research centres are positioned in five countries: in Europe at sites in Belgium and the Netherlands; in the USA in Houston, Texas; in Japan; and in Brazil, and an international workforce of employees services customers in over 120 countries through efficieint marketing and distribution networks.

Further information about KRATON's products is available from the website, www.KRATON.com, by emailing info@KRATON.com., or by visiting Stand B/40 at K2001 in Dusseldorf.

Business Manager for Australia and New Zealand is Melbourne-based Vincent Conserva (phone 61 419 375055), who works closely with the Japanese trading house Toyota Tsusho, which has been appointed KRATON's distributor and logistics partner for these countries.

Graphics can be seen in our print version. Ask for a free copy.

Captions:

1. Cover Pic: To celebrate its independence, KRATON is launching a communication program based on a "gold" theme. It has adopted an image of refined gold flowing from a shell-shaped crucible to represent the 40 years of expertise invested in the business while it was part of Shell.

The tag line "KRATON Polymers: The Gold Standard in Polymers" signifies the company's premier position in styrene block copolymers.

2. Heavy duty construction boots produced from a compound incorporating KRATON G.

3. KRATON Polymers have helped the Sepang Formula One track in Malaysia to maintain long-term performance despite the heavy demand placed on the surface by the hot climate and the high-speed racing cars.

4. Multibase uses KRATON polymers to give its MultiflexTPE compounds for air bag covers good low temperature performance, a soft-touch feel and moulded in colour capabilities.

 


 

March 2001

High performance machines win new business for Battenfeld

It is no coincidence that when recently purchasing a new 2000 ton Battenfeld injection moulding machine, Nigel Nattrass, the managing director of Reln, one of Australia's largest and fastest growing plastics processors, wrote to Battenfeld's Stephen Bardsley:

"Steve, since you have known our company, you have watched my organisation grow to arrive at a position that now allows us the opportunity to select arguably the world's best technology in our machinery. It is with great pleasure I forward this order number to Battenfeld Australia."

Several months later and after Reln's technical staff had evaluated the first Battenfeld machine, carefully comparing it with machines purchased in the past and with many other competitors' machines, Reln placed another large machine order with Battenfeld, writing:

"Steve, once again we have decided to continue buying what we consider state of the art technology, backed up by the impeccable after sales support which we class as second to none in this region. Again I have the pleasure of forwarding this order number to you."

These comments are typical of the praise now often received by Battenfeld Australia when installing high quality, high performance machines manufactured in Germany and Austria. This was further supported when the staff of Reln said:

"As soon as we observed the Battenfeld machine being rolled in, we could see it was better than anything we already had."

As Stephen Bardsley likes to point out, this is a far cry from the early 1980s when quality problems were experienced with machines manufactured in Albury. Battenfeld Australia has turned full circle and again claimed market leadership in year 2000. The reason for the turnaround is quite simple, he says. Battenfeld now has an enviable reputation for supplying high quality, high performance European machines built up to a standard rather that down to a price. When considering performance, Battenfeld machines provide what is arguably the best value for capital investment available.

The high quality of these machines has been achieved by manufacturing to close tolerances, using the best quality steels and components, all ensuring quality, durability and precision. The company also manufactures machines with proven design advantages, such as the HM (Hydraulic Modular) series with the rigid 3-platen design. Battenfeld is keen to point out the many advantages offered by its machines and discuss what differentiates them from others and why they can be seen as true high performance machines.

Benefits of the rigid 3-platen design

Many moulders are not aware of the Euromap standards for maximum deviation of platen parellelism. It can be seen from Figure 1 how, due to the rigid 3-platen design, Battenfeld HM series machines provide far greater accuracy of platen parellelism, compared not only with the Euromap standard, but also with that of the typical injection moulding machine.

The resulting accuracy of platen parellelism and minimal platen deflection ensure a better finished product and also minimal mould wear, maximising machine uptime and increasing process reliability. It should also be noted that the footprint of 3-platen machines is often 10-20 per cent less than of two-platen machines of similar clamp tonnage.

Two-stage hydraulic clamping system

The HM series rigid 3-platen design is powered by a 2-stage closed-loop hydraulic clamping system. Although expensive to build, this offers many benefits compared with toggle or single stage hydraulic clamping systems. The 2-stage clamping offers high-speed operation as low volume, fast close/open cylinders rapidly transport the moving platen. Only when the mould is closed does the short stroking main cylinder apply full clamp force. This means that not only does the mould open and close rapidly, but relatively little energy is used during the clamping process.

Figure 2 shows the locking cycle of the HM machine and also a further benefit of the clamping system…how the main cylinder can be used to initially open the mould, providing the high opening forces often required for large, complex and demanding moulds. Figure 3 shows how the rigid 3-platen design ensures the clamping force is more evenly introduced across the whole platen area.

High performance injection units

To consistently produce high quality mouldings, HM machines not only have an efficient clamping unit but are equipped with high performance injection and plasticising systems. For a start, all HM injection units offer genuine closed loop process control using servo valve technology. In addition, no matter what diameter screw is selected, the LD ratio remains constant at 22:1. In this way the effective plasticising stroke of the screw is increased due to the optimum homogeneity of the melt. Figure 4 illustrates the benefits of the 22:1 LD ratio screw compared with machines equipped with the more typical LD of 20:1.

The HM series injection units also offer excellent repeatability and precise control of injection speeds and pressures. These are not only achieved via genuine closed loop servo valves, but also by using four rather than the more typical two injection cylinders. Four injection cylinders provide even distribution pressure and ensure the screw position remains constant within the barrel even when plasticising with the highest screw speeds.

Moulders will be pleased to find bi-metallic barrels and wear resistant twin flight screws are standard on the larger HM machines, ensuring suitability for use with the most demanding and abrasive engineering thermoplastics.

All in all, the high performance HM series injection and plasticising units can be seen to be a cut above the average and provide the ability to produce moudings of the highest quality with relative ease.

Advanced hydraulic systems

At the heart of the HM machine is an advanced and high performance power train utilising variable volume axial piston pumps with DFE electronic pressure and speed control. Here the pump output is accurately regulated by an electro-hydraulic pump with built-in pressure transducer measuring the actual pressure delivered.

HM machines utilise twin DFE sytems, providing simultaneous movements of mould opening, hydraulic ejection and core pulling. As the DFE system generates pressure on demand, it is energy efficient and offers further advantages in terms of accuracy and repeatability.

Obviously such a technically sophisticated hydraulic system is more expensive to install than the typical fixed displacement vane pump. Battenfeld however does not compromise a machine's efficiency or repeatability and further rewards are lower energy consumption.

Low pressure oil filtration and water-cooled pumps

Studies have shown up to 50 per cent of problems with moulding machines can be attributed to deterioration of hydraulic oil. To prolong oil life, HM series machines utilise a twin chamber low-pressure hydraulic filtration system. Whereas conventional machines "force" oil through a high pressure filters via the main hydraulic pump, HM machines gently "pull" low pressure oil through filters from one hydraulic chamber to another (see Figure 5).

This is achieved using an additional pump operating independently of the main hydraulic system. There is a cost in equipping machines with an additional pump for oil filtration. Again however, Battenfeld refuses to compromise and so the rewards for the end user remain high.

Powerful control systems

Any high performance machine must be equipped with an advance control system, which after all is the machine's "brain." Battenfeld offers the most up to date systems with B2, B4, 4000 or 9000 series controls.

The B4 as shown at Figure 6, is a high performance industrial control and perhaps the most advanced available today. B4 is not only powerful, but also flexible, with standard features including a high resolution colour TFT monitor, real time graphics, statistical quality control (SQC), statistical process control (SPC) and trend diagrams.

Also standard are process optimisation aids "material data" and "easy set up". "Material data" is an on-board data-base containing specifications of common materials and those used regularly by the moulder. "Easy set up" automatically sets mould height, opening stroke, and shot size, and in conjunction with "material data" allows moulders to optimise the whole machine process in the shortest time. As expected, memory storage via 3.5" floppy disc, printer interface, on board diagnostics and a 24-hour/7-day switch clock are standard equipment.

Advanced processing techniques

Battenfeld is not just a supplier of machines but possesses a wealth of experience relating to advanced processing techniques, including gas injection, co-injection, structural foam, MuCell, fabric over-moulding, thermosets, rubbers, liquid silicones and "micro" machines producing mouldings weighing less that 0.1 gram.

The company has gained specialised processing experience here in Australia and claims a 90 per cent market share for gas injection. Components produced in Australia with the Airmould system can be found on current motor vehicles from Ford, General Motors and imported European cars.

Further examples of advanced processing in Australia with Battenfeld machines include a NSW customer exporting TV cabinets to Japan and how hundreds of thousands of Olympic Games visitors from around the world occupied seats in the NSW Superdome produced with Airmould and sequential gating.

Commitment to after sales support

Battenfeld Australia is dedicated to injection moulding and unlike many competitors is a wholly owned subsidiary of the actual manufacturing company. It does not act merely as a "commission agent" or "representative", but as a member of the Battenfeld organisation and part of the global SMS Plastics Technology Group.

First established 38 years ago, the company is a pioneer of the Australian plastics industry and is the longest serving supplier of plastics processing machinery. In this tradition and ensuring its machinery provides the best return on capital investment, Battenfeld directly employs service teams in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.

Stephen Bardsley is proud to advise the average length of service for his company's service technicians is ten years. He points out that in this modern age, which continually demands increased productivity and efficiency gains, as well as JIT (Just In Time) seven-day round the clock production, the support of experienced technicians is essential.

The company is committed to after-sales support and as aptly put by the managing director of Reln, Battenfeld Australia's after sales support is "impeccable and second to none in this region".

Battenfeld's strength is the ability to offer high performance machinery suitable for a wide range of conventional and specialised injection moulding processes. The Battenfeld Australia showroom is soon to include Chen Hsong as well as Battenfeld machines, all available for demonstrations, die trials and immediate delivery.

Battenfeld can be contactecd on (03) 9587 5211 in Victoria, (02) 9790 5777 in NSW and (08) 8260 7322 in SA. Sales inquiries in all other regions may be directed to Melbourne. Battenfeld sales and service is provided in New Zealand by Hunt Agencies, contact 0011 649 274 4114.

Graphics can be seen in our print version. Ask for a free copy:

Captions:

Figure 1: Comparison of platen parallelism

Figure 2: Locking cycle of HM series

Figure 3: Introduction of clamp force into the mould

Figure 4: Benefits of the 22:1 LD ratio

Figure 5: The twin chamber low pressure hydraulic filtration system.

Figure 6: The UNILOG B4 control system.

 


 

February 2001

BASF in PU alliance with Australian Urethane Systems

BASF Australia has signed an agreement with Sydney-based Australian Urethane Systems (AUS) covering the supply and distribution of its polyurethane raw materials and systems.

As part of this agreement, AUS will purchase MDI and TDI from BASF Australia for resale to the Australian and New Zealand market under the BASF trade name, Lupranate, and for in-house production of its own PU systems. It will also market BASF systems.

The strategic alliance combines BASF technology and product leadership, integrated "Verbund" production and global network in polyurethanes with AUS's specialised PU expertise and knowledge of the Australasian marketplace.

BASF Australia's general manager, polymers and fibres, Jim Hall, said Australian Urethane Systems was a logical choice as his company's partner in this latest alliance.

"We believe that in addition to its well respected reputation in the polyurethanes industry, the AUS involvement in selling both PU materials and processing equipment and manufacturing its own systems will enable it to effectively service our products and expand our business."

Mr. Hall explained that excluded from the agreement were a handful of BASF's long term direct customers.

Core business

Polyurethanes is a core business of BASF which has emerged as a leading global player with a network of production sites for PU raw materials, elastomers and systems throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia (see map).

Current global capacities for the key raw materials…Lupranate MDI and TDI, Lupranol polyether polyols and Lupraphen polyester polyols…are shown in the table. The company also produces Lupragen catalysts and auxiliaries for the production of polyurethane products.

BASF's 2001 global capacities,

1000 te
MDI     560
TDI       190
HDI      10
Polyether polyols        5155
Polyester polyols         112
Total    1,387
Asian expansion

BASF's strategy will see these figures increase substantially in the next few years with expansion into the Asian region.

At the company's Yosu site in Korea, a new 140,000 tonnes per year TDI plant will come into production early in 2003, followed by a doubling of the existing MDI plant to 160,000 tpa in 2004. At the Ulsan, Korea site, the existing polyether polyol plant has just been expanded from 12,000 to 30,000 tpa.

In Caojing, China, approvals have been obtained for joint venture projects including a 160,000 tpa MDI facility, a 130,000 tpa TDI plant, and facilities for the precursors nitric acid and dinitrotoluene.

Further integration will see a world scale 250,000 tpa joint venture propylene oxide plant come on stream in Singapore in the second half of next year. This will be used for conversion into polyols for PU production in the region.

These investments help to illustrate BASF's cost-saving and value-adding Verbund principle, which involves linking a network of production units that start with basic inputs (such as aniline and formaldehyde) and extend into a series of intermediates and product lines.

As these new facilities come on stream, BASF Australia's PU materials will increasingly be sourced from within the Asian region.

The Australian market

The annual consumption of polyurethane materials in Australia is estimated at over 60,000 tonnes. As shown in the pie chart, flexible foam used in furniture and bedding applications accounts for more than half of the total market.

At a per capita consumption of just over 3kg, Australia is well behind Europe ( kg) and North America ( kg) in its usage of polyurethanes, which means there is ample scope for market growth.

According to AUS, among the more promising markets are the automotive industry and building and construction applications for adhesives, coatings and insulation materials. In addition, AUS will continue to focus on specialised niche markets such as recreation and mining.

The extensive line-up of BASF systems to be sold by AUS includes Elastopor rigid foams for refrigerators, freezers and hot water heater insulation, Elastoflex flexible and semi-rigid foams, Elastolit reaction injection moulding systems, Elastofoam flexible integral skin foams, and Elastocoat spray foams.

More specialised lines are the Elastopan footwear systems, Elastotherm thermoformable systems for car roof linings, Elasturan MDI-based high performance cold cure elastomers, and PIR (polyisocyanurate) rigid foam systems for cryogenic pipe lagging applications.

According to Australian Urethane Systems' managing director, Geoff Benson, the BASF catalogue of established quality systems gives his company plenty to work with.

"AUS has been a major customer of BASF for some time," he said, "and we now look through this alliance to offering an expanded range of high performance polyurethanes to our customers in Australia and New Zealand."

Both companies are participants in PACIA's Responsible Care program, and as part of the alliance intend to singly and jointly continue to promote the Product Stewardship element of that program to the polyurethanes industry.

Captions:

1. The automotive industry represents a potentially major growth market for a number of polyurethane systems.

2. BASF and AUS also aim to expand the market for spray-on hardcoats in building and construction.

Details for preparation of piechart:
Australian PU market by applications
%
Furniture         29.5
Bedding 24.0
Building & Construction 13.0
Automotive     11.5
Refrigeration  11.5
Footwear        4.5
Other* 6.0
* Coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers

 


 

January 2001

Sumitomo Plastics Machinery: what advanced technology should be!

Sumitomo Plastics Machinery year after year continues to gain an ever-stronger reputation as a provider of leading edge technology to the injection moulding sector. Technology that allows users to run their machines more efficiently and more profitably than their competitors.

Sumitomo has long been rated the highest quality machine to come out of the Asian markets. Growth figures in terms of machine numbers and market position within Japan continue to surge ahead for the company, with over 2800 machines manufactured in the last year and now the No.2 market position with 18.5 per cent of the domestic market.

Sales within Australia and New Zealand also continue to expand with the SHC Series and SES Series machines gaining market share outside of Sumitomo's traditional fast cycle market for food packaging and thin walled containers.

Following are details of two customers that have invested in Sumitomo machines within the last 18 months. Both have had significant improvements in their production due to new technology.

Tasman Machinery, based in Auckland, represents Sumitomo in New Zealand. In Australia Sumitomo is represented by Southstar Machinery, operating out of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Sistema Plastics of Auckland, New Zealand is a moulder of proprietary products which include coat hangers and the Sistema range of food containers.

Sistema Plastics invested in two SH160 C machines (160 tonne clamp) at the beginning of 2000. By investing in the new technology of the Sumitomo SHC series, it has reduced cycle times by 20 per cent, and cut reject rates by 5per cent. Running costs have been reduced, resulting in improved productivity and profitability for the company.

Brendan Lindsay, managing director of Sistema, had been aware of Sumitomo as a "high end" supplier of injection moulding machines for many years and in fact, was initially unaware that it offered a general-purpose machine suited to his requirements. As he told the NZ agent, Tasman Machinery," The SHC Series actually redefines general purpose machine capabilities."

The SHC Series, while priced and aimed at the general purpose moulding market, offers a level of technology significantly beyond its target market.

Sumitomo's development of the Direct Digital Servo (DDS) closed loop control system gives vastly improved responsiveness and repeatability. By using digital &endash; to &endash; digital signals the SHC machine reacts quicker and more accurately to changes in operating conditions.

Chris Dormer, the general manager and Wayne Prendergast, the production manager, quickly came to appreciate the user friendliness of the SHC Series. Wayne in particular has found the NVII machine controller to be powerful, simple, and logical in its functions.

" The SHC is without doubt the easiest machine controller I have ever worked with. The screen is set out in a logical manner. The PEM Prevention of Easy Mistakes) pop-up screens are a great feature. Just like a pop-up screen in Microsoft Windows, the PEM alerts operators to check simple machine setting such as shot size, clamp force, mould space, material purging, and the likes before starting production. And if the die setters do make a setup mistake we can check to see if they had acknowledged the PEM alert."

Sistema Plastics has been hugely impressed by the professionalism, and expertise that both Sumitomo and Tasman Machinery, have been able to offer to them as a customer.

"When we initially requested quotations from suppliers, Tasman Machinery immediately offered us an approach that in all honesty we had not experienced before. Tasman's customer focused approach has had a direct and continued impact on our ability to service our customers to a higher level," said Brendan Lindsay.

"Two of our key staff visited Sumitomo's Technology Centre in Japan, and now all they want are all-electric machines! It's very assuring to know we are working with a supplier who is considered among the world leaders in this growing technology."

Plans are in place for further up dating with Sumitomo machines in the coming year.

General Purpose SH-C Series

Tonnage range:

50 &endash; 650 tonne
Clamping method:
Hydra-mechanical
Closed loop direct
Digital control system
Wide platen layout, and
Large plasticizing capacity

The SHC gives high technology features that re-define general purpose moulding machines…. features such as screw position settings to 0.01mm, PID temperature control to 0.1 Deg C, and super advanced low-speed injection control. The SHC series give users maximum flexibility, wide platens, large plasticizing units, and even a dedicated intrusion control page. The full colour NVII control system features pop up safety windows, graphic waveform and trend displays and full QC/SPC functions.

The SHC Series continues to gain fans the world-over with its high level of flexibility and repeatability. It gives users high-end features for a general-purpose price.

Product:

25-mesh filter
Material:
PP
Part Weight:
3.78 grams
Machine:
SH100C

The ability of the SHC to mould this product shows the true functionality of this machine. Filling of the entire mesh screen through a single pin gate requires excellent injection control. In particular the auto injection slow-down function is used on this tool. Previous to the SHC, users would have needed to consider much higher injection speeds to mould this product successfully.

Mid way through 1999, Melbourne based ITW Deltar, a designer and manufacturer of injection moulded fasteners, components, and assemblies for the automotive industry, made what many would consider a brave decision.

ITW ordered its first Sumitomo all-electric moulding machine, a 50-ton SES. Not only did it purchase the first Sumitomo all-electric machine in Australia or New Zealand, but also made a decision to purchase a machine that was not in use in any other ITW site worldwide!

As they say……"Fortune favours the Brave". Since that time ITW has gone on to purchase a second SE-S machine, while at the same time another five all-electric machines have been installed at other manufacturers in Australia.

John Taylor, the operations manager at ITW, was fully aware of the possible risks when making the decision to purchase the SES machine. "To be the first at anything obviously carries some risks. However the SES's level of technology, its specifications, and Sumitomo's general reputation made the decision easier."

"After 18 months operation of the 50 tonner and about 10 months with the 75 tonner, we have seen many positives with the all-electrics, and in all honesty no negatives. The performance improvements we have gained have exceeded our expectations," he said.

Exactly what kind of performance gains has ITW achieved, compared with its range of hydraulic machines? Reduced reject rates, reduced start up times, significant cycle time reductions (up to 50 per cent), and virtually no machine downtime, not to mention considerable energy savings.

In particular ITW has found some features to be indispensable. An example is Sumitomo's multi-toggle feature, which allows injection to begin before the toggles have fully locked over, thus providing an escape route for gases entering the tool cavity.

ITW has seen two significant improvements from this option. First, even the "hardest to fill" products are no longer a problem. Secondly, the surface finish achieved on visual products has greatly improved.

So, what is ITW's view on where electric machines sit in today's market, and looking into the future?

"It is our view that the use of all-electric machines will increase dramatically in the coming years, especially in the small tonnage range", said John Taylor." Besides the production improvements and the accuracy and repeatability of these machines, we now have a far more pleasant working environment in our factory. The SES's quietness and cleanliness is exceptional, and also, we'll never have hydraulic problems with these machines."

All-electric SE- S Series

Tonnage range:
18 &endash; 350 tonne
Injection speeds:
200 &endash; 300mm/Sec
Response times:
Less than 30mSec
Dry cycles:
1.2 &endash; 2.4 Secs

The SES Series leads the field in accuracy and repeatability. Sumitomo's unique belt-less servo drive system for models below 230 tonne gives unerring linearity and control across the board. Specifications include injection speeds from 0.1 &endash; 300mm/sec; shot-to-shot accuracy and repeatability yielding typical deviation-to-mean ratios of less than 0.02 per cent, injection position settings to 0.01mm; hold pressures to 1kgf/cm2 accuracy, and PID temperature control to 0.1 Deg C, with 2 sec sampling rates. The full colour N-VII control completes the excellence of the SE-S, with ease of use and powerful analysis tools such as QC/SPC, and waveform analysis.

The SE-S Series re-defines accuracy and repeatability at the top end of the injection moulding market. With such levels of accuracy and repeatability, combined with the well known attributes of all electrics over hydraulics, it is no wonder that over 80per cent of Sumitomo's production is now SES machines.

Product:
Narrow pitch connectors
Material:
30% GF LCP
Part Weight:
1.36 grams
Machine:
SE30S

This part is moulded as a 4-cavity tool. With such thin wall sections and tight tolerances, the SES is the perfect machine for this application. Injection speed reaches 270mm/sec within a response time of 30ms/ec. Sumitomo also utilizes its unique SK injection control feature, which stabilizes peak pressures and ensures fill precision to the highest possible level.

 


 

December 2000

GE Polymerland: Distribution at eSpeed

 

(Cover story December 2000 print edition) 

Customers now have access to a wide range of web-enabled, value-add technology with the recent launch of GE Polymerland in Australia. The GE Polymerland portal is a convenient, easy-to-use place for companies to order their plastics, and stay in touch with the industry. With globalisation of the website, the industry can expect to see more of those familiar Buy, Design, Interact and Research buttons. 

Through the gepolymerland.com.au website, Australian plastics processors now have instant access to an expanded portfolio of global brands including GE Plastics, Rhodia Engineering Plastics, ATOGLAS and GE Specialty Chemicals. Several other leading suppliers will be added to the portal in the near future. 

In establishing the site, the company has adopted the systems and processes of GE Polymerland in the USA. In doing so, it can quickly introduce new features and enhancements as they are developed, providing global functionality with local customisation.

A team of nine people at GE in the USA now spends all their working week out in the marketplace talking to customers to determine their requirements for internet purchasing services. This "outside-in" approach ensures the GE Polymerland portal is continually being refined to reflect customers' needs. A parallel team has the job of translating customer requirements into live Design, Interact and Research functionality. See sidebar for the recognition GE has received for its eCommerce strategy.

Perhaps the most obvious function is order placement, and already GE Polymerland AustraliaÅcwhich introduced internet ordering only last November via GE PlasticsÅcis now receiving over 50 per cent of its orders (in $ value terms) via the web.

This on-line order placement facility, accessed via the Buy button on gepolymerland.com.au, allows customers to view prices, enquire about inventory availability, request quotations, place orders (and subsequently modify or cancel them), and track shipments. Additional functionality includes purchase history reports that can be sorted and downloaded to a spreadsheet, test certificates requests and open invoices.

"GE Polymerland is extremely useful and easy to use," said Peter Overall of Gerard Industries. "The site gives me greater control over my ordering process and the chance of making an error is significantly reduced. Its reporting function is also excellent for keeping management up to date with purchasing activities."

Laine Koch of Schefenacker is equally impressed, "GE Polymerland is a bonus when it comes to ordering. To have everything online and at my fingertips, gives me added control and dramatically reduces my paperwork. I love it!"

Offering internet purchasing is one thing but ensuring the web-enabled business can deliver is another. And globally, GE Plastics went to great lengths to ensure it had the fulfillment capability in place before it introduced the service twelve months ago via its global Order To Delivery (OTD) project.

Other than the Buy button, visitors to gepolymerland.com.au will also find the Design, Interact and Research buttons.

With the time-saving and productivity-enhancing Design feature, part and mould designers have access to an on-line database of multi-point engineering data via a Visualiser wizard. Designers and moulders can also use the Design Calculator to carry out engineering calculations, make material and colour selection decisions, check processing conditions for the various products on offer, and produce cost estimates from the Design Calculator.

The Interact feature connects visitors with industry colleagues around the world by means of a a wide range of topic-related discussion boards. It also enables them to "attend" e-seminars (global technical seminars where the presentations are delivered over the internet) and keep up to date with industry news, including the latest environment, health and safety information. There is an equipment trading database and an industry directory that allows users to identify suppliers and promote their own business around the Asia-Pacific region.

The Research feature of the site has an online technical answer centre where visitors can have a real time discussion via the net with a polymer engineering representative. The subject matter of this multilingual service, being launched in Shanghai for the Asia-Pacific region, covers all products offered by GE Polymerland, and more.

The Research button also has an Inventory Planning wizard to help customers' optimise their stock holdings, and includes a host of processing, design and technical guides and case histories.

XML (eXtensible Markup Language), an interfacing system enabling electronic data interchange over the internet, is another enhancement GE Polymerland is introducing. Initially XML will be used to automatically transfer order information from the customer's purchasing system to GE's order centreÅcreducing manual handling and duplicate data entry. Future applications under consideration are internet-based invoice payments.

The purpose behind GE's strategy of building in more and more value-added functionality to its GE Polymerland website is to improve customers' productivity by making it easier and quicker for them to conduct business. This enables the customers to focus on more value-adding activities which deliver top-line growth.

This is reflected in GE's experience in the US, where GE Polymerland's growth in sales to customers ordering on the web (eOrder) is growing at a rate of 20 per cent per annum, compared to the annual growth rate of customers ordering via traditional methods (analogue order) of just 4 per cent.

For its own part, the company is leveraging the internet to reduce paperwork and run a more efficient business in which its employees are provided with a challenging work environment where they are not overburdened with mundane activities and can spend more time on helping its customers grow. GE Polymerland is so committed to seeing their customers benefit from the site they are able to arrange free monthly internet access, for an agreed number of hours, via a local internet service provider. 

Significantly, a focus on the needs of customers and attention to its human resources are two of the critical factors that will epitomise the successful chemical company of the future, as revealed in the findings of the global "Scenarios 2010" study featured in the special report in this issue of PNI (see page 22).

In this respect, GE Polymerland may already be well ahead of its time.

GE: leader in e-commerce

GE's e-business strategy has been honoured this year by several leading business magazines.

The GE Polymerland website topped the chemicals sector category of the Forbes Best of the Web B2B.

GE was number one on Internet Week's list of the top 100 e-businesses. (Significantly, GE 

Polymerland has been at the forefront of the company's e-commerce strategy).

For the third year running, GE topped the list in Fortune's most admired global companies.

The Design Solution Centre was included in the top 10 sites in InfoWorld's eBusiness 100 (October 2000).

 


 

November 2000

Nelson Silos...meeting the industry's needs for bulk storage

(Cover Story November 2000 edition)

Rationalisation within the Australian plastics industry in recent years has seen the emergence of a number of major players processing large volumes of resin. Paralleling this development has been the trend for processors to rationalise the number of polymers they use.

Both these factors have led to the adoption of bulk handling systems, which not only offers productivity gains but a reduction in material wastage and a greater level of safety.

The industry's need here are being catered for by a local Australian company, Nelson Silos, which was established 43 years ago in the small Victorian country town of Rochester, as a manufacturer of transportable grain silos.

The Rochester facility has since grown into a multi million dollar engineering complex. During the company's expansion it has opened new outlets at Parkes (NSW) and St Arnaud (Vic). From these three outlets, Nelson is now supplying silos for the Australian, New Zealand and Malaysian markets. These silos have been adapted for the storage of a wide range of products including grain, livestock feed, fertiliser, lime, cement, flour, sugar and plastics.

Nelson has moved into the industrial market and is one of the leading supplier of industrial silos to the plastics industry. It has its own internal CAD program and the capacity to develop a cost effective design package to meet customers' individual needs. 

Nelson then engineers the order in its own complex, with a fixed price that will save up to 50 per cent of the cost of on site construction, then deliver and install the silo with a minimum of lead time.

The company has developed four leg base design industrial silos with loadcell installations, which have been especially designed and manufactured to cater for the needs of the plastics industry and which are fully compliant with standards AS1250/AS4100.

It has also incorporated the option of a heavy duty "walk around" roof deck with a centre cap flange to suit an insertable dust collection filter and includes a perimeter handrail to enable access to the dust collection unit. The flat roof also enables installation of connecting catwalks for a multiple silo complex for easy access and improved safety access.

The Nelson industrial silo range includes Colorbond (XRW) prepainted steel in off white, polyurethane two component epoxy applied to a sand blasted frame, an industrial safety ladder with cage and catwalk designed to AS1657, a stainless steel blower pipe and radius bend with camlock coupling and locking cap, galvanised or stainless steel exhaust vent and filter sock to ground level, and pneumatic takeoff (distribution box) with an air filter option.

The company also offers the option of a stainless steel silo for the storage of PVC powder, calcium carbonate, flour, sugar and similar materials.

Features of these silos include Grade 316 or 304 stainless steel fully welded all internal seams including the roof deck, polyurethane two component epoxy applied to a sand blasted base frame, and industrial safety ladder with cage and catwalk designed to AS 1657, a stainless steel blower pipe and exhaust vent with camlock coupling and locking cap, an Over/Under pressure relief valve, and a 250mm outlet with flange to suit rotary valve, and knife gate slide.

The silos meet Australian Standard AS3774-1996 Loads on Bulk Solids Containers and range in size from 27.8 - 612.0 cubic metres capacity with the option of a 45o or 60o cone.

Nelson is totally committed to innovative design and product development and its proven four leg base design mounted on load cells ensures an accurate weigh measurement and restraint in both horizontal and vertical directions.

The load cell telemetry system can operate from multiple silos, e.g. four or six on one site, with a digital indicator supplied for each silo. The software allows the viewing of product levels in multiple material storage silos, either locally or remotely via modem connection and includes a user settable loggin intervals for filling and discharge reports.

Nelson has installed storage silos in a number of leading plastics processors engaged in film extrusion, pipe extrusion, injection moulding and blow moulding. These include Amcor Flexibles, ACI Blowpak, ACI Petalite, Coca Cola AMATIL, Fisher & Paykel, GE Plastics, Gromark Packaging, Holden Motor Company, Kodak, Shorko, and Viscount Plastics.

No doubt in years to come there will be many more.

 


 

October 2000

Borouge's billion-dollar plant opens doors to the future

(Cover story October 2000 print edition) 

Gearing up for high-end polyethylene pipes 

The global market for polyethylene, currently estimated at over 50 million tonnes, is expected to increase to 65 million tonnes by 2005. Much of this growth will come from Asia where revived economies will stimulate demand from the manufacturing, industrial and construction sectors. 

Borouge, a petrochemical joint venture formed by Europe's largest polyolefin producer, Borealis, and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in 1998, is ready for this growing market through its innovative, products and technology, as well as its strategic and aggressive marketing. To meet the increasing demand for polyethylene in the region, Borouge is building its state-of-the-art petrochemical complex in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

Borouge's competitive edge lies in its Borstar technology...an innovation pioneered by its parent company Borealis. Borstar products are environmentally friendly, stronger, lighter and more flexible than conventional polyethylene and provide material savings of up to 30 per cent. 

Polyethylene pipes...a promising outlook 

Asia-Pacific's relentless drive towards industrialisation has opened up outlying areas for development and in the process, carved new opportunities for Borouge, particularly in the area of pipes. 

Said Borouge's business manager (Pipes), Rolf Asman: "Polyethylene, being more malleable and stronger than conventional materials, lends itself better for the manufacture of pressure pipes such as those used for transporting gas, water and sewage." 

He added that unlike pipes made from steel or other traditional materials, polyethylene pipes do not corrode, making them a much safer alternative for transporting gas or drinking water. Moreover, polyethylene pipes can be produced in single large pieces and installed over great distances. 

This is important in areas like Australia, where towns are often far from any significant water supply and rely on pipelines to transport water from underground wells for domestic, agricultural and industrial use. In general, polyethylene pipes must be able to last at least 50 years underground, which is a standard requirement today. 

The mining industry, too, is quickly replacing steel pipes with ones made from polyethylene to reduce operational costs. Polyethylene pipes are better suited than steel to take the enormous strain and abrasion from transporting large volumes of slurry. 

Asman estimated that nearly 50,000 tonnes of polyethylene presently sold in Australia is used for the manufacture of pipes and this is expected to grow at an annual rate of 6-8 per cent. 

Meeting future growing demands 

To meet the growing demand for polyethylene, Borouge is constructing a US$1.2 billion petrochemical complex in Ruwais in the UAE. Once completed, it will become the biggest producer of polyethylene in the region, with an annual production output of 450,000 tonnes. 

Said Teuvo Kulmala, chief executive officer of Borouge Pte Ltd, "By having our own plant in the Middle East, we will also be in a better position to sell directly to customers in the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, China, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and even southern Europe and the Mediterranean." 

Meanwhile, to prepare the markets for the future supply from Ruwais, Borouge has set up sales and marketing offices in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Singapore. 

Borstar technology-advancing with the future 

Since its commercial debut in 1995, Borstar PE has attracted keen interest from the market. Its bimodal products are suitable for a wide range of applications from pipes and blow-moulding to film, wire and cable. 

Rolf Asman explained: "Borstar technology enables us to eliminate a technical setback faced previously. Because of the way conventional polyethylene cools and hardens, it was difficult to produce large pipes with extremely thick walls, due to a phenomenon called 'sagging'." 

This, he added, meant that only 10 bar pipes with diameters of up to 630mm could be produced in the past. However, with Borstar technology, it is possible to make 10 bar pipes with diameters of up to 1600mm. 

Based on performance from its first year of operations, it would seem that Borouge's strategy is already starting to pay off. In Australia where it is a key player, Borouge currently commands a 20 per cent market share of polyethylene used for the manufacture of pipes, a figure that is expected to increase significantly once its own plant starts production. Among the new applications being considered are stand-alone pipes used for transporting crude oil. 

Borouge's polyethylene products are used in technically demanding applications which include: 

Products/Services Key Target Industries 

Flexible plastics packaging Food, consumer and industrial packaging 

Rigid plastics packaging Pharmaceutical, cosmetic, beverage and household containers 

Industrial piping Construction, water and gas distribution, sewage, mining, and manufacture of oil and gas lines. 

 


 

September 2000

(Cover story September 2000 print edition) 

With its large tonnage and rotary table machines, hot runner systems, Reflex platens, multiple mould carriers, in-line robots and MuCell microcellular process licence, Husky offers a wealth of technologies for moulding plastic parts for the automotive industry. 

Large tonnage machines for body panels 

Environmental challenges to the automotive industry have resulted in a substantial increase in the use of plastics. In the construction of the average car today, 180kg of plastic is used, with another 110kg of polymer-based materials used for tyres, textiles and foils. The use of polymers continues to expand particularly due to the weight savings achievable. 

So when DaimlerChrysler approached Husky to build a machine capable of moulding half a car (composite concept vehicle CCV), Husky approached it not as a design exercise, but rather an example of what future applications in the automotive industry will demand of large tonnage injection moulding machines. 

Designing a car for the emerging markets in Asia, Husky participated with DaimlerChrysler to reduce the number of parts needed to build a vehicle body from 100 to only 12. These included four large injection moulded plastic body panels that are bonded to a composite horizontal frame. 

Weighing in at 600 tonnes, Husky's solution was an injection-moulding machine capable of producing 8000 tonnes of clamping force and a hot runner system fitted to a 200 tonne mould capable of moulding half a car body weighing 16kg with a cycle time of 140 seconds. 

The eight-tiebar configuration was selected in order to minimize deflection of the platens, which incorporate Husky's patented Reflex design. The moving platen is 5.76m wide and 4.85m tall, weighing in at 188 tonnes. Husky believes it to be the third largest nodular iron casting produced in the world. The cast stationary platen weighs 165 tonnes. 

Since its use in the CCV project the 8000 tonne machine is today used as a major proponent in the development of large exterior body panels. Presently it runs pre-production hard top roofs for the Jeep Wrangler. 

Hot runners for bumper bars 

When it comes to moulding large automotive parts such as bumpers, cold runners are not an option. The flow length from the machine nozzle to the gates is in many applications so long that the pressure drop in the cold runner would prevent the cavity from filling properly. 

Hot runner valve gating, a method in which a stem mechanically shuts off the gate, is a key technology to moulding large parts. 

Moulders require close control over gate opening and closing to achieve optimized part quality. Sequential valve gating provides the processing solution. With this method, gates can be closed and opened with the valve stem at any given time during the injection process. The moulder has individual control over each gate and can precisely open and close the gate via screw position or timer. 

Applying this method of sequenced gate opening can move a weldline of two melt reams to a non critical area in the part or eliminate a weldline completely by using sequential filling from one end of the part to the other. 

Tail light lenses 

In the production of multi colour parts such as lenses for automobile rear lights, Husky is able to make use of melt flow software to help fully balance a hot runner conveying multiple resins or colours to the moulding surfaces. By balancing the hot runner, the moulder can ensure the equal filling of parts is being achieved. The same software is used to determine the optimum melt channel sizes, thus creating critical sheer rates to facilitate fast colour change. 

In addition to balancing hot runners for rear lenses, Husky has incorporated rotary table machines from 750 to 2350 tonnes of clamping force. In general the rotary table alternative shows a better part quality and reduced scrap versus insert moulding due to the absence of part handling. Stresses caused from inserting cold parts into a mould and over-injecting these parts is also eliminated. 

Incorporated in all large tonnage Husky machines are the company's patented Reflex platens. These platens compensate bending forces by compressing instead of bending. This keeps the mould-mounting surface flat, which in turn reduces the mould parting line wear and therefore reduces part flash issues. 

Multi mould carrier 

Inspired by the cost reduction demands placed on moulders by the automotive industry, Husky developed the Multi Mould Carrier (MMC). This technology allows an injection moulding machine to almost double its output and is particularly useful when moulding parts having common or combined usage after production such as left/right or front/back parts (e.g. bumpers, door panels, wheel covers, etc.) 

The principle of the MMC was derived from the stack mould concept. The MMC allows for the installation of two standard moulds into an injection moulding machine. The necessary clamp force of the machine is slightly higher (about 10 per cent) than on a standard machine with only one mould installed. 

The carrier can be used to provide support and guidance during mould opening and closing for either the centre section of a standard stack mould or when operating two single faced moulds. 

When operating two individual moulds, the moulds are mounted back to back on a centre section having a common hot runner. This hot runner is supplied with melt through a sprue bar equipped with a mechanical shut off nozzle to prevent drool during the mould open phase. Melt is then delivered to the individual moulds using standard hot sprues. 

Alternative technologies 

In today's competitive automotive industry, economic savings through reduction of part weight is crucial. Trexcel's MuCell technology allows moulders to reduce part weight and to achieve longer filling length due to the reduction of the melt flow viscosity. By introducing CO2 or N2 into the resin, a cellular structure is formed in the part. This allows conservation of weight without altering the part geometry. 

Husky is currently building an injection moulding machine with 2000 tonnes of clamping force, fitted with the MuCell technology. The Husky EW2000 RS155/135 machine is equipped with an integrated MTE-50 in-line robot and will be used for automotive applications, and presently is the largest machine licensed by Trexcel for its proprietary Mucell microcellular process technology. 

Automotive and appliance (white goods) applications make up over 60 per cent of Husky's large tonnage business worldwide. 

 



 

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