bp&r march 2021
2021 2013 Price know-how
2017 Process know-how
A decade of keeping the industry informed PROACTIVE NOT REACTIVE How real-time monitoring and reporting makes processes more eﬃcient, accurate and improves quality
THE KEY TO QUALITY IN PLASTICS Industrial metrology provider oﬀers advice on how to solve common quality issues when working with plastics
VINYL-DEDICATION How one PVC compounder is becoming an increasingly forward integrated company
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www.britishplastics.co.uk Editor: GRACE NOLAN
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#Choose to challenge
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From apprentices and technicians to Directors and CEOs – all have one thing in common; they agree that the plastics industry provides a worthwhile and exciting career, regardless of their route into it.
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n March 3rd 2021 Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his second budget and what is positive to see is the incentives announced for apprentices and training. Sunak unveiled a new series of measures, including a doubling of the cash incentives to take on new apprentices; an additional £126 million in England for high quality work placements and training for 16- to 24-year-olds; a new £7 million fund to help employers set up and expand portable apprenticeships; and a new UK-wide management programme to upskill 30,000 small and medium-sized enterprises over the next three years. In addition, the introduction of the super-deduction and the extension of the furlough scheme are sure to be welcome news for the manufacturing sector. Another date of importance this month, March 8th 2021, marked International Women’s Day (IWD), with this year’s theme #ChooseToChallenge.
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Although progress is being made in our sector, research by multidiscipline recruitment experts, Search Consultancy, shows that 49 per cent of managers within
the engineering & manufacturing industry believe their industry still struggles with a lack of gender diversity. From apprentices and technicians to Directors and CEOs – all have one thing in common; they agree that the plastics industry provides a worthwhile and exciting career, regardless of their route into it. However, they also agree that the status quo and stereotypes must be challenged in ensuring more women reach their full potential. So, what did you #ChooseToChallenge? grace nolan, EDITOR
the big story A DECADE OF KEEPING THE INDUSTRY INFORMED
P PLASTRIBUTION HAS USED ITS CONTENT TO KEEP THE INDUSTRY INFORMED WITH MATERIAL DEVELOPMENTS AND MARKET UPDATES SINCE 2011. HERE THE POLYMER DISTRIBUTOR REFLECTS ON THE DECADE AND OUTLINES PLANS TO MAKE THEIR INSIGHTS MORE ACCESSIBLE VIA A NEW ONLINE PLATFORM.
ike many other businesses, Plastribution has used the duration of the pandemic and long periods spent in lockdown to its best advantage. Along with enhancements to its digital communications, primarily through Microsoft Teams, the firm has been busy reshaping its web-based publishing platform and giving its ‘family of brands’ a refresh. According to Plastribution, these are all activities designed to promote a future-readiness, where they can quickly adapt to meet changing customers and suppliers needs and/or market conditions, without compromising their core values and vision. PLASTRIBUTION’S KNOW-HOW BRAND Much in keeping with its perceived role as an industry ‘go-to resource’, Plastribution was an early content creation pioneer, launching its popular ‘know-how magazine’ in 2011 principally as a means of keeping their customers and suppliers fully informed on market developments and insights. Since then, the company has amassed a substantial back catalogue of high quality commercial and technical articles and reports covering all aspects of the polymer supply chain. Alongside the magazine’s release, Plastribution began using the term ‘know-how’ as a brand to visually identify other pieces of content that defined their knowledge and expertise. A key part of that mix was ‘Price know-how’, a highly rated insightful report that has been published every month since launch. Providing an overview, material group specific analysis and more general economic information including exchange rates and GDP growth, the primary objective of the report is to provoke discussion on issues such as pricing and availability, from which purchasing strategies could be considered. The report aims to support customers in explaining polymer price trends to their own customers, employees and shareholders. At the beginning of each year, Plastribution also publishes an assessment of what has happened over the past year and what may happen in the year ahead, particularly in terms of the outlook for polymer prices. This meaningful report is know as Price know-how ‘Review & Outlook’ and is published in BP&R’s first edition of the year and on Plastribution’s website. KNOW-HOW HUB Deciding that the future of its know-how brand was online, Plastribution established the ‘know-how hub’, launched in 2018 to replace its printed magazine, then in its 7th year of production. Being a free, subscription-only online library, the hub is based on a collection
of articles covering insights, opinion-pieces, market intelligence and innovation. With new content being added regularly, subscribers are able to set their preferences to only receive alerts when content specific to their interests or sector is added. In a move to help expand its reach even further, Price know-how also became part of the hub platform. KNOW-HOW BECOMES INSIGHTS Not detracting from the success of the knowhow hub, Plastribution saw the future for its publishing activity being to make its content more accessible, thereby further increasing online readership. To achieve this, the company has opted to publish a quantity of key articles from its back-copy library, all new supplier material, technical pieces and videos, in a web-based format within a new section of their website called ‘Insights’. As a platform, Insights will no longer require a login for access, meaning that Plastribution can be more effective in sharing the content to new audiences. Visitors to Insights will be able to sign-up to receive alerts when new content is added to the platform and will be able to set their preferences. Price know-how is also set to undergo a revamp. According to Plastribution, the online version will be more engaging and dynamic, with the addition of video segments, blogcasts, interactive graphs and trends via a dashboard. Plastribution say that they still intend to continue to publish the publication in a simple PDF format which will be downloadable, but the online version will provide depth and a more compelling experience. Plastribution’s Insights platform is due to be launched in March this year and will sit alongside a ‘Hot Topics’ section, which will contain relevant key issues in the wider context, such as Brexit and the Plastic Packaging Tax. “In publishing our content, our overriding aim is to provide a personalised experience for our customers and help them make strategic planning decisions by confidently sharing our extensive knowledge and expertise,” commented Plastribution’s Commercial Director, Katherine White. “In its various guises, our know-how brand has been the mainstay of our external communications strategy for over a decade, but now it’s time to go one step further by expanding our reach and growing our relevance even more across the industry and beyond. We are confident that the Insights platform will be a great success and we look forward to growing the resource further over time.” www.plastribution.co.uk
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2021 2013 Price know-how
2017 Process know-how
A decade of keeping the ndustry informed
On the Cover
Plastribution has used its content to keep the industry informed with material developments and market updates since 2011. Now, the polymer distributor reflects on the decade and outlines plans to make their insights more accessible. See page 4
PVC compounder, the Benvic Group is becoming an increasingly forward integrated company, owning a variety of plastics processing companies. Bp&r finds out about the launch of its ProVinyl brand and the £1.7 million investment in its Sowerby Bridge facilities in order to handle markets in the UK and Ireland.
A decade of keeping the industry informed
3 EDITOR’S LETTER 17 Feature
The dirty secret behind machine breakdowns
It causes UK manufacturers to lose millions of pounds each year in machine breakdown, parts replacements, and labour - yet goes largely unnoticed. What is it? In this article, Andrew Thoms, Managing Director of TRIS UK, lifts the lid on dirty oil and explains how cost-effective oil management is the no-brainer solution to dramatically extending the life of critical components.
The key to quality in plastics
The many different types of plastic, each with their own unique properties, makes it an ideal material for a range of applications. However, this flexibility also introduces challenges when performing quality control. Mike John, managing director of industrial metrology provider The Sempre Group, offers advice on how to solve common quality issues when working with plastics.
40 Feature Proactive not reactive
A Manufacturing Execution System is a tool that monitors, manages and brings together all the different parts involved in production. In this article, intouch Monitoring explains how real-time monitoring and reporting and analytics makes processes more efficient, accurate and improves quality.
Regulars and Features 09 INDUSTRY NEWS 14 MACHINERY 18 WOMEN IN PLASTICS 20 PVC 23 MEDICAL 27 MATERIALS 29 POLYMERMAN 31 TESTING AND INSPECTION 35 RECLAMATION AND RECYCLING 39 SOFTWARE AND PROCESS CONTROL 43 SOFTWARE GUIDE 43 BUYERS' GUIDE 46 NEWS FROM THE FRONTLINE
Models shown: BOY 125E; BOY XXS
> TAKING PRECISION TO EXTREMES <
At the top end of our range, the BOY 125E brings BOY’s legendary compact design and advanced technology to the 1250 kN class. The diminutive BOY XXS is a desktop micro-moulding machine designed for precision medical and scientific components.
> SMALLER • SMARTER < From the table top BOY XXS, through our well known line-up of over twenty models, right up to our latest flagship BOY 125E... BOY’s latest range of Injection Moulding Machines take precision to extremes – with compact, intelligent design. As well as minimising floor space, power consumption and cooling requirement, BOY machines offer Sophisticated but easy-to-use control, combined with dynamic hydraulics, to make our range the one to beat for small machines – with a range of specifications and ratings that might surprise you.
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INDUSTRY | NEWS Nissan lifts U.K investment to more than £1 billion as it rolls out green tech Nissan will lift recent investments in its British plant to more than £1 billion in the next few years as it rolls out greener technology such as its e-Power full hybrid drivetrain. The automaker decided in 2016 to build the vehicle in Britain at its Sunderland factory in what was seen as a key vote of confidence just months after the Brexit referendum raised
uncertainty over its trading relationship with the European Union. “We’ve invested over 400 million pounds so far in our English factory, and we are planning over the coming years to exceed the £1 billion investment mark, including due to the introduction of e-Power which will come to market soon,” Europe boss Gianlucca de Fichy said.
Make UK welcomes budget incentives for apprentices and training Make UK, which trains hundreds of apprentices at its world-class Technology Hub in Aston, Birmingham, has welcomed the Chancellor’s new incentives to encourage businesses to take on apprenticeships, announced in the most recent Budget. Rishi Sunak unveiled a new series of measures, including a doubling of the cash incentives to take on new apprentices; an additional £126 million in England for high quality work placements and training for 16- to 24-year-olds; a new £7 million fund to help employers set up and expand portable apprenticeships; and a new UKwide management programme to upskill 30,000 small
and medium-sized enterprises over the next three years. Stephen Mitchell, Director of Apprentices and Technical Training, commented: “We welcome the Chancellor’s new measures to encourage more employers to take on apprentices - it’s vital that they plan for the future to avoid a skills gap, as well as ensuring
the next generation of talent is given every opportunity. “We have over 2,000 young people in our talent pool looking for apprenticeship opportunities, including a considerable number of young women, and our recruitment process means employers can access applications and candidates with minimal fuss and delay.”
Roland Plastics helps kickstart young career Roland Plastics has confirmed the first of two six-month placements, which it will be providing through the national Kickstart initiative. The scheme was announced by the Department of Work & Pensions last year and seeks to offer active employment to those aged 16-24 who are out of work and are keen to gain skills, experience and a wage. First to join Roland Plastics under the process is 19 year old Lauren Clarke, who will become a machine operator and assembler for the firm. Her placement has been made possible by Roland Plastics
working closely with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, which has been processing company applications and requirements across the county. Barrie Hayter, Head of Sales & Marketing said “We are really pleased to welcome Lauren to Roland Plastics and hope her time with us will be a great step in their career journey.” Ben Emerson, Director at Roland Plastics, is pleased with the role the firm is able to play in supporting someone like Lauren. He said “We have been able to employ a local applicant who does not drive and was struggling to find work
in our rural area. They will be earning a wage and receiving training to support them find future roles.” Roland’s second placement will be confirmed in the coming weeks. As well as carrying out a daily workplace role, each participant receives a peer buddy, alongside
training and coaching in areas like interview skills and job hunting.
We have been able to employ a local applicant who does not drive and was struggling to find work in our rural area.
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arburgXvision part two broadcast great success After a successful premiere in January, approximately 1,000 people watched the second broadcast of arburgXvision on 25 February 2021. The subject of the live, two-hour, interactive Internet TV event was “Producing plastic parts – (almost) without limits!”. High-calibre experts were on site in the Arburg TV studio: Oliver Giesen, Director Sales Germany, and Werner Faulhaber, Director Research & Development, highlighted all aspects of the central topic of machine availability. Uwe Klumpp, Head of Product Training, offered practical tips during two interesting live streams from the Lossburg Training Centre. The main focus of the second digital theme day was on how to make efficient use of production machines and how to increase machine availability. During a live stream to
Lossburg, Uwe Klumpp provided some hands-on tips for drawing out the full potential from Allrounders in all their different aspects without the need for further investment. The next programme in the Arburg TV series
The International Composites Summit, co-organised by Composites UK and Fluency Marketing, has been announced to take place on 8th-9th September in London, UK. The event, which focuses on reinventing the global supply chain for composites, will bring together companies concentrating on worldwide opportunities for sales and growth. Primarily an exhibition for the composites industry, there will also be open forum sessions to showcase speakers, who are invited to share success stories and discuss the ever-expanding market and its supply chain. After its first year in the UK, the event will move around the world. It will tie up with global trade associations to bring in their members in order to network and share knowledge with the best from across different countries. Claire Whysall, Marketing & Communications Manager at Composites UK said: “The International Composites Summit is our response to industry asking for a composite focussed show to support their growth as we move out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and for those based in the UK, the effects of Brexit.
The international composites summit is our response to industry asking for a composite focussed show to SUPPORT THEIR GROWTH.
UKRI fund £16 million for largescale plastic packaging projects UKRI has announced the opening of a new £16 million funding competition, Demonstrator Projects Round 2. Part of the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) challenge, the competition will fund large-scale commercial demonstration projects that include first-ofa-kind infrastructure and trials of new packaging concepts and technologies. Demonstrator Projects Round 2 is
will be broadcast on 25th March 2021. The third show is set to cover additive manufacturing. Lukas Pawelczyk, Head of Freeformer Sales, and Martin Neff, Head of Plastic Freeforming, will be the experts leading the discussion.
New International Composites event launched
the latest stage of the SSPP challenge’s aim to develop a more sustainable plastic packaging supply chain, drive research into new materials and processes, and encourage collaboration to help reduce the environmental impacts of plastic packaging. Entries for the initial expression of interest stage are open for collaborations
only, with full submissions by invitation only to take place in May 2021. Paul Davidson, challenge director for UKRI’s Smart
Sustainable Plastic Packaging challenge, said: “We look forward to seeing the development of these new concepts and how they could make a lasting impact in the sector.”
We look forward to seeing the development of these new concepts and how they could make a lasting impact in the sector.
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The word from Hird
Coral Products PLC acquires Customised Packaging Limited Coral Products plc, a specialist in the design, manufacture and supply of plastic products based in Wythenshawe, Manchester, has acquired the entire issued share capital of Customised Packaging Limited for a net consideration of £1.25 million, comprising £883,956.25 to be satisfied in cash and £366,043.75 to be satisfied by the issue of 3,327,669 new ordinary shares to the vendors of CPL at a price of 11 pence per share. CPL designs, manufactures and supplies plastic products using their top of the
range sheet extrusion technology and vacuum forming capability to a range of a bluechip customer’s own design specifications. CPL, which is based in Manchester will continue to operate from its existing premises. Joe Grimmond, Chairman of the Company, commented: “The acquisition of CPL is a significant milestone for Coral as it expands further the Group’s market coverage and product range. The Board anticipates that the Acquisition will be earnings enhancing in its first year.”
The acquisition of CPL is a significant milestone for Coral as it expands further the Group’s market coverage and product range. The Board anticipates that the Acquisition will be earnings enhancing in its first year.
ICHARD HIRD, CHAIRMAN OF THE POLYMER MACHINERY MANUFACTURERS AND DISTRIBUTORS ASSOCIATION (PMMDA), WRITES FOR BP&R ON THE RESULTS OF A RECENT PMMDA STATISTICS SURVEY AND THE INCREASED USE OF AUTOMATION DUE TO SOCIAL DISTANCING.
We all enjoy a challenge and often rise up to meet it. However, given that we came off the back of the challenge of “Pre-Brexit” in 2019 and fell straight into the most unpredictable 12 months that the pandemic served up in 2020, who would have imagined that the UK plastics industry would rally together to meet the challenges of the last 24 months, and recover from the lack of confidence shown in 2019? The recent PMMDA statistics survey showed that the number of machines delivered and installed was up by 15 per cent in the UK, and amounted to an 18 per cent growth in overall value on the previous year. This can be attributed to an increase in sales of the medium to large machine sizes, coupled with more complex cells being installed in the medical and packaging sectors. This general trend was also reflected in the Irish market where the overall value increased by 11 per cent and saw a small shift in balance between the traditionally strong presence in All Electric Machines and the other machine types. With a need for social distancing on the shop floor and an increased use of automation, we saw a strong recovery in the number of Robot sales back to 2018 levels. However, according to the International Robot Federation, the UK has a long way to go if we are to remain competitive with our nearby European competitors, such as Germany who has 10 x more robots installed each year, and Italy with 5 x more each year. 2020 saw the ancillary sector having a similar bounce back to the other groups with the support of new machine sales and an increasing growth in recycling, sparked by the government’s introduction of a tax on plastic packaging from April 2022.
As we ease our way out of the current situation, the UK plastics sector will surely continue to grow in confidence and play a major part within UK manufacturing as a whole.
As we ease our way out of the current situation, the UK plastics sector will surely continue to grow in confidence and play a major part within UK manufacturing as a whole.
celebrating 180 years
MACHINERY | NEWS Wagner ReinhardtTechnik releases new LSR dosing and mixing system Wagner ReinhardtTechnik has released a new generation liquid silicone rubber dosing and mixing system, the ‘’LSR eTwin Connect’’. The system offers high efficiency, the perfect mix ratio, up to 99.75 per cent material utilisation and gives consistently high productivity and quality control at both low and high shot weights. The ‘processing unit’ was re-designed with improvement and features making it extremely engineer friendly. It can now be dismantled using just one tool. In addition, the operator can now connect up to four colour additive dosing valves which can be assembled or stripped down without the need for tools. The machine is available in both tandem and single unit configurations. Combining two dosing systems enables production to continue uninterrupted, eliminating downtime from material drum changes. The LSR eTwin is available from Eurobond Adhesives Limited who are the Wagner ReinhardtTechnik distributors for customers in the United Kingdom.
Sodick EDM aids vital medical work at Crossen Engineering Crossen Engineering has invested in a new Sodick AD35L spark-erosion machine from Sodi-Tech EDM. The machine is busy producing mould and press tools for a range of important medical projects. Despite operating a well-equipped toolroom and production shop, an upturn in medical work over the past 12 months saw the BS EN ISO9001 accredited manufacturer begin the search for a new die-sink EDM. Crossen Engineering already had a modern Sodick wire EDM on site, but its Sodick sparkerosion capacity was 15 years old. The Sodick AD35L was an ex-demo model that arrived on site in Belfast within four weeks of order placement. The machine structure of the Sodick AD35L
features optimised rib arrangements that increase rigidity by approximately 70 per cent. As a result, deformation is minimised to allow optimum performance at high speed, supported by rapid-acceleration linear motors across the XYZ travel dimensions of 350 x 250 x 270mm. Paul Crossen, Managing Director, said: “Since installation,
the machine has been busy producing mainly medical moulds, both prototype and production [aluminium and tool steel]. P20 tool steel was used for the mould that makes the mobility product, for instance. The level of surface finish we require, along with mould complexity, means the AD35L is a great solution.”
OGM invests in hybrid metal additive manufacturing OGM has announced it is the first company in the UK to invest in the latest hybrid metal additive manufacturing and CNC machining technology. The investment aims to develop advanced robotic and automation systems to increase the productivity of the injection moulding process, and includes pioneered techniques to reduce tooling leadtimes. The company says “We’re now able to offer a comprehensive 3D scanning service. This enables us to help customers reverse engineer products and parts for injection moulding, and to carry out extensive analysis to assess dimensional tolerances and conformity.”
Bespoke customisation for FANUC machines offered by JL Goor A leading machinery supplier to the Irish polymer market – and FANUC Strategic Partner – JL Goor, has installed a new customisation centre in Mullingar to provide a more bespoke offering to its customers. The centre will allow Wicklow-based JL Goor to customise machines for its customers, providing turn-key products that are bespoke to the production facility they are destined for. In addition, the organisation says moving customisation in-house has also allowed JL Goor to bring a number of staff
back to its own site, having previously been located in sub-contractor premises. Paul Bryan, General Manager, Sales &
Marketing at JL Goor, said: The great thing about working with FANUC ROBOSHOT machines is, while they’re renowned as the benchmark when it comes to injection moulding equipment, they are actually designed to be customised. This ensures that virtually any production line can enjoy the benefits of a bespoke ROBOSHOT machine.” “As the Irish polymer market continues to grow, so too does the demand for high-performance machinery that is production-line ready, right from the off.”
celebrating 180 years
ENGEL partners with PCE Automation ENGEL UK are increasing the choice of downstream automation available to their customers. Partnering with Beccles based PCE Automation, ENGEL UK are now able to provide injection moulders with even more possibilities for their individual downstream automation projects. Nigel Baker, ENGEL UK Managing Director, is confident that the wider choice of automation now on offer will be very attractive to their customers. He said: “ENGEL has always benefitted from the capability
to deliver a turnkey solution with bespoke automation from our plant in Austria. But sometimes the nature of a project means that the customer can be better served through a more local approach. We want to be able to propose options for our customers, so that together we can tailor the automation project to meet whatever criteria matters most to them.” “ENGEL UK are very excited to be partnering with PCE Automation, who offer quality elements of downstream automation to perfectly dovetail with our own
Successful cooling solution for UK beverage closure company We want to be able to propose options for our customers, so that together we can tailor the automation project to meet whatever criteria matters most to them.
Viper Cartesian or Easix Articulated Arm Robots, which will continue to form the core structure of our solutions.”
UPM Conveyors has designed a stainless steel system to improve efficiency at a UK beverage closure company. The bespoke system solved manufacturing issues that were resulting in ovality due to a high closure temperature above 45-degrees Celsius, a high level of static and a high reject rate. The cooling system implemented includes two high efficiency fans (1ph 240v 0.6 amp) providing 1200 m3/h of air flow, air/heat exchangers requiring 10 bar chilled water with 15mm diameter pipes, a variable speed control to adjust fan speed, and a hinged quick access to the G4 grade pleated panel filter. Further features of the system also include a low wear and FDA compliant modular link belt and quick belt removal for clean down. Staff can also use the bespoke control system via a touch screen HMI to operate variable speed adjustments, to continuously monitor the temperature of the cooling system, and much more.
The bespoke system solved manufacturing issues that were resulting in ovality.
Boston Matthews releases new compact, universal co-extruder Boston Matthews has released a new design of a compact universal co-extruder. The BMU has been designed to give the user operational flexibility and is capable of operating as a coextruder in horizontal, vertical or user defined set position such as 45-degree angle.
A lightweight, compact but robust construction allows for easier positioning even within the most demanding production space deprived conditions. Due to the ease of positioning, the operator/ setter can precisely align with the current tooling and existing extruders and other equipment
minimising the risk of damage. In order to save as much valuable production space as possible, footprint has been kept to a minimum and the operator controls are also cantilevered for easy positioning to match the exact operating / production conditions. AC, direct-drive technology provides precision screw speed holding for the highest
quality melt and output performance whilst at the same time ensuring maximum energy efficiency is obtained. Direct-Drive also greatly reduces operational noise, dust and routine maintenance. Any routine maintenance has been designed so that the operator can carry it out without the need for calling on specialised maintenance personnel.
The world’s largest injection moulding machinery manufacturer Now is the time to invest This is the place to invest
Haitian JUPITER 3 Series • Ranging from 450 - 6,600 tonnes • Compact twin platen design with servo hydraulic motor as standard
celebrating 180 years
t e r c e s y t The dir ns
breakdow e in h c a m behind
IT CAUSES UK MANUFACTURERS TO LOSE MILLIONS OF POUNDS EACH YEAR IN MACHINE BREAKDOWN, PARTS REPLACEMENTS, AND LABOUR - YET GOES LARGELY UNNOTICED. WHAT IS IT? IN THIS ARTICLE, ANDREW THOMS, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF TRIS UK, LIFTS THE LID ON DIRTY OIL AND EXPLAINS HOW COST-EFFECTIVE OIL MANAGEMENT IS THE NO-BRAINER SOLUTION TO DRAMATICALLY EXTENDING THE LIFE OF CRITICAL COMPONENTS.
uptime. In fact, high specification filters (including installation and oil testing) can cost less than the price of one replacement valve, providing a return on investment in less than a few months.
Despite the eyewatering costs – and frankly, major hassle - of machine breakdowns, the most common cause goes largely unknown. In fact, pump and valve failure is often put down to expected wear and tear, even when parts are just months old. However, normal wear and tear is rarely the case; nor is poor machine design, inferior manufacture, or built-in obsolesce. Rather, the phenomenon that’s most often at the root of injection moulding machine failure is dirty oil.
First, the equipment; even if clean oil was put into a machine, if left alone it will become too dirty and the machine will succumb to the destructive problems caused by oil contamination. Fitting a high specification filter onto the machine is therefore absolutely necessary to prevent breakdowns, however buyer beware – not all filters are created equal, with many unable to effectively remove all types of contaminants from oil. In fact, users are often misled into buying subpar filters by oil filter manufacturers quoting ‘nominal’ cleanliness measurements (an ambiguous standard set and judged by the manufacturer of the filter), rather than the industry standard of ‘absolute’ cleanliness.
s almost all British plastics manufacturers will know, breakdown of injection moulding machines can be frustratingly frequent - and painfully expensive. Indeed, rather than budgets being allocated to product development, new client acquisition or staff bonuses, tens – if not hundreds - of thousands of pounds, are spent each year, per manufacturer on replacement parts and oil, machine downtime and remedial works.
Dirty oil is oil that contains harmful levels of contaminants, such as particulate, varnishes, oxygen and water. These contaminants reduce oil quality and longevity, and cause significant friction between moving parts. Since injection moulding machines rely on fine tolerances and operate at high pressures, dirty oil can accelerate pump and valve failures at exponential rates (often within months) – and at around £5,000 and £2,000 per part respectively (not to mention hundreds or thousands of pounds lost to downtime, labour, and oil replacement), the price to pay is high. The seemingly obvious and simple solution to the problem is clean oil. However, ensuring oil cleanliness is not simply a case of fitting machines with brand new oil and forgetting about it. This is for two reasons: firstly – and quite shockingly to many - brand new oil is too dirty for the effective operation of modern injection moulding machines (oil cleanliness is measured according to the internationally recognised ISO cleanliness codes, which are derived from International Standard ISO 4406:2017, or the US NAS standard); and secondly, many factors can contribute to clean oil becoming contaminated over time. That said, there is good news on the horizon; with the correct oil cleaning equipment and practices, existing oil can be easily and cost-effectively cleaned and maintained long-term, a process which optimises component longevity and machine
Additional qualities of competent filters include removing all three forms of contaminants (solid particles, resins and water), filtering down below 2µ, eliminating the development of oxidation and resins, and reducing the concentration of free water to below 100ppm. When these standards are met, even oil that considered extremely dirty can be adequately cleaned within just three months. Of course, it’s not all about the filter; the correct practices are also key and should include an initial phase of cleaning the existing machine oil to acceptable levels, and then simple on-going maintenance thereafter. During the initial cleaning phase, the oil management specialist will sample and lab test the existing oil before installation of the filter system, and then continue to sample and analyse the oil during the cleaning process. Often the filters will be changed several times, especially if the existing oil is particularly dirty. Once the oil is clean, maintaining oil cleanliness is achieved easily and simply by changing the filter elements every six months or so. While contaminated oil might be the dirty secret behind machine breakdowns, the process of achieving and maintaining oil cleanliness shouldn’t be. With optimal machine uptime and longevity achieved so easily by cost-effective oil cleaning systems, it’s about time plastics manufacturers heard about them.
SPOTLIGHT EMMA HOCKLEY:
“It has been something of a baptism of fire” Interview | Grace Nolan
IN THE LATEST INSTALMENT OF OUR SERIES COLLABORATING WITH THE WOMEN IN PLASTICS INITIATIVE, IN WHICH BP&R SHINES A SPOTLIGHT ON ONE OF THE PLATFORM’S INSPIRATIONAL INTERVIEWEES, WE SHARE AN EXTRACT FROM WIP’S CONVERSATION WITH EMMA HOCKLEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BIG BEAR PLASTICS.
Q: HOW DID YOUR CAREER PATH LEAD TO BIG BEAR PLASTICS? I work for Big Bear Plastic Products Ltd, a manufacturing business specialising in the design, development and production of technical thermoplastic components using vacuum-forming and compression forming technology. I was recently promoted to Managing Director, following six years working in various roles across the business, but most recently as Sales Director. Big Bear was founded by my father, Gerald Bloom, and so with my appointment as MD we are able to establish a strong succession plan. It has been something of a baptism of fire, since my previous roles could not have been more different. After University I landed a work experience job with the PR department at Harrods – and then worked my way up to Head of Marketing for the whole of the Beauty division. Whilst at first glance selling lipsticks and selling plastics are worlds apart, Harrods gave me good training in many of the skills I need, and use, to run Big Bear. Ultimately, business is about keeping your customers happy, and if there is one thing Harrods does well, it is customer service. I had the privilege of working for two female bosses who were tough, but inspiring and educated me on so many levels.
summer our regular customers were back, and we finished the year with a positive result overall.
Q: WHAT SORT OF YEAR HAS 2020 BEEN - FOR YOU AND BIG BEAR PLASTICS? I became MD just as the pandemic started – talk about being thrown in at the deep end! So much of what happened was unprecedented, so the whole team had to work through it together, and it was a great bonding exercise. Although several of our customers shutdown in the first lockdown, we kept the factory operational throughout to support other customers who needed us to maintain supply, and we were also very busy manufacturing specialised products for the NHS. We were operating with a reduced team both in the factory and the offices, so it was an extremely busy time. By the end of the
Q: WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN? I am lucky to have a lot of people to call upon for advice, which I do often…but my father has always been the person whose opinion I value most. Over the years he has given me a lot of memorable directives, which whilst true, also always make me smile. Such edicts as “The quality of the result is equal to the quality of the instruction” will always be front of mind. Not to mention, simply “make it happen.”
I think initiatives such as Women in Plastics is a great way to connect and support each other
Q: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU HAVE FACED IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Moving from a senior position with a large, high profile company like Harrods, where I felt completely sure of myself and what I was doing, to starting from scratch in a manufacturing business has certainly been a challenge. It has taken time to build my confidence up again and to establish my own style of working. Questioning the status quo, and not being brushed away or fobbed off with a “because that’s how it is” style of answer has taken a lot of persistence and determination. Q: HAVE YOU NOTICED A GENDER DIVIDE IN THE PLASTICS INDUSTRY? Yes absolutely – perhaps made even more noticeable to me having come from a very female-dominated industry. I have been to a lot of manufacturing industry networking events where I’ve walked into a sea of dark suits which can be a bit intimidating. Having said that, I have met some very impressive women in this industry whom I admire immensely. I think initiatives such as Women in Plastics is a great way to connect and support each other.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR 2021? DO YOU HAVE ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS? I am developing a new business plan to take us forward with a strong growth strategy, and we have some great projects underway. Big Bear is doing a lot of development work with lightweight thermoplastic materials for interior trim components such as headliners and door trim panels, ideal for lightweight transport solutions. We have also invested in a new production line to manufacture moulded acrylic components which we are very excited about.
IMCD: The leading supplier of medical Polymers Our Principles Include:
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pvc | News PVC 2021 goes virtual Over the past number of months, the IOM3 team have been working hard to bring you PVC 2021 and have announced for this year, PVC will be moving to an online format. On 10–12 May 2021, the online event will welcome regular and new delegates to a fully interactive, virtual conference experience, with an emphasis on delivering exceptional
engagement, networking and knowledge exchange between participants, for which the PVC conference series is renowned for. Being a virtual conference brings many exciting opportunities – you can create a personalised schedule, network with attendees (instant chat feature), visit exhibitors and join sessions at a click of a button.
Dr Jason Leadbitter, Chair of the PVC organising committee and Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Inovyn, said: “I’m delighted to see the relaunch and opportunity for a fully virtual event that provides a unique opportunity to have the highest-ever participation and the unique opportunity to either watch live or via
immediate streaming. PVC 2021 presents a great opportunity – there is really no excuse to miss out on any presentation.” PVC 2021 is the world’s leading conference on Vinyl and this year’s theme will focus on ‘Success and Innovation in the Circular Economy’ with an impressive line-up delivering a current, comprehensive and
wide-ranging technical programme with 60 papers covering 7 technical sessions plus 2 keynote speakers and discussion opportunities in between. IOM3 CEO Dr Colin Church CEnv FIMMM, added: “PVC is rightly praised for the extremely high standard of its technical content, and going virtual means this will be accessible for a wider audience than ever. Coupled with the exciting networking opportunities the virtual conference platform offers, PVC 2021 will be an unmissable event for all in the sector.” Registration to attend PVC 2021 is now live. To find out more about this year’s event and to register, visit www.iom3. org/events-awards/pvc2021.html
PVC is rightly praised for the extremely high standard of its technical content, and going virtual means this will be accessible for a wider audience than ever.
Recovinyl Launches RecoTrace Recovinyl has launched RecoTrace, an advanced data collection system to monitor, verify, and report PVC recycling and uptake in Europe. Developed by Recovinyl, RecoTrace has been designed for recyclers and converters to register data in a user-friendly format and in a time-efficient way, whilst keeping all data safe and secure. This tool will provide a clear picture of material flows and complete
traceability of the material. To enhance traceability and transparency in recycled plastics along the entire plastics value chain, RecoTrace has been developed to meet the advancing data collection requirements in line with the ambition of the Circular Plastics Alliance and EU policy initiatives to encourage recovery, recycling and reusing of plastics. Following the European Commission’s
Vinylplus has comitted to recycle at least 900,000 tonnes of pvc per year into new products by 2025
pledging call for the entire plastics industry to boost recycling, VinylPlus has committed to recycle at least 900,000 tonnes of PVC per year into new products by 2025. RecoTrace will be used to deliver on this commitment, a significant contribution to the overall 10 million tonnes objective set by the Commission for the plastic industry, as well as voluntary VinylPlus commitments beyond 2025, in line with its drive to increased sustainability.
PVC COMPOUNDER, THE BENVIC GROUP IS BECOMING AN INCREASINGLY FORWARD INTEGRATED COMPANY, OWNING A VARIETY OF PLASTICS PROCESSING COMPANIES. BP&R FINDS OUT ABOUT THE LAUNCH OF ITS PROVINYL BRAND AND THE £1.7 MILLION INVESTMENT IN ITS SOWERBY BRIDGE FACILITIES IN ORDER TO HANDLE MARKETS IN THE UK AND IRELAND.
envic, a leader in PVC compounds and ecological biopolymers, has launched its ProVinyl range of PVC compounds, targeted to a variety of markets for superior performance, quality and cost-efficiency. Sowerby Bridge based Benvic Dugdale will help roll out the new ProVinyl brand at PVC 2021 the triennial conference event for the international vinyl sector. Benvic’s ProVinyl grades will be marketed in sectors as diverse as packaging, building, electrical and medical and will occupy a similar space to engineering polymers in terms of their performance, structure and specification. Eric Grange, Benvic’s Marketing Manager, said: “The launch of ProVinyl reflects the fact that the Benvic Group is becoming an increasingly ‘forward integrated’ company – now owning a variety of plastics processing companies - and also active in niche product sectors, supplying medical grade polymers, biopolymers and compostables, self-sanitizing polymers, as well as niche materials for stringent uses in the construction and electrical industries.” Andy Tombs, Commercial Director at Benvic Dugdale, explained: “ProVinyl is a perfect encapsulation of the value-added that we have been creating and supplying from Benvic Dugdale over many years. Our vinyldedicated laboratories and pilot production line are testimony to the many new compound specialties that are currently in demand from the market place.” Tombs added: "As we now know the environmental profile of vinyl is second to none. High-performance and versatile, and 100 per cent recyclable, it is an ideal fit for the circular economy model – and Benvic Dugdale intends to be leading the way." Proof of business confidence in the Benvic Dugdale approach comes in the form of €2million (approximately £1.7 million) investment in Sowerby Bridge facilities this year in order to handle from markets in the UK and Ireland. The Benvic ProVinyl range, its feature and benefits, will be publicised and marketed through 2021: Benvic ProVinyl exhibition dates this year are also in place for Plastpol Poland, May 25-28, Compounding World Expo, Essen, September 29-30, and Compamed Medica, Dusseldorf, November 15-18.
2500 polymer compounds is now organised and represented under four key business strands: ProVinyl, Plantura, Extended and Medical. Together with some branding innovations, and an expansion in marketing and promotion the move creates a new-look Benvic business that is now set for high visibility in Europe. Benvic’s company transformation has been rapid: in the space of barely two years, the company, supported by its shareholder Investindustrial, bought out seven companies in Europe and widened its scope of activities. Benvic continues to invest in PVC and has also entered the growth sector of medical materials and components, has invested in recycling and now offers new products, bio-based polymers and extended polymers, offering TPE and polyolefin compounds. For Benvic, PVC has its place in a sustainable world. Efficient and versatile, and 100 per cent recyclable, PVC has properties that are completely at home within the circular economy model. On the other hand, more specific uses ensure range extensions and innovation, such as the KCC conductive PVC family, which will be launched in early 2021. Benvic now produces one of the largest catalogs of PVC reference materials on the market, including innovations in recycled-based grades. Another example: the Benvic Plantura range is there to respond to a growing demand for compostable polymers as a solution for the end-of-life management of single-use applications. Plantura is also bio-based for sustainable applications, thus bringing value to the design of eco-responsible products. Within the Extended Material line, a Linkflex trademark has been created. This covers the family of products for halogen-free electrical cables, now serving low voltage energy applications and in the near future for datacom and industrial cables. Plantura represents the bio-based and compostable compounds of the company. Benvic Medical consists of polymer compound know-how for that sector together with plastics processing expertise from subsidiary businesses; Modenplast. and Luc & Bel.
The Benvic strategy is clear: to offer polymer solutions for the future, in line with market developments, while helping to meet the challenges of ecological transition. Benvic’s complete materials portfolio of some 21
The best in PVC? It’s all about exceeding expectations supplying stock and bespoke compounds, everyday, nationwide, with technical support. From 25 kg to 25 tonne, whatever your needs, we aim to deliver.
That’s what makes us the best in PVC.
Tel: 01656 644907
The compounds Plasticized, rigid and recycled
Polyolef ins and thermoplastic elastomers
BENVIC has regrouped its 2500 plus polymer compounds into four main material streams for the 21st Century. PVC compounds are the historical root of the company. brand.
These are now uniﬁed under the
ProVinyl includes rigid, plasticized and recycled grades and there is a strong commitment to custom-made ProVinyl formulations for sustainable use. BENVIC’s
offer non-PVC polymers
for the challenges of complex, mission-critical or heavy duty applications in markets such as automotive, food packaging or electrical cables. Benvic’s new range for HFFR cable compounds is a typical example. Modern materials need to reduce our environmental product line has
been created with just this need in mind; bio based and/or compostable polymers for the development of successful eco-designed products and solutions. BENVIC’S
solutions include all manner of
polymer compounds and also medical components such as pipes, tubes, connectors and ﬁlters. BENVIC offers the medical world a fully integrated and systems-based approach for all its material and product needs.
F O R E VE R , M O R E , N AT U R A L LY
Co m p o s t a b l e a n d b i o b a s e d p o l y m e r s
Co m p o u n d s a n d c o m p o n e n t s
Robots specially adapted to medical moulding
MEDICAL | NEWS WIBA UK sees growing appeal for easier and cost-effective medical moulding Wittmann Battenfeld UK, reports increasing interest in its turnkey packages for medical injection moulding. Automated production cells with a class leading performance in energy efficiency provide two good reasons for WIBA UK’s growing appeal worldwide. Joint UK MD Tracy Cadman said: “The medical sector is no different from the manufacturing world generally in seeking efficient production at the most competitive cost.” “In fact, the stringent requirements of the healthcare sector tend to bias purchasers even more towards effectiveness and valuefor-money. And therefore our team at WIBA UK is delighted to be increasing market share in medical. It bodes very well for our performance across the board.” WIBA UK continues to emphasise its unique ‘one-stopshop’ advantage in supplying all the equipment needed for a medical-based injection moulding; cleanroomready moulding machines; automation, materials handling, conveyors and all other ancillary equipment. Wittmann Battenfeld offers the MicroPower, EcoPower and SmartPower moulding machines (15-550t) in medical versions: All three are available in multi component format. Minimum emissions are standard and all machines can be upgraded for cleanroom purposes to the EN-ISO 14644 medical standard.
A full year of Covid 19 trading conditions has meant that medical and healthcare moulding has jumped to the fore worldwide – and increased the opportunities in the marketplace. In the UK and Ireland a number of WIBA UK customers have been stepping up their activities, including Polymermedics, Microsystems, Phillips Medisize, Linear Plastics and White Horse Plastics (WHP). Leading UK medical moulder White Horse Plastics (WHP), for example, has just purchased its 2nd WIBA SmartPower based injection moulding production cell. Two years ago both WIBA UK and WHP were shortlisted for the UK’s annual Plastics Industry Awards on the basis of the extremely low energy consumption in medical moulding. WHP’s energy/cost savings – achieved via its SmartPower injection moulding machine – were so astonishing that the company had to check its methodology twice, in order to be sure of the accuracy of the results. WHP Managing Director, Paul Bobby, explained: "I always expected to see some significant improvement when comparing old to new. However, these outcomes were far more impressive than could ever have been hoped for. The machines are called SmartPower for a very good reason and the energy savings achieved are truly world class."
All aspects of the Wittmann Battenfeld machinery machine range can be customized and made cleanroom ready with automation and quality inspection to match. In South Wales, WIBA UK customer Linear Plastics has been responding to the needs of the Covid Pandemic with new moulding work and new product designs. The convenience of the WIBA UK ’plug and produce’ concept has enabled Linear Plastics to look ahead and tackle new projects for ventilator parts, visors and so forth, knowing that a successful production system can be ordered and fully commissioned from WIBA UK within a very short space of time. In general terms
WIBA’s MicroPower injection moulding machine is often the pacesetter for the company’s medical technology. The last edition of the Medica Compamed exhibition in Düsseldorf, for example, saw Wittmann Battenfeld exhibit the production of a micro-retaining ring for medical miniature tubes from polycarbonate. This micro retaining ring was produced on a MicroPower 15/10 with a clamping force of 150 kN using an 8-cavity mould from Wittner, Austria. Joint WIBA UK Daniel Williams, said: "In this case, exhibitions really prove their worth, where ‘seeing really is believing’." The all-electric MicroPower is designed as a self-contained cell enclosed on all sides,
which simultaneously offers sufficient space for the integration of various optional pieces of equipment, such as a rotary table, robots, material dryers or temperature controllers. All drive modules of the all-electric drive system including all mechanical components are encapsulated in easy-toclean housings. As the consequences of the Covid 19 pandemic continue so the planning and restructuring of the world’s plastics processing is further evolving. Further medical moulding innovation and technology is expected from the Wittmann and is likely to be seen later this year at Medica Compamed 2021 and also the following year at the prestigious K 2022 exhibition.
in this case, exhibitions really prove their worth where seeing really is believing
Robots specially adapted to medical moulding
Sepro Launches Packaged Robot Solutions for Medical and Pharmaceutical Applications Sepro Group is introducing the MED Series of 3-, 5- and 6-axis robots. These packaged units come ready-equipped with the design and operational features that medical customers have been requested on over 1500 molding machines sold in recent years for ISO 7 and 8 clean room applications. These features ensure clean operation as well as high precision and continuous productivity. Sepro MED robots include FDA-approved lubrication on all linear guiding surfaces and gearing. Cables can be protected in conduits and all robot surfaces are smooth, painted medical white with limited decoration so
that dust does not accumulate, making cleaning easier. Only clean materials are used in many components – like end-of-arm tooling -- that come into contact with the molded parts. Places where grease or other lubrication is used are enclosed so that none can escape into the molding area. All robots can be optionally equipped with pneumatic filtration to 0.3 micron. The 5X MED and S5 Line MED Cartesian robots come in three different sizes to allow them to serve molding machines with from 30 to 800 tons of clamping force. The S5 Line are 3-axis robots with a pneumatic wrist. The 5X MED robots have
a 2-axis servo wrist, bringing their total servo-driven axes to 5. Offered in collaboration with Stäubli Robotics, the Sepro 6X MED 6-axis articulated-arm robots are inherently clean. Standard Staubli arms are certified for ISO 5 clean rooms without modification. However, the smooth, clean white surfaces make keeping them clean just that much easier. Four models are available to serve molding machines from 20 to 1300 tons
New Sepro MED robots, in 3-, 5- and 6-axis configurations, come readyequipped with the design and operational features that medical customers have been requested on over 1500 molding machines sold in recent years for ISO 7 and 8 clean room applications.
IMCD and Eastman’s copolymer to advance medical world
Inexo Inspiratory Muscle Training Device Launched by James Barr Design and Radical Materials
Eastman and distributor IMCD have been working together to get their state-of-the-art Eastman Tritan copolyester products to renal manufacturers. Tritan once processed has glass like clarity and toughness providing quality and peace of mind for healthcare professionals and patients. With these renal
Radical Materials have collaborated with James Barr Design to launch the ‘inexo’, an inspiratory muscle training (IMT) device that aids in the recovery and rehabilitation of respiratory conditions and potentially symptoms of long COVID. The patent-pending valve technology used in the inexo allows the user to select five levels of breathing resistance as a way of exercising the respiratory system and to aid lung performance. The inexo functions during both phases of the breathing cycle, but also allows the user to focus on just one direction of airflow. The importance of infection control, particularly in light of COVID-19 and the
housings made from Tritan, nurses will be able to see membranes more clearly, doctors will have greater confidence in detecting air bubbles or blood leakage during treatment and most of all - the clarity, colour, and functional integrity of the device is not compromised after sterilisation by gamma or e-beam radiation.
associated respiratory issues surrounding the intended users, led designer James Barr to incorporate industryleading antimicrobial additive SteriTouch into the TPE-based device. Consequently, inexo devices protect the user against 99.99 per cent of bacteria, including bacteria that can be particularly detrimental to respiratory conditions, such as: MRSA, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa and
Streptococcus Pneumonia. The SteriTouch additive achieves this by utilising silver ion-based technology to destabilise bacteria cell membranes, blocking the further replication of DNA. Regarding his choice for using SteriTouch, James Barr had this to say: “As the inexo is a Class 1 medical device, using the SteriTouch additive gives an extra level of protection to guard against infection.”
The steritouch additive gives an extra level of protection
Robots specially adapted to medical moulding
AS IT CONTINUES A SUCCESSFUL 10-YEAR PARTNERSHIP WITH ONE OF THE BIGGEST INJECTION MOULDING MACHINE SUPPLIERS IN THE UK, BP&R SPOKE TO STEVE STUBBS, TECHNICAL OPERATIONS PROJECT MANAGER AT BIOPURE TECHNOLOGY, TO FIND OUT THE HISTORY BEHIND THE COMPANY’S DISTRIBUTION ARRANGEMENT WITH KRAUSSMAFFEI, THE LATEST MODELS IN THE PORTFOLIO AND HOW THE PARTNERSHIP HAS DEVELOPED THE BUSINESS IN THE MEDICAL PLASTICS SECTOR.
Q: Could you tell us about BioPure Technology and the services you provide? Part of the Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group, BioPure Technology provides a range of standard and bespoke single use fittings and manifold systems to the biopharmaceutical industry. We injection mould and assemble our components and supply these in clean packaging to our customers. We also use our components to design and build bespoke manifold assemblies utilising a range of other group and 3rd party products. Q: Could you tell us about your on-going partnership with KraussMaﬀei? KraussMaffei has been an integral part of BioPure from the beginning of our in-house manufacturing in 2011. Their technical team helped specify the moulding machines and delivered a turnkey solution, in partnership with Piovan. The first two EX machines are still going strong after 10 years of 24/7 moulding and are due to be transferred to the new site. When I was recruited by BioPure to help plan and build the manufacturing site I knew that I would need a supply partner whom I could trust to not only deliver a machine capable of meeting our moulding and cleanliness requirements, but one that I could trust to support us going forward. At the time we were a very small team with only two machines, any downtime would be catastrophic to the business. Needless to say, given where we are now, Krauss delivered on all counts. We now have six machines on site with another six in the pipeline for delivery early this year. Building a relationship with any supplier is critical, the teams at Krauss make this easy. Q: Could you tell us about your recent instalment of KraussMaﬀei machinery at BioPure Technology and what the company hopes to achieve with this investment? I believe that the key to installing any new equipment into a factory, particularly moulding machines, is the acceptance of that equipment by the people who have to use it. The Krauss operating system makes that easy to do. We had four EX
VER A DECADE
The first two EX machines are still going strong after 10 years of 24/7 moulding and are due to be transferred to the new site.
machines and the latest two are PX. Over the years the control interface has changed, as has the overall design of the machine but the changes are subtle enough to reduce the impact that has. I’ve been in enough mouldshops to have seen the negative impact that “change” can have. Downtime can increase rapidly if the machine setters and operators do not have confidence in the machine due to lack of familiarity. The last two machines had to coincide with a build programme to expand the existing ISO Class 7 Mouldshop. The plan was followed and Krauss’s delivery partner RJC Projects carried out the off-load and install seamlessly. The machines gave us the capability to increase our moulding capacity by 50 per cent. It also allowed us to dedicate materials to machines giving us efficiency improvements related to tool changes. Q: How has this partnership developed your business in terms of medical plastics? The Krauss servo electric machine ranges are purpose built for cleanrooms. It begins with the specification of the machine, to the documentation that is available from the commissioning and through to the cleanliness in operation. Many moulders believe that you cannot place moulding machines fully into an ISO Class 7 cleanroom successfully. BioPure and Krauss proved that with the correct design and planning and capable supply partners, this is easily achievable. We have six moulding machines in a 200m² mouldshop that passes it’s ISO Class 7 certification year after year. This is critical to our business. Our products are used in biopharmaceutical manufacturing and development facilities across the world. Ensuring that our products are introducing no contamination into these facilities is key. Having a moulding machine that can help maintain that is critical. Q: What are your hopes for 2021? Further growth and expansion of our moulding and manufacturing capacity. Until the new facility comes on-line, we are dealing with daily challenges. Krauss have supported this by getting additional machines on short lead times enabling us to increase capacity. This partnership will continue into the future.
WWW.PLASTRIBUTION.CO.UK | EXPERTS IN THERMOPLASTICS
MATERIALS | NEWS Biomaster plastisol reduces SARS-COV-2 on surfaces PolyBlend UK is the latest company to successfully test a Biomaster protected product for efficacy against SARS-COV-2. PB-Protect Plastisol, an antimicrobial PVC or Acrylic coating which offers an innovative solution to make surfaces more hygienic through antimicrobial protection, is proven effective at reducing the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on the surface of PVC and Acrylic articles. PolyBlend’s PBProtect with Biomaster technology was previously proven to provide lasting and effective product protection against harmful
bacteria, mould and fungi. Plastisols are used widely in plastic coatings, mouldings and casings. Most commonly they are found in handle grips for tools, wall and floor coverings, automotive filters, plumbing and electrical parts. Antimicrobial PVC coatings are an effective way of keeping high touch points more hygienic in a time of heightened awareness of the dangers of cross-contamination from harmful microbes in many different areas and applications. Neil Platt, Quality Assurance & Systems Manager for PolyBlend UK Ltd. said: “After a lot of hard work, which included vigorous testing and development programmes, we are delighted for the PBProtect antiviral plastisol range to gain full compliance certification.”
K.D. Feddersen and Ascend Performance Materials seal new cooperation K.D. Feddersen is now distributing polyamide compounds from Ascend Performance Materials, the world’s largest fully integrated manufacturer of polyamide 6.6, in Germany and most other European countries. In addition to Vydyne (PA 6.6, PA 6) the product portfolio also includes the new HiDura Long-Chain PA 6.10/6.12 series. The Ascend product portfolio consists of non-reinforced, reinforced, impact modified and flame retardant engineered plastics as well as special formulations for extrusion and injection moulding. Dr. Stephan Schnell, Managing Director of K.D. Feddersen GmbH & Co. KG, said: “We are
pleased to have gained a strong partner in Ascend, a leader in the field of engineering plastics, which completes our product portfolio with polyamide compounds for our customers. This cooperation follows our strategy of offering our customers an integral technical product solutions portfolio of high quality for a wide range of segments and requirements such as automotive, E&E, e-mobility as well as industrial.”
This cooperation follows our strategy of offering our customers an integral technical product solutions portfolio
BASF expands PPA portfolio BASF is expanding its polyphthalamide (PPA) portfolio of Ultramid Advanced with carbon-fibre reinforced grades with fillings of 20, 30 and 40 percent. The materials are extremely lightweight, can safely replace aluminum and magnesium without loss in stiffness and strength and are electrically conductive. The new grades combine these properties with the advantages of Ultramid Advanced N (PA9T) which makes them unique among carbon-fibre reinforced PPAs already available in the market: high
dimensional stability due to low water uptake, excellent chemical and hydrolysis resistance, high strength and modulus. The new carbonfibre (CF) reinforced grades can be used to manufacture automotive structural parts for body, chassis and powertrain, for pumps, fans, gears and compressors in industrial applications as well as for stable and ultra-lightweight components in consumer electronics. With this offering, BASF complements its PPA portfolio of more than 50 grades already available on the market.
New Ultramid Advanced grades with carbon-fibre reinforcement
the new carbon-fibre reinforced grades can be used to manufacture automotive structural parts for industrial applications
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Brexit adds turbulence
to the perfect polymer pricing storm
IN THIS EDITION OF HIS REGULAR COLUMN, OUR RESIDENT MATERIALS EXPERT, MIKE BOSWELL, TAKES AN IN DEPTH LOOK AT THE POST-BREXIT AND CORONAVIRUS TURBULENCE AND THE POTENTIAL IMPLICATIONS, OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR PLASTICS PROCESSORS IN THE UK.
Who is ‘Polymerman’?
Mike Boswell is Managing Director of UK materials distributor, Plastribution, as well as the Chairman of the British Plastic Federation’s Polymer Compounders and Distributors Group and its ‘BREXIT Committee’. ‘Polymerman’ is the title used for announcements made via his Twitter account. This column is compiled using data from PIE (Plastics Information Europe) www.plastribution. co.uk | www.pieweb.com
any in the industry will clearly recall the difficult supply situation in 2015, during which a small upturn in oil prices quickly lead to a surge in demand and then a plethora of force majeures caused anger and angst, particularly amongst PP and PE converters when availability tightened, and prices shot forwards at alarming rates. Move the clock forward and many would question if history is repeating itself, and at least to some extent this looks entirely plausible; many would draw the similarities between 2015 and today by first citing a fall in crude oil prices in 2014 as scepticism was placed on the strength of the global economy and, today, citing the impact of Coronavirus on the global economy, where, here in Western Europe, consumer demand diminished significantly in the April to June period as many non-essential sectors of the economy were shuttered, with inevitable consequences for raw material demand, including polymers. However, the current situation is not simply constrained to the polyolefin sector of the petrochemical industry in Western Europe; Coronavirus has pretty much impacted every aspect of polymer supply on a global basis. Here is a brief summary of some of the key drivers of the current situation. • Fewer imports – The pricing in Western Europe was, until recently, low compared with the rest of the world and hence material shipped elsewhere • Stronger exports – It was attractive to export from Europe to other regions of the World where the netbacks were better • Low inventory levels at the end of 2020 – Towards the end of 2020 it was pretty clear that large plastic converters were expecting the usual end-of year offers as polymer producers typically streamline their inventories for the lull in seasonal demand. In reality there was no surplus material and hence the unprecedented move to increase prices in December • Stronger-than-expected demand for the end of 2020/beginning of 2021- Whether this is representative of underlying demand matters not at this time, the fact is that demand is very robust
• Recent weather-related events in US have cut output of essential supply – Up until mid-2020 Western Europe had become largely depend on imports from this region. A combination of weather-related issues, strong domestic demand and local demand from South America have obliterated supply of USA origin PE to Western Europe • Production issues in Europe – A combination of scheduled and nonscheduled maintenance events have restricted local production of polymers, in conjunction with: • Reduced refinery runs aﬀecting propylene supply in particular – Polymer producers in Western Europe are highly dependent upon oil refineries for feedstock and this is supply is limited because the principal product from the refineries is transport fuel, for which demand is very low. A significant amount of C3 is derived from the production of automotive gasoline (petrol) • Ongoing transport issues, such as container shortages and high freight rates – Cost and availability are particularly affecting imports from the Far East • Shortages of necessary ingredients and additives – Once again the drop in demand for materials such as catalysts, stabilisers and performance additives, on the back of the pandemic, appears to have been overestimated, leading to shortages of these vital ingredients In fact, the last time that the supply situation looked this challenging was back in the mid 1990’s, albeit the issues back then sequenced through the different polymer groups, rather than conspiring at the same time. Many veterans of the plastics industry expect the current circumstances to persist, at least, throughout the first half of 2021 with the likelihood that supply will get even tighter in the coming weeks. For the UK market, where imports are predominant, there is the added complexities of Brexit, with non-tariff and in some cases non-tariff barriers have to added to the woes of plastic converters. It is already evident that plastic converters are stopping lines, due to lack of polymer supply, and this situation is likely to become more prevalent.
Many veterans of the plastics industry expect the current circumstances to persist, at least, throughout the first half of 2021 with the likelihood that supply will get even tighter in the coming weeks
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TESTING AND INSPECTION | NEWS Hexagon launches new precision non-contact CMM sensor A new high speed, non-contact sensor for use with coordinate measurement machines (CMMs) from Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division addresses growing demand from the consumer electronics and medical industries to rapidly inspect delicate parts with a range of surface finishes, including those produced via additive manufacturing, without applying damaging pressure.
Metrology Partnership Brings Vision to CMM Market Vision Engineering has announced that it is partnering with metrology innovator Aberlink, to add the first contact-only measurement system, DELTRON, to its range of metrology systems. Designed for robustness, reliability, affordability and ease of use, Deltron is a shop floor hardened non-Cartesian CMM with an innovative delta robotic mechanism, known for repeatable motion, fast acceleration and a high level of measurement accuracy. The delta mechanism on Deltron operates
We are delighted to partner with aberlink in adding Deltron to our growing metrology product range
Micro-Epsilon develops new compact thickness measurement gauge
Micro-epsilon believes it fills the gap that currently exists in the market for basic thickness and inline thickness measurement systems
Group Commercial Metrology Manager, said “We are delighted to partner with Aberlink in adding Deltron to our growing metrology product range, the first of a number of collaborative and innovative products between our companies."
with a maximum vector speed of 500mm/sec and a maximum vector acceleration of 750mm/ sec2. Deltron is built with temperature sensors which ensure the measurement results are as though they were performed at 20oC. This means the system can be positioned anywhere it is needed. The cylindrical measuring volume
of the system is 370 mm (14.5”) diameter x 270mm (10.6”) in height. The measuring accuracy of 2.6 + 0.4L/100 μm incorporates 0.1 μm resolution scales and a granite base supports parts up to 200 kg (440 lbs). Deltron is delivered with ViTouch3D, a powerful software, suitable for a range of abilities. Güven Türemen, Vision Engineering’s
Precision sensor supplier Micro-Epsilon has introduced a new gauge for precise thickness measurements of strip materials, plate and sheet, up to 25mm thick. The system offers precise measurement from ± 0.25µm and Micro-Epsilon believes it fills the gap that currently exists in the market between basic thickness sensors and higher cost, dedicated inline thickness measurement systems. The new thicknessGAUGE measurement system is suitable for both offline and inline thickness gauging and is available in several versions that use one of three different sensor types – laser
triangulation, laser profile or confocal chromatic sensors. The system also offers different measuring ranges and measuring widths to suit a wide range of applications such as plastic film. Laser triangulation sensors enable high measuring rates (up to 4 kHz) at high speeds and measurement accuracies to ±4 / ± 20µm. The lower cost system is ideal for measuring the thickness of common standard surface types such as plastics. The laser line measurement technique enables measurement of structured materials and materials with geometric patterns including embossed surfaces or
perforated plate. Glenn Wedgbrow, Business Development Manager at MicroEpsilon, said: “It is often the case that customers will attempt to create simple thickness measurement solutions using individual sensors, without paying attention to the issues of mechanical setup changes, calibration and usability. Whilst the costs at first glance may seem low, this solution typically ends up with an unsatisfactory measurement performance and much more money wasted in attempting to rectify the issues. The thicknessGAUGE system removes those concerns.” 31
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P LASTIC IS USED ACROSS ALMOST EVERY UK SECTOR. THE VERSATILITY OF THIS RANGE OF MATERIALS MEANS THAT MANUFACTURERS MUST DELIVER PRODUCTS THAT MEET A RANGE OF SPECIFICATIONS AND COMPLY WITH VARIOUS REGULATIONS, SO FLEXIBILITY IN MEASUREMENT IS KEY. HERE MIKE JOHN, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF INDUSTRIAL METROLOGY PROVIDER THE SEMPRE GROUP, OFFERS ADVICE ON HOW TO SOLVE COMMON QUALITY ISSUES WHEN WORKING WITH PLASTICS.
THE KEY TO UALITY IN PLASTICS The many different types of plastic, each with their own unique properties, makes it an ideal material for a range of applications. However, this flexibility also introduces challenges when performing quality control. CONTACT FREE Smaller products, such as O-rings and seals, tend to be flimsy to the touch, so are difficult to measure using traditional measurement systems. Contact from the operator or machine during validation can interfere with the process, because even slight movement reduces the reliability of the results. Selecting non-contact measurement equipment that requires little operator interference, such as a Micro-Vu optical CMM, can improve measurement accuracy and consistency. Keeping the same orientation of each part increases the efficiency of the validation process and ensures that manufacturers collect useful data. Bespoke fixtures can keep the part steady on the measurement system, improving positional repeatability. When measuring components such as O-rings, manufacturers can benefit from using non-contact 2D scanning using the InspecVision Planar field of view system. The system can instantly measure multiple 2D parts to accuracies of 12 microns in any orientation. INTEGRATION While high-precision measurement equipment can improve accuracy, it is traditionally used too late in the production line to make a significant impact on productivity. Manufacturers often manually take parts off the production line to be measured, slowing production speed and creating costly bottlenecks. Only measuring parts at this point also means that defects are identified very late in the process — time and energy has already been wasted on a defective product that could have been removed from the line earlier. By incorporating metrology equipment for continuous inspection directly on the line, manufacturers can reduce scrap rates, minimise rework and remove delays. Quality also increases as parts are inspected at multiple stages, so it is easy to identify and rectify issues as soon as they occur. PROVING COMPLIANCE Plastics manufacturers can supply to highly regulated industries, such as aerospace and medical devices, so must document every stage of the component’s lifecycle to ensure the part complies with relevant regulations. Visibility is key to ensuring regulatory compliance, yet many manufacturers still rely on paper-
In the last 20 years the global use of plastics has increased 20-fold and it is expected to double again in the next 20 years.
based systems or isolated documents like Excel spreadsheets, for quality management. Using outdated systems increases the risk of error, because employees will manually input the data, making it more difficult to trace historic data, increasing the risk of human error and creating information gaps. Automating data collection and quality management can streamline the reporting process and improve visibility across production. For example, injection moulding is one of the most efficient methods of producing intricate plastic parts with speed and reliability. A first article inspection (FAI) report will ensure that the mould is produced to the correct tolerances, but this can be a time-consuming process when completed manually. Quality management software, such as the High QA Inspection Manager, enables manufacturers to automate the reporting process. The software identifies critical dimensions and inputs all the data from a ballooned drawing to automatically populate a report, allowing manufacturing businesses to easily communicate quality information across the supply chain. Manufacturers can also benefit from automated reporting later in production. One challenge this approach overcomes is that over time and extended use, moulds begin to wear down, resulting in part inaccuracies. Manufacturers can automatically collect a new report and compare it with the original ballooned drawing to identify these inconsistencies. In the last 20 years the global use of plastics has increased 20-fold and it is expected to double again in the next 20 years. As we find more applications for this versatile type of material, plastic manufacturers and processors are considering how they can increase productivity without compromising on quality. By integrating metrology into more stages of the production line and automating quality management, manufacturers can streamline part validation to reduce bottlenecks in production and improve traceability. This brings peace of mind by ensuring regulatory compliance, enabling them to distribute high-quality components and products across the industry.
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RECLAMATION AND RECYCLING | NEWS New Partnership for Circular Economy announced
OPRL opens new membership category OPRL has opened a new membership category for organisations sharing its goals. The inaugural members are the Biobased & Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA), the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA), the Forest Stewardship Council(c) UK (FSC(c) UK), IOM3 and the Packaging Federation. The aim of OPRL’s new Associate Membership scheme is to provide a framework for closer
collaboration with other organisations, often with widely overlapping memberships, to provide mutual support, expertise and to promote each other’s activities in order to provide greater benefits to members. All the organisations are working to support the UK packaging sector in identifying and adopting sustainable packaging solutions. Jane Bevis, Chair of OPRL said: “We’re delighted that these five leading sector organisations, all longstanding friends and supporters of OPRL, are joining our Associate Membership scheme to make it easier for our scheme members to find the technical support, services and cpd events they need as they get ready for EPR.”
Valpak, one of the UK’s largest compliance schemes, and circular design specialists, Circular&Co. have announced a partnership agreement which will see them join forces to develop sustainable products from hard to recycle materials. The two companies will combine their extensive recycling and design experience, providing access to some of the UK’s best-known brands and meaningful waste streams with both commercial and environmental potential. Using Circular&Co.’s ground-breaking Circular Cup as a template the shared aim will be to create recycled and recyclable products for which there is sustainable demand. Under the terms of the
Above: The Circular Cup agreement Valpak will become Circular&Co.’s exclusive compliance scheme partner. Initial areas of focus will be the significant untapped potential of single use cups while also exploring opportunities around recycled food grade packaging. Ben Ricardson, Valpak’s Procurement Director, said: “This is
an exciting opportunity for Valpak and the major brands we represent. Our natural resources cannot continue to support society’s current levels of consumption and by developing markets for recycled materials we are ensuring that their commercial and environmental value isn’t lost for ever in a landfill or incinerator.”
Innovate UK backs £1.2M project to further develop chemical recycling technology in the UK Recycling Technologies, the University of Birmingham, the University of Surrey, and Cranfield University have received backing from Innovate UK’s Smart ‘open grant funding programme’ for a £1.2 million project to enhance and improve the efficiency of chemical recycling technology in the UK. The research project aims to further develop and enhance the RT7000, a machine manufactured by Recycling Technologies which converts waste plastics into Plaxx, a recycled feedstock which can be used to
manufacture new plastic. The parties will work together on developing an online monitoring system which will predict and control Plaxx quality based on input composition and process conditions. This collaboration will result in reduced running costs and improved efficiency for the RT7000 and in turn will speed up the development of commercial chemical recycling benefitting the environment by reducing the need to incinerate, bury or export residual plastic waste.
Recycling Technologies is delighted to have received this grant from Innovate UK’s farsighted Smart programme to invest in the best game-changing and commercially viable and innovative disruptive ideas.
Marvine Besong, Technical Director at Recycling Technologies said, “Recycling Technologies is delighted to have received this grant from Innovate UK’s far-sighted Smart programme to invest in the best game-changing and commercially viable and innovative disruptive ideas. Our collaboration with these leading UK universities with a long track record of successful engineering research and development will fast-track our mission to accelerate the evolution of waste plastic into a more sustainable material.” 35
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Biffa doubles plastic recycling capacity with £13 million Sunderland investment Biffa is doubling its high-density polyethene (HDPE) plastic recycling capacity with a new investment in its facility in Washington, Sunderland. The £13 million investment will allow Biffa to recycle a further 14,000 tonnes of HDPE, a material that is commonly used for milk bottles, growing its total annual capacity to 39,000 tonnes or 1.6bn bottles a year. In addition, the investment will create 50 new jobs in the local area, building on Biffa’s established presence in the region where it already employs 115 people at Washington and its state of the art £27.5 million plastics recycling facility at Seaham, which opened last year. Biffa currently also operates an HDPE facility at Redcar which
Sainsbury’s introduces trial of new in-store recycling system for flexible plastics
employees a further 140 people. Mick Davis, Chief Operating Officer for Biffa’s Resources and Energy Division, said: “We have a strong and growing presence in the North East of England, a region which is playing a leading role in the UK’s green industrial revolution and we are delighted to be creating a further 50 new jobs as part of these plans.”
Scotland announces new not-forprofit scheme Drinks producers, retailers, and trade associations have joined forces to establish Circularity Scotland Limited, a new, not-for-profit scheme administrator seeking to operate Scotland’s proposed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). The Scottish Government plans to introduce the Deposit Return Scheme in 2022. It will require
Sainsbury’s has announced the introduction of an innovative recycling system which allows customers to recycle Polypropylene (PP) film found in several household plastic products, in selected Sainsbury’s stores. With 63 of its stores across North East England adopting the trial, this initiative is currently the largest PP film trial in the UK supermarket industry. Sainsbury’s currently provides front of store collection points for Polyethylene (PE) film and carrier bags in over 600 supermarkets across the UK. Some of the more common items that are packaged with PP film include salad bags and frozen food bags. PP film currently isn›t accepted by most councils in the UK,
which means customers are currently unable to recycle it at home. To make it easier to recycle flexible plastic packaging, customers will be able to put their PP plastics into the same recycling bins currently provided in Sainsbury’s stores that collect PE plastics. Providing the trial is successful, the retailer will roll out the PP film collection system to
This initiative is currently the largest pp film trial in the uk supermarket industry
consumers to pay a 20p deposit on each glass, can or PET plastic container purchased, which is then reimbursed when the empty container is returned. Circularity Scotland is being founded by a combination of companies and trade associations representing their broader drinks producer and retail members. If approved by the Scottish Government, the company will seek to work with companies
throughout the supply chain – producers, retailers, hospitality and wholesalers – to help deliver a scheme ultimately expected to collect more than 90 per cent of drinks containers in Scotland. Donald McCalman, interim director of Circularity Scotland, said: “This is an important moment in the move to deliver a Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland. We have a shared vision for a scheme that
delivers truly impactful environmental benefits and contributes to a circular economy in Scotland. “We’re confident that our not-for-profit company can help to operate a DRS system that works for everyone. The DRS will provide huge environmental benefits for Scotland and accelerate the Scottish Government’s commitment to achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2045.”
all its supermarkets by the end of 2021, in alignmentwith the ambition of the UK Plastics Pact to improve the recycling rates for film.
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SOFTWARE AND PROCESS CONTROL | NEWS Conair Group develops new SmartFLX conveying control system
Hexagon streamlines reverse engineering from metrology to manufacturable parts with REcreate
Conair Group’s new SmartFLX conveying control introduces a new system architecture with a more powerful PLC processor, faster and clearer communications, a Universal I/O panel structure, and an intelligent configurator that simplifies and reduces costs for system design and installation, system expansion, and remote diagnostics. A 10-inch, high-resolution colour monitor displays the new SmartFLX user interface, which incorporates a context-sensitive Help system that provides specific instructions for each screen presentation. It operates atop a new PLC processor and software, with all system intelligence centralized in the system’s main panel for easy, single-point software upgrades. The new “smart” FLX conveying control system can support greater overall capacity – up to 40+ pumps, 256+ receivers and 500+ controlled sources and all available features – using just three I/O panel types. The SmartFLX configurator can automatically identify available panel and I/O capacity, assess if it will be sufficient to meet the additional need, then provide an optimised installation plan.
Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division has unveiled REcreate, a powerful and flexible new software solution designed to make it easier and faster to reverse engineer parts from metrology scan to manufacturable model. Reverse engineering processes are routinely employed throughout manufacturing and maintenance processes. However, despite the availability of highly capable metrology systems, these processes can require complex digital workflows to account for incompatible data types and technologies, which impedes productivity and can introduce errors. Ken Woodbine, REcreate Product Manager says, “We believe that by making reverse engineering software versatile and easy-to-use, REcreate
gives design, production and inspection teams greater confidence in their reverse engineering processes. With the laser scanning technologies available today, there’s no reason why most use cases can’t be addressed by anyone who needs them provided they have access to the data and tools required – be that ensuring a precise fit for replacement components, repairing
Movacolor has launched a new version of its leading software for dosing plastic additives. "Although we were already able to fulfil many customer requests with the previous software version, we challenged ourselves, being the leader in dosing technology, to go even further," said Gerhard Dersjant, Managing Director of Movacolor. The new software includes extra clever features such as: sensor neck integration, fast
calibration options and a single shot test button for taking verification samples. It is also now possible to contact the support staff from Movacolor directly via remote control. "We would normally travel a lot to customers to help with installation or to provide support. But this is not an option during the COVID19 pandemic. This can sometimes be challenging, but it has also made us more aware that traveling is not always necessary.
Movacolor introduces new features for unique dosing software
recreate gives production and inspection teams greater confidence in their reverse engineering legacy parts or updating design files with adjusted geometries following prototype creation or production optimisations.”
On top of that, we are also reducing our impact on the environment. We therefore have made it our mission to serve our partners as best we can remotely. This new software allows us to help by temporarily taking over control of a machine that is thousands of kilometres away. It is truly remarkable when you stop and think about it." The new software is available in 20 different languages and is also provided free of charge.
This new software allows us to help by temporarily taking over control of a machine that is thousands of kilometres away. It is truly remarkable when you stop and think about it. 39
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A MANUFACTURING EXECUTION SYSTEM IS A TOOL THAT MONITORS, MANAGES AND BRINGS TOGETHER ALL THE DIFFERENT PARTS INVOLVED IN PRODUCTION. IN THIS ARTICLE, INTOUCH MONITORING EXPLAINS HOW REAL-TIME MONITORING AND REPORTING AND ANALYTICS MAKES PROCESSES MORE EFFICIENT, ACCURATE AND IMPROVES QUALITY.
A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) gives users accurate, real-time data that allows for the right questions to be asked at the right time. With this information, users can be proactive, rather than reactive and those timely decisions increase productivity, improve OEE and increase profit, whilst maintaining quality. Making more products with the same or fewer resources, allows manufacturers to be more competitive without sacrificing quality or profit. A MES is made up of several components: A monitoring module that shows what is happening in the factory in real-time; a live scheduling module that allows the planning and scheduling of jobs and a reporting and business analytics module that provides accurate reports.
Reports can be configured for any selected timeperiod and available by machine, tool, product, workgroup or operator with many key performance figures (KPI) such as OEE, scrap, down-time or any other custom defined parameters. Cycle times for example can be analysed. If one machine is running faster than other ones, setters can have a look and see what is different in that machine compared to others running more efficiently. Once the causes are identified, changes can easily be made to enable optimum cycle speed. MEASURED OEE MAKES PRODUCTION MORE EFFICIENT Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is how much product you have made compared to the maximum amount of product you could have made in a given period. For example, if you have a process which produces tractors at a rate of 2 per hour in an 8 hour shift, you should be able to make 16 tractors. But if you only managed to make 12, then the efficiency of your process is 75 per cent.
MONITORING Real-time monitoring shows what is happening in the factory floor. Connected directly to machines, it monitors production and processes in real-time to deliver live and accurate information to any part of the factory; and can be viewed and controlled from a phone, tablet or laptop, on-site or remotely. Process data and key performance figures such as cycle time, output speeds, run time, downtime, good/scrap production and utilisation, are graphically displayed on fully configurable and tailored displays.
To use an IM example: Take an injection moulding machine running a 4-cavity mould which under optimum conditions can run at a speed of 1 cycle every 30 seconds. In an 8-hour shift, if the machine runs at 30 second cycles for 8 hours with no rejects, you’d be able to make 3,840 mouldings. If you only managed to produce 3,456 mouldings then your OEE would be 90 per cent.
The real-time monitoring data alerts you to any anomalies and staff can check the machine to see which part needs adjusting to make it run better. REPORTING/OEE ANALYTICS Real-time production and process data is automatically and accurately recorded in the archive database and made available to the reporting and analytics modules. The data enables informed decisions to be made to streamline production operations and monitor key processes to better control final product quality and to achieve a ‘zero defect’ policy. 40
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So why do you need to measure and track OEE? Just tracking your OEE will drive you to improve it. To further drive improvements you need to identify why you didn’t make as much product as you could have done. Even a few per cent improvement in OEE can translate as £000s increased profit, ability to reduce shifts, produce more, reduce price. KEY BENEFITS A production monitoring system can truly transform your manufacturing operation, but the key benefits are: REDUCTION IN DOWNTIME An MES helps reduce downtime by: 1) Alerts and alarms- whenever a machine stops an operator can quickly solve the problem and therefore minimise downtime. 2) Records downtime in real-time with reasons for machine stoppages. By tracking downtime and recording downtime reasons the problem will soon become obvious and it is usually relatively straightforward to solve. Once solved, downtime is improved. 3) Changeover alerts means operators can prepare the right tools and materials without needing downtime. INCREASED THROUGHPUT The scheduling Gantt chart highlights where bottlenecks are likely to occur as well as shows spare capacity, so the plan can be changed accordingly which increases throughput.
Making more products with the same or fewer resources, allows manufacturers to be more competitive without sacrificing quality or profit
REDUCED ENERGY USE With energy being a significant cost of manufacturing, keeping an eye on energy use and not wasting it when machines are lying idle is important. Individual machine and asset energy monitoring makes it easy to identify excessive energy consumers and correctly allocate energy cost by person, machine, product, tool, material and production order. Alarms can be put in place to alert users that a machine has been left on when not in use and decisions can be made to significantly reduce energy consumption. INCREASED QUALITY/ REDUCTION IN SCRAP Quality is monitored to ensure that products are being made to specification and meet product safety standards. The system flags failing processes and allows the user to react quickly to bad or non-standard production – meaning problems are solved before too much material and time is wasted and quality and compliance is assured. BETTER USE OF LABOUR/ REDUCED OVERTIME Real-time monitoring removes the costs and errors of collecting production and process data manually and enables your personnel to use their time more efficiently whilst the high visibility motivates production staff to keep machines operational.
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RJG TECHNOLOGIES LTD Moulding Technology
INTOUCH T: 01604 537100 E: enquiries@ intouchmonitoring.com www.intouchmonitoring.com Real-time production monitoring systems. Designed to be easy to use and providing affordable solutions to all sizes of businesses. Production monitoring, scheduling, reporting, data import/export, databases for parts, tools and operators, integration with other software packages.
T: 01256 741550 F: 01256 741551 E: email@example.com W: www.kistler.com Pressure transducers and associated monitoring/control equipment for new and existing injection moulding applications.
Cycle time reduction Reduced scrap rates Improved process capability Higher yield and OEE
PRO-OP™ software provides a step-bystep procedure for optimising the injection moulding process to deliver optimum quality products at the most favourable cycle time. PRO-OP™ is a server based application which, by setting an optimum moulding process, highlights weaknesses and problems in relation to part design, mould design, mould construction, moulding equipment efficiency, moulding equipment specification and material selection.The moulding process is documented with explanations for each key process parameter setting demonstrating the processing conditions and equipment contributions to the final result. PRO-OP™ is aimed at companies whose focus is quality and consistent part manufacture. PRO-OP™ supports companies by providing a documented and structured validation protocol which is recognised in the in the pharmaceutical and medical sectors.
158 Edinburgh Avenue, Slough, Berkshire SL1 4UE T: 01753 756675 F: 01753 551270 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.bransoneurope.eu
Kistler Instruments Ltd
Zero Defect Moulding – What’s your target? • • • •
QUALITY MONITORING CONTROL
T: +44 (0)1733 232211 E email@example.com
Affordable and flexible MES system for the plastics/rubber industry. Easy to use systems from a €600m company with over 30 years experience. Real-time production monitoring features wireless data units and OPC Ethernet machine connections. “Drag and drop” job scheduling supports frame/insert level family tooling plus KAN BAN. ERP system integration, SPC/SQC, Touch Screen Data Units, Machine Maintenance, Operator Tracking, Traceability, DNC, Energy Monitoring, Bar Coding, Pager Alerts.
CONTROL SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT
PROCESS OPTIMISATION SOFTWARE
Unit 3 Vitrage Technical Park 27 Witney Road , Nuffield Industrial Estate, Poole, Dorset BH17 0GL T: 01202 697340 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.telsonic.com Blog: telsoniccuk.wordpress.com
MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT
SILICONE MOULDINGS Technical Mouldings in
Silicone, FKM, EPDM, Neoprene, NBR Contact
TO ADVERTISE IN THis SPACE CONTACT MANDY O’BRIEN: 01244 952519 www.britishPLASTICS.co.uk
BP&R BUYER’S GUIDE MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT Super Bluish Titanium Dioxide
HOT RUNNER SYSTEMS
CONTROL SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT QUALITY MONITORING CONTROL Kistler Instruments Ltd
Cavity pressure measurement systems and sensors for control of the injection moulding process and automatic hot-runner balancing, provides zero-defect production with 100% quality control. T: F: E: W:
01256 741550 01256 741551 email@example.com www.kistler.com
T: 01256 741550 F: 01256 741551 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.kistler.com Pressure transducers and associated monitoring/control equipment for new and existing injection moulding applications.
HEATING EQUIPMENT Metal Detection
INDUCTION HEATING FOR PLATENS AND TOOLS MF Induction Heating
TO ADVERTISE IN THIS SPACE CONTACT MANDY O’BRIEN 01244 952519
Permanent Electrostatic Magnets Separation BOOK YOUR FREE SITE VISIT TODAY
Tel: 01952 671918 Fax: 01952 608579 Email: email@example.com
Unit 5, Martindale, Hawks Green, Cannock, Staffs, WS11 7XN Replacement Coils New platens T: 01543 570642 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.mfinduction.com
TO ADVERTISE HERE CONTACT MANDY O’BRIEN ON 01244 952519 RUBBER
SCREWS & BARRELS
Rubber Manufacturing Company
Design, Manufacture, and Refurbishment of Screws & Barrels for the Plastics and Rubber Industries. • Screw design • New manufactured Screws, Barrels, Feed Sections & Liners • Proven wear resistant specifications for screws • Nitrided and Bimetallic barrels • Refurbishment and repairs • Condition monitoring and wear checks
As part of our ongoing strategy we are looking to aquire an additional business ideally with a current turnover of between £1-3m PA
Contact us to find out how we can help you
In the first instance email us on email@example.com
Magog Industries Ltd, 10 Crane Mead, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 9PY T: +44(0)1920 465201 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Goldcrest Engineering Technologies Ltd Unit 15 St Johns Way, St Johns Business Estate, Downham Market, Norfolk, PE38 0QQ
Unique group of engineering companies specialising in the development, design & manufacture of Granular Polymer Dehumidifying Dryers under the “Drymaster” Brand
Tel: 01366 383398 E: email@example.com www.goldcrestengtech.co.uk
FILTRATION ALUMINIUM MATERIAL STORAGE BINS Off the shelf or made to order with very competitive pricing! Standard sizes available: 80l, 200l, 420l, 830l. Contact us today on 01827 265800 or visit www.summitsystems.co.uk Prices start from £428 10% reduction with offer code:
Die-Sep mould separators & tippers improve tool room efficiency because they: • Eliminate the need for pry bars and
hammers to open and close moulds • Eliminate jamming of leader pins and bushings • Eliminate damage to parting line and mold • Eliminate repetitive injury to wrists, elbows, shoulders and back • Increase safety, efficiency and morale! T: 01.262.767.9751 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.diesep.com
TO ADVERTISE IN THis SPACE CONTACT MANDY O’BRIEN: 01244 952519 44
SECONDHAND AND RECONDITIONED Cooper Plastics Machinery
8 Lyall Court, Flitwick, Bedfordshire MK45 1UX T: 01525 719850 E: Cooperplastics@gmail.com W: www.cooperplastics.co.uk Extruders, water baths, haul-offs, fly knife cutters, conveyors/tip tables, in-line punches, coilers etc. New and used. Repairs, servicing or rebuilds. UK agent for Lyons Electronics.
DTL Machinery UK
- We buy / sell all makes / age / sizes of Plastic Injection Moulding Machinery & Ancillaries equipment. - We also buy redundant, nonrunners & faulty machinery. - Machinery repair and maintenance services available. T: 01925 596170 M: 07838138342 E: email@example.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org
TransXL International Ltd
Plastics Processing Machinery Bought & Sold, Thornhill, South Marston, Wiltshire SN3 4TA T: 01793 827666 F: 01793 823826 E: email@example.com W: www.transxl.co.uk
BP&R BUYER’S GUIDE MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT second hand & re-conditioned
BUSINESS FOR SALE
Gammadot Rheology Testing & Consultancy Services
Buying, Selling, Merging? Whatever your business needs, Richmond Capital Partners are the industry experts with a proven track record of guiding acquirers or sellers through the process of buying, selling and merging. Contact Paul Holohan in complete confidence on 07798 530684
Refurbished machines with fault and leak free guarantee. We buy & sell all manner of plasscs equipment. Visit our workshop in Wellingborough, Northants. 01933 272747
‘USED INJECTION MOULDING MACHINERY DEALERS’
Single Machines to whole plants purchased Tel: David 07540 633552 firstname.lastname@example.org www.plasticinvestments.co.uk
Unit 5C, Leaton Industrial Estate, Bomere Heath, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY4 3AP T: 01939 291677 E: email@example.com W: www.gammadot.com Providing independant testing solutions to all your quality control, failure analysis & flow simulation data needs
HARDNESS - IRHD AND SHORE MAPRA Technik Co — BAREISS
For Bareiss of Germany IRHD & SHORE hardness testers, Abrasion & Rebound testers. T: 020 8508 4207 F: 020 8502 5107 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.mapra.co.uk
new & used
Ultrasonic Plastic Welders New & Used
For Sale &
INSPECTION & MEASUREMENT
MAPRA Technik Co – DOSS
Branson - Mecasonic - Telsonic Sonotrodes (Horns) all Frequencies Fixtures, Repairs, Service, Parts Sub-Contract Welding, Hire & Consultancy
MARCEL AUBERT – KAFER
For DOSS visual solution of Italy –Inspection & sorting machines for O’rings, Seals, Gaskets. T: 020 8508 4207 F: 020 8502 5107 E: email@example.com W: www.mapra.co.uk
Tel; 01258 459257 Tel; 07730 413197
PRINTERS PRINTERS OF PLASTIC MOULDINGS Total Print Ltd
Specialist Pad Printers Station Road, Gedney Hill, Lincolnshire PE12 0NP T: 01406 330122 F: 01406 330123 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.totalprintltd.com Sub-Contract Pad Printers to the Plastics Industry
COMPONENT PRINTERS MONITORING
Improve OEE Reduce downtime Increase throughput Reduce scrap
Contour Marking Co Ltd Albert house, Gledrid Industrial Park, Chirk ,Wrexham, LL14 5DG T: 01691 770093 F: 01691 770023 Sub Contract Tampo, Screen & Foil Printing to the plastic moulding industry E: email@example.com W: www.contourmarking.com
TO ADVERTISE IN THIS SPACE CONTACT MANDY O’BRIEN 01244 952519
60 Day Free Trial www.intouchmonitoring.com
TO ADVERTISE IN THis SPACE CONTACT MANDY O’BRIEN: 01244 952519 www.britishPLASTICS.co.uk
NEWS FROM THE FRONTLINE
IN THE LATEST INSTALMENT OF HIS EXCLUSIVE COLUMN FOR BP&R, DIRECTORGENERAL OF THE BPF, PHILIP LAW DISCUSSES THE AVAILABILITY OF RAW MATERIALS AND HOW THE BPF IS INTERVENING WITH A MISCONCEIVED OUTBURST FROM MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT’S EUROPEAN RESEARCH GROUP
growing number of BPF members are voicing concerns about the availability of raw materials. In fact, 25 per cent of them did so in response to our latest Business Conditions Survey in February. A combination of factors have combined to restrict supply, namely the bounce back from the pandemic which has swallowed up material. Brexit has also slowed down the ingress of materials into the UK from the continent with associated customs hold ups, logistics issues and the difficulty of accessing containers. There have been plant maintenance issues in some cases exacerbated by extreme weather, and this has given rise to force majeures. There has been an associated hike in prices. Not a happy picture and its certainly cold comfort that this doesn’t just affect the UK but also the whole of Europe and other parts of the globe. Some of the background factors are also playing on other materials and certainly there are shortages being experienced in other sectors. Witness for example the soaring share price of RTZ driven upwards by the recovery of demand in China and the massively increased price of iron ore. Also, there is a welldocumented shortage of cardboard with one issue being that online deliveries have caused a widespread dispersal of boxes and there are difficulties in getting them back for recycling. The whole effect of this will be that that the bounce back will be a bit muted. As I write, the BPF is dealing with an irritating and misconceived outburst from members of Parliament’s European Research Group who are calling for a tit for tat ban on imports of mineral water from the EU as a response to fishing quota issues. As a side issue they threw in a random comment claiming that plastics water bottles leach toxins. This gained some currency in the Daily Express. We had to intervene to tell them that PET bottles are
entirely safe and that this has been affirmed by the European Food Standards Agency and the UK’s Food Standards Agency. UK government is currently absorbed with agreeing a trade deal with the United States and BPF is involved in advising the Department for International Trade on the arrangements for mutual trade in plastics and plastics products – in other words Chapter 39 of the Customs Book. We are currently consulting with our member firms on three key questions: 1. Are there products imported from the US where immediate liberalisation of UK tariffs would be beneficial? 2. Are there imports where there are concerns with immediate liberalisation? 3. With regard to UK exports to the USA which product areas would benefit from liberalisation? It’s a great pleasure to be involved in the organisation of the Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award run jointly by the BPF in conjunction with the Worshipful Company of Horners, the City of London Livery Company relevant to our industry. This year the winner is Emily Harris of Plasgran, a division of Berry Global, the runner up was also from Berry, from their Zeller Plastik business and highly commended awards were received by Megan Denham of Owen Mumford and Lavinia Stevenson of Mason Pinder. It was a tough competition as all candidates were outstanding. Emily’s work as an apprentice included designing and building an electrical panel to improve a wash plant machine. Her volunteering activities outside of work with MindSpace and her ambition to become a STEM ambassador to inspire young women to become engineers was also impressive. Our congratulations go to all of them. www.bpf.co.uk
It’s certainly cold comfort that this doesn’t just affect the UK but also the whole of Europe and other parts of the globe
E-POWER MEETS FLEXIBILITY THE ALL-ELECTRIC PX SERIES YOUR BENEFITS • • •
Flexible thanks to very diverse combination options Productive thanks to high reproducibility Efficient thanks to intelligent energy management
Find out more about our PX series:
Process Control by
Optional: APC plus (Adaptive Process Control) for optimal shot weight consistency and process stability
THE PX SERIES IS THE ANSWER TO YOUR REQUESTS FOR MORE FLEXIBILITY WHILE INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY.
Trusted to protect… Life science products that provide care, improve health and save lives We are a global technology provider to the life sciences industry, providing innovative packaging solutions and complementary products and services. We drive our customers’ success by delivering the best total value by combining superior quality and customer support, and the most efﬁcient technology.
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