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NOV/DEC 2020 | VOLUME 22/ISSUE 4

THE INDUSTRY WAITS WITH BAITED BREATH MOULDING WITH THE PUNCHES

FLORIAN SCHMITZ ON HOW THE CORONAVIRUS HAS IMPACTED MOULDING EXPO.

CENTRAL AMERICAN DREAM

DELTA TECNIC RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THE ACQUISITION OF A NEW PRODUCTION SITE IN MEXICO.

INJECT FOR SUCCESS

CHRISTINA HAERTER OF KRAUSSMAFFEI DISCUSSES SUSTAINABILITY AND INNOVATION FOR THIN-WALLED PACKAGING.


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IN THIS ISSUE NOV/DEC 2020

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FOREWORD

Arkadiusz Haras of the European Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene (EUMEPS), discusses the environmental benefits of EPS insulation.

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MOULDING AND TOOLING

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Moulding with the punches EPPM spoke with Senior Project Leader at Messe Stuttgart, Florian Schmitz, to get the trade fair stakeholder’s account of how the Coronavirus has impacted Moulding Expo and the trade fair industry.

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ALL CHANGE

Rob Coker summarises the past year, and looks forward to the next one.

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MATERIALS HANDLING

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The mould and the new IGS GeboJagema CEO Peter Mertens discusses the challenges and opportunities for the moulding sector.

Elbowed out RheTech and HammerTek combined their knowhow to prevent blow-outs and streamers with pneumatic deflection elbows.

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MASTERBATCH AND ADDITIVES

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Central American dream Delta Tecnic recently announced the acquisition of a new production site in Mexico. EPPM spoke to CEO Eric Xirinachs to find out why.

Moving forward with remote servicing Iain Rae, Service Manager at ULMA Packaging UK, explores how remote servicing technology can help keep production lines operating smoothly with minimum downtime.

PACKAGING

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Thermoforming for the future TEQ has established itself as an industry leader in the innovation, design and sustainability of plastic packaging.

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EUREKA

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Inject for success Christina Haerter of KraussMaffei High Performance AG, discussed sustainability and innovation in IML and ICM technology for thin-walled packaging during HEY!Talks.

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COLUMN

FOREWORD T

o pursue decarbonisation and economic growth, the European Commission has launched a new strategy to boost renovation in buildings called ‘A Renovation Wave for Europe – Greening our buildings, creating jobs, improving lives’.

demonstrates economically viable, closed-loop recycling of EPS at industrial scale. We embrace the Commission’s finding that buildings are critical for making circularity work, and its objective to implement the Renovation Wave in line with circular economy principles. Building renovation can also help create demand for recycled materials and thus promote the circular economy. EPS is widely recycled already, and the industry is committed to increasing recycling rates through projects involving the whole supply chain.

Just one per cent of buildings undergo energy efficient renovation every year, and roughly 75 per cent of the building stock is energy inefficient. The EU Renovation Wave is crucial for making Europe climate-neutral by 2050. At EUMEPS, we believe that the project would benefit from a broader green recovery agenda, as it is a key initiative to drive energy efficiency in the construction sector. The EU Renovation Wave is clearly good for companies that produce highperformance insulation such as EPS for existing buildings, while also promoting other goals including increasing the use of recycled materials. Building efficiency ticks the first box in the green economy priorities of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’. In Europe, buildings account for 40 per cent of energy consumption and 36 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. There’s a lot of valuable energy wasted by heating and cooling buildings that could easily be made more efficient. Reducing the amount of energy wasted is essential to the EU’s carbon neutrality goal.

Arkadiusz Haras, the European Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene (EUMEPS) EPS is an environmentally friendly insulation material because it is biologically neutral. As a material for thermal and sound insulation, it helps save expensive heating energy and reduces noise impact to a minimum. A recent independent comparative assessment conducted for German public authorities underlined the outstanding ecological performance of EPS insulation throughout its lifecycle, including at the end of its (first) life. For many key applications, it ranks EPS as the most ecological option

among renewable, mineralbased and other synthetic materials. We are proud to say that EPS has proven to be among the best thermal insulation materials. Consisting of 98 per cent air, it is inherently resource-efficient. Due to its outstanding insulation performance, EPS saves a lot of energy and CO2 over its entire service life, which could be 100 years. At the end of this, it can be recycled, including back into new building insulation. PolyStyreneLoop, an EU LIFEsupported industry project,

Decarbonisation and energy efficiency require a transformative approach in the way we live, and the building sector plays a crucial role in this. In order to help jump-start Europe’s economies, whilst investing in climate change mitigation and combatting energy poverty, the EU needs to prioritise those investments that will make an immediate contribution towards its climate neutrality goals. EPS insulation is a precious material in the fight against energy loss and to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Building efficiency ticks the first box in the green economy priorities of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' WWW.EPPM.COM 05


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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

All change Dear readers, It is often said that hindsight is 20:20, but looking back, 2020 has been anything but clear. And it all started so well. I arrived back in work in early January looking forward to my 40th birthday followed immediately by my first visit to Switzerland for the Swiss Plastics Expo, and another visit to Brussels for the Petcore Europe Annual Conference in February. By March, I was going nowhere. In April, my daughter spent her first birthday locked down with only her older brother to share a cake with. EPPM Magazine took a sabbatical at around this time, and I learned what life must have been like for the housewives of the past by spending long days on my knees cleaning up after my children. At least I passed the summer renovating the garden. When the print publication was able to return to production in August, with it came some news, and new challenges. I’ve been helping out on a sister publication, Medical Plastics News, where I’ve learned more about the efforts of plastics industry players and their contributions to solutions to the pandemic, amongst other things, and my skills as a regular webinar attendant have increased one-hundredfold as a result.

us after almost ten years with the company. Her supportive nature and exemplary leadership abilities will be a great asset to her new employers, and I hope you can join me in wishing her well for the future. Speaking of the future, there is cause for hope as we near the end of this turbulent year. Where you find that hope – whether in a vaccine or in your political preferences – you will also find more changes, news and innovations to come. I spoke to the events team looking after Messe Stuttgart’s Moulding Expo, who bring innovation news for the new year, as well as to the CEOs of Dutch mould maker IGS GeboJagema and masterbatch specialists Delta Tecnic – the former excited about Industry 4.0 and the latter about a move to Mexico. The experts at ULMA Packaging have used the year to hone their remote monitoring technology, and the push towards sustainable packaging advances, as described within by the specialists at TEQ and KraussMaffei. Furthermore, Holland Colours has been helping The Ocean Cleanup create products from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. So there you have it. The year’s not been an all-bad one news wise, as is reflected in this final edition of 2020.

There is cause for hope as we near the end of this turbulent year. Where you find that hope you will also find more changes, news and innovations to come

Rob Coker, Editor

Deadlines have been tight, working hours have been reduced, and the number of colleagues I have to assist me with these challenges has decreased also. Most notably, Leanne Taylor, who has been the Head of Content here on the Rapid News Group Plastics Team, is leaving

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MOULDING AND TOOLING ZIMMER GROUP UK’S IAN SINCLAIR EXPLORES SOME OF THE ADVANCES IN END-OFARM TOOLING TECHNOLOGY, WHICH DEMONSTRATE THAT WHAT WAS ONCE TERMED A ‘GRIPPER’ CAN NOW BE CONSIDERED A SOPHISTICATED AUTOMATION MODULE IN ITS OWN RIGHT.

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hen the term ‘gripper’ is used, many will visualise a simple set of pneumatically or mechanically operated jaws, or perhaps even vacuum cups. Whilst this is technically still a valid perception for some applications, the truth is that gripping technology, or end-of-arm tooling, has come a long way. It has evolved to keep pace with, and in many cases enhance, the operation of robot systems and special purpose machines. Grippers have changed dramatically over the years from the once basic unit that would simply hold a component during transfer, to become, in many cases, technology-based modules capable of performing sensing, measurement, reorientation or process operations. Key contributors to this ongoing process of evolution have been the readily available electronic, pneumatic and mechanical components which themselves have become both more compact, sophisticated and cost effective. This, together with innovative design concepts, has led to the development of a whole series of sophisticated and often intelligent gripper/end-of-arm tooling modules.

In the past, the technology used to hold or manipulate components was usually relatively simple, today it is often the opposite. For example, it is not uncommon now to find Zimmer Group’s latest E-Gripper technology being used for small parts handling, where users can take advantage of adjustable gripping forces and variable jaw strokes. This provides much greater levels of flexibility without the need for manual intervention, where different part variants may need to be processed either at random or in sequence. MULTI-FUNCTIONAL MODULES Another growing trend with end-of-arm tooling is the use of bespoke multifunction modules. These can incorporate not just the gripping mechanisms needed to pick and manipulate products, but one or more production processes. Incorporating one or more technologies within the end-of-arm tooling on a robot system increases efficiency in manufacturing processes. For example, where parts may be large or cumbersome, it can sometimes be easier to take the process to the part, rather than try to move what might be a large and heavy object. This also saves cycle time by eliminating the need to move the part between different workstations. This concept of intelligent, multi-functional end-of-arm tooling modules mounted to robots is growing across a number of diverse sectors, including automotive, aerospace, medical devices, white goods and, more recently, household products and modular building construction. The operations they perform are equally diverse, ranging from simple product handling, to gluing, sealing, drilling, dispensing and assembly. Where large parts are being manufactured, it is often

This concept of intelligent, multi-functional end-of-arm tooling modules mounted to robots is growing across a number of diverse sectors the case that the robots being used will also be large in order to provide the required working envelope. Robots such as this will usually have a reasonably high payload, so they are capable of carrying and manipulating sophisticated end-ofarm tooling systems. Of course, we continue to see growth across our standard product range, which itself includes a number of innovative and digital concepts, but there is no doubt that automation system integrators and machine builders are seeking to incorporate more technology into the end-of-arm tooling elements of a project wherever possible. Our expertise in this area means that we also continue to see growth in the number of sophisticated end-of-arm tooling systems that we design and build.

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MOULDING AND TOOLING NEWS Erasmus+ project to provide mould manufacturers with speciality plastics training AIMPLAS HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN THE MOULD4PLAST PROJECT TO DEVELOP A COMPREHENSIVE RANGE OF TRAINING PROGRAMMES FOR BOTH PROFESSIONALS IN THE MOULDING INDUSTRY AND STUDENTS UNDERTAKING VOCATIONAL TRAINING.

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he programme content is designed to enable professionals in the sector to increase their knowledge of the specific features of plastics and improve their technical skills. Guides and tools based on a practical approach

have been created and tailored to the target audience and the different countries, and to European collaboration and learning networks. The training guides will allow training centres to plan and

develop the content of courses. To this end, a survey has been conducted on the content, skills and competences required by stakeholders, and the student profiles, content and format type have been defined based on

WITH MANY COMPLEX INJECTION-MOULDED PARTS, UNDERCUTS OR RECESSES CANNOT ALWAYS BE DEMOULDED IN THE MAIN DEMOULDING DIRECTION. MOVABLE BUILT-IN COMPONENTS IN THE TOOL ENABLE THE INJECTION MOULDED ARTICLE TO BE REMOVED FROM THE MOULD WITHOUT DAMAGE. A WIDE VARIETY OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF SLIDE ELEMENTS ARE USED.

NEW HASCO SLIDE UNITS AND CORE INSERTS

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he new HASCO slide units Z18185/... open innovative ways of designing tools. The type of actuation enables a shape to be built up without complex and spaceconsuming bores for inclined columns for slide actuation and allows high force absorption. The associated core inserts Z18186/... in the materials 1.2343 and 1.2360 with different hardness’s are available for individual contouring. The slide units, which can be easily installed from the

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parting line, offer the largest possible contour area with the smallest possible installation space. The slides can be individually designed for demanding applications. The DLC coating on the slides

guarantees the best sliding properties and a long, low-maintenance service life. In principle, the compatibility of all components within the HASCO slide unit range is guaranteed.

the responses. Thus, a combination of face-toface, online, theoretical and practical activities will be offered, and innovative content and tools used. A pilot course was conducted over the summer in all

participating countries and involved more than 40 experts and students (approximately 10 from each country). Other centres are participating in the project, which is co-funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme and co-ordinated by the Slovak Chamber of Commerce and Industry. These include the 3S Research Laboratory in Austria, the Valencian Association of the Automotive Industry in Spain, and the MoravianSilesian Automotive Cluster (AUTOKLASTR) in the Czech Republic.

GERRESHEIMER CERTIFIED FOR MOULD MAKING IN CHINA INJECTION MOULDING TOOLS HAVE BEEN MAINTAINED AND OPTIMISED AT THE GERRESHEIMER LOCATION IN DONGGUAN, CHINA. SINCE CERTIFICATION ACCORDING TO DIN ISO 9001, THE COMPANY NOW ALSO BUILDS COMPLETE MOULDS. IN THIS WAY, GERRESHEIMER MAKES ITSELF MORE INDEPENDENT OF LOCAL MOULD MAKERS.

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he maintenance and optimisation of molds are still part of the service offering. In addition to this, moulds for series production in Asia, Europe, and the US are manufactured there. Manfred Baumann, Global Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing, Administration and TCC, Gerresheimer Medical Systems, said: “With the expanded portfolio of offerings in mould making, we adjust to the needs of our various customer segments. In the pharmaceuticals and medical technology

markets, cost-efficient moulds that can be delivered quickly for start-ups and development projects are required. We now offer the appropriate solution for precisely this.” Mould making in Dongguan consciously understands itself not as competition, but as supplementing the more comprehensive services in Wackersdorf, Germany, where highly complex, high-cavity moulds can be built for pharmaceutical and medical technology large series production.


NEW WORKSHOP EQUIPMENT PRODUCTS FROM MEUSBURGER NEW INNOVATIONS HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE MEUSBURGER SURFACE FINISHING EQUIPMENT, ASSEMBLY EQUIPMENT AND CLAMPING EQUIPMENT PRODUCT GROUPS, AS WELL AS EXPANSIONS IN THE AREAS OF CUTTING TOOLS AND EDM ACCESSORIES.

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GESM 1000 control unit automatically detects the type and maximum speed of all M-Line micro motor handpieces. The system has a 4.3“ colour display with speed and load display. The speeds are infinitely variable from 1,000-80,000 min-1. Alternatively, the mobile GESM 1500 battery-powered control unit allows for

he new tool holders in HSK-A 63 hollow shank taper and SK 40 steep taper variations offer the perfect connection between our cutting tools and your machine. They are especially ideal for clamping Meusburger milling and drilling tools. The tool holders have been used in Meusburger’s own series production for

quite some time and their process reliability and quality are tried and trusted. Co-ordinated to the mould and die making industry, a wide range of standard parts, including accessories, is available as usual from stock. Meusburger is now a full-range supplier for equipping machine tools in the cutting processes. The stationary

The China-based service is limited to moulds with an average degree of complexity. In 2019, Gerresheimer began creating the process description, which is the prerequisite for certification according to the quality management standard DIN ISO 9001. The certification audit took place in May 2020 – digitally due to the pandemic. The quality management system of the location is now certified by the DQS, and took effect on 19 July 2020.

BBG, A MANUFACTURER OF MOULDS, MACHINERY AND PLANTS, PRESENTS SMART MOULDS FOR USE IN INDUSTRY 4.0 APPLICATIONS. THE COMPANY IS AMONG THE FINALISTS IN THE ‘EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION’ COMPETITION FOR GERMANY’S BEST TOOLMAKER IN 2020.

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he technology can be used in encapsulation moulds for refining glass and polycarbonate sheets with polyurethane or for manufacturing components on the basis of the PUR-RIM process. suitable for all types of moulds used to produce safety-relevant or Class A components BBG smart moulds also facilitate fully automated production lines. According to BBG, Managing Partner Hans Brandner, smart moulds reduce the cost for material and energy consumption while increasing productivity and process accuracy: “Smart molds are at the top of our wide

flexible and mobile use of all M-Line micro motor handpieces. The high battery capacity and speeds from 4,000-40,000 min-1 enable best performance. Seven different handpieces are available for almost any application. The V 20435 diagonal cutter for plastic with 15° cutting edge is ideally suited for the flush cutting of sprues and burrs on plastic injection moulded parts. This is now available from Meusburger with cutting edge protection in the lengths 130, 160, and 190mm.

SMART MOULDS FROM BBG

range of products, which starts with simple and costefficient prototyping moulds. What the customer needs is what counts for us. We develop the right mould customised to meet every requirement.” Moulds are equipped with a large number of sensors that collect data on process parameters such as temperature, flow velocity and pressure during the entire manufacturing process. All information can be processed on-site at the mould or forwarded to the higher-level control systems of other production lines. Any deviations are displayed and can be corrected immediately.

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MOULDING AND TOOLING EPPM SPOKE WITH SENIOR PROJECT LEADER AT MESSE STUTTGART, FLORIAN SCHMITZ, TO GET THE TRADE FAIR STAKEHOLDER’S ACCOUNT OF HOW THE CORONAVIRUS HAS IMPACTED MOULDING EXPO AND THE TRADE FAIR INDUSTRY.

MOULDING WITH THE

PUNCHES What new concepts have the organisers of Moulding Expo generated as a result of COVID-19? We are staying true to ourselves and keeping in close contact with the tool, pattern and mould making sector. Even in challenging times, again and again ideas come up in discussions by means of which we can make a contribution to supporting the sector. A nice example is the VDWF (Association of German Tool and Mould Makers) Theme Days, which, as a new digital offering, create a bridge to Moulding Expo 2021, and which we are glad to support.

What can Europe’s mould and tool manufacturers look forward to most about the show in 2021? Tool, pattern and mould making companies, as well as their suppliers, will present the entire spectrum of production at Moulding Expo 2021 and will therefore provide potential business partners and customers with an extensive overview of the latest product developments and the most innovative production processes. Especially in view of the current challenges, Moulding Expo can boost the industry next year by bringing all players together again in one place.

In what ways will the show differ from that of two years ago? Trade fairs in general will certainly become more digital and hybrid, partly because people’s travel behaviours will change at least in the medium term. However, trade fairs will continue to thrive on personal exchange and haptic experience. Digital channels cannot replace this, but they can complement the in-person event in a meaningful way. There are already a number of ideas on this for Moulding Expo 2021.

A new highlight is ‘The Road of Tooling Innovation’. Without barriers and stand limits, tool makers, together with manufacturers of injection moulding machines, peripheral equipment and materials, will showcase state-of-theart production concepts in action in the middle of the trade fair hall. Along the Road of Tooling Innovation, everything will be shown that’s possible.

Despite the difficult circumstances, what are you looking forward to most at Moulding Expo 2021? After months of preparation, the coming together of the entire sector and the personal meeting with the many partners, exhibitors and visitors is an indescribable experience. In the current situation, the joyful anticipation is naturally increasing several times over.

What measures will be in place to ensure health and safety are top priorities? The trade fair’s hygiene concept consists of six pillars and has already proven its worth at the first events. It is based on its own Corona-compliant behaviour on the exhibition grounds, consistent information and control and the corresponding requirements for gastronomy and catering, but also on proper ventilation in the exhibition halls and the regulations for registration, admission and payment. In this way, every event at the Stuttgart trade fair centre becomes a Safe Expo.

Tool, pattern and mould making companies, as well as their suppliers, will present the entire spectrum of production at Moulding Expo 2021

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CLAMP DIRECTLY, SHAPE FREELY KOLLER FORMENBAU TACKLES THE CHALLENGES OF MOULD AND TOOL MAKING WITH MODULAR ZEROPOINT CLAMPING TECHNOLOGY FROM AMF, INCREASING QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY IN ALL ITS SITES.

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ith ever more complex geometries and freeform surfaces, tool and mould construction places the highest demands on clamping technology. Koller Formenbau tackles these constantly increasing challenges with modular zero-point clamping technology from AMF. The visualisation in the 3D model clarifies interfering contours in advance and prevents collisions. This increases flexibility during the five-side processing and increases machine running times. What has proven itself in Germany is also spurring productivity in China. Today’s moulds and tools with their complex contours place significantly higher demands on clamping technology. More and more features are being assimilated into the tools and thus into each assembly and module. As a result, geometries and contours are becoming increasingly complex. By the same token, the requirements of workpiece clamping technology are increasing for collision-free cutting in the production of components. In conjunction with five-side processing that is as automated as possible, challenges must be mastered that no one could have imagined six or seven years ago. Due to the modular zero-point clamping technology from AMF, Koller Formenbau is able to clamp quickly and accurately to achieve the greatest possible flexibility for largely automated five-side processing.

HIGH DEMANDS Koller Formenbau’s main site at Dietfurt manufactures prototype and series tools or series plastic parts. Plastic parts are also manufactured at sister sites in Schwaig and Lupburg, as well as in Pécs, Hungary, and in Mexico and China. The subsidiary companies develop and produce lightweight interior and exterior components made from composites such as PU-GF honeycomb, CFRP, SMC or individual hybrid variants. In this way, wet-pressed and injection moulded parts are created for small batch and mass production in the automotive industry with a special emphasis on lightweight construction. In Dietfurt, 160 specialists manufacture tailormade injection moulding and composite tools, as well as systems and fixtures for external customers. This includes problemsolving expertise from tool making and experience from the series production of parts. Modular zero-point clamping systems from AMF’s extensive standard portfolio are used on almost all machines. This includes clamping pallets in the dimensions 630x630mm with 214 positioning holes M8 with 15mm adjustment, as well as mechanical assembly clamping modules K10 as single and double modules. The clamping module has high retracting, locking and holding forces. It is opened and locked mechanically. VISION TO PREVENT COLLISION A five-axis machining centre from Grob is equipped with a circular automated pallet changer with 13 pallets, upon which the workpieces are clamped. Engagement screws in the hardened bushings hold the pull-studs of the structural and spacer elements. With the defined grid pitch, each pallet offers the greatest possible flexibility for positioning the elements. A zero-point

clamping module K10 is positioned at the top, which pulls in and locks the M8 or M10 pull-studs screwed into the workpiece with a 10kN force and holds it with 25kN force. For direct clamping, the holes necessary for the pull-studs are made in the unmachined part. The visualisation in the 3D model beforehand is an indispensable aid. In this way, Koller can identify any interfering contours at an early stage. The components made of different materials are often first roughed and then mostly hardened. After the finishing, drilling or threading processes, it is often necessary to erode. During these steps, the zero-point clamping technology from AMF brings significant time-saving benefits. With AMF technology, set-up times have been drastically reduced, while running time has increased. Furthermore, fewer vibrations during machining mean better surface quality and shortened process times, making subsequent processes superfluous. The clamping solutions have gradually been built up since 2015 and have proven their worth. Ferstl concludes: “So well that we have transferred these solutions one-toone to our tool making facility in Nanjing, China.”


MOULDING AND TOOLING IGS GEBOJAGEMA CEO PETER MERTENS DISCUSSES THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE MOULDING SECTOR.

THE MOULD

AND THE NEW You helped steer the company away from consumer goods and automotive applications to focus on medical and healthcare applications. How has that decision affected the performance of the business? The move from generic segments to healthcare applications worked out incredibly well for IGS GeboJagema. We have boosted our revenue from €10m to €40m in under 10 years. We were able to start strategic alliances with almost all (potential) market leaders in the relevant segments. Working in this demanding industry requires a professional organisation, stringent procedures, and state-of-the-art equipment to guarantee the challenging quality levels needed for these medical applications Mould and tool making is considered among the world’s oldest industries. Are those skills and that tradition under threat of extinction from automation? No, just the opposite. It creates new skills and traditions. Of course, the old-school millers and grinders are no longer part of the equation but have given way to newstyle professionals. Our craftsmen are no longer dominating the machines but became operators of the highly sophisticated equipment. With the introduction of the Fourth Industrial revolution, our employees became part of the new Technosphere, the hypermodern online digital environment.  Our staff is challenged with new technologies, remote controlled equipment and higher demands in respect to accuracy and repeatability. Being part of this new digital platform creates new pride and makes them even more aware

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of the endless possibilities of Industry 4.0. We are proud to say that we are early adaptors of this new way of working, and those who embrace these opportunities are real champions. How do you ensure the moulding business remains lucrative when plastics are frowned upon by the general public? The problem of plastic is not in the use of it but in the lack of good regulations and recycling procedures. Why do we call a bird building a nest part of nature, but

people creating solutions using plastic a threat? Plastic is part of the ‘Next Nature’, as the Dutch writer Koert van Mensvoort calls it, with humans as enablers. We have to take the responsibility to create environmentally friendly plastics, but more important rules and regulations for recycling methods. In the medical field a lot of this is already part of the use of plastic devices. Before you get your next insulin pen, you first have to return the previous one, so we hope other industries will follow suit. What is the best thing about moulding for the healthcare industry? The fact that new devices remain on the market for decades. Developing a new drug is very cost-intensive, so the return on investment is very long. This implies that new drug delivery projects are generating a lot of recurring business for mould makers and moulders, resulting in a highly reliable forecasts and thus financial security for the future Are you looking forward to the (normal) return of trade fairs? As soon as we have conquered COVID-19, we obviously want to return to the trade fairs and seminars. We will show our services and goods again to the loyal audience in the medical segments and to continue working together on healthy and challenging growth.

The problem of plastic is not in the use of it but in the lack of good regulations and recycling procedures


Volume production Production of customized injection molded parts Volume production of high quality silicone parts using one- and multi-component injection molding technology.

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IN THE MOULD 20 YEARS MAKING INDUSTRY For Plastic Injection Injection mould manufacturing | Project and 2D/3D mold drawing | Frame milling | Parts scanning | Dimensional control @steelplusmoldmaker linkedin.com/company/steelpluspt


MASTERBATCH AND ADDITIVES NEWS TOYO INK EUROPE DEVELOPS NIR SORTABLE BLACK MASTERBATCH TOYO INK EUROPE SPECIALTY CHEMICALS SAS. (TIESC) HAS DEVELOPED A NEW RANGE OF LIOPLAX BLACK PLASTIC MASTERBATCH FOR NEAR-INFRARED (NIR) SORTING AND SUBSEQUENT MATERIAL RECOVERY.

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he new packaging masterbatch supports the recyclability of black plastic. Presently, plastic waste sorting is based on automatic optical sorting methods with the majority of sorting equipment relying on the reflectance of NIR wavelengths. Addressing the recycling issue, TIESC developed a new alternative to standard carbon black masterbatch. Dr Xavier André, Technical and

Research Manager, said: “Packaging using a new Lioplax black masterbatch can be detected by NIR sensors during the sorting stage at material recovery centres. This allows dark-colour packaging to be sorted and integrated back into the value chain … Our NIR black colorants have been certified according to the Cotrep recyclability test protocol and have received positive results at both Pellenc and TOMRA testing centres.” The Lioplax series of NIR-sorting black masterbatches are specially formulated for use in PP trays, PET preforms, films, bottles and other packaging applications. Different grades are available in varying black shades, grades and processing compatibilities.

AMPACET EXPANDS RANGE OF LASER MARKING MASTERBATCH SOLUTIONS AMPACET HAS INTRODUCED THE LASERMARKFLEX PORTFOLIO OF MASTERBATCHES DESIGNED FOR HIGH DEFINITION LASER MARKING ON FLEXIBLE FILM USING ND:YAG TECHNOLOGY.

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he antimonyfree product range consists of LaserMarkFlex 1081, formulated for black/

16 WWW.EPPM.COM

dark grey marking and LaserMarkFlex 1135, for lighter grey marking with broader food approval status (EC and

BRILLIANT GROUP, INC., A LEADER IN PROVIDING A SIMPLE, END-TO-END EXPERIENCE FOR MANUFACTURERS AND DISTRIBUTORS TO IMPLEMENT FLUORESCENT PIGMENTS, HAS ANNOUNCED THAT THEIR WAREHOUSE LOCATION IN THE NETHERLANDS IS FULLY OPERATIONAL.

Brilliant Group, Inc. ramps up support for European customers

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he facility in Venlo, initiated in partnership with Broekman Logistics in 2019, now maintains inventory of several tonnes of daylight fluorescent pigments, colorants, dispersions, and paint and ink concentrates. Locating inventory of a wide variety of product options on the European continent ensures fast delivery and reduces shipping costs for our distributors and direct customers across the region. Brilliant is committed to growing in Europe and having invested heavily in regulatory compliance and an innovative range of problem solving materials for paste and liquid inks, conventional and energy curable, plastics and surface coatings,

maintaining local inventory is the logical next step. CEO Darren Bianchi said: “After a number of years supporting the European market through a talented and dedicated group of distributors, we’re excited to establish our own stockholding in the European Union. By doing so, we can better serve the needs of distributors and customers and shorten the cycle time from order to their door. Our mission is to make using fluorescents simple so this increased ease of access and shortened timing of delivery is a major step in support of our customers.”

FDA). LaserMarkFlex, which is fully compliant with circular economy design guidelines, enables monochrome permanent and anticounterfeit marking and provides a robust, waterproof, lightfast and chemical and abrasion-resistant surface. An ink-free technology, no surface pre-treatment is required, saving drying time and energy.

LaserMarkFlex is flexibile, customisable and allows easy serialisation, making it ideal for small batch sizes and quick-change layouts. LaserMarkFlex masterbatches, suitable for use in monolayer as well as coextruded film structures, can be used to print logos, barcodes, expiration or bestbefore dates and serial numbers on labels and packaging.


MASTERBATCH AND ADDITIVES JENNIFER PRUGH, VICE PRESIDENT OF CORPORATE MARKETING AT AVIENT, DISCUSSES THE REASONS BEHIND THE NAME AND THE MISSION OF THE NEW COMPANY.

A NEW NAME

I

IN THE GAME

n what may be the understatement of the year, we have seen a lot of changes, but the ones we have seen at Avient have been positive. We have welcomed new associates and have united under a new banner, innovating our expansive technology portfolio, as well as our teams and processes. Avient came from the merging of PolyOne and Clariant’s masterbatch division. The name represents several root words for future, life, invention and environment. The final result combines these words to form Avient. Why did we decide to undertake such a massive project? To signal to customers and stakeholders that we are a new entity that is far greater than the sum of its parts. We believed a new name was critical in informing our customers that we are truly better together. As a company, we believe the acquisition

has been a multiplier, so we renamed the company to integrate and rally our associates in a way that isn’t focused on differences but on what we can offer together through a common focus. The rename also serves as a signal to the world that we are a new kind of materials company – one that’s committed to innovation and a future based on sustainability. We now have a customer base of 16,000 and our associates number over 9,000, producing more than 3,500 formulations. Projected pro forma sales for this year are just shy of $4bn (~€3.3bn). GENERATING GROWTH Our facilities footprint has grown to over 105 locations in more than 30 countries. Our portfolio has also seen some changes since 2019. After selling

our vinyl business and acquiring Clariant’s masterbatch business, we now have three main components in our organisation: colour additives and inks, which includes solid and liquid masterbatches, performance additives, and plastisols; engineered materials, which consists of special thermoplastics, TPEs, and advanced composites; and our distribution unit, which continues to lead the pack with a comprehensive supplier line-up and trusted service and supply. Service remains a big differentiator in our industry and the combined Avient can now rely on more resources to collaborate better and more effectively with our customers. From field technology, industrial design, and design engineering, to colour matching, colour forecasting and regulatory co-ordination, this basket of services is built tot help our customers get to market faster, more cost-effectively and with less risk. Our industry mix and global trend alignment hasn’t changed that much – we’re now positioned to serve these customers with and help tackle the challenges of healthcare, sustainability, organisation, and more thanks to our increase in technical and development resources.

The rename also serves as a signal to the world that we are a new kind of materials company – one that’s committed to innovation and a future based on sustainability


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MASTERBATCH AND ADDITIVES HOLLAND COLOURS IS HELPING TO CLEAN THE PLANET AND IMPROVE QUALITY AND CONSISTENCY IN RECYCLED PLASTIC THROUGH ITS KNOWLEDGE OF MASTERBATCHES.

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ne of the biggest challenges facing plastics recyclers is how to turn used plastic, which comes in a rainbow of colors and polymers, into a new product with a consistent colour from one production run to the next. Colour gives the recycled plastic the look and feel manufacturers require, and can also be used to remove the yellowish haze or mask the creamy tint that is a typical characteristic of recycled plastic chips, while adding pigments creates beautiful, solid-colour finishes in the desired shade you want. But what is the best way is to incorporate these additives and pigments into recycled plastic? One way is to use powders. However, these are messy and hard to dose accurately. A better, safer and cleaner way is to disperse the pigments into so-called ‘carrier’ materials. This results in colour concentrates, often referred to as masterbatches.

Masterbatches have either a petroleum base or are bio-based (including natural carriers). Powdered pigments are added to this base to create the masterbatch, which is then added to the plastic being recycled. A bio-based carrier has environmental benefits. The other option is to use masterbatches based on recycled carriers. Whether wax- or petroleum-based, a masterbatch typically requires a low concentration to get an optimal result because the pigments are pre-dispersed into the carrier material (for colouring). BIOBASED MASTERBATCHES HELP IMPROVE SUSTAINABILITY In general, masterbatches in a bio-based carrier and those based on recycled carriers are your best options. These two choices enable you to keep your recycled material content as ‘high’ as possible, in comparison to petroleum-based masterbatches. Given the trend in the plastics industry towards lighter weight materials and higher recycled content, masterbatch technology is set to play an increasing role in the industry’s drive for improved sustainability – even more so for masterbatches based on a natural carrier or recycled content. The Netherlands is one of the most ambitious countries in the global circular movement. Having developed many technologically innovative solutions, the people, businesses, and industries there have also come to realise that creating socially and environmentally responsible

attitudes together with institutional flexibility is equally important. By inspiring people and institutions to rethink, redesign and pursue a positive future, the Dutch are confident that circular advancements can actually be adopted by both public and private organisations, institutions and society as a whole. CIRCULAR SUNGLASSES The Netherlands maintains the ambition to become a fully functioning circular economy by 2050. To do this, the government is taking various measures to encourage a social climate that’s open for behavioural change, and creating an ecosystem in which all the necessary social and institutional changes are embraced. But to create an economy that is truly circular, there is a need to go beyond national borders, through working alongside fellow pioneering partners on a shared mission.  Circularity is a broad topic, and plastic recycling is only one part of it. Dutch recycling companies are striving to become front runners in this field. As recently as October, Holland Colours provided the colour concentrates in the first product made using plastics recovered from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat and The Ocean Cleanup – a line of sunglasses. Holland Colours delivered a bio-based colour concentrate to colour the shades. Specifically, The Ocean Cleanup was looking for two different shades of blue that could be dosed simultaneously to create a swirl pattern that mimics the movement of the ocean.

Dutch recycling companies are striving to become front runners in this field WWW.EPPM.COM 019


MASTERBATCH AND ADDITIVES DATALASE HAS LAUNCHED A FUNCTIONAL MASTERBATCH ADDITIVE FOR PLASTICS INTEGRATION.

Putting the

‘great’

IN INTEGRATION

U

K-based Photonic printing solutions provider DataLase has developed a functional masterbatch additive suitable for a wide range of plastics, including home and personal care, pharmaceutical, medical, electronic, automotive, agricultural and industrial extruded products. By addressing the challenges faced by production and manufacturing companies with product coding applications, such as printing expiry dates and lot numbers, DataLase Masterbatch Additive has been optimised specifically for extrusion and injection plastic moulding to provide unsurpassed product stability and excellent quality. Launched as a DataLase VAReLase Pigment Solutions initiative, the additive is integrated directly into the masterbatch in pellet form, to provide consistent high quality, high contrast, permanent black

As the additive is already integrated into the extruded plastic, manufacturers will be able to enhance brand integrity by providing SKU traceability through permanent coding 20 WWW.EPPM.COM

coding. When compared to other coding methods, the masterbatch additive works with standard CO2 scribing lasers to provide sustainability benefits in production environments by eliminating labels, consumables and waste from the coding and marking process. It can also help streamline supply chains through a reduction in packaging. With lasers retrofitted to assembly lines, the additive will also deliver a range of efficiency benefits. By having the flexibility to make fast changes to coding and decoration requirements, the coding and marking process can reduce unscheduled downtime, requires minimal preventive maintenance and less frequent fume extraction filter changes. Additionally, as the additive is already integrated into the extruded plastic, manufacturers will be able to enhance brand integrity

by providing SKU traceability through permanent coding that is tamper proof, anti-counterfeit and impossible to remove. The additive can also assist in improving packaging design by removing unsightly ablation areas; furthermore, it can be printed anywhere on the packaging with high precision. DataLase CTO Ally Grant said: “In light of the ongoing pandemic, the importance of supply chain resilience and risk management are more apparent than ever. Key to implementing refinements will be developments in technology and sustainability. Our masterbatch additive initiative ticks all the boxes in providing manufacturing and production environments with clear efficiency and environmental benefits, thereby assisting them to be prepared for future unexpected risk events and situations.”


BARCELONA-BASED MASTERBATCH AND COLOUR CONCENTRATE MANUFACTURER DELTA TECNIC RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THE ACQUISITION OF A NEW PRODUCTION SITE IN MEXICO. EPPM SPOKE TO CEO ERIC XIRINACHS TO FIND OUT WHY.

CENTRAL AMERICAN DREAM

D

elta Tecnic has been present as an importer in Mexico since 1992, selling to major local manufacturers. There the Catalan company developed an important presence. As it began growing its share in Mexico through a long-term relationship with a distributor, pressure to localise its colour concentrate manufacturing capabilities began to increase. “Manufacturers want a local supplier,” Xirinachs said. “In Mexico there are more automotive wiring extrusion lines than in the US. It is an industrial hub and we are looking at exploiting that hub with this new factory. It’s very emotional to see it developing – it’s like an adventure.” A small factory of just 3,000 square metres, although this could be increased to 5,000, Delta Tecnic chose the city of Santiago de Querétaro for its location. Not just because they had a reliable customer base there already, but because it is easily accessible from Europe. In the second phase of the project, Delta Tecnic intends to supply from that factory to the US, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina and Peru. Inevitably, the subject turned to revenue. “We expect a modest but safe increase in revenue next year, with two Mexico-based production lines to start with – expanding to four or five in the future. We want to strengthen our presence in a market where we are already strong.” Eric Xirinachs

ADAPT AND PREVAIL Xirinachs conceded that the company has suffered some impact in terms of results because of the Coranvirus pandemic, and admitted that some of its European facilities had stopped producing automotive wiring as a result, so revenue was unavoidably impacted. “Now we’re back on track,” he added, “and intend to close the year with satisfactory results – maybe slightly below last year’s results, but still satisfactory.” What Xirinachs and Delta Tecnic have learned from the pandemic is that if quick action is taken, along with knowledge of market tendencies, manufacturers can adapt and prevail. “We are supplying to strategic companies which were considered essential, such as medical equipment, pharma, calendaring customers, banking, telecoms and others, but what we have also been able to do is maintain close relationships with our customers. The digital transformation has been incredible. Our customers trust us and provide us with new product lines, enabling us to continue to grow despite the coronavirus.” As a European manufacturer, Xirinachs admitted to having a slightly more advanced expertise and tradition in terms of environmental practices and sustainability. A masterbatch manufacturer tends not to generate scrap, to begin with. If a product is rejected, it is reprocessed. These kinds of priorities will very much remain the focus of Delta Tecnic’s operations in Mexico. The main sustainability element in masterbatch production, according to Xirinachs, is the dosage. Mexico-based manufacturers tend to dose much higher amounts of colour and additive concentrate, leading to a lack of colour regularity in their products. Through Delta

Tecnic’s knowhow, they have reduced the dosage. “In terms of efficiency,” Xirinachs concluded, “our knowledge has helped improve theirs. It’s true that the motivation was economical, because they’re reducing the cost and improving the quality, but an added advantage is that these practices also work in favour of the environment. The less colour concentrate you put in the product, the less impurity you have. Even a well-dispersed pigment is an impurity with no electrical or mechanical characteristics. It’s just colour. You want to minimise the quantity of colour, which is what we have brought to the Mexican market.”

In Mexico there are more automotive wiring extrusion lines than in the US. It is an industrial hub and we are looking at exploiting that hub with this new factory


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MATERIALS HANDLING NEWS

Moretto named among 1,000

WITTMANN BATTENFELD CONTINUES TO INCREASE ITS MATERIALS HANDLING PORTFOLIO AND EXPERTISE BY INCLUDING NEW CUTTING SIZE RANGES.

THE 1,000 CHAMPIONS COMPANIES IN 2020 IS A PRESTIGIOUS AWARD THAT FOLLOWS THE ANALYSIS OF THE ITALYPOST STUDY CENTER ON COMPANIES THAT PERFORMED BEST BETWEEN 2012 AND 2018. A STUDY THAT IS CHARACTERISED BY ABSOLUTE SCIENTIFIC RIGOUR IN THE ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND ON VERY STRINGENT CRITERIA.

GRANULATOR

CHAMPIONS SEE YOU LATER,

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he survey describes two poles of the Italian enterprises: those with a €20m-€120m turnover with 800 champion companies, and the remainder with a turnover of between €120m and €500m. In terms of regional distribution, the area of Lombardy came top with 322 companies, followed by Veneto with 175 and Emilia with 141. Renato Moretto, President of Moretto S.p.A, attended the ‘Meet the Champions’ event on 15 October, the Paduan tour stop

organised by ItalyPost in collaboration with L’Economia del Corriere della Sera. A Moretto press release stated: ‘Being among the 1,000 Champions companies is a source of pride and satisfaction. Another important appointment after the “Premio Industria Felix - Il Veneto che compete”, that leads us to positively retrace the choices made in the recent past, allowing us to always offer us new incentives to face the challenges of the future.’

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he G-Max 13 from Wittmann Battenfeld completes the existing G-Max granulator series by offering cutting chamber sizes ranging from 130×260mm to 460×235mm and engine outputs from 2.2-4kW. The models from the G-Max series can be used for material throughputs of up to 50kg/h on injection moulding machines with up to 500 tonnes clamping force. The G-Max 13 granulator is suitable for in-line recycling of soft to medium hard sprue consisting of PP, PE, ABS or PU, and can be used on injection moulding machines with clamping forces of up to 230 tonnes. The material screens of the G-Max 13 are available with screen perforation in different sizes: either four or five millimetres in diameter. This ensures suitability for varying materials and throughputs. The perforations in the screens have a conical shape, so that soft and sticky granulate can pass through more easily. A feature which contributes to minimising the

accumulation of material deposits in the openings. The tiltable material hopper simplifies cleaning and servicing of the appliance enormously. For instance, a screen change can be carried out without tools, and the time required for servicing is reduced to a minimum. The granulator has an open rotor with three knives. It is designed with openings between the knives and the rotary axis to ensure

unhindered ventilation of the cutting chamber. Thanks to this type of design, this model is ideally suited for grinding materials which are sensitive to heat or parts not yet completely cooled. Exchanging knives is extremely easy and comfortable. The new G-Max 13 can handle a material throughput of up to 35kg/h and operates with a low noise level and extremely energyefficiency.

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MATERIALS HANDLING

The sound of

DRUMS

UK-BASED FLEXICON LTD INTRODUCES A MOBILE DRUM TIPPER WITH SAFETY CAGE

MAGUIRE’S NEW VACUUM PUMP SIMPLIFIES CONVEYING RAW MATERIALS TO BLENDERS, DRYERS OR HOPPERS.

PUMP UP THE

VOLUME

F

lexicon’s new mobile TIP-TITE Drum Tipper with safety cage enables the hands-free, automated dumping of bulk solid materials from 115 to 200 litre drums throughout the plant, with no dusting or danger associated with sudden shifting of contents. The three-sided carbon steel cage with safety interlocked doors is mounted on a mobile frame with quick-acting jack screws for stability. A platform raises the drum hydraulically, creating a dust-tight seal between the rim of the drum and the underside of a discharge cone. A second hydraulic cylinder then tips the platform-hood assembly, stopping it at dump angles of 45, 60 or 90 degrees with a motion-dampening feature, causing the spout of the discharge cone to mate with a gasketed receiving ring on the lid of an enclosed hopper that charges a flexible screw conveyor.

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he NVRBE vacuum pump from Maguire Products, Inc. conveys materials to blenders, dryers, or machine hoppers, and multiple units of the pump may be used in a single system.

A pneumatically actuated slide gate at the spout can be opened once the discharge cone has sealed to the receiving ring to discharge material, and then closed before returning the drum to its original position, with no dust emitted throughout the cycle.

Its user-friendly features include the Clear-Vu dust collection bin; the filter safety switch; the pressure differential switch, temperature safety switch, the air bypass valve; and a quieter operation

The unit is available in all-stainless steel finished to food, dairy or pharmaceutical standards.

Frank Kavanagh, Vice President of Sales and Marketing,

24 WWW.EPPM.COM

said: “The automatic features of the NVRBE vacuum pump and its simplicity of use make it especially compatible with Maguire’s LowPro receivers. Besides having an up to 80 per cent lower profile than traditional receivers and being easier to configure, LowPro receivers are autonomously controlled, making them suitable for deployment in automated mini-central systems for conveying to multiple blenders.” The NVRBE vacuum pump comes with a fiveyear warranty.


RHETECH AND HAMMERTEK COMBINED THEIR KNOWHOW TO PREVENT BLOW-OUTS AND STREAMERS WITH PNEUMATIC DEFLECTION ELBOWS.

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oving glass-fibre-reinforced resin pellets through dilute-phase pneumatic conveying lines is challenging, owing to the abrasiveness of the reinforced polymer. Plant engineers must not only design conveying systems that minimise pellet damage, which affects product quality, but reduce damage to the lines themselves. Assuring line integrity is especially critical at bends, where material impacts elbow walls when changing direction, often causing blowouts and related downtime. RheTech Inc., a supplier of proprietary thermoplastic polyolefin alloys and compounds, found a way to pre-empt such damage. SWEEP ELBOWS FAILED MONTHLY RheTech’s production at Whitmore Lake and its companion plant in Fowlerville, Michigan, run 24 hours per day, five days per week. The company’s pneumatic lines, which transport pellets from extruders to storage silos to trucks, were previously

blowing out conventional stainless steel long-sweep elbows at a rate of once a month per elbow. Steve Mosher, Maintenance Manager at the company’s Whitmore Lake plant, noticed that polypropylene pellets with glass reinforcement impacted sweep elbows at high speed, wearing through elbow walls as if they were sand blasted. The impact also created dust and frictional heat that caused pellets to melt as they skidded along hot elbow walls, forming streamers. “It took one hour to replace each elbow, at a cost of between $125 and $157 (~€105-€132) per elbow, and $25 per hour for labour – plus interruption of production,” he said. To address these issues, RheTech began specifying 90-degree deflection elbows, which prevent the pellets from impacting the elbow wall, and has since installed 140 of them at both plants, preventing blow-outs and associated costs of parts, labour, downtime and pellet degradation. VORTEX CHAMBER PREVENTS IMPACT, DEFLECTS FLOW The Smart Elbow was manufactured by Pennsylvania-based HammerTek Corp., and features a spherical vortex chamber protruding from the elbow. When material transitions into the elbow, part of the flow is automatically diverted into the vortex chamber, where it forms a loosely packed mass that rotates slowly in the direction of flow, gently deflecting incoming pellets around the bend. The phenomenon prevents abrasion,

degradation, frictional heat and streamers, while causing pellets to exit evenly across the elbow outflow in a laminar state, maintaining the dilute-phase distribution of particles required to maximise conveying efficiency. ELBOW REPLACEMENTS REDUCED BY OVER 99 PER CENT The company installed approximately 100 deflection elbows on 11.4cm diameter pneumatic lines from the extruders to 70 silos and truck stations at the Whitmore Lake plant, and 40 elbows on 12.7cm diameter lines running to 30 silos and truck stations in Fowlerville. Mosher said: “We’ve replaced only six elbows since installing the original units years ago. We are more likely to replace the straight sections of pneumatic lines than we are the HammerTek elbows. Blow-outs and replacements haven’t been an issue for years.” Mosher added that the elbows, along with adjustments to flow, pressure and heat throughout the conveying system, have also eliminated streamers.

When material transitions into the elbow, part of the flow is automatically diverted into the vortex chamber, where it forms a loosely packed mass


PACKAGING NEWS BTB PET RECYCLING FURTHER INCREASES CAPACITIES

KAUTEX MASCHINENBAU HAS BEEN OPERATING A PRODUCTION PLANT FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF EXTRUSION BLOW MOULDING MACHINES IN SHUNDE, CHINA, FOR 25 YEARS.

A GERMAN PET RECYCLER BTB PETRECYCLING GMBH & CO. KG HAS INSTALLED A NEW PREHEATING UNIT AND ANOTHER SSP REACTOR SUPPLIED BY STARLINGER RECYCLING TECHNOLOGY.

KAUTEX CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF MACHINE PRODUCTION IN CHINA

E

ach year, BTB processes approximately 20,000 tonnes of PET input material from the German bottle return system on a Starlinger recoSTAR PET 165 iV+ recycling line installed prior to the SSP reactors. BTB General Manager Andrzej Zajontz said: “Unfortunately, the beverage containers collected through the German container deposit system are not as well separated as before – in the reverse vending machines both

26 WWW.EPPM.COM

clear and coloured bottles are collected together, and that is how they are delivered … This creates a lot of extra work for us in pre-sorting as we use only clear PET bottles for our bottleto-bottle process. Due to this, our most recent investments went into improved sorting technology. We separate the input material at the beginning of the treatment process and then sort the PET flakes again before extrusion to achieve best pellet quality.” BTB caters to regular customers who use the recycled PET for producing beverage bottles which are filled, sold and collected. From this input material, BTB produces PET regranulate. Zajontz added: “[Starlinger’s] service is always topnotch – quick and uncomplicated, and one clearly sees that they have years of experience. This was also the main reason why back in 2007 we decided to invest in Starlinger lines. Only when you see the process, and the machine in operation, you can decide if the investment makes sense.”

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he presence of this plant means greater proximity to customers and quicker response times for machines, spare parts and service requirements in the Asian packaging market. The company invited customers and partners to an ‘open house’ celebration in Shunde at the start of November to mark the anniversary. Around 200 invited guests from China took up the invitation, where they took part in various specialist lectures and insights into the recently announced product campaigns, witnessed new machines and application solutions, and were informed about the comprehensive range of services. CEO Thomas

Hartkämper presented the new Kautex vision and mission ‘BeOne – with customers and partners’ via video stream. The official anniversary celebration with guests and employees took place following the Kautex New Machine & New Technology Forum. Founded in 1995, Kautex in Guangdong is a subsidiary of Kautex Maschinenbau GmbH.   As well as celebrating a 25th anniversary in China, Kautex is

CAN YOU HANDLE IT? AT THE EXPRESS REQUEST OF VARIOUS CUSTOMERS, DUTCH PACKAGING SPECIALIST CUPS4YOU HAS INTRODUCED A NEW HANDY LIGHTWEIGHT LITRE PACKAGING, THE SC 118-1000ML.

also celebrating the 85th anniversary of its original founding in Germany and 60 years of branch establishment in the US. Plastics pioneer Reinhold Hagen founded the company in 1935. The combination of his passion for experimentation and entrepreneurial aptitude enabled him to succeed in developing the world’s first standard commercial system for the seamless manufacture of plastic containers in 1949.

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his multifunctional packaging is suitable for hot filling and available with or without a carrying handle. The leak-proof container can be produced as transparent packaging or in various colours, and with an in-mould labelling option. The SC118-1000 is available with the standard snap-on tamper evident lid and with the new SC118 seal lid, offering extra security. The lightweight lid is also suitable for the company’s entire existing SC-118 product range.


Triple Bubble blown film lines from Kuhne Anlagenbau KUHNE ANLAGENBAU GMBH HAS DEVELOPED INNOVATIVE DEEP-DRAW THERMOFORMING FILMS FOR PACKAGING FOOD PRODUCTS IN COLLABORATION WITH ITS CUSTOMERS.

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he highlight of these multi-layer films, which are produced on Triple Bubble blown film lines, is their reduced thickness, which is up to 50 per cent less than conventional cast films, and their high barrier properties. Not only does the significant reduction in thickness speak in favour of these films, another plus is their ideal machinability for deep-draw thermoforming. Triple Bubble films thermoform better than comparable cast films, according to initial feedback from customers. Although cast film extrusion is an established manufacturing process for deep-draw thermoforming films,

clear advantages can be obtained with the Triple Bubble technology. Kuhne Anlagenbau has taken the first step to demonstrate this through extensive tests on their 13-layer Triple Bubble system at their in-house R&D centre. Managing Director Jürgen Schiffmann said: “Despite the overall reduced film thickness, the corners and curves of the thermoformed packages are just as reliable as when using conventional films. However, the wall thicknesses of the packages, though significantly thinner, are more uniform.” The Triple Bubble films for deep-drawing applications that are already in the market are typically ninelayer structures with EVOH and PA barrier layers. That is why Kuhne Anlagenbau has gone one step further and, together with a European film manufacturer, has developed a five-layer PP-based film. This environmentally friendly film consists of 95 per cent PP. Schiffmann concluded: “Deepdrawing films that are produced on our Triple Bubble lines represent a quantum leap in terms of thickness reduction and recyclability.”

COEXPAN, ONE OF THE WORLD’S LEADERS IN FORM FILL SEAL (FFS) FOOD PACKAGING SYSTEMS, HAS SUCCESSFULLY TESTED MECHANICALLY RECYCLED POLYSTYRENE IN ITS FFS FACILITIES AT INNOTECH, (INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY CENTRE OF COEXPAN AND EMSUR, THE RIGID AND FLEXIBLE PACKAGING DIVISIONS OF GRUPO LANTERO).

COEXPAN DEVELOPS 100 PER CENT RPS FOR FFS YOGURT PACKAGING APPLICATIONS

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he company says this project is an integral part of one of the strategic aims of the value chain initiative SCS, of which COEXPAN is a member. SCS innovates together with various partners across the value chain to advance the circularity of styrenic polymers. The ‘r-PS (r-PET alike’) project involves validating post-consumer PS mechanical recycling as well as using processes and technologies similar to those currently used on PET recycling lines: sorting, washing, flake sorting, super cleaning and melt-filtration. During the trials conducted on the pilot extrusion line, two types of FFS sheets were produced: First an ABA structure in which the middle (B) layer contained encapsulated 50% recycled polystyrene/rPS between the outer (A) layers of virgin polystyrene. The second trial was conducted on a monolayer structure with 100% post-

consumer r-PS. These materials were then tested on FFS yogurt packaging lines and analysed at the development centre laboratory where all the tests relating to quality analyses, optics, mechanical and functional properties were performed.   The results with both r-PS materials/ FFS sheets show the high purity levels of the recycled material (approx. 99.9%), as well as allow very positive conclusions relating to their processability in extrusion and thermoforming. This step is viewed as an important milestone to deliver on the unique circularity

of polystyrene, reaffirming its wasteto-value potential and subsequent industrial applications.   Dinis Mota, COEXPAN CEO, said: “Making packed food to last longer and reduce its waste, is now joined by a close package reusage loop priority at COEXPAN. Circularity challenged packaging industry beyond recyclability and biodegradability. Preserving and sustain global earth resources is a must. Circularity has been the enabler for a new society behaviour, through new materials generation, industrial methods and innovative technologies.”


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PACKAGING TEQ HAS ESTABLISHED ITSELF AS AN INDUSTRY LEADER IN THE INNOVATION, DESIGN AND SUSTAINABILITY OF PLASTIC PACKAGING.

THERMOFORMING

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FOR THE FUTURE

t is important not to overlook the crucial role plastic packaging plays in our economy, and in our lives. From keeping food fresh and fragile products safe, to offering a sterile barrier system (SBS) in healthcare, plastic packaging is ubiquitous for good reason. Life without it would be unthinkable in our modern world. TEQ, a leading manufacturer of thermoformed packaging, creates products for a range of markets, all developed at its state-of-the-art production facilities in the UK and Poland. Both sites have certified cleanroom facilities to manufacture for the medical sector. It is the company’s focus on innovation that enables it to navigate a fast-changing packaging landscape. “Innovative design underpins every TEQ project,” says European Sales Director Anne-Sophie Belamine. “We’re focused on finding ways to improve or reduce packaging so customers get the best designed and most practical solution.” The vast majority of TEQ’s thermoformed products contain 60-80% recycled content from post-consumer material. This is well above the threshold demanded by emerging legislation.

Using advanced 3D computer-aided design (CAD) systems, it can develop precise visuals for quick and accurate sign-off – reducing waste and creating efficiencies throughout production. “The business has built up a reputation for developing custom packaging solutions to overcome difficulties that arise from complex manufacturing processes,” adds Belamine. This focus on problem-solving led to the creation of a new TEQ product, designed to solve the problem of waste in healthcare. According to Practice Greenhealth, US hospitals and medical centres produce more than five million tonnes of waste a year, with plastic packaging accounting for most. Sterile barrier systems, the plastic packaging that offers a microbial barrier, usually consist of more than one material, and hospital staff don’t have time to separate lids and trays, so very little is recycled. TEQ therefore created TEQethylene,  a recyclable medical packaging solution that uses proprietary blend of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) in combination with adhesive coated Tyvek®, a breathable HDPE thermoplastic lidding developed by DuPont™. Beyond its product line, TEQ is committed to incorporating sustainability into its overall business strategy and helping customers achieve their environmental goals, Belamine continues: “Sustainability underpins everything we do.” Established more than 40 years ago, TEQ has continued to develop products with an environmental conscience, i.e. products of minimal size and weight that deliver superb quality. Customers can

choose products that contain up to 100 per cent recycled content, or are fully reusable or recyclable, with the vast majority of products manufactured containing recycled plastics. TEQ also offers Fibrepak, a natural and sustainable packaging solution using thermoformed wet pulp. Fibrepak is made from locally sourced FSC Chain of Custody certified materials, meaning the pulp used has come from sustainably managed forests. “Regardless of material selection we remain fully committed to delivering innovative packaging solutions, designed and manufactured with sustainability at the forefront of our thinking,” concludes Belamine. While legislation and policy designed to tackle the plastics issue finds its feet, TEQ will continue to lead in bringing quality, sustainable options for the circular economy, working with customers to create innovative new products that are fit for purpose.

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PACKAGING CHRISTINA HAERTER, HEAD OF APPLICATION TECHNOLOGY, KRAUSSMAFFEI HIGH PERFORMANCE AG, DISCUSSED SUSTAINABILITY AND INNOVATION IN IML AND ICM TECHNOLOGY FOR THIN-WALLED PACKAGING DURING HEY!TALKS.

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s a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, businesses all around the world have adapted their marketing techniques to include more and more webinars and digital events. KraussMaffei GmbH held its version, called HEY!Talks, in October. Here Christina Haerter, Head of Application Technology, KraussMaffei High Performance AG, discussed sustainability and innovation in IML and ICM technology for thin-walled packaging. She introduced her Hey!Talk by reintroducing a cup first revealed during K 2019 and made from tall oil, also known as liquid rosin – a waste product from wood pulping and normally disposed of at great expense. Researchers have discovered that tall oil can also be used to produce plastics. Made using the injection compression moulding (ICM) Technology, wherein plastic melt is injected into a slightly

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open mould which is later closed, on a Netstal Elion 3200 on a stack mould, the thin-walled cup was produced with less tension and a weight reduction of between 20-40%. Moulders are also able to use a higher viscose material, with a property pattern that can be used in more parts. “Up until now we were not able to use PET for thin-walled products, but with ICM we are able to achieve wall thicknesses comparable to those achieved with PP, which is really interesting because of its closed recycling circle.” Haerter also discussed how biodegradable materials are becoming interesting for thin-walled packaging applications, but there are some points to consider: “The first is that we should be using these materials for applications where decomposition of the material is irrelevant, unlikely or preventable. We should also think of the raw material. Raw oil shouldn’t be used, nor should materials which compete in the food sector. We can’t say that biodegradable materials are better than plastics, because when normal plastics are recycled they are also a good, environmentally friendly material. A lifecycle assessment is always necessary to find out which materials should fit the application. If you think about it, biodegradable materials coming into a recycling stream could pollute it. Biodegradable materials are therefore a double-edged sword.”

The machine technology is something that should always be improved. KraussMaffei are looking into this through ICM for thin-walled packaging, and ICM with PET. “We are able to make these technologies as easy as possible for the user,” Haerter added. “The employee could be performing normal injection moulding one day, and the ICM process the next day without any problems. We can therefore use these technologies to make products with less weight, less tension and new materials with higher viscosity. We’re now demonstrating this digitally in our technology centre in Switzerland.” There, Haerter concluded, is where it is possible to experiment in making new technology and coupling it with new materials. Customers can bring their materials in and test their suitability to thin-walled packaging applications. Normally, no specific modifications need to be made to the machinery, either – even when moulding with chemically recycled materials. KraussMaffei has the technicality to work with these just as with any new material. Furthermore, ICM processes can be performed on any standard injection moulding machines with a simple software extension.

Up until now we were not able to use PET for thin-walled products, but with ICM we are able to achieve wall thicknesses comparable to those achieved with PP


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PACKAGING THE SERVICING AND MAINTENANCE SCHEDULES OF PACKAGING EQUIPMENT ON THE FACTORY FLOOR HAS BEEN HEAVILY IMPACTED BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, OFTEN CAUSING COSTLY DELAYS. IAIN RAE, SERVICE MANAGER AT ULMA PACKAGING UK, EXPLORES HOW REMOTE SERVICING TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP KEEP PRODUCTION LINES OPERATING SMOOTHLY WITH MINIMUM DOWNTIME.

Moving FORWARD WITH REMOTE SERVICING

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n 2017, Oneserve reported that the impact of machine downtime is costing UK-based manufacturers in excess of £180bn (~€198bn) every year. While the impact of the coronavirus is yet to be fully documented, it is anticipated that it will have contributed to this problem. Social distancing guidelines have influenced how we maintain packaging machinery in 2020, and manufacturers that rely on servicing teams are at a serious disadvantage. As such, remote servicing technology has inevitably and understandably grown in prominence. Preventing downtime has become a priority and there is more investment going into monitoring. Secure video streaming, for example, is an invaluable tool for technicians right now. This involves cameras for live video streaming of operations, with technicians giving instructions on the remedial actions. This format offers quicker provision of support, and enables staff to be trained to perform future maintenance.

Though the UK remains subject to restrictions around in-person visits, companies who can safely continue to operate are still using their packaging machinery around the clock. This presents potential issues, including carrying out Factory Acceptance Tests (FATs) and Site Acceptance Tests (SATs) on newly installed machines, and providing ongoing maintenance, support and training. The use of software and secure cameras can also be instrumental in the provision of remote support for SATs, with instructions relayed from the supplier to in-house technicians. Furthermore, the same tools can be used to commission packaging equipment in optimal conditions according to manufacturer requirements. Packaging machinery owners should also look into choosing machinery with an in-built UPC control system. This allows technicians to provide support securely and remotely, with online analysis and real-time diagnostics – and, if necessary, resolving problems or installing updates, which is ideal for manufacturers who do not have in-house technical personnel but want the reassurance that specialists can investigate and resolve problems without entering the factory floor. Manufacturers need to know that security is assured. For this reason, remote servicing technology is built with safety and security in mind. As a result, remote communications are encrypted and protected.

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Coronavirus-related restrictions mean that manufacturers and packaging machinery suppliers need to rely more on remote technology. We remain in unprecedented times, and while it is still difficult to safely deploy servicing teams, remote online tools mean disruption can be minimised. Even once operations return to pre-COVID levels, remote servicing capabilities will be a benefit going forward. The new normal is still likely to differ from what we’re used to, so investing in remote servicing technology now is one way to futureproof operations. This is why ULMA offers ULMA Remote Services, a suite of tools designed to offer flexible packaging machinery servicing support, security and maintenance. Now more than ever, technology needs to be used to help navigate these challenging times. ULMA is committed to providing a full package of remote access and support tools to meet these needs. Remote servicing won’t fully replace in-person visits. For emergency callouts, however, remote servicing support is always going to be faster and more efficient. Remote access tools provide a muchneeded safety net for manufacturers, especially now when any factory downtime could have severe consequences on future profitability. By working together with reputable packaging machinery providers with the right technical backing, manufacturers can be supported now, and in the future.


TRANSPORT EUROTEC OFFERS TAILORED SOLUTIONS TO THE CHALLENGE OF HIGH SAFETY STANDARDS IN RAILWAY VEHICLES.

TAILOR-MADE FOR TRANSPORT SAFETY

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afety is a must for all industries, but it is more important when we take into consideration the possibility of the number of people affected being greater. This is particularly pertinent in public life and public transport. One of the greatest risks that threaten human life, especially in these areas, is fire. Therefore, the materials used are expected to deliver high performance because people need time to escape safely in the event of a fire, and the use of materials that are highly resistant to fire will provide the required time to escape. The required properties of materials are often subjected to strict regulations due to the difficulty of escape in public transportation vehicles such as buses, trains and aircraft. In recent years, several standard requirements have been issued for many industries with high security risks. EN 45545-2 was issued in 2013 for railway applications, which became mandatory in Europe in 2016. EN 45545-2 sets out the material specifications to be used in railway vehicles to protect them against fire in accordance with the test methods and criteria specified in the standard,

depending on the place of use. Railway vehicles with long tunnel times or long journey times, including longdistance sleeper trains, have demanding requirements which are expected to be met by the materials in such vehicles. These include low smoke density and toxicity, high oxygen index, and a low heat release rate. These requirements become more demanding as the hazard classes of railway vehicles increase. Eurotec is committed to developing flameretardant products with various properties for different industries, particularly for the electrical and electronics industries. This helped to make Eurotec a solution partner for its customers with a wide range of superior products with individual properties. Eurotec has recently been developing and certifying many tailormade products to meet the increasing high safety requirements in the transportation industry. Eurotec has therefore developed products with PA6 and PA66 fire resistance grades to meet the demanding requirements for application classes R22-R23 in accordance with EN 45545-2. The Tecomid range of

composite products can be safely used in electrical and electronic applications for railway vehicles, such as insulators, switches, relays and connectors. Tecomid NB40 NL XA50, for instance, is a PA6based flame-retardant, halogen-free and heat-stabilised material. The Tecomid NB40 GR30 NL XA60 and Tecomid NB40 GR30 NL XA6X products have the same properties but are also glass-fibre reinforced and red-phosphorous-free. All materials are EN 45545 compliant. Giving priority to safety regulations, Eurotec continues to develop products to offer proper solutions to the more demanding requirements required for the railway industry.

The materials used are expected to deliver high performance because people need time to escape safely in the event of a fire


COLUMN

EUREKA R

esearchers at the University at Buffalo (UB), New York, are developing a unique set of tools that aim to reduce plastic waste, including a robotic system that relies on machine learning and other technologies to autonomously improve its ability to sort plastics. Speaking to Cory Nealon of UBNow, who broke the story in November, Research Lead Paschalis Alexandridis, UB Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, said: “Not only is this work critically important to our planet, it also contributes to the country’s advanced manufacturing capabilities. It will help meet both consumer demand for and corporate commitments to incorporating recycled plastics into commercial products.” The project is supported by a grant from the US National Science Foundation (NSF). It aims to improve the nation’s plastic recycling efforts, and includes public outreach strategies, such as recruiting students under-represented in STEM disciplines. AI ROBOTS AND ADVANCED SOLVENTS The robotic system under development will combine novel sensor technology that can register the molecular signature of each piece of plastic, and machine learning, which identifies the material.

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UBNOW REVEALS HOW ROBOTS CAN HELP BRING A RISE IN RECYCLING RATES.

for use in adhesives, coatings and printing inks. They can also serve as building blocks for additive manufacturing technologies. Alexandridis confirmed the durability of plastics, and the recapture of them brings value from end-of-life materials to help drive the circular economy. Equally important, he added, is the outreach to students and the public. Outreach programmes on the importance of recycling are planned for school students, as well as the general public. The project stems from ongoing multidisciplinary efforts to improve plastics recycling led by RENEW, such as the institute’s new statefunded effort to improve plastics recycling.

UB ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCHERS TURN TO AI ROBOTS By integrating this system with existing technologies, researchers aim to create an advanced sorting process that captures and reuses other materials often found in plastic recycling streams, such as contaminants and nonpolymeric waste. In addition to the robotic system, the research team is investigating how to use environmentally responsible

solvents to recover desirable plastics from mixed-plastic streams. The solvents would separate the plastic from additives or impurities, and render it suitable for reuse. The project will also develop new chemical methods for the controlled breakdown of plastic molecules into valuable raw materials. Recovered and purified polyolefins could be upcycled to produce waxes

Additionally, the new NSFfunded project complements other research activities at UB, such as the Sustainable Manufacturing and Advance Robotic Technologies (SMART) Community of Excellence.Top of FormBottom of Form.

The project stems from ongoing multidisciplinary efforts to improve plastics recycling led by RENEW


eurotec ÂŽ is always in your life with its standard products and tailor-made solutions; and always by your side with its creative design services, R&D to push the limits, and after sales support.


We take service to the next level! ENGEL ensures long-term availability, flexibility and efficiency for your injection moulding production. We support you both on site and online, whenever you need help. You can also benefit from a comprehensive range of training courses that are easily available in person and on the web! Furthermore we offer you our free customer portal e-connect, qualified remote maintenance via e-connect.24 and the monitoring of process-critical components during operation by e-connect.monitor.

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