Plastics Decorating - January February 2017

Page 1



Buyer s Guide Editio n

Modern Pad Printing Technology Innovations in Plastics Product Security Assembly Decisions with Plastic Components Environmental Compliance with Water-Based Coatings

Contents January/February 2017

COVER STORY Technology Modern Pad Printing Technology

page 46

The benefits of all-electric, programmable, stepper motordriven pad printing equipment are examined.



Innovations in Plastics Products Security: Anticounterfeiting Technologies

page 6

With profits, corporate liability and brand reputations at stake, companies are fighting against product counterfeiting with overt and covert security authentication solutions.


The Global Market for Small-Format Digital Printing of 3D Novelty Products

page 12

InPrint USA provides a global perspective of the market for small-format digital printing ahead of its co-located show to be held in Orlando, Florida, April 25-27.

2017 Buyers Guide Solutions

A Learning Approach to Equipment Setup

page 15

Viewpoint Equipment Highlight

page 46 page 24

Industry Product Tech Watch

page 30 page 41 page 44

Association Marketplace Calendar Ad Index

page 58 page 64 page 66 page 66

(Pad Printing)

(KBA-Kammann’s K20 Series Decorating Machines)

page 26

It may be difficult to immediately obtain ROI on new equipment acquisitions in the manufacturing industry because of workforce challenges. A different approach to equipment setup could remove some barriers.


Key Considerations: Adhesives or Ultrasonic Welding for Plastic Component Assembly?

page 36

When choosing between adhesives and ultrasonic welding for plastics assembly, a variety of considerations should be addressed, including requirements for flexibility, production volume and cycle time.


page 52

Enhancing Environmental Compliance with Water-Based Coatings

VOCs are a prime target for sustainability and workplace safety efforts, and water-based chemistries may have an advantage over solvent-based counterparts.

Ask the Expert

Developments in Plastics Decoration

Read Plastics Decorating at or download the Plastics Decorating app. Cover photo courtesy of Pad Print Pros

page 60

Plastics decoration is used in industries ranging from plastic packaging and consumer products to telecommunications and automotive, and the requirements for both appearance and function vary widely. Even with this variety, there are underlying trends that exist across the industry.

January/February 2017 3

VIEWPOINT As we begin the planning stages of our SPE Decorating & Assembly Division Topical Conference for this year (running in conjunction with the In-Mold Decorating Association Symposium), it still amazes me to see all of the technologies that have evolved for both plastics decorating and assembly processes. Industrial designers and engineers push the envelope with what they want to print and showcase on their parts. And, decorating/printing has become an important part of product security as well. The Focus article in this issue talks in detail on new anticounterfeiting technologies for plastics. In addition, Paul Uglum, Delphi’s technology advocate and current chair of the SPE Decorating & Assembly Division, has outlined in this issue’s Ask the Expert section the current trends and some of the specific applications he is seeing in the marketplace – both automotive and others. It is an extremely interesting read and provides some insights on what companies are looking for today, including the need for both decorative and textured services to add visual and tactile characteristics. This issue also contains an interesting Trends article on the current market for small-format digital printing. This was a portion of a larger study on the entire industrial printing market that was put together by Mack Brooks (the organizers of the new InPrint USA show that will take place in Orlando this upcoming April 25-27 – Finally, this first issue of 2017 includes the Buyers Guide with a list of companies providing plastics decorating and assembly equipment, consumables and other services. In addition to the printed version in this issue, this Buyers Guide is available to our readers and others in the plastics industry all year on our website at Plastics Decorating will be involved with the new InPrint USA show in April, so we hope to see many of you in Orlando. In addition, continue to look for more details on the upcoming SPE Decorating & Assembly Topical Conference/IMDA Symposium taking place in Chicago, June 18-20. We hope many of you will join us.

Jeff Peterson, Editor-in-Chief,

ISSN: 1536-9870

January/February 2017

Published by: Peterson Publications, Inc.

2150 SW Westport Dr., Suite 101 Topeka, KS 66614 (785) 271-5801

Website: Email: Editor-in-Chief Jeff Peterson Managing Editor Dianna Brodine Assistant Editors Nancy Cates Lara Copeland Technical Editor Scott Sabreen, The Sabreen Group

Art Director Becky Arensdorf Graphic Designer Kelly Adams Sales Director Gayla Peterson Circulation Manager Brenda Schell

Plastics Decorating is published quarterly. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any manner without written consent from the publisher.

4 January/February 2017

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Innovations in Plastics Products Security: Anticounterfeiting Technologies by Scott Sabreen, president, The Sabreen Group


ounterfeiting is a worldwide epidemic. It threatens the global economy and public health through the production of inferior products that circumvent consumer protection regulatory channels. Spending by the public and corporations is increased to counter the illegal trade, and prices of legitimate products increase as companies seek to recover their financial losses. The International Chamber of Commerce estimated that in 2015, the value of counterfeit goods globally exceeded $1.7 trillion. That represents more than two percent of the world’s current total economic output. With profits, corporate liability and brand reputations at stake, companies are fighting back to protect their brands. Decades of experience and information derived from reputable global sources clearly demonstrate that no single anticounterfeit technology works best for all products and situations. Multiple approaches and solutions are needed, i.e., a layered approach works best. This article examines “overt” and “covert” security authentication solutions. Anticounterfeiting technology classifications Anticounterfeiting technologies can be classified and explained in different ways. In this article, technology classifications are shown on the basis of usage. Authentication Authentication is the act of establishing or confirming something as genuine. ISO 12931:2012 specifies performance criteria and evaluation methodology for authentication solutions used to establish material good authenticity throughout the entire product life cycle. However, it does not specify how technical solutions achieve these performance criteria. Authentication generally is done through the overt or covert features in the product. Depending upon the importance and value of the product, combining overt and covert features provides layered protection solutions. Anti-counterfeit technologies – overt and covert Overt and covert security authentication is examined in this article. The main difference between the two is that overt technologies can be verified by users (typically visually) who are familiar with the overt technology and have a reference genuine sample of the feature with which to compare the suspect feature on the suspect product. Overt and covert solutions are designed to be applied in such a way that they cannot be reused or removed without being defaced or causing damage to the pack. For this reason, an overt device might be incorporated within a Tamper Evident feature for added security. Overt techniques are clearly visible and do not require detection devices because they are based upon the sensorial capability of the human being. Note: overt technologies also can be used as covert technologies and vice versa, depending on the

6 January/February 2017

Figure 1. Anticounterfeiting technology classifications

complexity of the design. Most of the recent developments in overt and covert technologies have embedded hidden features to make them more difficult to be illegally replicated. Overt technologies include the following: • 2D/3D holography (morphing, flip image, gradient, pseudo color, grayscale image, linear/circular kinetic) • Optical variable devices • Watermark • Security graphics (micro/nano text, security patterns, multicolor designs, deliberately integrated errors )




Figure 2. Optically variable ink with color-shifting effect – a) original clear window under front illumination light, b) view in reflected light and c) view in transmitted light




Figure 3. Optically variable inks with polarizing effects – a) without tilting, b) tilted and c) through a polarizing filter

• Security threads • Security foils • Color shifting inks • Intaglio printing • Laser marking • Fluorescence artifacts • Colored interlayers • 2D codes (QR, data matrix) • Sequential product numbering, serialization • Contact microchip

• Photograph • Magnetic strip Covert technologies typically require specific equipment to be verified, as the details of the technology are not disclosed. Some covert technologies – such as infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) inks, microtext and microscopic tagging – are invisible and difficult to detect and replicate without special detection

 January/February 2017 7

t p. 7


equipment. Images printed with UV inks are only visible under a UV lamp. UV inks are available in different frequencies, thus – depending on the formulation of the ink – the investigators will need to use either a long-wave or short-wave UV lamp for the printed images or text to become visible. UV inks may fluoresce in a variety of colors, adding to the complexity of this covert feature. Covert technologies include the following: • Micro/nano printing • Hidden imagery • Polarization imagery • Taggants and chemicals, up-converting phosphors • Security inks • Nanoparticles In addition, covert technologies, such as taggants, also can be placed onto packaging, with the most effective being completely invisible and only detectable with a special reading device. As with other covert technologies, taggants only can be identified by the brand owner or people they equip with the appropriate knowledge and technology to provide conclusive verification. Featured technology – Innovations in optically variable devices Optical Variable Devices (OVDs) are a relatively new form of

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Overt and covert solutions are designed to be applied in such a way that they cannot be reused or removed without being defaced or causing damage to the pack. security technology. Complex images exhibit various optical effects depending on the amount of light striking the OVD and the angle in which the OVD is viewed. Sometimes an illuminating light source is used as an additional security benefit. OVDs cannot be photocopied or scanned and cannot be accurately replicated or reproduced. Figure 2 demonstrates optically variable inks with color shifting effects when viewed under reflected and transmitted light conditions. Another example of OVD security, as shown in Figure 3, demonstrates optically variable inks with polarizing effects. Properties of optical variable devices OVDs, similar to holograms, generally involve image flips or transitions, color transformations and monochromatic contrasts. OVDs typically are composed of a transparent film (as the image carrier) and a reflective backing layer, which typically is a very thin layer of aluminum or copper to produce a feature characteristic hue. Additional security features may be added by the process of partial de-metallization, whereby some of the reflective layer is chemically removed to give an intricate outline to the image, as seen on banknotes. The reflective layer can be so thin as to be transparent, resulting in a clear film with more of a ghost reflective image visible under certain angles of viewing and illumination. Ultra high-resolution micro/nano images (10-micron and smaller, 62,000 characters per cm2) are one of the important breakthroughs in optical security, using beam-steered lasers. This detail exceeds the resolution available via any other copying, printing or scanning device in industry. Features can be visible to the naked eye, while fine detail only can be viewed using hand-held magnification. The risk of counterfeiting has been greatly reduced by recent advances in the production of micro/nano images and security patterns, which now can be resolved at more than double the previous level. • OVDs can be placed on the surface of products (typically by stamping or rolled laminator process) or under the surface of products (by laminating or injection molding). • OVDs can be metallized (shiny) or transparent (HRI – High Refractive Index).

pad print 4 color in one hit Using low pressure digital heat transfers Introducing CDigital low pressure heat transfers. Not only do they provide all of the benefits of digital heat transfers, they also offer all of the benefits of pad printing. With the ability to transfer full color plus white images in one hit, they allow for decorating contoured or odd shape products with ease. This cost effective solution also speeds up production by eliminating extensive setups between jobs and provides variable data and personalization capabilities never before seen with pad printing.

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t p. 8


• Some OVDs are a combination of metallized and transparent (like the US Passport Card). • When laser marking is done on HRI type OVD, the laser passes through the transparent OVD. • When laser marking is done on a metallized OVD, the laser ablates the metallization, creating a unique or personalized OVD. • OVDs can be manufactured to fracture when attempts are made to remove them from the product. This is a tamper-evident feature that helps keep counterfeiters from removing or reusing OVDs. Conclusion In today’s global economy when products are under attack in forms of counterfeiting and tampering, authentication technologies play a vital role in protecting brand reputation and the public. With the use of increasingly sophisticated counterfeit methods, criminals continue to advance and profit at the cost of public safety and company revenue. It is essential to implement overt, covert and forensic technologies to ensure that criminals are unable to reuse, copy or misappropriate products. n

Scott R. Sabreen is founder and president of The Sabreen Group, Inc., an engineering company specializing in secondary plastics manufacturing processes – laser marking, surface pretreatments, bonding, decorating and finishing, and product security. Sabreen has been developing pioneering technologies and solving manufacturing problems for over 30 years. He can be contacted at 972.820.6777 or by visiting or www. Sabreen


PLASTICS DECORATION a member of the Kurz Foil Group

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January/February 2017 11


The Global Market for Small-Format Digital Printing of 3D Novelty Products Excerpt from InPrint USA white paper: Market Opportunities for Industrial Digital Print in North America


ow interesting is the smallfor m at d ig it a l pr i nt i ng market? This is a growing sector of an undefined area of the market. These printers have been specifically designed to accommodate printing on flat or three-dimensional products. Most of these printers use UV inks, which will adhere to a variety of substrates, giving the user versatility in applications and a lowcost way to break into high-value, niche markets like the printing of cellphone cases or similar products. How do we define this market? For now, perhaps the best fit for smallformat digital printers is promotional products. Advertising Specialty Institute reported promotional product sales in 2014 reached a recordbreaking $21.5 billion, increasing Printed phone cases by the Roland VersaUV Series. Photo courtesy of Roland DGA. by five percent over 2013, with continued growth expected. Although the “promotional products” industry is wide and includes a variety of substrates, including thinner substrates that may applications like apparel (which is not the focus of small-format have melted during curing of other printing processes. The digital printers), the margins for printed products are usually versatility in applications is a key consideration in the user’s 50 to 100 percent compared to printing collateral, which falls purchase decision. in the 10 to 30 percent margin range. How were these applications being produced before? This is a big market, and versatility is key. The ability to offer For the most part, small-format digital printing machines your customer a variety of products – such as pens, key chains, have found a new market – especially when variable data luggage tags, golf balls, etc. – with high-quality printing, low or variable graphics may be involved with decorating the minimum quantities and quick turns is essential. Even as most product. These printers perfectly fill a need for low- to midpromotional goods tend to be printed in China, more and more range quantities of high-quality printed products. These products are being produced (or requested to be produced) in applications weren’t being efficiently produced or produced the US, as lead times do not allow for shipping/transportation at all before because screen printing was too costly at lower from out of the country, and consumers are driving the trend volumes. Pad printing was used in many of these applications; however, digital printing opens more opportunities for 4-color of “Made in America.” process. Types of applications Because UV inks adhere to a variety of substrates, small- Dye-sublimation transfer printing still is a technology used to format digital printers are printing almost any application the produce some of the same products as the small-format inkjet user can think of – tablet cases, photo frames, awards, leather printers. However, multiple steps are associated with dyesub wristlets, belt buckles, etc. These printers also can print non- transfer and, again, it is not ideal for very short runs. Laser 3D items, such as photo books. The inkjet printer can print on engraving/etching is popular for metal and glass objects, but it

12 January/February 2017

does not allow for color graphics, and it will work on limited substrates. Market sizing Many locations are installing additional printers, which means business is good for these users. As the market grows and with more competition, sell price may decline. However, margins for products produced often are 10 times the cost to produce. The ROI on hardware is achieved quickly and justifies the purchase. As discussed earlier, these printers are being installed in a variety of situations – not just at print businesses. Bottom line Customization is king for these small-format digital printers. Yes, some may think of this as “only a niche market,” but isn’t this “the target” of most new-to-market digital printers? Perhaps, in the future, these machines will become faster and bigger, allowing them to handle more volume and begin to replace larger volume printing. Or will these printers continue to fill a niche at the low-volume end of the market and for sampling? Although this platform may not ever replace printing methods for higher quantities, it will allow for custom branding for smaller businesses without a need or budget for mass production.

These printers fill a need for high-quality printing of lowvolume objects while eliminating traditional setup costs (or multi-step applications as with dye-sublimation transfer printing) as well as increasing turn times. Printing on demand allows product delivery to the customer much faster than product produced overseas by eliminating long shipping times and high costs. At any rate, the output is in demand and provides a nice margin for the user. The low cost to acquire and compact footprint make this an attractable option for users looking to diversify their offerings or expand into a new niche market – or for a brand that wants to build a business around a specific product. Explore the latest industrial print solutions for functional, decorative and package printing when InPrint USA makes its debut in Orlando from April 25-27, 2017, at the Orange County Convention Center. Co-located with ICE USA (the International Converting Exhibition), InPrint USA will showcase an array of print technologies – from screen and specialty to digital, inkjet and 3D. For more information or to register, visit n

January/February 2017 13

All-Electric Programmable Fast & Flexible High Accuracy High Efficiency

2017 Buyers Guide Products/Services Offered..................... 16 Supplier Directory.................................. 19 Products/Services Offered Index A Adhesives/Sealants...................................................16 Assembly Equipment................................................16

L Labels/Decals............................................................17 Laser Etching/Marking Equipment...........................17

C Contract Decorating..................................................16

O Offset Printing Presses..............................................17

D Decorating/Assembly Consulting..............................16 Digital Inkjet.............................................................16

P Pad Heat Transfer......................................................17 Pad Printing Presses..................................................17 Pad Printing Supplies................................................18 Paints/Coatings.........................................................18

F Flexographic Printing Presses...................................16 H Heat Transfers...........................................................16 Hot Stamping Dies....................................................16 Hot Stamping Foils...................................................17 Hot Stamping/Heat Transfer Presses........................17 I In-Mold Decorating..................................................17

S Screen Printing Equipment/Supplies........................18 Screen Printing Presses.............................................18 Static Control Systems..............................................18 Substrates (Materials)...............................................18 Surface Treatment Equipment/Supplies....................18 U Used Equipment........................................................18 UV Curing Equipment..............................................18

January/February 2017 15

2017 Buyers Guide PRODUCTS/SERVICES OFFERED Adhesives/Sealants Henkel Corporation

Assembly Equipment 1. Electromagnetic 2. Hot Plate Welding 3. Induction 4. Infrared Welding 5. Laser Welding 6. Spin Welding 7. Staking 8. Thermal Assembly 9. Ultrasonic Welding 10. Vibration Welding

Desco Machine Company 1,2,3,5,6,7 Die Stampco, Inc. 2 Digital Decorations 2 Diversified Printing Techniques, Inc. 6 DuraTech Industries 3,8 Encres Dubuit 1,6,8 Hot Stamp Supply Co. 2 1,2,4,6,8,9 Inhance Technologies 9 Innovative Digital Systems 1,2,3,6,8 Innovative Marking Systems 6 ITW Trans Tech-IDS Division 1,6 ITW United Silicone-IDS Division 2 Pad Print Pros 6 Standard Machines, Inc. 2,6,8 Unique Assembly & Decorating 1,2,6,8

Decorating/Assembly Consulting

Thermal Press Int’l.

341 Stealth Court Livermore, CA 94551 Phone: (925) 454-9800 Fax: (925) 454-9810 Website:

Accusonics, Inc. 6,7,9,10 AFM Engineering Co. 2,7,8,9 Branson Ultrasonics 2,5,6,7,8,9,10 Dukane 2,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 Emabond Solutions, LLC 1,3 Extol, Inc. 2,4,6,7,9 Herrmann Ultrasonics, Inc. 9 Sonics & Materials, Inc. 2,6,7,8,9,10 Thermal Press International, Inc. 4,7,8 Tooltex, Inc. 2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10 Trekk Equipment Group Tributek 9

Contract Decorating 1. Digital Inkjet 2. Hot Stamping/Heat Transfers 3. In-Mold Decorating 4. Laser Marking 5. Offset Printing 6. Pad Printing 7. Painting/Coating 8. Screen Printing 9. Surface Activation AFM Engineering Co. 2,6 Amdec, Inc. 2,6,8 Apex Machine Company 1,2,3,5,6,7 AutoTran, Inc. 2,4,6,8 Central Decal Company, Inc. 3,8 Comdec, Inc. 2,6,8 Custom Imprint (Div. of TSR, Inc.) 1,2,6,8 Deco Technology Group, Inc. 2,6,8

A.W.T. World Trade, Inc. Accusonics, Inc. AFM Engineering Co. AutoTran, Inc. Dubuit America, Inc. Herrmann Ultrasonics, Inc. Inhance Technologies Innovative Digital Systems Innovative Marking Systems ITW Trans Tech-IDS Division ITW United Silicone-IDS Division KURZ Transfer Products, L.P. Pad Print Pros Sabreen Group, Inc., The Standard Machines, Inc. Thermal Press International, Inc. Trekk Equipment Group Tributek

Digital Inkjet 1. Digital Transfers 2. Equipment 3. Fixtures 4. Inks 5. Software 6. Systems Integration

Inkcups Now Corp.

310 Andover St. Danvers, MA 01923 Phone: (978) 646-8980 Fax: (978) 646-8981 Website:

16 January/February 2017

Supplier Directory begins on page 19. Apex Machine Company 2,4,6 CDigital 1 Deco Technology Group, Inc. 2,4,6 Desco Machine Company 2,4,6 Dubuit America, Inc. 2,4 Encres Dubuit 4 Engineered Printing Solutions 2,3,4,5,6 Inkcups Now Corporation 1,2,3,4 Innovative Digital Systems 2,3,4 ITW Trans Tech-IDS Division 2,3,4,5,6 KBA-Kammann USA 2,6 Marabu North America 4 Mimaki USA 2 Nazdar Ink Technologies 4 Webtech, Inc. 1

Flexographic Printing Presses Apex Machine Company Desco Machine Company OMSO North America

Heat Transfers 1. Digital 2. Flexographic 3. Roto-gravure 4. Screen Printed


2529 Washington Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21230 Phone: (410) 646-7800 Fax: (410) 646-7786 Website:

AutoTran, Inc. 1 CDigital 1 Comdec, Inc. Deco Technology Group, Inc. 1,4 Digital Decorations 1 Great Western Foils, Inc. 1,3 1,2,3,4 Inkcups Now Corporation 1 Innovative Digital Systems ITW United Silicone-IDS Division KURZ Transfer Products, L.P. 1,2,3,4 Webtech, Inc. 1,2,3,4

Hot Stamping Dies 1. Art Services 2. Brass 3. Copper 4. Magnesium 5. Silicone Rubber 6. Steel 7. Tooling

h+m USA

2020-I Starita Rd. Charlotte, NC 28206 Phone: (704) 599-9325 Fax: (704) 599-3857 Website:

AutoTran, Inc. 5 Deco Technology Group, Inc. 2,3,4,5,7 Die Stampco, Inc. 2,3,4,5,6,7 Diversified Printing Techniques, Inc. 7 h+m USA 5 Hot Stamp Supply Co. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 Industrial Pad Printing Supplies 5 ITW United Silicone-IDS Division 1,2,4,5,6,7 KURZ Transfer Products, L.P. 2,5,6,7 Schwerdtle Technologies 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 Trekk Equipment Group Universal Engraving, Inc., A UEI Group Company 2,3,7 Webtech, Inc. 5

Hot Stamping Foils 1. Gloss Pigment 2. Holographic 3. Matte Pigment 4. Metallic 5. Multicolored


2529 Washington Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21230 Phone: (410) 646-7800 Fax: (410) 646-7786 Website:

Great Western Foils, Inc. 2279 Agate Ct. Simi Valley, CA 93065 Phone: (805) 375-4336 Fax: (805) 375-4337 Website:

AutoTran, Inc. CDigital 5 Crown Roll Leaf, Inc. 1,2,3,4,5 Custom Foils Co. 1,3,4 Die Stampco, Inc. 1,2,3,4,5 Great Western Foils, Inc. 1,2,3,4,5 Hot Stamp Supply Co. 1,2,3,4 1,3,4,5 Infinity Foils, Inc. 1,2,3,4,5 Innovative Digital Systems 1,3,4,5 ITW United Silicone-IDS Division KURZ Transfer Products, L.P. 1,2,3,4,5 Marabu North America 4 Webtech, Inc. 1,2,3,4,5

Hot Stamping/ Heat Transfer Presses 1. Digital 2. Peripheral 3. Roll-on 4. Servo 5. Vertical

Trekk Equipment Group 70 Midwest Drive Pacific, MO 63069 Phone: (636) 271-1391 Website:

AFM Engineering Co. 1,2,3,4,5 Apex Machine Company 1 AutoTran, Inc. CDigital 1 Deco Technology Group, Inc. 2,3,5 Desco Machine Company Digital Decorations 3 Hot Stamp Supply Co. 3,5 1,2,3,4,5 Innovative Digital Systems 2,3,4,5 ITW United Silicone-IDS Division 2,3,4,5 KBA-Kammann USA 3,4,5 KURZ Transfer Products, L.P. 1,2,3,4,5 Standard Machines, Inc. 5 Tooltex, Inc. 5 Trekk Equipment Group Webtech, Inc. 1,2,3,4,5

Labels/Decals 1. Domed 2. Outdoor Durable 3. Pressure-Sensitive 4. Shrink Sleeves Central Decal Company, Inc. 1,2,3 DuraTech Industries 1,2,3 Inland 3,4 KURZ Transfer Products, L.P. 2 Yupo Corporation America 3

Laser Etching/ Marking Equipment 1. Direct Marking 2. Laser Material Additives 3. Paint and Laser 4. Platemaking AutoTran, Inc. Diversified Printing Techniques, Inc. 1 Engineered Printing Solutions 4 Industrial Pad Printing Supplies 1,4 Inkcups Now Corporation 1,4 Innovative Marking Systems 4 ITW Trans Tech-IDS Division 4 Sabreen Group, Inc., The

Offset Printing Presses 1. Dry Offset 2. Laser Printing Plates Apex Machine Company 1 Desco Machine Company 1 Industrial Pad Printing Supplies 2 OMSO North America 1

Pad Heat Transfer 1. Heat Transfers 2. Machinery

In-Mold Decorating 1. Diecutting 2. Fabric 3. In-Mold Inserts 4. In-Mold Labels 5. In-Mold Transfers 6. Inks 7. In-Mold Label Substrates Apex Machine Company 6 Central Decal Company, Inc. 1,3,4 Desco Machine Company 6 DuraTech Industries 4 3,4,5 Inland 4 KURZ Transfer Products, L.P. 3,4,5,7 Marabu North America 6 Proell, Inc. 6 Yupo Corporation America 7

Pad Printing Presses 1. Automated Systems 2. Dryers 3. Manual 4. Open Ink Well 5. Rotary 6. Sealed Cup

Deco Technology Group, Inc.

749 N. Main St. Orange, CA 92868 Phone: (714) 639-3326 Fax: (714) 639-2261 Website: A.W.T. World Trade, Inc. 2 AFM Engineering Co. 1,4,6 Apex Machine Company 1,2,4,5,6 AutoTran, Inc. Comdec, Inc. 6 Deco Technology Group, Inc. 1,2,4,5,6 Desco Machine Company 1,2,4,5,6 Diversified Printing Techniques, Inc. 4,5 Dubuit America, Inc. Engineered Printing Solutions 1,2,3,5,6 Graphic Parts International, Inc. 2 1,2,4,5,6 Industrial Pad Printing Supplies 1,2,3,4,5,6 Inkcups Now Corporation 1,2,6 Innovative Digital Systems Innovative Marking Systems 1,2,5,6 ITW Trans Tech-IDS Division 1,2,3,5,6 Pad Print Pros 1,2,6 Standard Machines, Inc. 1,2,5,6


2529 Washington Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21230 Phone: (410) 646-7800 Fax: (410) 646-7786 Website:

AutoTran, Inc. CDigital 1 Hot Stamp Supply Co. 2 1,2

January/February 2017 17

2017 Buyers Guide Pad Printing Supplies 1. Ceramic Rings 2. Cliches/Plates 3. Ink Cups 4. Inks/Thinners 5. Pads

Inkcups Now Corp.

310 Andover St. Danvers, MA 01923 Phone: (978) 646-8980 Fax: (978) 646-8981 Website: AutoTran, Inc. Comdec, Inc. 3,4 Deco Technology Group, Inc. 1,2,3,4,5 Diversified Printing Techniques, Inc. 1,2,3,4 Dubuit America, Inc. 3,4 Encres Dubuit 4 Engineered Printing Solutions 1,2,3,4,5 1,2,3,4,5 Industrial Pad Printing Supplies 1,2,3,4,5 Inkcups Now Corporation 1,2,3,4,5 Innovative Marking Systems 1,2,3,4,5 ITW Trans Tech-IDS Division 1,2,3,4,5 Marabu North America 4 Pad Print Pros 1,2,3,4,5 Proell, Inc. 4 Standard Machines, Inc. 1,2,3,4,5

Paints/Coatings 1. Plasma Coating 2. Powder Coating 3. Solvent-based 4. UV-Curable 5. Water-Based Apex Machine Company 3,4,5 Desco Machine Company 3,4,5 Encres Dubuit 4 Henkel Corporation Industrial Pad Printing Supplies 3,4 Innovative Marking Systems 3,4 Marabu North America 4,5 Plasmatreat USA, Inc. 1 Proell, Inc. 3,4,5 Ruco USA, Inc. 4

Screen Printing Equipment/Supplies 1. Dryers 2. Inks 3. Screens/Screen Making Equipment 4. Tooling 5. UV Dryers 6. Vacuum Tables Apex Machine Company 5 A.W.T. World Trade, Inc. 1,2,3,4,5 AutoTran, Inc. Deco Technology Group, Inc. 1,2,3,4,5,6 Desco Machine Company 5 Diversified Printing Techniques, Inc. 1,2,3,4 Dubuit America, Inc. 1,2,4,5 Encres Dubuit 2 GPE A. Ardenghi S.r.l. 1,5 Graphic Parts International, Inc. 1,3,4,6 1,2,3,4,5,6 Industrial Pad Printing Supplies 1,2,3,4,5 Inkcups Now Corporation 1,2,4,5 KBA-Kammann USA 1,5 Marabu North America 2 Nazdar Ink Technologies 2 OMSO North America 1,4 Proell, Inc. 2 Ruco USA, Inc. 2 Standard Machines, Inc. 2

Screen Printing Presses 1. Containers/3D 2. Flat Sheet 3. Inspection Systems

Deco Technology Group, Inc.

749 N. Main St. Orange, CA 92868 Phone: (714) 639-3326 Fax: (714) 639-2261 Website: A.W.T. World Trade, Inc. 1,2,3 AutoTran, Inc. Deco Technology Group, Inc. 1,2 Diversified Printing Techniques, Inc. 1,2,3 Dubuit America, Inc. 1 GPE A. Ardenghi S.r.l. 1,2 Graphic Parts International, Inc. 1 1,2,3 KBA-Kammann USA 1,3 OMSO North America 1,3

18 January/February 2017

Static Control Systems Plasmatreat USA, Inc. Simco-Ion

Substrates (Materials) 1. In-Molded Plastic Films Yupo Corporation America 1

Surface Treatment Equipment/Supplies 1. Air Plasma 2. Chemical 3. Cold Gas Plasma 4. Corona 5. Dyne Testing Supplies 6. Flame 7. Plasma 8. Reactive Gas 9. Surface Conditioning 3DT, LLC 1,4,5,7 Apex Machine Company 1,4,5,6,7 AutoTran, Inc. Deco Technology Group, Inc. 1,2,6 Desco Machine Company 1,4,5,6,7 Diversified Printing Techniques, Inc. 2,3,4,6 Dubuit America, Inc. 6 Enercon Industries 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 Engineered Printing Solutions 1,4,6,7 GPE A. Ardenghi S.r.l. 6 Henkel Corporation 1,2,4,5,6,7 Industrial Pad Printing Supplies 1,4,5,6,7,9 Inhance Technologies 8,9 Innovative Marking Systems 4,5,6,7 ITW Trans Tech-IDS Division 4,5,6,7 KBA-Kammann USA 6,9 OMSO North America 6 Pad Print Pros 4,5,6 Plasmatreat USA, Inc. 1,3,5,7,9 Sabreen Group, Inc., The Simco-Ion 9

Used Equipment 1. Assembly 2. Hot Stamping 3. Offset Printing 4. Pad Printing 5. Screen Printing 6. Ultrasonic 7. UV and Air Dryers A.W.T. World Trade, Inc. 5,7 Accusonics, Inc. 6 AFM Engineering Co. 2,4,6 AutoTran, Inc. Deco Technology Group, Inc. 2,4,5 Graphic Parts International, Inc. 5,7 Herrmann Ultrasonics, Inc. 1,6 Hot Stamp Supply Co. 2 2,4,7

Industrial Pad Printing Supplies 2,4,5,7 Innovative Digital Systems 2 Innovative Marking Systems 4 ITW Trans Tech-IDS Division 4 ITW United Silicone-IDS Division 2 KBA-Kammann USA 5 KURZ Transfer Products, L.P. 2 OMSO North America 3,5 Pad Print Pros 4 Schwerdtle Technologies 2 Sonics & Materials, Inc. 6 Standard Machines, Inc. 4,7 Tooltex, Inc. 1,2,6 Trekk Equipment Group

UV Curing Equipment A.W.T. World Trade, Inc. Apex Machine Company AutoTran, Inc. Deco Technology Group, Inc. Desco Machine Company Dubuit America, Inc. Graphic Parts International, Inc. Henkel Corporation Industrial Pad Printing Supplies ITW Trans Tech-IDS Division KBA-Kammann USA


N114 W18850 Clinton Dr. Germantown, WI 53022 (262) 253-6700 Fax: (262) 253-6977

41 Eagle Rd. Danbury, CT 06810 (203) 796-0400

Custom Imprint (Div. of TSR, Inc.) 19573 Progress Dr. Strongsville, OH 44149 (440) 238-4488 Fax: (440) 238-4484

Deco Technology Group, Inc. CDigital A.W.T. World Trade, Inc. 4321 N. Knox Ave. Chicago, IL 60641 (773) 777-7100 Fax: (773) 777-0909

Accusonics, Inc. 5401 Patton Dr., Unit 113 Lisle, IL 60532 (630) 769-1886 Fax: (630) 769-1887 AFM Engineering Co. 1313 E. Borchard Ave. Santa Ana, CA 92705 (714) 547-0194 Fax: (714) 542-2728 Amdec, Inc. 2623 Manana Dallas, TX 75220 (214) 654-0560 Fax: (214) 654-0561 Apex Machine Company 3000 NE 12th Terr. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334 (954) 566-1572 Fax: (954) 563-2844 AutoTran, Inc. 1466 Rail Head Blvd. Naples, FL 34110 (239) 659-2515 Fax: (239) 659-2519

2529 Washington Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21230 (410) 646-7800 Fax: (410) 646-7786

749 N. Main St. Orange, CA 92868 (714) 639-3326 Fax: (714) 639-2261

Desco Machine Company 1903 Case Pkwy. Twinsburg, OH 44087 (330) 405-1581 Fax: (330) 405-1584

Central Decal Company, Inc. 6901 High Grove Blvd. Burr Ridge, IL 60527 (630) 325-9892 Fax: (630) 325-9860

Die Stampco, Inc. 1301 N. Lincoln St. Bay City, MI 48708 (989) 893-7790 Fax: (989) 893-7741

Comdec, Inc.

25 Hale St. Newburyport, MA 01950 (978) 462-3399 Fax: (978) 462-3443 Crown Roll Leaf, Inc. 91 Illinois Avenue Paterson, NJ 07503 (973) 742-4000 Fax: (973) 742-0219 Custom Foils Co. 185 Foundry St. Newark, NJ 07105 (973) 344-1434 Fax: (973) 589-1617

Digital Decorations, LLC 2 Fanaras Dr., Unit 2B Salisbury, MA 01952 (978) 961-3190 Fax: (978) 463-0329

Diversified Printing Techniques, Inc. 13336 South Ridge Dr. Charlotte, NC 28273 (704) 583-9433 Fax: (704) 583-9439

January/February 2017 19

2017 Buyers Guide Dubuit America, Inc. 70 Monaco Dr. Roselle, IL 60172 (630) 894-9500 Fax: (630) 894-9600 Dukane 2900 Dukane Dr. St. Charles, IL 60174 (630) 797-4900 Fax: (630) 797-4949

GPE A. Ardenghi S.r.l. Via Pagazzano 20 Treviglio, Italy 24047 +39 0363 49796 Fax: +39 0363301410

Graphic Parts International, Inc. 4321 N. Knox Ave. Chicago, IL 60641 (773) 725-4900 Fax: (773) 777-0909

DuraTech Industries 3216 Commerce St. La Crosse, WI 54603 (608) 781-2570 Fax: (608) 781-2540

Emabond Solutions, LLC 49 Walnut St. Norwood, NJ 07648 (201) 767-7400 Fax: (201) 767-3608 Encres Dubuit 1 Rue Isaac Newton Mitry, France 77290 +33 1 6467 4160 Fax: +33 1 6467 1177 Enercon Industries W140 N9572 Fountain Blvd. Menomonee Falls, WI 53051 (262) 255-6070

Industrial Pad Printing Supplies 2212 Radford St. El Paso, TX 79903 (915) 875-1020

Infinity Foils, Inc. Great Western Foils, Inc. 2279 Agate Ct. Simi Valley, CA 93065 (805) 375-4336 Fax: (805) 375-4337

9090 Nieman Rd. Overland Park, KS 66214 (877) 932-3645 Fax: (913) 888-7397 Inhance Technologies 16223 Park Row, Ste. 100 Houston, TX 77084 (281) 578-1440

h+m USA

2020 I Starita Rd. Charlotte, NC 28206 (704) 599-9325 Fax: (704) 599-3857 Henkel Corporation One Henkel Way Rocky Hill, CT 06067 (800) LOCTITE

Engineered Printing Solutions

Herrmann Ultrasonics, Inc. 1261 Hardt Cir. Bartlett, IL 60103 (630) 626-1626 Fax: (630) 736-7514

Extol, Inc. 651 Case Karsten Dr. Zeeland, MI 49464 (616) 748-9955

Hot Stamp Supply Co.

201 Tennis Way East Dorset, VT 05253 (802) 362-0844 Fax: (802) 362-0858

29 Foremast Drive Salem, SC 29676 (256) 566-1342

141-2 Marcel Dr. Winchester, VA 22602 (877) 343-4321 Fax: (877) 448-1001

20 January/February 2017

Inkcups Now Corporation 310 Andover St. Danvers, MA 01923 (978) 646-8980 Fax: (978) 646-8981


2009 West Ave. S. LaCrosse, WI 54601 (608) 788-5800

Innovative Digital Systems 2000 Innovation Dr. Indian Trail, NC 28079 (704) 506-2372 Fax: (208) 247-2392

Innovative Marking Systems 240 Smith St. Lowell, MA 01851 (978) 459-6533 Fax: (978) 459-2220

ITW Trans Tech-IDS Division

Marabu North America 2460-A Remount Rd. North Charleston, SC 29406 (978) 777-2160

Mimaki USA

150-A Satellite Blvd. NE Suwanee, GA 30024 (888) 530-4021 Nazdar Ink Technologies 8501 Hedge Lane Terr. Shawnee, KS 66227 (913) 422-1888 Fax: (913) 422-2296

Proell, Inc.

2751 Dukane Dr. St. Charles, IL 60174 (630) 587-2300 Fax: (630) 587-2666

Ruco USA, Inc. 915 N. Central Ave. Wood Dale, IL 60191 (866) 373-7912

Sabreen Group, Inc., The

475 N. Gary Ave. Carol Stream, IL 60188 Fax: (630) 752-4468

6999 Siena Pl., Ste. 311 The Colony, TX 75056 (972) 820-6777

OMSO North America ITW United Silicone-IDS Division 4471 Walden Ave. Lancaster, NY 14086 (716) 681-8222 Fax: (716) 681-8789

KBA-Kammann USA 235 Heritage Ave. Portsmouth, NH 03801 (978) 463-0050 Fax: (978) 463-0042

1420 Jamike Ave. Erlanger, KY 41018 (859) 282-6676 Fax: (859) 282-9976

Schwerdtle Technologies 41 Benham Ave. Bridgeport, CT 06605 (203) 330-2750 Fax: (203) 330-2760

Pad Print Pros

329 Woodside Dr. Onsted, MI 49265 (517) 467-5340


2257 N. Penn Rd. Hatfield, PA 19440 (215) 822-6401

Plasmatreat USA, Inc. KURZ Transfer Products, L.P. 3200 Woodpark Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28206 (704) 927-3700 Fax: (704) 927-3701

2541 Technology Dr., Ste. 407 Elgin, IL 60124 (847) 783-0622 Fax: (847) 783-0991

Sonics & Materials, Inc. 53 Church Hill Rd. Newtown, CT 06470 (203) 270-4600 Fax: (203) 270-4610

January/February 2017 21

2017 Buyers Guide Standard Machines, Inc. 25 Hale St. Newburyport, MA 01950 (978) 462-4999 Fax: (978) 462-3443

Tributek P.O. Box 8025 Elburn, IL 60119 (630) 448-2295 Fax: (630) 268-8845

Thermal Press International, Inc. 341 Stealth Ct. Livermore, CA 94551 (925) 454-9800 Fax: (925) 454-9810 Tooltex, Inc. 6160 Seeds Rd. Grove City, OH 43123 (614) 539-3222 Fax: (614) 539-3223

Webtech, Inc.

108 N. Gold Dr. Robbinsville, NJ 08691 (609) 259-2800 Fax: (609) 259-9311

Unique Assembly & Decorating 2550 Wisconsin Ave. Downers Grove, IL 60515 (630) 241-4300 Fax: (630) 241-4306

Yupo Corporation America Universal Engraving, Inc., A UEI Group Company

Trekk Equipment Group

9090 Nieman Rd. Overland Park, KS 66214 (913) 541-0503 (800) 221-9059 Fax: (913) 541-8172

800 Yupo Ct. Chesapeake, VA 23320 (888) 873-9876 Fax: (757) 312-9702

70 Midwest Dr. Pacific, MO 63069 (636) 271-1391

The 2017 Buyers Guide will be available online all year at

22 January/February 2017





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Pad Printing Equipment AutoTran 239.659.2515 The AutoTransfer 6.0 from AutoTran, Naples, Florida, is a newly designed machine using pad printing technology to apply heat transfers and allow for the utilization of full-color printing in a single hit on almost all shapes and surfaces. The AutoTransfer 6.0 offers a solution for those in need of a fast turnaround, short run in a cost-effective manner for variable and personalized printing. It also has the flexibility to be used at production speeds. The AutoTransfer 6.0 is a machine for many applications. A.W.T. World Trade, Inc. 773.777.7100 The Cure-Tex HD dryer from A.W.T. World Trade, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, can handle hundreds of pieces per hour, depending on size. It features a dual heat chamber with an increased belt length for objects with extended curing requirements. Solid state temperature controls and heavy-duty chamber insulation combine for an efficient means of curing that keeps heat in and reduces energy consumption. Heat is delivered through a top-down airflow pattern, guarding against scorching. A user-friendly control panel provides complete up-front operation with independent settings for temperature and belt speed. Heat panel height easily is adjusted, and a rugged Fiberlon™ belt withstands heat up to 500°F (260°C). Comdec, Inc. 800.445.9176 The user friendly one- and two-color pad printer, SMI 90 BA, from Comdec, Newburyport, Massachusetts, features easy setup, 90mm ink cups, user-friendly controls, various programs and the possibility to modify existing print plates/clichés. Also offered is the T200 series of pad printing

24 January/February 2017

inks. Developed to follow the strictest standards being put forth by international regulatory agencies, it is free of cyclohexanone, aromatic hydrocarbons and phthalates and works as one- or twocomponent ink. There are many compatible applications and all colors are easily matched. Deco Tech (Deco Technology Group, Inc.) 800.300.3326 The newest microprint precision pad printing workstation, model ML-500 from Deco Tech, Orange, California, is a universal multicolor pad printing system that features a “hybrid” control drive system, with both linear motor controls and pneumatic controls. Optionally, the ML-500 can be set up to be all motor driven, combining linear and servo motors for all machine axis motions. The ML-500 can be outfitted with a maximum number of eight ink cups at 56mm diameter or any other combinations, including four colors at 120mm diameter, five colors at 86mm diameter or six colors with 70mm ink cups. The microprint ML-500 pad print machinery also is equipped with an automatic tape pad cleaning system and ink viscosity control system. It also can be set up with a servo-driven linear part shuttle or a servo-driven race-track carousel. Diversified Printing Techniques 704.583.9433 The G-Turbo 350IDS from Diversified Printing Techniques, Charlotte, North Carolina, is a versatile two-color printer. The granite stone structure provides improved performance and stability, as well as protection for the environment. With two independent pad cylinders, larger images and products can be printed. The servo shuttle and servo carriage allow for printing up to six images in one cycle. The machine can work with a rotating fixture to allow for fewer setups, and it has a PLC control with touch screen

interface with 20 job saves. The G-Turbo 350IDS has pad dwell, delay and automatic tape clean, as well as dead-on printing plate registration for quick job changes. Engineered Printing Solutions 802.362.0844 The KP08 from Engineered Printing Solutions, East Dorset, Vermont, is a versatile pad printer with the option of printing as many as five colors with virtually no drying time. This compact model allows full-process CMYK printing. The electro-pneumatic KP08 is suitable for automatic handling systems. The electronic touchscreen allows the operator to control many functions, such as timer delays, delay front and back, and auxiliary functions, such as rotary tables and pretreatment devices. This machine is capable of a 3" diameter image using up to five colors or 4.5" diameter image using five colors or less. Innovative Marking Systems 978.459.6533 The all-electric Logica 5.5 from Innovative Marking Systems, Lowell, Massachusetts, is the newest machine in the TOSH line of pad printers. It is manufactured from light alloy and special steel. The Logica 5.5 is numerically controlled for printing upwards of six colors. This fully electric pad printer is available in three versions for different printing force and speeds. The computerized numerical control ensures complete flexibility of operation and simplicity without compromise. Standard packages can include cross tables in different dimensions, automatic pad cleaners, oval flat conveyors, rectilinear tracked or inclined conveyors, drying devices (air, UV and IR) and more. Industrial Decorating Solutions 630.752.4000 The Trans Tech-branded Aero system from Industrial Decorating Solutions, Carol Stream, Illinois, is a single- and multi-color

electro-pneumatic pad print machine ideally suited for high-performance, lowervolume applications. The design and operating features make this system suitable for manual jobs requiring quick artwork and fixture changeovers. Operations with a new or inexperienced pad printing workforce will manage this system with ease. Significantly reducing changeover and cleanup time, the Aero series comes equipped with the patented SpaceFrame™ and ExpressLiner™. Furthermore, the Aero 60 and Aero 90 systems come with the patented ExpressPad™ coupler. Inkcups Now Corporation 978.646.8980 The B100-PC (pad cleaner) from Inkcups Now Corporation, Danvers, Massachusetts, is a new single-color pad printing machine that includes an automatic pad cleaning system, ensuring clear prints. It is ideal for use with silicone ink, which requires frequent pad cleaning, as well as in apparel and industrial facilities where there may be a lot of sediment in the environment that makes regular pad cleaning necessary. The B100-PC has a roll of tape that extends behind the print area. It can be programmed to be cleaned after every print or after five, 10, 20 or 50 prints. The pad will print on a substrate, go back, press down on the tape to clean the pad and then back to the plate to pick up the print. Kent Pad Printer Canada Inc. 905.940.8539 The six-axis robot from Kent, Ontario, Canada, is capable of multiple tasks – such as loading, orienting and unloading parts – without human intervention. The robot increases production, lowers operator costs and improves the overall decorating process. It has been successfully integrated into production lines. n

January/February 2017 25


A Learning Approach to Equipment Setup by Perry Parendo, president, Perry’s Solutions


ompanies desire capital equipment for several reasons: to create a competitive advantage by processing product faster; to use local manufacturing instead of experiencing increasing costs in China and other negative impacts; or to automate, utilizing leading-edge equipment to use lesser skilled workers and avoid skills gap. Regardless of the reason, companies are increasingly prioritizing the acquisition of new equipment in the manufacturing industry.

Typical New Equipment Setup 1. Buy machine.

This new equipment acquisition trend comes with a big challenge. With a workforce that is smaller, busier and less experienced in setting up this new equipment, it is difficult to immediately obtain the return on investment (ROI) expected. What is being missed? Standard new equipment setup “Informal” would be a good description of the typical approach for initializing equipment setup. It may include running a few scrap parts through the machine to check it out. We use these scrap parts mainly because we have those parts available for free. The test may include processing a raw material that is easily available or inexpensive. Maybe it is just checking a few of the settings to ensure nothing visibly bad happens. Each of these is a test of convenience. Without a thought-out plan, it is not possible to allocate time to the setup activity, making it easy for already limited resources to be pulled away to handle other emergencies. These emergencies often are caused by other equipment that was not evaluated appropriately upfront! Eventually, the new equipment is pushed onto the production floor due to capacity needs, regardless of its readiness. Yet, when employees struggle to make it perform as needed, a crisis develops as they scramble to handle the new defective material created by the equipment that was supposed to solve some of those production problems. It is difficult to obtain additional raw materials to remake new batches of parts. Because of the pressure to perform, it is not a situation where we can reasonably expect to gain deeper understanding about the new equipment process. Instead, the organization is living in survival mode. This standard focus is “checking it out” to confirm that it works right. Instead, we should take a learning approach. Can we better understand how the new equipment works first, with limited pressure?

26 January/February 2017

2. Plug it in, and start to work.

3. Hope for the best.

Preferred new equipment process The process for evaluating and setting up a new piece of equipment should be the same approach used for any new design. Create a clear and detailed specification for the equipment first. It needs to be less about features and sensors, but instead about capabilities and functions. In fact, it should define the range of capabilities. Maybe you want the machine to run fast, but there could be times you need to slow it down. Is the equipment supplier expecting this varying capability?

t p. 26


Additionally, a test plan (subject to change as learning occurs) should exist up front to evaluate the key performance aspects. This can serve two major purposes. First, an estimate of time and materials to evaluate the new machine is possible. Second, it can clarify the requirements being requested. Is it acceptable for the vendor to perform this test? Do portions need to be repeated in-house to confirm that electrical and air quality difference do not impact process performance? Or to ensure training is adequate? Answering these questions can help the equipment definition and the equipment supplier. Considering conformance to the specification (Installation Qualification, for example, in the medical device industry) is a good starting point, but certainly does not mean the equipment is acceptable for use. Agreement on a plan at the time of purchase helps ensure the resources required will be available.

purchase as a demonstration unit. If acceptable, then a purchase order would be generated and executed.

What else should the test plan include? Assume you are processing a range of raw material sizes. The sizes range from a 2x2 extrusion up to a 4x6 extrusion. In this case, both extremes should be confirmed. It also should include the raw material types that frequently are used or expected to be used. A rarely used material, which also can be processed on other equipment, may not need to be part of the test plan, but the high-volume materials need to be checked. If a range of pressures or flow rates are planned, then those should be evaluated with the parts associated with those process parameters.

The process for evaluating and setting up a new piece of equipment should be the same approach used for any new design. Create a clear and detailed specification for the equipment first.

How should we think about the test plan? When we are confirming understanding for simple, well-understood items, we can use simple comparative tests. However, when our focus needs to be on deeper learning, there is no better tool than using Design of Experiments (DOE). It is a structured approach to evaluate multiple input variables and understand impacts on multiple output specifications. Using this approach allows an optimal solution to be discovered and implemented. Any new settings or sensors should be checked out in detail for functionality. Does it work as expected? Does it perform as needed? Is it helping the process, or is it excessive and cumbersome? Does another solution need to be created and implemented? The impact of different sizes or amounts of pellets in the hopper needs to be understood. Considering this range of functionality will complete the test plan scope to ensure we get what we need – not just what we asked for. Example 1: Bag sealer for final product Many components are packaged by a bag sealer. This can protect the component from contamination and can provide a given quantity of smaller components for inclusion with an assembly. This can be fairly standard and somewhat simple equipment. However, a company was experiencing rapid growth of a new product and needed new, fully automated sealing equipment quickly and confidently. As a medical device company, the expectations of acceptance for FDA approval are high. The company obtained its intended new sealing equipment prior to

28 January/February 2017

The project began in the traditional way with informal evaluation of standard materials at nominal settings. While it appeared to be working fine, the company wanted to ensure it could obtain an acceptable process capability right away. After working with the company to set up a DOE test, the company executed the test plan and gathered the requested data. Knowing the current process capability provided an expected and minimal level of performance, so we were able to determine the process capability would not be acceptable in certain regions of the required performance window. This would not be acceptable during production.

This feedback was provided to the equipment vendor. While they voiced some initial questions, they finally acknowledged a software controls programming issue existed on the machine! It was unclear if this was a common issue or just on this specific piece of equipment. The equipment was reprogrammed and the DOE executed again. This time, the process capability was within the acceptable range, and the equipment purchase was completed. The software issue was fixed by the vendor at no cost and in a very timely manner – partially because the vendor would not get paid until it was resolved. Production did not need to scream for the equipment! It was ready – and working properly – in plenty of time for the capacity increase and floor layout changes. It was a seamless transition into manufacturing and met the processing needs on day one. Example 2: Gasket injection molding An injection molded product was to be produced by a contract manufacturing organization. To achieve the cost and profit targets, the company desired to minimize flash on the product to eliminate secondary operations. Flash is the excessive material in the seams where the mold fits together. It was decided to use a DOE approach to evaluate molding parameters to achieve this goal. During the execution of the test, no process window existed to fill the part, even though original settings were defined by mold flow analysis. Flash suddenly was a secondary priority

for this project. Another DOE was run to expand the process window being examined so the complete part could be filled. After no process solution was found again, another approach was needed. The team quickly generated a tooling change to allow the part to be fully formed in the cavity. The followup DOE with the new tool produced acceptable results for the part dimensions and for flash. It was typical for these tool makers to avoid changes and extend process evaluation up to four months before they would consider expensive tool changes. In this case, the total evaluation and solution implementation was less than one month. This saved the company and the customer three months for delivery of the first quality parts! Eventually, the customer admitted two other organizations had failed to deliver these same parts to them. Those orders were canceled, and our contract manufacturing company had the opportunity to deliver. By using the DOE approach, the company was able to not only provide parts for this order, but also gain trust and confidence from the customer for future orders. The company was recognized as a highly capable supplier. Learning summary Several benefits exist to this learning approach to new equipment setup. Vendor communications are much improved. Decisions across department and company boundaries can be made quickly (with multiple companies involved). Future unexpected work related to fixing a nonfunctioning machine will be avoided. These issues create overtime, schedule delays and low morale. These and many more advantages have been experienced when using the learning and DOE approach for equipment performance acceptance. It can save months and many headaches, while also achieving production objectives for ramp-up and scale-up of operations. The cost benefit for a typical project is $400,000 to $600,000, simply by using a learning approach. n Perr y’s Solutions is a consulting company offering ne w product design, program management and training services, specializing in using Design of Experiments software to improve products and solve problems for medical device companies and other manufacturers. Perry Parendo, president, can be reached via phone at 651.230.3861 or through his website,

Continuing Our Tradition of Servicing the Plastics Decorating Industry With over 100 years of combined industry experience, Die Stampco’s tooling design and fabrication specialists can customize a solution to meet your requirements.

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Contact us for a quote on your next project. (989) 893.7790 | Fax: (989) 893.7741 January/February 2017 29

INDUSTRY systems, interested companies are invited to take part this year in the project to influence the detailed planning of materials and process parameters and receive first-hand information and research results. Fraunhofer IAP and esse CI also provide workshops on the technology, equipment and project results. For more information, visit or www. PolyOne and Merck KGaA Launch 3D Technology PolyOne, Kansas City, Missouri, collaborated with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, to launch IM3D, a new technology enabling manufacturers to realize 3D imagery on packaging and consumer electronics. With IM3D technology, manufacturers can create surfaces that appear to have depth and structure although they are perfectly flat. Several processing steps were previously necessary to generate this effect in a polymer surface. Now, the 3D impression is created in a single step during the injection molding process. IM3D decoration technology can be incorporated into standard injection molding machine production lines. For more information, visit www. or Extol, Inc. Announces Sale of ErgoStation Product Line Extol, Inc., Zeeland, Michigan, announced the divestiture of its ErgoStation line of height-adjustable workstations and machine bases. Precise Mold and Plate, Columbus, Indiana, was selected as a partner, and Extol will continue to purchase ErgoStation products from the company to meet its internal manufacturing needs. The divestiture is consistent with Extol’s strategy to focus the organization on processes and products that improve the way plastic products are made for its customers. For more information, visit or

Fraunhofer Partners with esse CI Fraunhofer IAP in Potsdam-Golm, Germany, and esse CI, Vigonza, Italy, are uniting their expertise in surface chemistry and machine engineering to expand the opportunities provided by flame treatment and to extend the range of surface properties. The two companies hope to utilize the energy of the flame for chemical processes that go beyond simple oxidation. This requires chemicals to be added to the flame; for example, in the form of gases, vapors or aerosols. The studies are conducted in a plastic film processing plant at the Fraunhofer IAP. To facilitate the industrialization of this new generation of flame treatment

30 January/February 2017

PLASTICS and SPE Reveal New Membership Program The Plastics Industry Trade Association (PLASTICS), Washington, DC, and SPE (Society of Plastics Engineers) revealed the creation of a new, partnered membership program for plastics industry original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or brand owner companies. This new program will grant premium SPE memberships to employees of companies that belong to PLASTICS’ Brand Owners Council, with VIP access to all benefits. This hybrid membership went into effect Jan. 1, 2017, allowing access to business offerings, advocacy, educational programs and networking opportunities. Ultimately, this joint program will allow both organizations to leverage and showcase their respective strengths while building a stronger value proposition for their traditional membership base. For more information, visit

Plasmatreat Makes Multiple Updates Plasmatreat North America, headquartered in the US in Elgin, Illinois, opened the doors to a new West Coast facility this summer. The Hayward, California, location includes more equipment and additional space to help customers run trials and develop new processes, help educate the market about plasma technology and provide contract surface treatment services for those who want to take advantage of the benefits of plasma before purchasing their own systems. Additionally, the company signed on as an industry partner in the newly established ChemQuest Technology Institute. The institute offers technological support for specialty chemicals suppliers in the coatings, adhesives, sealants, plastics, inks, personal care and other sectors. Plasmatreat also has revamped its corporate website to make sharing details about the adoption of plasma and PlasmaPlus® technology more reader-friendly. The new site makes it easy to look for information in a variety of ways, including by end-use application, technology and product. For more information, visit

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Multi-color fully servo-driven machine for decoration of multi-format plastic and glass containers Announcing OMSO ServoBottle 8 with 8 chuck groups up to 4 color screen Servo-driven axis movement – Prints up to 4 colors with accurate registration on multi-shape containers Quick change tooling – Eight station machine allows changeover from one bottle to the next in under 30 minutes. UV LED technology – Fast curing at up to 50% energy savings Rotary design – Add or remove printing heads for possible future digital or hybrid integration.

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t p. 30


IMDA Announces 2017 Awards Competition The In-Mold Decorating Association (IMDA) announced its 11th Annual IMDA Awards Competition. Entries will be accepted beginning February 1, and all entries must be received by IMDA as of April 15, 2017. The 2017 competition will recognize the industry’s best in-mold labeled packaging and in-mold decorated durable products. The winning entries are chosen based on creativity in design, engineering and innovation. Winners will be honored at the 2017 IMDA Symposium Awards ceremony and dinner on June 29, 2017, and featured in industry publications. For more information, visit Registration Open for InPrint USA, the Industrial Print Show Registration now is open for InPrint USA, the Industrial Print Show, in Orlando, Florida, April 25-27, 2017. InPrint is the exhibition for industrial print technology for advanced packaging and manufacturing. The unique event has become the key marketplace in Europe for state-of-the-art functional, decorative and packaging printing in industrial production. The InPrint show comes to the US for the first time, focusing on connecting manufacturers who use print as a key component of the manufacturing process with leading brands in the fields of industrial specialty, screen, digital, inkjet and 3D technology print solutions. Exhibitors will showcase the equipment, tools and services for printing on metal, plastics, foils, textiles, glass, ceramics, woods and other substrates. Attendees will receive complimentary access to over 40 educational presentations and access to ICE USA, the co-located International Converting Exhibition, where manufacturers will showcase their latest equipment and technology from all key areas of converting like web coating, laminating, slitting, rewinding, coating, pouch making and many more. To register, visit http://www. EPA Assesses Chemicals Under TSCA The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, DC, announced it is moving to propose how it will prioritize and evaluate chemicals, given that the final processes must be in place within the first year of the new law’s enactment, or before June 22, 2017. This action will set into motion a process to quickly evaluate chemicals and meet deadlines required under, and essential to, implementing the new law. When the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976, it grandfathered in thousands of unevaluated chemicals that were in commerce at the time. The old law failed to provide EPA with the tools to evaluate chemicals and to require companies to generate and provide data on chemicals they produced. EPA is proposing three rules to help administer the new process: the inventory rule, the prioritization rule and the risk and evaluation rule. If the EPA identifies unreasonable risk in the evaluation, it is required to eliminate that risk through regulations. Under TSCA, the agency must have at least 20 ongoing risk evaluations by the end of 2019. For more information, visit n

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© Branson Ultrasonics Corporation 2017. The Emerson logo is a trademark and service mark of Emerson Electric Co.

January/February 2017 33 | | +1(978)646-8980


Key Considerations: Adhesives or Ultrasonic Welding for Plastic Component Assembly? by Steven A. Williams, manager, Global Product Managment-Ultrasonics, Emerson ∙ Branson


his article will take a brief look at two of the more popular methods for assembling plastic parts into finished products – adhesives and ultrasonic welding – and focus on questions product design and manufacturing teams should consider when making decisions about why and when to adopt these assembly methods. While many important considerations are involved in making a part assembly decision, I find that they generally fall into two broad categories. One set of considerations has to do with the business, its product lines, production needs and the degree of speed, flexibility and scalability needed in its assembly operations. The second, narrower set of considerations goes right to the nature of the part itself: notably, the materials used and the shape, or geometry, of the part. The first consideration with adhesives and ultrasonic welding is that both are permanent joining methods. Both create a strong bond between components that won’t come apart. So, consider: will the part, once assembled, ever need to be disassembled to allow for maintenance, component repair or replacement of a battery or bulb? If so, permanent assembly methods such as adhesives or ultrasonic welding may only be part of the solution. To allow for disassembly (such as to replace a battery or bulb), a product design probably will need to incorporate either mechanical fasteners or snap-fit components. Flexibility Of the two assembly methods considered here, adhesives often provide more flexibility in the assembly process. By flexibility, I mean that adhesives can create bonds between plastic components that utilize a wide range of materials and shapes. And, if there’s a need to modify the design of one of the plastic components – to make one of the dimensions longer or shorter, for example – the adhesive joining process remains the same. It is comparatively easy to change components and then adapt the adhesive assembly process. If adhesive dispensing is done manually, simply inform the assembler of the change. Or, if automated, adapt the robot’s programming to change the pattern of its adhesive dispensing motion. The notion of flexibility also can make adhesives a good solution for assembly of products in small quantities, including the following:

36 January/February 2017

Image 1. Typical of parts that may be joined using adhesives or ultrasonic welds is this two-piece injection-molded housing.

• Prototype designs • Product samples • High-mix production runs that include parts of differing sizes or shapes For all their flexibility, adhesive joining methods come with some constraints, too. The first involves maintenance. Anyone who has ever used a bottle of glue knows that when the glue is in use, the applicator must be kept relatively clean and the glue applied with consistency and care to ensure a complete and cosmetically pleasing bond. When the number of adhesive applicators is increased, the challenge of ensuring process control grows. Assembly managers must ensure that adhesives are flowing

smoothly and consistently to assure part strength, necessitating periodic purging and cleaning of adhesive systems and applicators. When not in use, adhesive applicators must be cleaned and capped to prevent the exposed adhesive from curing and clogging, which can lead to waste or production delays. Another constraint on adhesive methods is that adhesives are consumables. Every adhesive bond that is made represents an incremental production cost that rises in direct proportion to output. And, if production rises beyond initial cost estimates – if, for example, product sales and production ramp up rapidly, perhaps breeding new product variations or options – production costs will likely be reevaluated as management sees the product moving from a developmental to a growth phase. Production volume The point of change – in production volume and expected sales – offers a great opportunity to consider, or reconsider, the benefits of ultrasonic welding. Using ultrasonic welding for part assembly requires some up-front investment, starting with the welder. Then, there is product-specific tooling, which precisely holds the various plastic components in place before and during the welding process. But, this investment is only made once. With these elements in place, assembly costs can be managed, amortizing a single fixed investment over the ongoing assembly volumes for that part. Whether welding 1,000 or 1,000,000 of that part, there’s no worry about incremental consumables or assembly costs. The same favorable economics for ultrasonic welding apply to those who plan high-volume part production from the outset. As soon as a product design is finalized, weld tooling can be completed and high-volume production can begin. The key to amortizing assembly method costs, comparing costs over time and realizing assembly cost savings is to



c Images 2a-c. Cutaway and red highlighting show the location of the tongue-and-groove joint in a two-piece housing (c). Close-ups of the joints show the difference between a tongue-and-groove joint designed for adhesive joining (b) and ultrasonic welding (a). Note that the ultrasonic joint has been modified to include a triangular “energy director,” which melts when welded to form a strong bond between the parts.

January/February 2017 37

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have a firm idea of what annual production volume is going to be. History with Emerson’s customers demonstrates that those with production volumes ranging from tens of thousands to millions per year often can realize a clear financial benefit with an ultrasonic welding process. Cycle time Adhesive assembly processes range in complexity. The most basic may consist of a relatively simple fixture for one part and a hand-held adhesive dispenser. An individual assembler may lay down a bead of adhesive on one component and then affix the mating component by hand, either pausing to hold it while it sets or attaching a clamp or fixture to hold it steady during the curing process. A more complex adhesive assembly process may involve automation. Again, a base fixture will be needed to hold one part, plus any clamps or other means to hold the part while it cures. The expense of a robot will need to be included, but robotics tend to be very flexible: Users can change the programming, change the fixtures, change the adhesives and assemble a number of different parts with different geometries using the same robot. Perhaps the biggest factor with an adhesive assembly process is the cycle time required. The adhesive assembly cycle isn’t done when the when the two parts are brought together; typically, a full-strength adhesive bond requires curing time for each part. By contrast, ultrasonic welding provides a permanent, welded bond in one second or less. As soon as the welded part is removed from the weld tooling, the weld cycle is complete. A new part can be loaded and welded immediately.

One of the wisest things for any product design – and for a company’s bottom line – is to make design choices that keep the assembly options open to both adhesive and ultrasonic welding methods. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to design a simple “tongue and groove” joint into the mating surfaces of the components that will comprise the part. of assembly processes. In general, it is more difficult to bond dissimilar materials – rubber to plastics or plastics to metals, for example. In such cases, mechanical fasteners or adhesives are probably the best places to begin. When it comes to fully plastic assemblies, similar thinking applies. Material selection may be somewhat more diverse when adhesives are used in assembly, because adhesives are more likely to achieve bonding between dissimilar plastics. There are some exceptions – a few polymers that may react chemically or degrade in the presence of certain adhesives – but relatively few.

Materials Materials selection is an important variable in the effectiveness

When it comes to ultrasonic welding, like – or similar – polymers tend to weld better than dissimilar polymers. However, some dissimilar polymers also may be welded if they have similar melt temperatures and melt flow characteristics. In addition, amorphous polymers tend to weld better than semi-crystalline polymers, since they have more gradual melt curves and more


Ultrasonic Welding





Flexibility in part design

Adhesive is a consumable

No consumables

Requires capital investment

Can adhere dissimilar materials

Cure time adds to cycle time

High-volume production

Specific joint design (energy director required)

Low capital expense

Equipment maintenance (dispensing machine)

Easy setup, fast cycles

Vibratory energy can impact delicate components

Works with a variety of part sizes and geometries

Parts must be clamped while curing; some need extra (UV) curing process

High-strength seals

Typically requires dedicated retooling

Great for low-volume production and prototyping

Requires compatibility; certain plastics will degrade

Minimal equipment maintenance

Limited to certain part geometries/contours

Setup can be cumbersome

Easily integrated with automation

Noise; depending on frequency and part size

38 January/February 2017

predictable melt flows between parts, which help to create more consistent bonds. ABS, polystyrene and polycarbonate are examples of amorphous materials that weld very well. Semi-crystalline polymers are more challenging to weld because these materials tend to melt and solidify more abruptly. These characteristics that can make achieving a consistent melt and melt flow more difficult, making it correspondingly more difficult to get a consistent bond. Examples of semi-crystalline materials that are more challenging to weld are polyethylene, polypropylene and nylon. Geometry The use of adhesive joining methods allows for considerable variation in the geometry of parts. As long as the edges to be joined offer surface area for the adhesive to be placed, it’s a workable method for joining. Part geometry imposes a few more challenges when it comes to ultrasonic welding, since the structure of the part itself must adequately transmit the energy received from the horn down to the weld joint. As any engineer knows, some part shapes will inherently do this better than others. A great example

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of an easy-to-weld shape would be a cube with walls that are rigid enough to direct energy straight to the weld joint. A more difficult shape to weld would be a sphere, since one half would tend to flex under load and therefore not transmit the energy as efficiently. Easy-to-weld parts tend to have the following characteristics: • Relatively flat surfaces (limited contours) so that good horn contact can be achieved • Surface area on the top of the part over the weld joint area • Side walls with enough rigidity to transmit energy to the weld joint • A properly designed weld joint

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Design with the future in mind One of the wisest things for any product design – and for a company’s bottom line – is to make design choices that keep the assembly options open to both adhesive and ultrasonic welding methods. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to design a simple “tongue and groove” joint into the mating surfaces of the components that will compose the part. This type of joint offers an inherent alignment feature – the groove – that’s ideal for capturing adhesive and aligning the tongue of the mating surface or for making a strong ultrasonic weld. Should production needs or volumes change, it is easy to convert a tongue-and-groove part from adhesive assembly to assembly using ultrasonic welding. All that is required is to add an “energy director” – a small bead of sacrificial weld material – to the bottom of the existing tongue. Typically, this can be done with a modest “steel safe” change to the mold. Then, during the weld process, the energy director on the tongue melts neatly into the groove, resulting in a very precise weld joint that offers high strength and good sealing properties. n


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Every part is unique, of course, so the only way to know whether any design will work with any assembly method is to speak with a knowledgeable professional who can help evaluate the design, consider the assembly needs and find the right solution.


40 January/February 2017

Steven A. Williams is employed by Emerson as a global product manager, where he leads Branson’s Ultrasonic Product Management Team and drives strategy for the company’s ultrasonic plastics joining business. Williams is an expert in product design for manufacturability, with special expertise in the design of medical and electronic Williams devices. He holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. For more information, email or visit

PRODUCT Amada Miyachi America Announces Addition to Laser Series Amada Miyachi America Inc., Monrovia, California, announced the availability of the LMF70-HP, an addition to its popular LMF Series of lasers. The 70watt LMF70HP is for welding small components and thin metals up to 0.01" (0.25mm) thick. In addition to welding, the unit is capable of engraving, deep engraving and cutting of metal, plastic welding and general purpose high-speed marking. In addition, the company revealed its Series 300 electronic weld head that offers the precisely controlled weld force profile ideal for miniature parts welding. The Series 300 enables up to three welds per second, with programmable force and weld positions, force and position repeatability, and displacement monitoring. Available in both inline (301H/115V or 230V) and offset (302H/115V or 230V) models, the Series 300 high-speed electronic weld head is suitable for medical devices, automotive sensors and switches, reed switches, coil termination, and electronic components. For more information, visit bielomatik Introduces LasIR Welding Technology bielomatik Leuze GmbH + Co. KG, Neuffen, Germany, introduced LasIR, a laser-based infrared welding technology that combines the advantages of the two-step infrared weld i ng of m e ch a n ic a l engineer ing with quasisimultaneous laser-based welding. Inside the separate p e r io d s of he at i ng a nd joining, the joining surfaces are heated flexibly with high scanning speed before they are pressure-welded. Laserbased infrared welding is completely particle-free, with high welding strength even with challenging structures – such as assembly and insert components or component geometries – that were previously unachievable with laser. Applications are found in the automotive industry, white goods, sanitary and installation, electrical engineering, electronic engineering, medical and pharmaceutical technology. For more information, visit Tributek Unveils Two Converter Models Tributek, Elburn, Illinois, unveiled two new converter models. The first, Model AM44C20RS, is a direct replacement for Branson CR-20S converters. This rugged converter uses aluminum construction, SHV electrical connector, a single air inlet and is vented at the output end of the device. The other,

Model AM44C20HS, is a direct replacement for Branson CH-20S converters. This rugged converter uses aluminum construction, SHV electrical connector, air inlet and outlet ports, and is sealed for protection from potentially harmful particles. All Tributek converters are covered by a three-year limited warranty and are manufactured under strict controls in a climate-controlled environment in an ISO-registered facility. For more information, visit Dukane Introduces New Spin Welders Dukane, St. Charles, Illinois, introduced the next generation of spin welders, the Servo Weld TM Plus with Melt-Match ® technology. This all-electric press system uses two servomotors to provide precise control and accuracy for welding assemblies with circular weld joints. By utilizing servo controls, this equipment provides angular orientation and overall assembly height consistency. It features a touch-enabled HMI with an intuitive menu structure to control and monitor the welding process. The spin axis has an orientation resolution of 0.1 degree, while the vertical axis has a positioning resolution of 0.01mm (0.0004") and a force capacity of 2,000N (450lb). For more information, visit www. A.W.T. Expands Accu-Cure Series A.W.T. World Trade, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, has expanded its Accu-Cure series of ultraviolet curing units with the Accu-Cure ACS 100 and ACDS 100, each with a full 100" curing width. Engineered for highspeed curing, Accu-Cure’s cooling system minimizes heat transmission to stock in the curing chamber. A.W.T.’s Ozone Removal System vents ozone and hot air from the point of origin, then safely out of the working area. Specially engineered light guards protect the operator from exposure to actinic light output. Adjustable gate height on the curing head module may be set according to stock thickness and eliminates light leakage. Variable position wattage selection allows the operator to adjust lamp output to conditions, prolonging lamp life and conserving energy. For more information, visit Simco-Ion Releases Updated IQ Power Control Station Simco-Ion, Hatfield, Pennsylvania, released the newly updated IQ Power Control Station. The control station is the central

 January/February 2017 41

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monitoring device of the multipatented IQ Power St at ic Neut r a l i z i ng system. Incorporating the latest in ionization technology, the control station now includes a large 10" full-color touchscreen designed with an intuitive userfriendly interface that helps monitor and control complete static neutralizing system globally or by device. It can monitor up to 10 neutralizing or sensing devices through 10 RJ45 connections and/or through six newly added robust M12 connectors. It now is equipped with a standby mode for disabling the neutralizer’s high voltage during equipment maintenance or inactivity. The control station also features fieldbus interface capability, providing network compatibility for a variety of communication protocols. Flexible and flush mount options now are available. For more information, visit Mimaki USA Releases Ink for Thermoforming Market Mimaki USA, Suwanee, Georgia, announced the availability of LUS-350 UV-LED ink, a highly durable yet flexible highperformance ink for the thermoforming market. After printing, the ink is fully cured onto a hard surface and is resistant to scratching or dimpling. When heated, it transforms into a pliable state with up to 350 percent elongation possible. When

42 January/February 2017

cooled, it returns to a hard, durable surface in the shape of the thermoforming mold. This ink offers a fine finish for applications such as automotive components, molded signs and prototypes. LUS-350 ink does not crack after molding, making it an ideal ink for printing onto substrates – such as PETG, acrylic, polycarbonate, polystyrene and PVC – before the thermoforming process. Intricate textures of decorative fine prints are retained even after molding. Raised areas of thickly applied ink and double/triple layer printing also stay intact without cracking. LUS-350 ink is available for use in the company’s JFX200-2513 and UJF-7151 plus UV-LED flatbed printers. Packaged in one-liter bottles, the ink is available for order now in black, cyan, magenta, yellow and white for both models, plus clear for the UJF-7151 plus printer. For more information, visit n

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KBA-Kammann’s K20 Series Decorating Machines Edited by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Decorating

As the successor to the K1 series, the new K20 series from KBA-Kammann USA, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is suitable for decorators of plastic promotional items with their short print-runs and frequently changing article shapes and artwork. Introduced at the K 2016 Show in Düsseldorf, Germany, the K20 series decorating machines incorporate many of the technical concepts offered with the universal K15. As a universal machine, the K20 series can print on all shapes – oval, square, round, conical and tapered, to name a few. Flexible design allows the K20 series to be configured with screen, inkjet or hybrid processes. “A key element of our engineering philosophy,” noted Paul Bolduc, president of KBA-Kammann USA, “is that inkjet technology has to fit within the K20/K15 architecture and can freely be combined with screen printing. The inkjet modules must not slow down or restrict use of the printer. Each process has its own strengths, and, depending on its market, decorators can choose either process or can combine them in a hybrid machine.” A recent Smithers Pira study predicts that digital packaging and label printing will grow at 13.6 percent CAGR to 2020. With the increasing demand for higher image quality and more personalization, direct-to-shape inkjet printing will grow in importance. “Inkjet printing provides customization, just-in-time delivery, sampling and minimal waste as the first product is good,” Bolduc continued. “The technology will open new markets for decorators. At the same time, the biggest opportunity will come from hybrid systems, combining screen printing and digital printing. A hybrid system will generate the highest value added as it takes advantage of each of the printing process’ strengths.” With a platform architecture open to a variety of decorating equipment, the new K20 series facilitates the integration of equipment that used to be operated separately, such as pretreatment, anti-static, flaming, register system or vision inspection. The programmed infeed and outfeed components are fast, flexible and capable of handling standing and lying articles. These features are unique to KBA-Kammann. The K20 series comes in two varieties – the K21 with one article carrier and the K22 with an additional robotic article carrier that enhances machine utilization and increases output by up to 80 percent. The machine interface was also

44 January/February 2017

improved to provide easier setup. More space is available to accommodate print stations or other equipment. Its robust framework provides stability and dampening characteristics, enhancing print quality and productivity. Bolduc noted that customers at K Show could see the prototype K22 machine in operation and were excited and positive about the machine’s conceptual and structural evolution. Technical details The K20 series is capable of production speeds of up to 530pph 4-color process and can handle articles 40 to 450mm (1.57 to 17.72") long with an article diameter of 20 to 165mm (0.79 to 6.5"). Its inkjet print height is up to 210mm (8.27"). As a universal machine, the K20 series can print on almost any shape with a color to color register accuracy of +/- 0.10mm (0.003937"). The machines are capable of printing on various substrates, such as plastic, glass, metal, ceramics and more. n


Modern Pad Printing Technology by John Kaverman, president, Pad Print Pros LLC


ll pad printing machines are not created equal. At first glance, they all appear to be doing the same thing, but internally there are major differences when it comes to the level of technology employed to make them operate. I think you would agree that if everyone reading this article were sitting in an auditorium listening to me present this in person, and I asked you all to take your cellphones out and hold them up over your heads, at least 95 percent of the audience would have a smartphone that is less than three years old. Yes? Strangely, I am contacted almost daily by companies that somehow expect to obtain 21st century results while using pad printing technology that, in “phone terms,� represents a level of technology Photos courtesy of Pad Print Pros.

46 January/February 2017

equivalent to an old rotary phone with a long, twisty cord. The benefits of all-electric, programmable, stepper motor drives alone provide lots of reasons to move away from pneumatics. Single plug simplicity Start with the simplicity of a single plug. If you have clean electricity, you can run the equipment. There is no need to plumb in air. This makes the machine substantially more mobile, so that as production demands change, you can move your machine to where it is most needed. Less maintenance Preventive maintenance on stepper motor-driven machines is nearly eliminated. Without cylinders and their associated issues, the equipment requires very little care. There is no worry about filters, water or oil in the lines, seal failures, gummedup valve banks, etc. All you have is periodic lubrication of the cams, followers and linear guideways. Simple.

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Touch control panels and displays that use sensor technology are making inroads in vehicles, household appliances and consumer electronics. A megatrend to which we have a series-ready response: Series solutions for decorated plastic components with industrially built-in sensors. Compared with complex OCA technology, in which components are manually fitted with sensors, our new integration process for machine-based sensor application saves time and money while maintaining optimum functional reliability: The sensors are firmly bonded to the component, along with their tail, and are then immediately functional. The key to this new technology lies in the PolyTC sensor foils from PolyIC, a KURZ company. In comparison with the commonly used ITO (indium tin oxide) foils, PolyTC foils with high-resolution metal structures on polyester carriers are considerably more elastic and highly conductive, making them ideal for use in the car dashboard, for example. The sensors are easier to shape, and are also suitable for curved surfaces and plastic parts in a thickness of 2.5 mm or more. Even at these material thicknesses, PolyTC foils are reliably conductive. Our decoration solutions for plastic components are also specially matched to the respective sensor application: For example, if metal designs are being used, we use non-conductive NCVM foils. These do not affect the capacitive sensor panel. Injection molded parts are produced using a combined process: The component is decorated and the sensor foil applied in one shot.


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Quieter operation Stepper motor-driven machines are quieter than pneumatics. Compressed air is a substantial contributor to the overall noise pollution of your shop floor. Quiet, electric drives keep the dB rating low. Better energy efficiency Electric machines are less expensive to operate and maintain than older machines. The use of pneumatics to drive motion in equipment is practical and convenient at first glance, but it also can be expensive. Running an air compressor requires an enormous amount of electricity in comparison to the power output. Air compressor efficiency is the ratio of energy input to energy output. Many air compressors may be running at efficiencies as low as 10 or 15 percent. The average cost for electricity in the United States as of October 2016 was $0.1027 per kW hour. This example utilizes a specific (German) 90mm pneumatic printer, but any 90mm one-color pneumatic pad printer will run with about the same usage – or worse. If the machine is working at an average rate of 1,000 cycles per hour, it will require 2.7NL per cycle and 2700NL per hour at 90PSI. This is equivalent to about 950 cubic feet per hour, or 16 cubic feet per minute. It takes approximately 0.25 horsepower to generate 1CFM; it takes approximately .207kW per hour to generate the necessary horsepower to generate 1 CFM. So, it will take 3.1kW to power a printer that requires 16CFM.

Did you know? If an average 90mm pneumatic pad printing machine is working at an average rate of 1,000 cycles per hour, it will require 2.7NL per cycle and 2,700NL per hour at 90 PSI. This is equivalent to about 950 cubic feet per hour or 16 cubic feet per minute (CFM). Since it takes approximately 0.25 horsepower to generate 1CFM and 0.207kW per hour to generate the necessary horsepower to generate 1CFM, it will take 3.1kW to power a pad printer that requires 16CFM.

$0.1027 x 3.1kW x 2,000 = $636.74 National energy cost

Necessary energy


Electricity per shift per year

An equivalent 90mm stepper motor-driven pad printing machine uses 500 watts TOTAL per hour when running.

$0.1027 x 0.5kW x 2,000 = $102.70 National energy cost

Necessary energy


Electricity per shift per year

Savings? $534.04 per shift per year

With a national energy cost of $0.1027, that equals $636.74 in electricity per shift per year, if the compressor is 100 percent efficient ($0.1027 x 3.1kW x 2,000 hours). The equivalent stepper motor-driven machine uses 500 watts total per hour when running ($0.1027 x 0.5kW x 2,000 hours = $102.70). I’m sure you can do the math, but this is a $534.04 savings per shift per year on our smallest piece of equipment, if the air delivery system is 100 percent efficient. Throw in the general maintenance on the compressor and consider the reality that there is no way the compressor and air delivery system is running at 100 percent efficiency, and you’re probably saving closer to $1,000 per shift running our 100 percent electric equipment. Superior process control If the stepper motor is the heart of the machine, the controller is obviously the brain. While the limited controls behind a pneumatic machine largely have gone unchanged for 50 years, 30-plus years of continuous development, field testing and improvements have allowed the manufacturers of stepper motor-driven machines to offer to the most advanced controls

48 January/February 2017

package in the pad printing world, with a sustainable and stable upgrade path for every machine built. Stepper motor-driven machines use proprietary controls and software to run the printer and conveying accessories simultaneously. This is truly out of necessity since off-the-shelf programmable logic controllers are too expensive, cumbersome and slow for this modular equipment. These control systems allow stepper motor-driven machines to be easily paired with programmable, stepper motor-driven, “plug and play” accessories, such as linear indexers, rotary tables, pad shuttles and more. Stepper motors allow for complete control of the cycle through the keyboard of the machine, without extensive training. This is unheard of on competitive equipment and is a function of the stepper motor drive and proprietary software. Included on most stepper motor-driven machines are controls, such as those listed here.


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Control systems allow stepper motordriven machines to be easily paired with programmable, stepper motor-driven, “plug and play” accessories, such as linear indexers, rotary tables, pad shuttles and more. Independent speed control in every axis of motion. There are six motions in every pad printing cycle: 1. doctoring forward 2. doctoring backward 3. pad down over plate 4. pad up over plate 5. pad down over part 6. pad up over part If you’ve pad printed, you know how critical these speeds are to a quality print. This being the case, why do many manufacturers ignore these controls or put them out of reach of the operator? With stepper motors, these important parameters easily are changed with the push of a button. No flow controls or tools are required. Independent delays/timers in every axis of motion. Why slow down the overall cycle when all you need is a onetenth delay to allow the ink to tack off before printing? What if you want to pause on the part for 0.25 second to allow the pad to conform to a difficult texture? With a stepper motor, you can program delays before ink pickup, on the cliché, before print and on the part. Independent stroke adjustment in 1mm increments over the cliché and part. Have you been using limit switches and knobs to adjust your strokes? Does your machine have no adjustment at all? Why not just tell it where you want it to go? With a stepper motordriven machine, if you need 1mm more or less compression, you push a button and you’re there. Training mode. When setting up your machine for a new application, most stepper motor software gives you the flexibility to walk the machine through the cycle. By holding a button, you can slowly jog the machine into position, hit enter, and the machine learns the stroke. Training mode allows you to quickly set up a new program (which can be stored to memory) in seconds. Stepping mode. All motions of the machine can be run independently when the machine is put into stepping mode. Isolate doctoring, pad stroke or indexing so you can see exactly what your machine

50 January/February 2017

Pad printing technology advances have led to efficiencies in energy, maintenance and cycle time.

is doing. This can be run at full speed or in incremental steps, greatly reducing the time necessary to troubleshoot image quality-related problems. Multi-program memory. All of the cycle parameters mentioned previously can be stored in the memory of the machine for immediate recall, minimizing changeover-related downtime. Easy automation. Stepper motor-driven machines are easy to automate. If you are using their plug and play conveyors, you can mount the accessory, add the necessary driver card and call up the program that is pre-loaded into the controls package. If you wish to integrate the equipment with your line, all the necessary inputs and outputs are present for communication with external programmable logic computers. Built-in upgrade path One of the key advantages to most stepper motor-driven machines is a viable upgrade path for every machine in the field, within the limits of its size. In modern US manufacturing, production requirements change constantly. Today, a tabletop machine with a two-position indexer might suit your needs exactly. In a month, you could need a high-speed rotary table. Rather than having to go to a third-party vendor for conveying accessories and PLCs, a plan is already in place. Most stepper motor-driven machines come with built-in controls for a range of “plug and play” conveyors and part position devices. In most cases, the end user can reconfigure the machine without having to send it back to the manufacturer.

print jobs possible, marginal print jobs standard and easy jobs serious money makers. I believe it is critical when you make a final decision on upgrading your pad printing equipment that you consider not just the sticker price but the real bottom line production cost for parts. If you’re committed to manufacturing in the US, you know that a zealous commitment to efficiency, speed and precision is your only chance at fending off the competition. In today’s global economy, you’ll probably pay your workers more than most overseas manufacturers. I strongly suggest that you level the playing field by providing them with the best tools for the job instead of continuing to struggle with antiquated technology. Expand your capability and capacity for new applications, increase your real output, decrease your setup times and watch your margins improve. Isn’t this what real productivity is all about? n John Kaverman is president of Pad Print Pros LLC, an independent consulting firm specializing in pad printing. Kaverman has 28 years of combined industrial screen and pad pr int ing process experience. He can be reached via email at or through his website, Kaverman

Conclusion I can promise you this: All pad printers are not the same. Stepper motor-driven machines make many “impossible”

January/February 2017 51


Enhancing Environmental Compliance with Water-Based Coatings by Hugh Barrett, technical consultant, APV Engineered Coatings


ike companies in many industries, plastics fabricators and decorators are searching for ways to be more environmentally friendly. They’re doing so not only to avoid fines or scrutiny from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or to comply with California’s Prop 65, but also to reduce operating costs, create a safer workplace for employees and achieve corporate sustainability goals.

Fortunately, fabricators have a wide range of water-based alternatives to solvent-based chemicals that can be used in the lacquer application process. When engineered and applied properly, these water-based lacquer chemistries can give plastic products the same end-use characteristics – UV protection, stain performance, abrasion resistance and moisture repellency – as their solvent-based counterparts.

One of the many strategies plastics fabricators and decorators employ to reduce their impact on the environment is removing solvent-based chemicals and the volatile organic compounds (VOC) they emit from the application process. VOCs are a prime target for sustainability and workplace safety efforts because have been linked to atmospheric ozone depletion and human toxicity effects. In addition, solvent-based materials cost more to dispose of than water-based materials.

Focus on chemistry One of the reasons solvent-based coating chemistries have been widely used for so long is because they can be formulated to provide excellent adhesion and quick cure time.

52 January/February 2017

Photos courtesy of APV Engineered Coatings.

A strong bond between the coating and the surface of the plastic product is crucial to the function and success of the coating chemistry. A strong adhesive bond provides performance characteristics, such as abrasion resistance, UV blocking, stain inhibition and water repellency. One method to attain successful adhesion is to incorporate polymers into the lacquer that are similar to those in the plastic substrate. The science behind this is that materials tend to bond to like or similar materials, therefore the coating’s performance properties can transfer to the substrate for an extended period. An important aspect of acquiring adhesion is to incorporate a coating chemistry that has a lower surface tension than that of the substrate. The higher the surface energy of the plastic substrate compared to the coating, the more likely it is for the lacquer to bond to the substrate. A basic understanding of the difference between adhesion and cohesion in relation to water- and solvent-based coatings is key when coating plastics. An adhesive bond is a bond between molecules with a different chemistry but compatible electrical structures. A cohesive bond is a bond between identical molecules with identical electrical structures. To achieve adhesion of a lacquer to a substrate, the polymer molecules in the formulation must come in direct physical contact with the surface molecules

When engineered and applied properly, these water-based lacquer chemistries can give plastic products the same end-use characteristics – UV protection, stain performance, abrasion resistance and moisture repellency – as their solvent-based counterparts. of the substrate. The surface molecules of a substrate are not the same as the molecules below the surface, although the chemistry is identical. Surface molecules are cohesively bound from the back side only. The surface molecule’s electrical structure is exposed on the top side. A coating molecule that is different from the substrate will only achieve an adhesive bond to the substrate’s molecule if its electrical charges are similar enough to link to the substrate surface molecule, and both molecules come in direct physical contact. “Wetting” is a term used to describe the direct physical contact between all molecules of a coating and a substrate

January/February 2017 53

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so that the solids in the coating formulation can develop an adhesive bond to the substrate. This happens as the solvent evaporates and deposits the coating formulation molecules directly on the surface. The solvent then quickly dries out of the resin, making the surface dry to the touch. Solvent-based coating formulations inherently wet the surface, allowing the coating to come into direct contact with the plastic surface for superior wetting. The solvent allows the development of electrical bonds between the coating and the substrate surface. Conversely, water-based coatings contain fine particles of polymer and pigment dispersed in water. The water inherently beads up on the plastic, does not wet the surface as solvents do and takes much longer to dry. Water-based lacquers require wetting agents and de-foaming additives to allow for proper wetting and mitigate foaming during the application. Foaming problems often can interfere with a continuous film on the surface, and wetting agents can hinder the lacquer’s ability to adhere to the substrate. Another issue that interferes with the adhesion of a waterbased coating to a plastic substrate is pH. For the coating chemistry’s polymer to remain dispersed properly in water, it is necessary to control pH. Most coating manufacturers use ammonia to control pH; however, ammonia evaporates faster than water, thus shifting the pH out of balance and potentially causing the polymer to go out of solution. This can cause the polymer to “powder out” and interfere with proper adhesion. Careful attention also is required when incorporating UV absorbers into water-based coatings. UV absorbers, including inorganic compounds such as titanium dioxide or organic benzotriazol compounds, help protect plastic products from degradation when exposed to sunlight, making them a valuable component in outdoor protective coating chemistries. UV absorbers are dissolved in solvent formulas. Additional dispersion aids are required to incorporate UV absorbers into water-based coatings. A dispersion aid is a soap that decreases the surface tension of water so the particles that are to be dispersed will be fully wetted out and adhere to the surface. (Particles that are not wetted will not disperse.) The adhesion, wetting and cohesion problems are part of the reason many manufacturers are slow to make the switch from solvent- to water-based lacquers, despite the positive environmental factors of implementing this sustainable technology. Production considerations Coatings suppliers can for mulate their water-based chemistries to avoid adhesion problems and other production issues. Plastics engineers should be aware of the chemistry modifications that coatings suppliers are making when

The adhesion, wetting and cohesion problems are part of the reason many manufacturers are slow to make the switch from solvent- to water-based lacquers. switching from solvent-based to water-based lacquers, which may impact both their environmental sustainability and their coating operations. For example, solvent-based coatings can create flammable vapors, yet they also dry faster than water-based coatings. Water-based coatings are the best solution to flammable vapors, but they evaporate much more slowly and require more heat to dry, which consumes more energy and, by extension, more greenhouse gases. The additional heat from the drying process may cause thermal degradation of the plastic substrate, which could produce vapors such as hydrogen chloride, carbonyl chloride (phosgene) and carbon monoxide, especially if the

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substrate is made from PVC or CPVC. These factors adversely impact the fabricator’s environmental footprint. To avoid VOC issues relating to solvent-based coatings, some plastics fabricators and decorators may decide to incorporate a 100 percent polymer coating, which cross-links on the surface. However, there are certain production concerns associated with this approach. Additional time and temperature are required for this cross-linking process, which may damage the substrate. Ask your coatings supplier Plastics fabricators and decorators certainly can make the switch from applying solvent-based coatings to water-based coatings. However, the transition requires careful consideration and consultation with a coatings supplier that will customformulate a chemistry to meet their production and end-use performance requirements. Before eliminating solvent-based lacquer formulations, plastics fabricators should discuss several criteria with their coatings supplier. Be clear about how the coating needs to function. What are the most important performance characteristics of the product? For example, if mold and mildew resistance is important, the coating chemistry manufacturer will need to address that without the use of certain biocide additives, which have become more restricted due to their toxicity. The coatings supplier should work with the manufacturer to conduct the appropriate testing necessary to meet the performance requirements of the product’s end use. Some testing examples would include abrasion resistance, accelerated light aging, stain resistance and water repellency. Engineering a new coating formulation for a specific plastic substrate is a complex process. Avoid the tendency to launch a new product before end-use performance issues have been resolved in the lab.

VOC Pounds per Gallon= Pounds of Coating Solids

(Gallons of SolventGallons of Exempt Solvents)

VOC Grams per Liter=

(VOC Pounds per Gallon)(454) 3.786 Figure 1. VOC equation

56 January/February 2017

PVC siding with a water-based, low-VOC exterior coating

Address VOC allowance. A coating chemistry’s maximum VOC allowance is calculated in VOC pounds per gallon, shown in Figure 1. Keep in mind that the same basic coating chemistry formulations may have several different solvent iterations, depending on the regulations of the destination state, region or country. The EPA has maximum VOC limitations based on each company’s annual usage or plant permit. Water-based coatings may contain co-solvents that need to be considered as well. Also, just because a coating may contain VOC-exempt solvents, and thus be considered EPA-friendly in the United States, it may not be recognized as exempt by other countries. Water-based lacquers still may be highly hazardous to employees. Worker safety also could be an issue with 100 percent polymer chemistries, such as phenolic-based coatings, which cross-link and don’t contain solvents. Nonetheless, they can produce formaldehyde when they cure. Always consider the hazardous information located on the Material Safety Data Sheet to assess the product’s effects on the environment and employees. Avoid plasticizers. Because they are liquids, they can migrate out to the surface and then percolate down into the water supply when the plastic product is disposed of at the end of its lifespan. One alternative approach is to use polymeric plasticizers. They resist migration, are low in toxicity and weather well, but they are more expensive. Polymerics, such as dibutyl sebaceate and dioctyl sebaceate, could be considered when toxicity is an issue, as in food contact. Assess the application equipment. Work collaboratively with coatings suppliers and equipment engineers to understand the equipment modifications needed to successfully convert

from solvent- to water-based coatings. Take into account any limitations around the curing temperatures and line speeds (i.e., dwell time, web temperature) of the coating line and how they may need to be adjusted for proper curing when using exempt co-solvents and water. Conclusion Switching from a solvent-based lacquer chemistry to a water-based chemistry is not a straightforward change. Many adjustments need to be implemented – both in the coating chemistry formulation and in the fabricator’s coating line – and sometimes in the plastic formulation. Sourcing a high-performance, low-emitting coating can be a challenge. Fabricators that have made the strategic decision to be more environmentally friendly have a better chance for success by choosing a coating manufacturer and equipment supplier with deep engineering expertise and process guidance. In the long run, this decision will save costs, protect workers and reduce their environmental footprint. Gaining knowledge of current regulations on exempt solvents is just the beginning. A coatings supplier developing chemistries while considering future regulations, possibly five years away, will help fabricators ensure that they can exceed today’s standards, plus meet the standards of the future. n

Hugh Barrett has been a technical consultant with A PV Eng ineered Coatings since 2002. He is responsible for formulating coatings, polymer and solvent research for practical coating applications, designing and building lab test instruments, and providing advice on flammability and fire safety. He has been in the coatings industry since 1987. APV Barrett is a partner for some of the world’s topproducing manufacturers based on its expertise in chemical and coating composition, the commercialization of advanced materials and large-scale production. For more information, visit

January/February 2017 57

ASSOCIATION Letter from the Chair Save the date: It’s time to plan for the opportunities to learn in 2017. Last year was exciting because of all the advances in the tools and technologies of plastic decoration and assembly. The capabilities and complexity of the tool set for plastic decoration and assembly are growing dramatically. A multitude of conferences are available, but most of them have a fairly narrow focus on one technology or group of technologies. While these are useful for you to develop skills and contacts in a specific batch of plastic decoration or joining techniques, they tend not to provide the knowledge you need to select the best method among all of those available. Recent advances have made the world even more complex and the boundary as to what constitutes plastic decoration and joining less clear. Smart materials, in-molded electronics and optics are just two such advances. Recent advances include self-healing conductive ink traces that do not require additional outside sources of energy to repair when damaged. Even longestablished processes, such as pad printing, are finding new uses in combination with other technologies to create intricate textures. So, the real question for an engineer looking at the secondary process needed to add value to the product being designed is how choose the best solution to achieve the desired outcome. With more options, it becomes all the more important to know what is available and the advantages and limits of each technology. The purpose of the SPE Decorating & Assembly Division is to provide and promote education and science in the field of plastics decorating and assembly. We accomplish this through our conferences and our support of students, both through donations of equipment to universities and through scholarships. The board recently voted to donate $12,000 for scholarships in memory of Jordan Rotheiser, a longtime board member and published expert in the field of plastics joining.


TopCon & Symposium

SPE &IMDA Decorating & Assembly Division

In the coming year, there will be two opportunities to learn and network. The first opportunity will be SPE’s Annual Technical Conference (ANTEC), in Anaheim, California, May 8 through 10. This is the largest annual technical conference in the United States for the plastics industry, with 2,500 attendees, more than 600 paper presentations and an exhibitor floor. The second is TopCon (Topical Conference), presented by the SPE Decorating and Assembly Division, which highlights the technology and application of the latest global innovations and trends. It is of interest and applicable to any company doing decorating and assembly processes in their manufacturing environments, such as automotive, packaging, electronic/ communication, medical and consumer goods industries, as well as others. The event will be June 19 and 20 in the Chicago area. See the box on this page for more information. Participation in either or both conferences will provide attendees with a high level of visibility with an audience of those who are interested and working in the field. The SPE has expanded the opportunity to network and to seek help with specific problems. They have created a networking platform, THE CHAIN, specific to the plastics industry. SPE also has made it easier for industry participants to join THE CHAIN if you not already a member of SPE. Go to the SPE webpage, www.4spe. org. New visitors who would like to register as an SPE e-Member, but do not already have a username and login, can use the New Visitor Registration area to register for the site. SPE e-Members receive instant access to SPE’s THE CHAIN – the exclusive online networking platform for the global plastics industry. If you are having issues with login, please call SPE at 203.775.0471. You can learn more at the Society of Plastics Engineers website, www.4spe. org, or by contacting paul.a.uglum@ Paul Uglum Delphi Electronics and Safety Chair, SPE Decorating & Assembly Division


TopCon Comes to the Windy City SPE’s Decorating & Assembly Division will be holding its TopCon on June 19 and 20 in Lincolnshire, Illinois. The conference will feature two days of papers exclusively on plastics decoration and assembly and will be held at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort in the Chicago area. The conference is once again co-located with the In-Mold Decoration Association (IMDA) Symposium. This joint conference will provide an exceptionally broad selection of experts in all fields of plastic decoration and assembly. Papers on a broad range of innovative technologies will be presented, and focused workshops will be held on both plastic decoration and assembly processes. For more information and specific programming details, visit

58 January/February 2017

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A resource sponsored by SPE’s Decorating & Assembly Division

Q&A: Developments in Plastics Decoration by Paul Uglum, technology advocate, fabrication engineering, Delphi


here are many reasons for plastic decoration and, to some extent, the term is a misnomer. We apply secondary operations to plastic parts to add value. That value can take the form of improving the appearance, and therefore increasing the desirability and perceived value of an object, but it also can take to form of improved performance in the environment in which it will be used. So, the purpose of decoration should be to create a visually exciting object that both promotes the brand image of the company and creates a sense of value. Since plastics decoration is used in so many industries, ranging from packaging and consumer products to telecommunications and automotive, the requirements for both appearance and function vary widely. Even with this variety, there are underlying trends that exist across our industry.


How do I find out what design trends are? So, how does one find out what the design trends are that drive decoration choices? This is not a small question since developing and implementing a decoration process involves a significant investment in equipment and human capital. A wrong choice can consume resources and make it more difficult to compete. A first step is to know what is going on in the industry: the quote requests you receive, conferences and trade journals Peugeot Exalt concept car showing the use of natural materials. Photo courtesy of Peugeot.

60 January/February 2017

are a good starting point. Then, look to other industries. Beauty Packaging, Appliance Design, Ward’s Automotive and many other trade journals can give a more complete picture of what people want. Take a look at tradeshows, especially those that show concepts and new products. Auto shows and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) are good examples. Various color specialists put out palettes that define color trends. Some industries respond quickly to these, and others are more conservative and slower to adopt change. One caution: Color has cultural meaning, so if your product is global it is important to understand regional preferences.

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t p. 60


Industrial designers tend to be very good sources of information because they have an understanding of both the past and current trends. In a recent article in Appliance Design, Bill Door, the director of industrial design at Design Concepts, published an article titled “Understanding and Using Emerging Aesthetic Design Trends.” It outlined a number of trends that I have seen across many industries. Two were particularly interesting: Real Materialism and Organic Textures and Patterns. Real materialism is about the application of real wood, metal or carbon fiber instead of the substitutes because of the higher perceived value of actual materials.


How do I achieve real materialism in decorated plastic? There are characteristic and appearances of plastic that are honest and fundamental characteristics of the material. High-gloss piano black would be an example of this. Beyond that, plastic often is the substrate for other materials. Wood is a good example of how real materialism is finding a market. There are several reasons for this general trend, including a push for “green” materials, its texture and its high perceived value. So, how do you apply wood to plastic, and where is it used? Years ago, Yamaha developed a process where thin wood was laminated to metal, then formed and insert molded. The wood surface was then sealed, stained and sanded just like solid wood, before being shaped with a plunge router. This technique was used in both instrument and high-end automotive interior applications. Since then, companies like Quin and others have insert-molded wood veneer with a clear plastic top layer. Others like Mono have both insert molded veneer with a backing and directly applied finished veneer to plastic. Real wood is finding its way into a wide range of applications in cosmetic packaging, cellphones and automotive.

For some time, in applications ranging from telecommunications to automotive, soft-feel coatings have been perceived as adding significant value. Other real material applications include insert-molded metal first surfaces and leather. Both can be applied after molding and, in some cases, insert molded. Insert molding tends to be somewhat problematic, but it has been used for smaller parts like key fobs, cameras and cellphones. Like leather, fabrics also can be in-molded. Some applications of real materials include the use of more exotic or difficult-to-process options. Real cut crystal has been used in applications ranging from cosmetic packaging through automotive interiors. Real polished stone surfaces have been applied to interior surfaces on very high end vehicles, like Bentley. It is clear that these processes are used because there is a market for real materials. Real carbon fiber is interesting since it is usually used in a composite with a plastic resin. Most of the printed versions fail to look real since they lack the depth of image. There now are some versions of imitation carbon fiber that consist of dyed glass fiber imbedded in clear plastic that can be insert molded and has an appearance identical to carbon fiber. These materials have found use in cellphones and weight-sensitive applications like cellphones, but have not have the advertising value of real carbon fiber.


How are texture, patterns and feel achieved in plastic decoration? Tactile and visual features add a lot of value to a part. For some time, in applications ranging from telecommunications to automotive, soft-feel coatings have been perceived as adding significant value. The recent trend has been to improve the durability of these coatings to improve performance and life. Texture is interesting because it has both visual and tactile characteristics. Texture has been an area that has seen significant growth both in desirability to consumers and in the range of manufacturing processes available.

Bentley offers a vehicle with real stone trim. Photo courtesy of Bentley.

62 January/February 2017

The explosion of new processes has been driven by demand and advances in technology. Ultra-fast laser pulse width has allowed direct texturing of tools. This has been used to apply very fine and reproducible textures and textures that can transition from one pattern to another. This was not possible – or at least not as repeatable – with chemically etched textures. Taiyo has taken advantage of this to make very intricate textures in plated plastic parts. The company

has developed back-lit and non-backlit chrome appearances that were previously not possible. Even coated (painted) surfaces are seeing an explosion of new techniques to apply textures. Tacia (Cubic) introduced a hydrographic (water dip process) coating capable of texture. Akzo Nobel has developed a printing and painting process capable of making intricate textures. Rayn Technologies has developed a process that allows laser texturing of painted or printed surfaces. Digital ink jet allows direct printing of patterns and textures to plastic substrates. In-mold decoration also has seen advances. The pressures involved in mold decoration can wash out printed textures. One solution to this is the three-dimension overlay method (TOM) developed by Fu-se Vacuum Forming of Japan. With this process, the applique is applied under low pressure, which preserves the surface texture.


How do I pick the best process for my product? Given the options, it can be difficult to choose the best process. The first step is to understand what the customers’ goals are. What appearance do they seek? What is the environment the decorated part needs to survive in its use and to satisfy the customer? The next step is to spend

some time learning the advantages and constraints of each process. Determine how well it fits into your plant and your manufacturing plans for the future. One thing is clear: There are many more processes and technologies available today than there were even two years ago. n Paul A. Uglum is a technology advocate, fabrication engineering, for Delphi, a global technology company for automotive and commercial vehicle markets delivering solutions that help make vehicles safe, green and connected. He is a technical fellow at Delphi and has 40 years’ experience in various aspects of plastic materials, plastic decoration and failure analysis. Current responsibilities include technology development for automotive interior applications globally, coatings Uglum development and failure analysis. Uglum has presented multiple papers and has twice led teams to win the SPE Automotive Division’s Grand Award for the most Innovative use of plastics in the automotive industry. He holds several patents related to the compounding and applications of plastics. Uglum served as chairman and technical chair for the Decorating and Assembly Division and member of various other professional societies. For more information, visit

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978.961.3190 |

Permanent Surface Activation For Printing, Coating, Metallizing, Bonding and Decorating Plastics. • • • •

All Plastics Any Shape or Size Molded Goods or Raw Materials Flat Surfaces, Deep Draws & Curves

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Fast Hands-Free Durable High Surface Energy

(For decorating and assembly service providers only – not available for suppliers to the industry.)

Contact us for a free trial or samples: Inhance Technologies (248) 578-1440 As seen in the April/May 2016 issue of Plastics Decorating

64 January/February 2017

To learn more about how to place an advertisement in this section, call Gayla Peterson at 785.271.5801.

Leader in Product Decorating

Providing Product Decorating Services for Plastic, Glass and Metal Parts for more than 20 years

Pad Printing n Screen Printing n Digital Inkjet Printing n Hot Stamping n Foil Banding n Heat Transfer Decal Decorating n Controlled White Room n

Industries Served: Molders & Manufacturers n Automotive n Medical n Cosmetic & Personal Care n Collectibles n Promotional Products n

2550 Wisconsin Ave. Downers Grove, IL 60515 630.241.4300 Fax: 630.241.4306

January/February 2017 65


• PLASTEC West, Feb. 7-9, Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California,


AD INDEX A.W.T. World Trade, Inc. / Branson Ultrasonics / CDigital LLC / Central Decal / Comdec, Inc. (Ruco) /, 57

• ETS Inc. Automotive Plastics Part Design Training Event, March 28-30, Michigan State University, Lansing, Michigan,

Custom Foils Company /


Enercon Industries /

• InPrint, April 25-27, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida,


• PLASTEC New England Expo, May 3-4, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston, Massachusetts, • ANTEC® Anaheim, May 8-10, Hilton Anaheim, Anaheim, California, • ETS Inc. Automotive Plastics Part Design Training Event, May 9-11, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan,

Die Stampco Inc. / Diversified Printing Techniques / Engineered Printing Solutions / inside front cover GPE A. Ardenghi srl / h+m USA / Hot Stamp Supply Company / ..............................40 ITW IDS – Trans Tech and United Silicone / Infinity Foils, Inc., a UEI Group Company / Inkcups Now /, 35 Innovative Digital Systems / back cover Innovative Marking Systems / InPrint USA / KBA-Kammann USA / ...........................................10 Kent Pad Printer Canada, Inc. / Kurz Transfer Products, L.P. /

• AWA IMLCON™ & IMDCON™ 2017, May 17-19, Sheraton Reston Hotel, Reston, Virginia (Washington, DC),

Marabu North America /


Pad Print Pros /

• PLASTEC East, June 13-15, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, New York, • HBA Global, June 13-15, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, New York, • SPE Decorating & Assembly Division TopCon, June 18-20, Lincolnshire Marriott Resort, Lincolnshire, Illinois, www.

Mimaki / back cover OMSO North America, Inc. / Plasmatreat / Proell, Inc. / Sabreen Group Inc., The / Schwerdtle / Sonics & Materials, Inc. / SPE Decorating & Assembly Division TopCon / Standard Machines, Inc. / Webtech, Inc. / Yupo /

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