Plastics Decorating - October November 2010

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Today’s decoraTing & assembly source

2010 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER

Special Focus on In-Mold Decorating UV-Curable Topcoat for PVD Decorative Effect Pigments The Art of Aesthetic Assembly

Celebrating

10 Years


ITW Transtech


COVER STORY Cover Story Page 38 Association News – 2010 IMDA Award Winners

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2010

The In-Mold Decorating Association (IMDA) proudly presents the winners of the 2010 IMDA Awards Competition, which recognizes the industry’s best IMD/ IML decorated packaging and durable products.

FEATURES Decorator's Profile Page 6 Celebrating 10 Years – Three Former Profile Companies Share their Progress

In celebration of ten years in publication, Plastics Decorating magazine revisited three former profile companies (Unique Assembly & Decorating Inc., Technigraph, Inc., and Mystic Assembly & Decorating Co., Inc.) to see what changes have occurred within their organizations since they were first interviewed nearly a decade ago.

Technology Feature Page 15 Exterior UV-Curable Topcoat for Physical Vapor Deposition Applications

Growing environmental concerns with chrome plating have caused finishers to request a “greener” alternative. Recent developments with a UV-curable topcoat for PVD provide the performance characteristics needed to pass the OEM’s toughest requirements.

Special Focus Page 20 In-Mold Decorating with Pre-Printed Film Inserts

Applications for in-mold decorating with pre-printed film inserts continue to expand since technological improvements have made it an option for threedimensional products with complex surfaces. It is an effective decorating option for parts with complex curves because the insert is formed to the shape of the finished product.

Assembly Update Page 30 Aesthetic Assembly – the Art of Attractive Bonding

Every joining process is capable of causing marking, flash, particulate, damage to appendages or other aesthetic defects. However, with proper part design and processing, a finished weld can be imperceptible or even a cosmetic asset.

Association News Page 40 Letter from the Chairman Call for ANTEC Papers ‘Get in the Know’ with Plastics Decorating Webinars Ask the Expert Decorative Effect Pigments

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DEPARTMENTS Editor’s Desk Product Highlights

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Industry Insights Product Developments Marketplace (Decorating Services) Calendar of Events Advertiser Index

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(In-Mold Decorating Products and Processes)

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EDITOR’S DESK

We all know that September and October are the months for shows and conferences. I have been on the road more than at home the last several weeks. The good news is that through my travels to many of these conferences and shows, I experienced an overwhelming optimism from both exhibitors and attendees alike. SGIA saw record numbers at its show in Las Vegas and I was told the PLASTEC Midwest and the Assembly & Automation Technology Shows were well attended as well. I also was involved with the Manufacturers Association of Plastics Processors (MAPP) Benchmarking Conference in Indianapolis this past month. This is a group of small- to medium-sized plastic processors that is growing when most associations are shrinking. They had over 330 attendees at this year’s event which was over 100 more than last year. There was a great deal of optimism among the molders at the conference, who have started to see business really pick up over the last several months. This is good news for those who decorate and assemble plastics as well. The trickledown effect of higher output of molded parts will certainly translate into more decorating and assembly. It looks like 2011 will be a year of growth, although there is certainly still caution in the air and growth will most likely be at a fairly slow pace. But with many companies already making difficult decisions on ways to cut costs, slow and steady growth may be the best medicine for us all. This issue of Plastics Decorating is full of informative articles, including a Technology Feature on Chrome Alternatives Using UV/PVD Coatings, an alternative to chrome plating. It also includes a Special Report on Insert Molding and an Assembly Update on Aesthetic Assembly – The Art of Attractive Bonding. It is hard to believe that we are already talking about 2011. Thank you, again, for supporting us through these uncertain, difficult past few years. It is very refreshing to hear from so many that they plan to have a marketing budget again in 2011! Managing Editor, jeff@petersonpublications.com

•Great Prices on etched/unetched plate material •Class VI Certified Medical Inks

ISSN: 1536-9870

October/November 2010

Published by: Peterson Publications, Inc.

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Website: www.plasticsdecorating.com Email: publish@petersonpublications.com

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Publisher/Managing Editor Jeff Peterson Assistant Editor Kym Conis Contributing Editor Dianna Brodine

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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.



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DECORATOR'S PROFILE

Celebrating 10 Years Three Former Profile Companies Share their Progress By Kym Conis

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n celebration of ten years in publication, Plastics Decorating magazine revisited three former profile companies to see what changes have occurred within their organizations since they were first interviewed nearly a decade ago. In each case, considerable growth has occurred in areas such as market diversification, capabilities/offerings, green initiatives, facility expansions and mergers – even amidst the last few years of economic disparity. Looking back at the many decorators and molder/decorators that have been highlighted since the magazine’s first issue in the year 2000, nearly all remain in business today – a positive indication of the continuing growth of the plastics industry and of the immense opportunities that lie in its future. Unique Assembly & Decorating, Inc., Technigraph, Inc. and Mystic Assembly & Decorating Co., Inc. are prime examples of the industry’s potential for growth. Learn what these three companies have been doing to seize opportunities and gain market share. Unique Assembly & Decorating, Inc. When introduced to readers back in August of 2000, Unique Assembly & Decorating was a young company (only seven years old) with vision, tenacity and some out-of-the-box business models that fueled the company’s rapid growth. As specialists in pad printing (with additional decorating capabilities in screen printing and dry offset printing, letterpress, hot stamping and assembly), Unique operated some 30 pieces of pad printing equipment from it 16,000 sq. ft. facility in Lombard, IL, for the electronics, automotive, telecommunications, medical, ad specialty and drinkware industries. With the ability to develop its own fixtures in-house, an equipment augmentation program to assist customers with start-up programs, and the ability to offer a variety of value-added services across a broad spectrum of products with tight control on quality and cost-efficiency, Unique was strategically positioned for success.

ft. facility in Downers Grove, IL, giving it the room needed to add new equipment and capabilities to its growing customer base. Since its move in 2005, the company added several onecolor and multi-color pad printers, two cylindrical screen printers, another hot stamping machine and laser plate-making technology for pad printing. To better serve the personal care and health and beauty industry, Unique also added automated screen printing machines for cylindrical bottles and jars. According to Sales Manager Steve Brock, “We can automatically screen print up to three colors in-line with this equipment. We’ve also equipped these machines with automatic pressure sensitive labeling heads. This way, we can offer full wrap or front/back pressure sensitive labels or a combination of screen print and pressure sensitive labeling in one pass.” One of the company's most significant changes was the addition of a controlled white room environment. In 2007, Unique partnered with a medical device manufacturer and was able to secure an automated pad printing job through the utilization of some in-house automation. However to bring the project onboard, Unique had to convert one of its climate controlled printing rooms to a white room. Brock explained, "To maintain the controlled white room environment, we employ bouffant

Ten years later and decorating strong, Unique Assembly & Decorating now operates from a 20,000 sq. Unique Assembly & Decorating's controlled white room environment

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and beard covers, smocks and no corrugated material is allowed in the room. We also have standard operating procedures (SOPs) that control the flow of each project. Lastly, all of our operators are trained to focus on cleanliness and quality." All of this allows Unique the perfect conditions to seek additional business in the medical industry. Another major accomplishment helping to secure business in both the medical and automotive industries has been the company's ISO 9001 certification in 2004. "Before our certification, we had good practices and procedures but they were not well documented or standardized across the business. Achieving and maintaining our ISO certification has forced us to create and maintain proper documentation for every aspect of our business," Brock explained. "But more importantly, we are expected to continuously improve our documentation, our procedures, our quality and our business in general. And when you focus on continuous improvement, you continually build a better business." Because of its ISO certification, Unique Assembly & Decorating has increased its daily output and decreased errors, all while maintaining a higher quality standard. This, in turn, has made it a better and more efficient product decorating company. "Our ISO certification gets us to the table for projects in the automotive and medical industries," concluded Brock. "It's up to us to earn the business." Technigraph, Inc. As a full-range decorator of plastics products to the automotive, personal care and industrial industries, Technigraph, Inc.’s ‘can-do’ attitude served as the foundation for the company’s ability to tackle any challenge back in January of 2001 when first interviewed. Operating three shifts per day from a 135,000 sq. ft. facility in Winona, MN, Technigraph specialized in providing innovative solutions in screen printing, roll and blow stamping, pressure sensitive labeling, ink formulation and prototyping. From designing and building custom equipment and tooling to developing proprietary decorating and post-decorating applications (such as its application of an anti-static coating), Technigraph has built a reputation of providing what the customer needs – quickly, efficiently and with beautiful end results. Holding true to its reputation, Technigraph continues today to meet customer challenges head on with the same ‘can-do’ spirit. What has changed is the company’s capabilities, as it was acquired by Alpha Packaging (a premier bottle molding company) in 2008, giving it the ability to sell a complete package to its current and future customers. According to Al Hines, plant manager at Technigraph, “We have spent the last decade really focusing on personal care customers and developing an understanding of their expectations for quality and technical precision.” For example, color matching is very important to

brand owners. In response, Technigraph has developed an expert ability to match ink colors so that they appear uniform across an entire product line, even if the packaging substrates differ in color, density or material for different products in the line. Continuing in its legacy of developing proprietary ink applications, Technigraph recently introduced a new Eco-Frosttm Spray Frost for plastic and glass bottles that is both aesthetically attractive and environmentally friendly. Technigraph's new, environmentally “The high-end look of our friendly Eco-Frost™ spray frost for proprietary Spray Frost plastic and glass provides customers with an additional ‘green’ packaging option because unlike conventional spray frosts, it contains no VOCs or solvents,” said Hines. “Eco-Frost offers many options to differentiate a brand with

specializing in decorating your durable products All graphics have a function. To warn. To sell. To track. Romo Durable Graphics is continually challenged to produce functional graphics for our customers. We: • Decorate products that are outside in sun, rain & snow for years. • Print barcode tracking decals for containers that are commercially washed 300+ times. • Resurface furniture and surfaces with graffiti-resistant decals.

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In-mold Graphic Solutions is a division of Romo Durable Graphics

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DECORATOR’S PROFILE

a premium look.” Customers can choose from clear or colored frosts and translucent or opaque tinted coatings. Additionally, the process can be used as a single color or multiple colors with fades and can be combined easily with UV screen printing up to six colors. Other proprietary, environmentally friendly processes also can be combi ned w it h E co Frost, such as super silver, textures, water droplets, iridescent colors, glitter, glowi n-t he - d a rk a nd black light enhancements. Technigraph All printing and decorating processes at Technigraph utilize UV-cured inks also can wrap each individual container in a protective shrink sleeve to ensure the product makes the journey from its decorating line to the point-of-sale with minimal scuffing. Long before the recent trend toward sustainability, Technigraph has always tried to be at the forefront of environmental concerns, making a commitment to find inks that were not harmful to the environment. For over 25 years, Technigraph has relied exclusively on UV-cured inks which use a strong ultra violet light source to cure, or dry, the inks after application. Conventional printing inks, by contrast are solvent-based and contain VOCs which are dangerous to both the environment and to the workers who breath them in. At Technigraph, UV inks are used for all printing and decorating processes, including Eco-Frost spray frost and coatings. “Every day, we hear from customers who are interested in finding sustainable packaging solutions that will work for their products,” said Hines. “Many of these companies currently use plastic packaging but some of them want to move from glass or metal into environmentally friendly plastics.” Alpha can run custom orders for bottles incorporating between 25 to 100 percent post-consumer HDPE. The post-consumer resin is FDA-approved for food contact and the same is true for PET bottles. “We also feel strongly that our screen printing processes can help companies make a dramatic impact on the environment through measurable source reduction,” said Hines. “For ex-

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ample, pressure sensitive labels on the average 24-gram PET bottle typically add about 2.2 to 2.6 grams of label material to each package, especially if you consider the label stock waste. For companies that are trying to meet retailers’ goals for source reduction, we can immediately help them eliminate up to 10 percent of their total package waste simply by moving from PS labels to direct screen printing with UV inks.” Always a customer-driven company, being a part of Alpha Packaging has helped reinforce that and better position Technigraph to compete in the marketplace by offering a wider range of services, products and innovations. Still the ‘can-do’ company it was ten years ago, Technigraph now has more things it ‘can do’ for customers. “We can offer one-stop shopping for the bottles and decorating to our customers; we couldn’t do that back then,” said Hines. “We also can offer spray frost and coatings that allow companies to frost and coat their packaging with special colorants in much smaller quantities than they can usually run a custom color for the actual bottle.” As former Technigraph founder and owner Al Eddy once stated, “If you can hold it still, we can print it.” At Technigraph today, that statement remains true to form – in quality and of course, in a wide spectrum of colors, frosts and tints. Mystic Assembly & Decorating Co., Inc. When profiled in July of 2001, flexibility had been the driving force behind Mystic Assembly & Decoratings’s diversified growth since its inception. Owner Jerry Doyle, along with sons Brian and David and a team of talented employees, operated out of a 12,000 sq. ft. facility in Ivyland, PA, servicing the electronics, cosmetics, automotive, pharmaceutical, ad specialty, and telecommunications industries – to name just a few. From screen printing, hot stamping and pad printing to ultrasonic welding, heat staking, hot gluing, blister sealing and more, Mystic offered a diverse portfolio of decorating services and equipment in order to remain flexible and price competitive no matter the size of the run. Its over-the-top emphasis on flexibility coupled with developing unique partnerships with its customers has been paramount to the company’s continued success over the past ten years. Nearly doubling the size of its facility to 20,000 sq. ft., Mystic has added new technologies and high-speed equipment to meet customer demands for higher volumes with shorter lead times. According to David Doyle, director of sales and marketing, “We started to focus our growth more on the decoration of bottles and containers for the health and beauty industry.” Through the purchase of additional semi-automatic screen printing machinery and the eventual investment in multi-color automatic screen printers, Mystic was able to become more cost competitive and fulfill its customers’ larger orders in shorter periods of time.


“One of our key strategies with our customers has been the ability to work with them as partners with very open dialogue about pricing and delivery,” said Doyle. “Often times, we are able to get jobs that we might not have by talking to the customer and finding out what price they need to come in at to get the job.” For example, Mystic can design custom tooling or equipment that can reduce labor costs and increase productivity. Additionally, as Mystic has continued to grow in the medical device market, it added laser marking, which has provided the ability to do short runs cost effectively as well as permanently mark nearly all materials. “This opens another market due to the ability to produce bar coding, 2D coding and product serialization that could not be done with our other printing techniques,” said Doyle. In the end, it all comes down to customer service and the flexibility to meet or beat customer expectations. For Mystic Assembly ASSEMBLY & DECORATING CO., INC. & Decorating, it’s the most important part of the business. n

MYSTIC Mystic Assembly & Decorating expands into the medical device market

“As we began to grow with screen printing, a few of our larger customers asked us if we could apply pressure sensitive labels to their containers and also register the labels to the graphics and the seam of the bottle,” said Doyle. This seemed a natural fit to Mystic’s existing core business of contract screen printing on bottles and containers. “We started out with one labeling head that we integrated into one of our automatic screen printers and grew from there,” he continued. Pressure sensitive label application has enabled the company to use its existing silkscreen tooling, as well as give it the ability to register the labels to the bottle seam or other imprinted graphic. Ultimately as business continued to grow, Mystic installed more labeling machines and began to integrate the labeling heads into all its screen printing machines. Over the past several years, the largest part of the company’s growth has been in the investment in machinery with higher production speeds for screen printing and pressure sensitive label application. As in the past, much of Mystics growth has been facilitated through its ability to be flexible and tailor-make solutions to customer needs, whether in the form of custom tooling or equipment. Recently entering the medical device market, Mystic has a customer that required a volume too high for the company’s current equipment to accommodate and still remain cost effective. But this didn’t stop Mystic. Through communication, a bit of ingenuity and as always, flexibility, Mystic was able to design a custom machine that would fit the customer’s application perfectly. The customer was able to purchase the machine directly and have Mystic manage the building and qualification process. Ultimately, the machine was shipped to Mystic for production – a win/win proposition for all.

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PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS In-Mold Decorating Products and Processes

Serigraph Inc. 262.335.7200 www.serigraph.com Serigraph Inc., West Bend, WI, is the leader in design and manufacture of graphic appliqués for in-mold decorating (IMD). What differentiates Serigraph is its ability to insert mold/integrate the appliqué into a decorative or functional product. Molding can be performed at Serigraph or turn-key molding is available. Serigraph offers technical expertise, printing, tooling, molding technology, quality systems and global reach to deliver a wide range of applications, providing a single-source solution and eliminating problems with fragmented supply chains. Whether a flat or formed appliqué or a complete molded product, Serigraph delivers value. Industramark® 800.755.6405 www.industramark.com Industramark®, a Standard Register business unit, is pleased to offer a durable, easy-to-use solution for labeling and decorating rotationally molded parts: Grafilm® Roto in-mold labeling. This new system poses none of the hassles or special handling associated with competitive labeling technologies. It is easily peeled from its backing and applied directly to the inside of the mold. If misaligned, the molder can remove and re-apply it. The unique combination of adhesive and film eliminates ink picking and reduces scrap rates. Meech International 330.564.2000 www.meech.com UK manufacturer Meech International has launched a major addition to the world of in-mold labeling (IML) technology with its 994 IML high-voltage generator, which is light enough to be mounted on the end of an arm tool. The new generator works in conjunction with the recently introduced Meech Hydra, a miniaturized IML pinning system designed to improve pinning performance, especially on smaller labels. The 994 Hydra overcomes many of the issues encountered with other commonly used IML technologies and because of this, the purchase and running costs are reduced significantly. It also provides powerful, repeatable pinning with no degradation. OEMs are free to make their own label carriers, which can be produced at a greatly reduced cost. The components are easy to mount, as

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well as connect and disconnect during mold tool changes. The design eliminates the chance of sparking and the possibility of expensive damage to the mold tool; it also removes the risk of contamination of the container, a problem sometimes encountered with conductive foam-based IML systems. North Pacific International, Inc. 909.393.3312 www.npifoil.com North Pacific International, Inc. (NPI), Chino, CA, provides reel-to-reel inmold decorating foils and equipment, making it possible to pre-form, decorate and apply topcoat in one process inside a standard molding cycle. Among various offerings, such as dead-front, multi-color, metallic and other special effects, NPI has several options in surface protection, including a UV cure topcoat, one of the hardest in the industry, as well as a self-healing topcoat, the first topcoat to possess the ability to recover from abrasions. This process can be applied to most 2D and 3D injection-molded parts. Central Decal 630.325.9892 www.centraldecal.com Central Decal, Burr Ridge, IL, has entered the digital world with a strategic partnership with InkWorks, a high-speed digital label printing company, as well as through the purchase of its own high-speed UV inkjet printer. Central Decal has made a commitment to improve its customer service and drive the development of digital print solutions. The company’s new highspeed digital printing capabilities will allow it to produce QR codes, serialized barcodes, short sample and production runs, digital doming, vendor-managed products without having to run six months to one year quantities, improved in-mold products and hybrid screen-flexo-digital capabilities. SIMCO 215.822.6401 www.simco-static.com Simco, an ITW Company, Hatfield, PA, introduces the new Chargemaster VCM electrostatic charging system – perfectly suited for IML applications, bag-making processes and condensation build-up elimination on chill roll systems. Designed specifically for the demands of bindery operations, including card insertion, ribbon tacking and catalog stacking, the Chargemaster supplies the high voltage for charging bars and various applicators to electrostatically bond materials. Fully


programmable for either voltage or current control mode, the Chargemaster VCM provides a simple and economical solution for a wide range of production processes to maximize efficiency. Providing both positive and negative polarities and featuring scroll-through menu programming control, each unit’s output current is electronically restricted and protected against arcing. With remote on/off capability and output voltage control, the Chargemaster VCM incorporates high-frequency switching technology within a compact package.

(IMD) process, thereby avoiding the more complicated insert molding process. The structures are incorporated into the IMD foil itself, so expensive mold-making technologies are not required, and a large variety of surfaces can be produced using the same IMD mold. This process therefore offers processors a flexible and cost-effective means of production, as well as opening up new design possibilities for designers. It also gives auto manufacturers the ability to add further popular and exclusive interior trim variants to their product range.

Kurz Transfer Products 800.950.3645 www.kurzusa.com

YUPO Synthetic Paper 888.873.9876 www.yupousa.com

Kurz Transfer Products, L.P., Charlotte, NC, has developed a patented tactile surface finish in response to increasing demands for tactile, structured surfaces on interior components in the automobile industry. Kurz offers surface coatings with an arbitrary full-surface or single-image structure that can be combined with any of the available visual designs, whether it be wood grain, metallic or colored. Thanks to the achievable structure depths of around 20 Îźm, these surface structures are not only visually apparent but also noticeably tangible. Processors can create these tactile surfaces using the in-mold decoration

YUPO Synthetic Paper, Chesapeake, VA, specializes in 100 percent recyclable, waterproof, tree-free synthetic paper with attributes and properties that make it the perfect solution for a variety of marketing, design, packaging and labeling needs. Perfectly suited for in-mold labeling, YUPO label substrates are super smooth, durable, tear-resistant, bright white, print consistently and effortlessly and hold ink with razor-sharp precision – the optimum label substrate for IML projects. n

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INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

ITW Acquires Ion Systems Illinois Tool Works Inc. (ITW), Glenview, IL, announced that it has acquired Ion Systems, Inc, a leading producer of electronic static control products. Ion Systems will be a wholly owned subsidiary of ITW and will become part of the company’s existing ionization and static electricity control business. ITW will continue to operate Ion Systems as a separate business as part of the Simco Electrostatic Processes platform. Ion’s products provide electrostatic attraction and discharge management to reduce contamination and improve yields, as well as reduce electromagnetic interference to improve software performance and equipment uptime. “The acquisition of Ion Systems further enhances ITW’s existing portfolio of ionization businesses. Ion’s strengths in the semiconductor, mass storage and electronics markets complement ITW’s existing industrial and electronics ionization businesses, which are marketed under the Simco brand,” said Simco/Ion Group General Manager Michael Oldt. Ion Systems is based in Alameda, California. To learn more, visit www.ion.com or www.simco-static.com. Fusion UV Announces Strategic Alliance Fusion UV Systems, Inc., Gaithersburg, MD, and DVUV HOLDINGS, LLC, Cleveland, OH, announce an alliance to jointly market UV-curable powder coating systems for heat sensitive substrates. Both firms will market and promote Fusion’s UV-curing lamp technology and DVUV HOLDINGS’ solventfree UV-cured powder coating chemistry and application technology. This alliance is further strengthened by Fusion’s global network of sales and service and DVUV’s subsidiary, Keyland Polymer, Ltd., a chemical company that develops, formulates, manufactures and sells UV-cured powder coatings. According to David Harbourne, president of Fusion UV Systems, “What makes this alliance so strategically important is that both firms need the other to maximize the solutions they SGIA 2010 Rolls in the Numbers in Vegas The 2010 SGIA Expo in Las Vegas, October 13 – 15, was the North American hotspot for the newest products and trends targeting the specialty imaging market, hitting a record 21,956 registrants. Even more impressive is the percentage of first-time attendees at nearly 40 percent and exhibit space up 30,000 square feet from last year’s event, signifying a substantial incline in tradeshow participation. From across the globe, attendees traveled to the SGIA Expo to explore the newest technologies in specialty imaging for the plastics, graphics and garment industries. In the area of plastics decoration, excitement

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can provide customers, many of whom expect environmentally friendly proactive finishing processes and solutions in the retail, healthcare, architecture and specialty markets.” Contact Fusion UV Systems at 301.990.8700, DVUV HOLDINGS at 216.741.5511 for more information or visit www.fusionuv.com or www.dvuv.com. New Laser Additive Facility from Joining Technologies Joining Technologies, East Granby, CT, recently announced the addition of a new laser cladding work cell to its laser additive manufacturing division and the opening of an additional production facility in September to house the unit along with other

equipment related to the laser additive process. The stand-alone 10,000 square foot multipurpose industrial flex building is located less than a mile from Joining Technologies’ headquarters, has the capacity to lift and manipulate parts up to 3.5 tons and process parts up to 40 feet long. “We are excited to open this new facility in response to our growth in this area,” said Dave Hudson, company president. “The new wholly owned division of Joining Technologies is expected to add several jobs over the next year.” The building also will be the future home of a laser additive technology institutes, North America’s first and only center for excellence in laser additive manufacturing. For more information, call 800.266.1966 or visit www.joinintech.com. prevailed as suppliers showcased the newest technologies in equipment and supplies, offering complete solutions in digital inkjet printing, screen printing, pad printing and in-mold decorating. In addition to the exhibitions and numerous educational opportunities, SGIA announced the winners of its esteemed 2010 Golden Image Competition, which recognizes the top products from nearly every sector of the specialty imaging industry. Hundreds of entries were evaluated by an elite team of imaging professionals, who awarded gold, silver and bronze ribbons to the best prints. To view the complete list of Golden Image winners, visit SGIA.org, keyword: GoldenImage. The 2011 SGIA Expo will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA, October 19-21, 2011. n


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TECHNOLOGY FEATURE

Exterior UV-Curable Topcoat For Physical Vapor Deposition Applications By Kristy Wagner, UV Senior Chemist and Jennifer R. Smith, Business Development, Red Spot Paint and Varnish Company, Inc.

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rowing environmental concerns with chrome plating have caused finishers to request a “greener” alternative. Coatings for multi-purpose decorative and automotive lighting PVD applications have been used in the UV-curable coating industry for over twenty years. However, these coatings do not have the required durability to replace chrome plating. Recent developments with a UV-curable topcoat for PVD that provides the performance characteristics needed to pass the OEM’s toughest requirements. Chrome Plating Chrome plating can be classified as either “hard chrome plating” or “decorative chrome plating”. Hard chrome plating is typically used on steel and is very durable; it is applied as a thick layer on items such as hydraulic cylinder rods, piston rings, thread guides and gun bores. Decorative chrome plating is generally used on plastic materials and can vary in its durability, depending on the process. An electrodeless nickel layer must be applied first. The number of subsequent layers can vary, which can determine the finished quality. The fewer steps utilized, the lower the durability of the end product which can lead to quality defects of the chromed part in the field. The process of chrome plating requires multiple steps. For optimum appearance, cleaning, polishing, buffing and rinsing should be done for each step in the process. In addition to the length of the process, chrome plating is not environmentally friendly. All of the waste products (including rinse water) are regulated and must be disposed of legally as hazardous waste. Furthermore, chrome plating is done with hexavalent chrome, which is an extreme health hazard. Without proper safeguards, very small amounts can leach into the ground water and

contaminate large areas very quickly. Closely regulated by the EPA, it is becoming increasingly difficult to operate a chrome plating facility in the United States. Despite all of the hazards of chrome plating, the end product is aesthetically pleasing. When decorative chrome plating is processed properly, it is a durable product. When short cuts are taken, the end product can fail in the field. Finishers have been asking for a safer, greener, quicker alternative without sacrificing appearance and performance. Chrome Alternatives Using UV/PVD Coatings Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) on thermosets and thermoplastics has been around for many years. The automotive lighting market has been vacuum metallizing plastic reflectors and bezels for more than 20 years. PVD for non-automotive finishing has been in use even longer. Cosmetic packaging, interior decorative finishing, cell phones and lighting louvers are being finished with PVD; this technique provides a valueadded aesthetic to the end user by making plastic components appear to be metal. A variety of PVD metals can be applied. Aluminum is the most common metal used in automotive lighting; tin is used for cell phones because it is non-conductive. Stainless steel, chrome, titanium, silver and nickel chrome also are used in the PVD industry. PVD with a UV topcoat also can replace chrome plating for interior automotive applications. Since interior parts are not subjected to as severe exterior requirements, aluminum or other metals can be used instead of chrome or chrome alloy. However, the coating must pass a series of chemical resistance and abrasion resistance tests. Since UV topcoats can become tightly

Figure 1: UV/PVD System

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TECHNOLOGY FEATURE

crosslinked when cured, they are a natural choice for interior automotive coatings. Although automotive lighting is an exterior market, the reflectors are protected by a polycarbonate lens that has a weatherable and scratch-resistant coating. The basecoat/PVD/topcoat need only withstand the rigors of a high-heat environment. For a true exterior durable product, the requirements are more stringent. In order to match the appearance of chrome plating, PVD chrome is naturally the first choice. PVD aluminum could be used to match the appearance of chrome plating, but its lack of exterior durability can be a potential problem. Although the metal will be protected by a clear coat, if the topcoat becomes chipped, the chance of moisture reaching the metal layer increases. When PVD aluminum is exposed to water, it can start to oxidize at best and lose adhesion to the basecoat at worst. PVD chrome does not have this tendency; therefore, chrome or a chrome alloy is both the aesthetic and the durable choice to replace chrome plating for exterior applications. The main target of the UV-curable topcoat development for PVD was to replace traditional inorganic chrome with a layer system of organic and inorganic materials. As illustrated in figure 1 (page 15), this involves applying a UV basecoat on the substrate followed by a PVD metal layer, and lastly the UV protective topcoat. Challenges associated with the development of each of these layers and the processing of each are explained in the following paragraphs. Substrate: A wide variety of thermoset and thermoplastic substrates can be coated with the UV basecoat. PC, ABS, PC/ABS, PA/PPE and PC/PBT are commonly used plastics for exterior rigid and semi-rigid automotive parts. UV Basecoat: The surface that the metal is deposited on must be smooth and continuous. If it is not, the metal will not be reflective leading to a dull appearance. Some parts are direct metallized; however, this requires a higher grade of thermoplastic. It also demands that molds must be kept in optimum condition and polished regularly to ensure the surface of the parts are free from defects. To compensate for less than stellar conditions, a basecoat is applied to ensure optimum smoothness.


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Thermal Evaporation is the deposition of a metal via thermal vaporization in a vacuum environment. The metal is in the form of a cane. It is placed inside a tungsten coil; the number of coils can vary depending on size of the chamber. Once the chamber is pumped down to a vacuum, the tungsten filaments are heated to 1200°F (for aluminum) – enough to melt the metal. The power to the filaments is then increased to roughly double the temperature and the metal is evaporated. The metal then re-condenses on the parts in the chamber. Sputtering is the deposition process where atoms on a solid metal target are ejected into the gas phase due to bombardment of the material by high energy ions. The bombardment releases atoms from the metal target, which are deposited directly onto the part within the vacuum chamber. Metal thickness will vary depending on the cycle time and power applied to the target. Alloys can be used with either method, but they will be deposited differently. With thermal evaporation, the metal with the lowest melt temperature will evaporate first and deposit onto the part. Rather than having a deposition of an alloy, there will be two distinct metal layers.

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UV Topcoat: To protect the metal, a topcoat needs to be applied. This can vary from a thin layer of in-chamber siloxane to a thicker thermal or UV-curable topcoat. The choice will vary depending on application and needed performance requirements. For exterior purposes, there are currently OEM-approved thermal, two-component coatings and thermal powder coatings on

17


Decorative and Functional Pigmented and Metallic Foils CFC is the go-to-source when you need heat transfer foils for hot stamp plastic decorating. Our pigmented and metallic foils are both decorative and functional; and feature such functional characteristics as resistance to abrasion, fade, heat distortion, scratch, moisture, mar and chemical resistance. With CFC, you get:

• Efficiency - Foils feature easy release and can be applied inline on the extruder • Variety - Foils availabe in vivid solid colors to highly polished metal appearances • Versatility - Foils provide superior coverage on broad areas, banding and very fine detail parts • Adaptability - Foils can be used to decorate a wide variety of consumer and industrial products • Availability - Stock items on hand, in a variety of colors, ready to ship • Flexibility - Need small quantities, contact CFC Foils Direct at 1-800-393-4505 • Opportunity - We offer custom color matching, and innovative solutions for specialty projects • Reliability - We provide customer-focused solutions for all your hot stamp plastic decorating needs

Need a sample, a quote, or help with your next project, contact us today at: CFC International Corporation, An ITW Company 500 State Street • Chicago Heights, IL 60411 • Phone: 708-891-3456 • Fax: 708-758-5989 • E-mail: salesinfo@cfcintl.com

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 p. 17

TECHNOLOGY FEATURE

the market. However, these coatings are not a panacea. The 2K coatings lack both environmental and processing friendliness. Powder coatings are more environmentally friendly. However, not only do the long bake times hinder productivity, the high temperatures required to cure the powder will not work with most thermoplastic substrates. A UV-cured coating would meet both the environmental and process requests. Until recently, there have not been acceptable UV topcoats to protect the PVD chrome. PVD aluminum, being less rigid than chrome, is much easier to adhere to. Although initial adhesion to chrome is relatively easy to achieve, maintaining that adhesion after humidity, water immersion and weathering can be a bigger challenge. In order to obtain proper adhesion to chrome, the coating needs to have low shrinkage and lower crosslink density. However, these characteristics can lead to a soft, easily marred coating that cannot withstand the testing rigors of an OEM specification. It is imperative to find the balance between too rigid to get adhesion and too soft to pass resistance testing. The properly formulated UV-curable topcoat can meet these demands. It can pass up to five pints of gravel chip resistance, at room temperature and -30°C; resistance to various solvents and cleaners; 49°C humidity for 240 hours; 80°C water soak for 3 hours; 3000 kJs Xenon accelerated weathering and 2 years natural weathering. The topcoat serving as a protective layer is necessary due to the metal being deposited so thinly. Advantages of UV/PVD Coatings In a direct comparison, PVD chrome samples with a UV-curable topcoat have shown to be the same performance as decorative chrome plating, and superior in hydroflouric acid tests. Chrome plating has shown to have superior scratch resistance; however, if the UV topcoat is compared to approved systems in the market today – 2K clear coat for automotive bumpers and fascias; thermal cure powder for automotive clear coats – there is no difference in scratch resistance. Additionally, there are alternative processing methods for the topcoat that increase the surface hardness to be comparable to that of chrome plating. Other advantages include environmentally friendly process, increased throughput, wide range of plastic substrates can be utilized, large range of appearances is obtainable. UV/PVD also allows for design flexibility and lower capital investment. Targeted Applications Testing has been completed for several automotive and heavy truck OEM specifications. Targeted parts are components that are currently classified as decorative chrome plating on plastic substrates. This includes interior, exterior and under the hood components, such as badges, various trim pieces, door handles, console parts, mirrors housings, wheel hubs, grilles and air filter housings, etc.

The PVD/UV-cured technology has been approved for some vehicle applications, such as the new Ford Taurus tail light surrounds and the interior door parts for the Jeep Compass and Patriot. Several end-component applications at various OEMs are in the process of obtaining part approvals. The automotive market continues to value bright finishes for exterior and interior components. Decorative chrome plating can provide this look aesthetically. However, the associated environmental issues and the limited design flexibility have created a need for a new technology alternative. With the proper formulation, UV coatings along with the PVD process can offer an environmental, economic and performance alternative. n Special thanks to Chris Mack, UV chemist, and Dave Ingle, UV applications engineer with Red Spot for their assistance with the UV/PVD technology. Red Spot Paint and Varnish Company, Inc. is a global leader in the development and production of high-performance coatings for a variety of industries including automotive, packaging and appliances. With over 20 years of UV experience, Red Spot is an industry leader in the design and development of high-performance UV formulations, application support and line design. For more information on UV-curable topcoats for PVD, call 800.457.3544 or visit www.redspot.com.

There. That’s more like it.

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S

SPECIAL FOCUS

In-Mold Decorating with

Pre-Printed Film Inserts By Ann Marie Lentz, Technical Launch Manager, Serigraph Inc.

A

pplications for in-mold decorating with pre-printed film inserts continue to expand since technological improvements have made it an option for three-dimensional products with complex surfaces. IMD/IML cuts costs and boosts quality in uses from automobile interior components with compound curves to contoured control panels on appliances and in a wide variety of consumer products. Applications include almost all electronic devices, medical devices, sports equipment and toys, to name a few. People come in contact with in-mold decorated products everyday but few understand the technology, why it should be considered and how to incorporate it into a robust product design. Here is an inside look at what’s happening with IMD/IML today. Why Consider IMD/IML? IMD/IML is an effective decorative option for parts with complex curves because the insert is formed to the shape of the finished product. IMD also has an advantage when the application requires consistently registered graphics, optically clear windows and the addition of conductive entities such as RFID, antennas and capacitive touch screens. By integrating the

In-mold decorated glucose meters

20

graphics and conductive features into the molding process, secondary operations are eliminated and typically, scrap is greatly reduced. With pre-printed inserts in different solid colors, users also may avoid the need to purchase pre-colored resins. Altogether, cost savings from 5 to 40 percent can be realized.

The in-mold process often produces significantly less scrap than other methods such as adhesive labels because the decorated insert is shaped to fit precisely into the mold, so the position or registration of the graphic is highly consistent and permanent. During or after secondary operations, labels sometimes shift on a part or collect dust at their edges, making them difficult to clean. IMD/IML eliminates those concerns because the decoration is fixed on or in the part and there are no edges. The technology creates a seamless appearance over 95 percent of the total surface area of the molded component when the printed construction ends within the body of the plastic housing, thus no exposed edges exist to trap dirt and delaminate from the plastic housing. This also enables the components to be cleaned with a wide variety of chemicals depending on resistance of the insert film chosen. Component cleaning is particularly important in medical


applications where many antibacterial and antiviral cleaning solutions are used. IMD/IML has given designers greater latitude than ever before by allowing designs with a wider variety of complex curves and shapes. It is possible to completely change the appearance of a part while continuing to use the same form, cut and mold tooling. These ‘interchangeable appliqués’ make redesigning the part easier and more cost effective than ever before. Insert molding also can be considered a green process since the molded component is recyclable when using similar stock to injection molding resin (for example polycarbonate stock to polycarbonate resin). This is especially true for components which formally included pressure sensitive labels. Additionally, printing is much cleaner and emits lower levels of volatile organic compounds when compared to other application methods such as spray coating technologies.

and hardness properties. These requirements include specifications provided by the customer for their particular application. Without properly defined specifications, incorrect film and ink selection may result in later performance failures. The most appropriate sheet or film materials for printed inserts are those with higher surface energy that will allow stronger and more consistent ink bonding. These include polycarbonate, PET, acrylic, ABS, PVC and PS. However, success with some lower surface energy materials, as well as those that are selflubricating, is limited due to inter-film adhesion issues. With proper pretreatment, PP and PE also have been successfully used in the in-mold process. The most common molding resins used are polycarbonate, PET, SAN, PC/ABS, PVC, nylons, ABS, PS, acrylic, PP and PE. In general, the insert and backing resins do not have to be identical, but they must be compatible. If not, then a special heat-activated adhesive must be used to ensure inter-coat adhesion. Ink selection is based upon the performance specifications. These can include opacity, transmissivity, IR and RF transparency, chemical resistance, elongation, adhesive strength, bright

Typical second surface IMD/IML construction

Graphics can be printed on either the first or second surface of the insert’s film. The “first” surface is that which will be on the outside of the finished part. The “second” surface is where the insert’s printed image is viewed through the transparent film on which the image is printed. In this case, the molding resin bonds directly to the image and the surrounding film. The transparent film allows the use of clear or tinted windows in the insert. The durability, particularly of second-surface insert decoration, is well beyond that of other decorating methods because the graphics on the insert are permanently embedded in the product and are never exposed to its surrounding environment. The ‘untouchable’ second surface printed IMD/ IML constructions accomplish better durability for abrasion and chemical resistance based upon the substrate selected in the application, thereby ensuring that the image will never rub off or be removed. This is useful for warning labels or reducing an OEM’s liability when PSA labels are removed. Where to Begin – Matching Up the Materials The IMD/IML design process begins with selecting a film that meets the required durability, flexibility, chemical resistance

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 p. 21

SPECIAL FOCUS metallic graphics and conductivity requirements of the ink/film combination. Proprietary ink and coating systems have been developed to withstand the temperatures and elongation associated with forming and molding. After printing, and in many cases, forming operations, the insert is diecut to fit the mold. The diecutting process can be automated depending upon the size of the part, the application and production volume. The insert then can be used as a flat or 3D overlay. Three dimensional forming involves the use of one (or a combination) of the following forming methods: vacuum, thermo, hydro or pressure. Proprietary elastic ink and coating systems have been developed to withstand the rigors of forming and molding. In the molding process, the decorated insert is placed into the cavity or onto the core of an injection mold that has been designed for in-mold decorating. The desired molding resin is shot behind or over the insert, bonding its surface to the decorated insert and forming an integral finished part. Insert in the molding tool

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Challenges IMD/IML does have its challenges and limitations. It is less cost-effective if the decorated area is a small portion of the decorated surface. Up-front design considerations are of paramount importance for the process, including printing, forming tool, cutting tool and injection molding tool design. In particular, graphic locations may need to be printed distorted before the forming operation to allow the graphics to move into register during the forming process. While not recommended, some existing tools can be modified for IMD/IML. However, new tooling is almost always recommended. With the correct design, film selection and engineering, IMD/IML can become the process of choice in many applications today. This process allows for cost effectiveness and a wide variety of aesthetic and functional designs. In addition, in-mold increases the ability to recycle many components, reducing the possibility of post-consumer waste and stress on landfills. Pushing the Envelope Serigraph is one company pushing the envelope when it comes to new applications for IMD/IML. Thin wall constructions used in the telecom, medical and computer industries are allowing the minimization of weight and space that the IMD/ IML requires. Many times designers are looking to make their product lighter and smaller. With careful selection of inks, film and adhesive, this has been made a reality. IMD/IML engineers have been able to drive cost out of the process by using flat appliqués when possible. With careful tool design, flat appliqués have been successfully molded into parts with a 90 degree turn. By using 2D appliqués, the cost of pre-forming the film is taken completely out of the equation. Taking a closer look, the IMD/IML process brings quality, durability and visual aesthetics to products across a broad spectrum. It very well may be the best choice for making a product stand out from the crowd. n Serigraph is the leader in design and manufacture of graphic appliqués for In-Mold Decorating/ Labeling (IMD/IML). What differentiates Serigraph is its ability to insert mold/integrate the appliqué into a decorative or functional product. Serigraph can mold products in-house or provide turn-key molding. Implementing thousands of successful IMD projects, the company has the technical expertise, printing, tooling, molding technology, quality systems and global reach to deliver a wide range of applications, thereby offering a single-source solution and eliminating problems with fragmented supply chains. To learn more about flat or formed appliqués or a complete molded product, visit www.serigraph.com.


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PRODUCT DEVELOPMENTS

Innovative Green Ink Cup from Diversified Printing Techniques Diversified Printing Techniques (DPT), Charlotte, NC, a national leader in pad and screen printing equipment and all related supplies since 1982, announces the new innovative green ink cup. The G‐cup (patent application number 12/569,119) was designed to continue DPT’s movement toward environmentally responsible pad printing. The G‐cup comes in 90mm, 130mm and 165mm sizes and accommodates a plastic inner liner. The plastic inner liner removes the need to use cleaning solvents to clean the ink cup and is removed easily to allow quick changeover from one ink type or color to the next. Snap on liner lids also are available so ink can be saved and used on another day resulting in less wasted ink, thereby making the green cup cost efficient as well as environmentally responsible. For more information, call 704.583.9433 or visit www.diverprint.com. Invisible Black Light Garment Ink from Inkcups Now Inkcups Now Corporation, Danvers, MA, has introduced BLink311 – a unique pad printing and screen printing ink for hidden printing on garments, a product to revolutionize garment tracking and decoration. BLink311 is visible only in black light. It was initially developed for an apparel manufacturer to tag its “seconds” (substandard items) to facilitate tracking and distribution through alternative channels, but it now holds a wealth of other exciting applications. BLink311 can be used to prevent consumers from returning merchandise into wrong department store chains. It can be used for security purposes, with the potential to have a revolutionary impact on RFID technology. BLink311 also presents a world of new opportunities to the designers of trendy night club apparel. BLink311 is a heavy, metal- and phthalate-free ink that is compliant with CPSIA’08 and California Proposition 65 and is NAMSA-certified to cause zero skin irritation. Garment tags and images pad printed with BLink311 withstand 50 industrial washes, superseding heat transfer labels in terms of cost-effectiveness, quality, softness, production flexibility and speed. For more information, visit www.inkcups.com/tagless, call 978.646.8980 or email info@ inkcups.com. Chroma Offers Biodegradable Masterbatches Chroma Corporation, McHenry, IL, now offers a line of biodegradable masterbatches that allows processors to make standard polypropylene and polyethylene biodegradable. The product is FDA-sanctioned and RoHS directive-compliant. The technology initiates a natural process in polypropylene and polyethylene to return the plastic back to nature. Shelf life can be controlled by the amount of concentrate used in the product. The product also can be used in standard tooling. The biode-

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gradable masterbatches work well in both conventional and high-speed thin wall injection molding, sheet extrusion, blow molding and blow film. For more information, call 815.759.2110 or visit www.chromacolors.com. Vortex Precedence Spin Welder from Extol Extol, Inc., Zeeland, MI, is pleased to announce the Vortex spin welder. The Vortex Precedence is an enhanced version of the servo-driven welder that Extol introduced to the market in 2005. The numerous changes include a more powerful 3kW drive motor; an electro-pneumatic actuation system which provides precise, programmable force and velocity control and substantial operator amenity options. The platform maintains the standard welding modes of time, final angle, revolutions and distance (collapse or total travel). Gear reduction models for large weld-area applications are available. For more information, call 800.324.6205 or visit www.Extolinc.com. Breakthrough RF Welding Technology from Genesis Plastics Welding and PolyOne Genesis Plastics Welding, Indianapolis, IN, in conjunction with PolyOne GLS Thermoplastic Elastomers, Cleveland, OH, recently unveiled a breakthrough technology that enables nonhalogenated and nonplasticized GLS Versaflex™ TPEs to be RF welded into any two-dimensional shape or configuration, including mandrels. Collaboration between Genesis and PolyOne expands the portfolio of Versaflex grades that can be welded using ecoGenesis™ technology to provide the market with a superior solution for fluid delivery applications, including better flexibility, mechanical properties, clarity, aesthetics and value. Prior to this development, older RF welding techniques were restricted to high dielectric loss materials and TPEs could only be heat sealed, limiting configurations to straight lines. “With ecoGenesis, manufacturers can use materials such as PolyOne’s Versaflex TPEs in RF welding just like PVC, often providing improved cost savings and a more environmentally friendly product,” said Tom Ryder, president and chief executive officer for Genesis Plastics Welding. For additional information, contact Genesis Plastics Welding at 317.485.7887 or visit www.genesisplasticswelding.com or www.polyone.com.


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 p. 26

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENTS

Tampoprint Unveils New Features on ALFALAS® “MOF-PROMO” Laser System Tampoprint International Corporation, Vero Beach, FL, unveils several new features on the well established ALFALAS® “MOF-PROMO” laser system, which now performs new marking tasks. Cylindrical parts – such as small plastic containers for drugs – are placed in the correct position on the integrated transport conveyor and marked in the on-the-fly process with the corresponding data (lot, batch, best before date, etc.). Depending on the amount of marking, it is possible to variably mark 1,000 – 1,500 parts/min. The optimum beam source for each application is selected and integrated in the stainless steel casing of the MOF-PROMO from the broad spectrum of laser sources with the variable output powers and wave lengths. Optionally, the line can be equipped with a monitoring camera that will inspect the marking. For more information, call 800.810.8896 or visit www.tampoprintusa.com.

Pad Print Machinery of VT Introduces Industrial Inkjet Printer Pad Print Machinery of Vermont, East Dorset, VT, introduces the XD070 industrial multi-color inkjet printer – ideally suited for printing on f lat and semi-flat surfaces. Features include continuous multi-color printing in a single pass; perfect solution in variable image data for short and long runs; high-quality CMYK images using grey scale technology; fine lines and details at 16 inches per second / 360 dpi; four-color integrated RIP available with variable image data; product height and width to 12 inches; automatic height detection; drop-on-demand InstaCure UV ink and a job queuing function. Features include options for automatic parts handling, pre-treatment and vision systems. The XD070 multi-color inkjet printing system is a low-cost, high-resolution digital inkjet printer suitable for most applications. For more information about Pad Print Machinery of Vermont’s custom solutions or its full line of standard pad print, inks, pads, clichés and other auxiliary equipment and automation options, call 800.272.7764 or visit www.padprintmachinery.com. Larson Electronics Magnalight Unveils Explosion-Proof LED Light Larson Electronics Magnalight, Kemp, TX, recently unveiled the EPL‐LED7W‐SFC explosion-proof LED light suitable for paint a nd powder spray booth applications. The UL-rated Class 1 Division 1 and Class 2 Division 1-rated LED light can be pendant-, wall- or ceilingmounted within hazardous location areas. Larson Electronics released the latest explosion-proof LED light in its growing range of high-output, efficient lighting. In addition to a wide range of four-foot and two-foot LED linear fluorescent explosion-proof fixtures, magnalight.com added a new surface mount Class 1 and Class 2 LED light for hazardous location areas. The EPL‐LED7W‐SFC explosion-proof LED light is a replacement for standard ceiling-, wall- or pendant-mount incandescent lights. Carrying both explosion-proof and paint spray booth light UL certifications, the new hazardous location

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7 watt LED light provides 40 percent more light at 10 feet than a 100 watt incandescent light. The specially designed LED module operates below ambient temperatures and focuses all light produced in a downward direction, optimizing the light available for general area lighting. To learn more about hazardous location LED lighting and general area LED lighting, call 800.369.6671 or visit www.magnalight.com.

ultrasonic welder, which is ideally suited for medical device assembly. Built in to the 12" color touch screen controller is an industrial computer, running Windows XP®, which facilities the welding process control. All welding processes are electronically controlled and programmed through the DIALOG controller. For more information, call 630.626.1626 or visit www.herrmannultrasonics.com.

United Silicone Launches Transgrafix HT Heat Transfer Machine United Silicone, an ITW Decorating Company, Lancaster, NY, launched the new Transgrafix HT heat transfer decorating machine at Pack Expo, held at McCormick Place in Chicago. Heat transfer decorating is a form of product decorating that uses a combination of heat, pressure and dwell to apply pre-printed graphics permanently to a part. The Transgrafix HT allows for full color decoration of cylindrical and tapered parts. The machine platform utilizes a silicone rubber roller for peripheral marking mounted to a vertical stamping head. At Pack Expo, the Machine decorated a clear PETG jar demonstrating a new combination reflective foil and spot color heat transfer from ITW Graphics. The ability to combine full color decoration with metallics can now be accomplished in one pass with the ITW solution. For more information, call 716.681.8222 or visit www.unitedsilicone.com.

Intelligent Mini Paint Robot from FANUC FA N UC Robot ic s America, Rochester Hills, MI, introduces the Paint Mate 200iA intelligent mini paint robot designed to pa int or decorate small parts, providing a cost-effective a lternative to applications requiring multiple fixed paint guns. The Paint Mate 200iA robot is extremely flexible and can adapt to small lot sizes, new styles and other modifications, providing customers an affordable and versatile solution. Slim and lightweight, the Paint Mate 200iA robot can be mounted in a variety of positions including floor, tabletop, angle and invert, which helps companies challenged with small and narrow workspaces. For more information, call 800.iQ.ROBOT or visit www.fanucrobotics.com.

Herrmann Ultrasonics Introduces Semi-Automatic Ultrasonic Welder The manufacture of catheters and introducers presents several challenges due to their shape and long length. Her r ma n n U lt ra son ic s , Bartlett, IL, has developed a uniquely configured, semiautomated machine to meet the challenges of ultrasonic welding this particular type of medical product. A tall rotary table is used to fixture the catheters upright so that they hang from a small dial indexing plate. The machine has a small foot print (800x900mm), can be operated by a single individual and the load and unload are accomplished at the operator station. The welding station includes a 1000 watt, 35 kHz, Herrmann Ultrasonics DIALOG digital control

New ExpressPad™ System from ITW Trans Tech ITW Trans Tech (Carol Stream, IL), a world leader in pad printing and industrial digital i n k jet s y stems , has released the ExpressPad™ system designed to decrease pad changeover times. Pad changes now can be made in seconds rather than minutes and without requiring any tools. In addition to speed, the system allows for increased and consistent repeatability of pad placement. ExpressPad is available on the company’s Aero™ and Syncro™ line of pad printers. Machines in use can be converted to the ExpressPad system for no charge with the initial ExpressPad order. For more information, call 630.752.4000 or visit www.itwtranstech.com. n

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A

ASSEMBLY UPDATE

Aesthetic Assembly - The Art of Attractive Bonding By Miranda Marcus, Dukane Intelligent Assembly Solutions After carefully molding a beautiful product, nothing is worse than seeing it destroyed during assembly. Every joining process is capable of causing marking, flash, particulate, damage to appendages or other aesthetic defects. However, with proper part design and processing, a finished weld can be imperceptible or even a cosmetic asset. The art to attractive bonding is specific to each process or type of product. Whether processing parts through ultrasonic, spin, vibration, hot plate, laser welding or thermal staking, methods do exist to improve the appearance of the overall product after bonding.

Fortunately, flash can be easily avoided through proper joint design. Generally, in production, there is balance between weld strength and amount of flash. In order to get greater strength, more collapse of the joint is required, and more flash is produced. Simply adding a flash trap to the part design, however, can allow sufficient strength with no flash. Figure 1 shows some common ultrasonic joints that can effectively hide flash and produce a strong weld.

Welding is a common necessity for a wide variety of industries, including automotive, medical, electronics and consumer products. Whether there are components that must be securely enclosed or the part geometry is too complex to be processed in one piece, a secondary joining step is often required. A wide variety of products must have aesthetic welds or bonds. Packaging, especially clamshells, are probably the most prominent example. Some other demanding cosmetic applications are vehicle headlamps and taillights, spoilers, battery enclosures, medical devices, toys, dishware and utensils, electronics housings, facemasks, fencing, furniture and filters. For these products, and many others, melt flow must be contained, flash or particulate eliminated, tool marks prevented and any other part damage eradicated. The methods for preserving cosmetics are as varied as the welding processes available. Each assembly process can produce its own variety of decorative debacle. Fortunately for each potential aesthetic issue, a solution exists. Ultrasonic Welding Ultrasonic welding uses piezo-electric ceramics that convert electrical current into mechanical motion. High frequency (15 kHz up to 90 kHz) vibrations are transmitted through the plastic part to the joint where intermolecular stress and strain cause melting of the surface of both parts and welding. Ultrasonic welding is used for a wide variety of applications including clamshells, electronics housings, medical applications and fabric welding. Joint Design One of the most common cosmetic defects that result from ultrasonic welding is flash – melted material that is pushed out of the joint at the weld interface. In addition to being unsightly, flash also can be a functional defect in certain applications. For example, air or water filter housings usually cannot have flash internally.

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Figure 1: Ultrasonic joints that hide flash

De-Gating A second common defect with ultrasonic welding is de-gating of small features in the assembly during the weld. Because ultrasonics depends on high frequency vibration of the parts, there is a chance for cracks to form in areas with sharp corners or small cross-sectional areas. Sometimes these cracks are so severe that small features can be completely sheared off or de-gated. There are two main ways to prevent this type of damage. Either increase the radii or cross-section of the troubled area or decrease the amplitude of the process. However, reducing amplitude often has a negative impact on the weld, as it essentially reduces the energy available to weld the parts. Therefore, whenever possible, it is best to eliminate small or fragile features when ultrasonic welding will be used. Surface Marking When welding textured parts, there is a strong possibility that the ultrasonic horn will mar the contact surface. On textured surfaces, there may be shiny places where the texture has been removed during welding. To prevent this occurrence, simply put a layer of thin film between the part and the horn. Marking also can occur when the horn leaves a residue on the part. This is most often seen with aluminum horns or with titanium horns that are welding white parts. Using chrome-plated aluminum horns is the best way to prevent this type of problem.

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ASSEMBLY UPDATE

Film & Fabric As previously mentioned, clamshell packaging is one of the biggest areas where cosmetic assembly is required. Ultrasonic welding is one of the processes most often used for such applications. A wide range of weld patterns have been developed to improve the appearance of such welds. These same patterns also can be used for welding of fabrics, as is often done for shower curtains, plastic bed sheets or even clothing. In fact, fabrics can be welded using ultrasonics, very similarly to how they can be sewn, using a rotating anvil under a stationary horn that is operated by a foot pedal. An even wider range of attractive patterns can be used for fabric welding; some are shown in Figure 2.

Therefore, for every application where aesthetics is a concern, the part should be designed to hide that melted material, some weld joints that can hide flash are shown in Figure 3. With outof-round parts, however, it is often not possible to contain the flash simply by using a different joint design. In these instances, a secondary flash removal step is required. Particulate In addition to solid pieces of displaced material, spin welding tends to generate particulate (tiny particles of plastic dust). Most times, this can be blown out after welding, but sometimes it cannot be present at all (as with medical or food industry applications). Reducing the rotational spin welding speed reduces the generation of particulate. Additionally, soft materials like polypropylene tend to produce much more particulate during welding, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 2: Patterns used to weld film or fabric

Spin Welding Another common welding process is spin welding. In this process, one of the parts is held stationary and the other is spun at high revolutions per minute to generate frictional heat at the circular joint. While spinning, the parts are pressed together to form a weld. Spin welding is often used to join pipes, insulated cups or bowls and filter housings, among others. Joint Design The biggest drawback, cosmetically, to spin welding is that it generates a significant amount of flash. Unlike ultrasonic welding, the parts are moving during the weld process, meaning that the melt layer also is in motion. Subsequently, more melt must be generated to ensure good contact between the parts and a strong weld.

Figure 4: Spin welding particulate

Tooling Marks Like most other welding processes, there is the possibility of leaving tooling marks on the parts. Typically, this occurs on the upper part when it is not securely held in place using designed driving features. Tooling marks occur when the upper part slips in the tool. When the fixture is made of urethane, this can cause black marks on the parts. When it is made from stainless steel or aluminum, it can leave gouges in the parts. To avoid this type of marking, it is essential to provide driving features on the part itself. A “driving feature” is simply some type of protrusion or depression on the upper part upon which the upper tool can apply rotational force. In addition, the parts should have relatively consistent external dimensions.

Figure 3: Spin weld joint designs that can hide flash while providing a strong weld

Vibration Welding Vibration welding is one of the most often used welding processes for large parts, such as vehicle headlamps and taillights, glove boxes, intake manifolds, fencing and even furniture. In this process, one part is held stationary while the other is vibrated horizontally on top of it at low frequency (120 Hz – 240 Hz) and high amplitude. During this vibration, the upper part also is pressed down onto the lower part to create the weld.

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ASSEMBLY UPDATE

Joint Design Vibration welding depends on the movement of large amounts of melted material to generate a weld. Therefore, for this process as well, the joint design is critical for flash containment. With the proper design, a strong flash-free weld can be achieved consistently. Figure 5 diagrams some joint designs that can produce a strong weld with no flash.

Figure 6: Vibration welding tools often use knurling to grip the parts. Figure 5: Vibration joint design diagrams

sufficient holding force. Whatever tooling material is used, the parts must still be kept as dimensionally consistent as possible.

De-Gating As with ultrasonic welding, the movement of the parts during vibration weld can cause de-gating of small features. The high amplitude used in vibration welding causes excess stress on large projecting features. De-gating is especially likely to occur when the base of the feature has a small cross-sectional area or sharp corners.

Hot Plate Welding In hot plate welding, the two parts to be joined are pressed against or brought into close proximity of a heated surface to generate a melt layer, then pressed against each other to complete the weld. In this style of welding, the joint may be contoured quite extensively and strong hermetic welds are generally achievable. Nothing can be captured inside the parts, however, as any internal components would be damaged by the hot plate. Hot plate welding often is used for large pipes or tanks.

Tooling Marks Vibration welding is similar to spin welding in that driving features on the part are required to prevent tooling marks. In the absence of such features, a knurl pattern may be used to grip the part. The use of a knurl, however, will cause abrasions on the part, as shown in Figure 6. If such marking is not acceptable, combining a urethane upper tool can sometimes be used to prevent scratches on the part. Often, a vacuum must be used with urethane tooling to provide

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Joint Design Although hot plate welding generates a lot of flash, it is the most controlled, good-looking flash of any weld process. The melted material pushed off the joint when the two parts are pressed together forms a very nice rounded line that can almost look as if it was designed to be there. However, if the double line of melt does not suit the application at hand, it can be hidden with a change of joint design.

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ASSEMBLY UPDATE

Out-Gassing One of the unique potential cosmetic issues with hot plate welding is out-gassing. When plastic is heated, it emits gasses that can discolor the parts when they are welded, especially on metalized surfaces. The effects of out-gassing are identified in Figure 7. This can be eliminated by applying a vacuum to one of the parts to extract the fumes before they can cause any discoloration or degradation.

Figure 7: Hot plate out-gassing

Warping Due to the high heat input used in hot plate welding, the parts can be warped during welding. The best way to prevent this is to use thicker part walls. Excess warping also can be avoided by using vacuums and clamping in the tooling to keep the parts in the correct shape during the weld. Laser Welding One of the newest polymer joining processes is laser welding and it is growing in popularity, particularly for medical applications. This assembly method uses a focused laser beam to heat the weld joint. The two parts are simultaneously pressed together to create the weld. Laser welds are known for being very clean – flash- and particulate-free. Laser welding never causes de-gating of features and generally never causes warping. Still, for some components, there is potential for cosmetic defects. Surface Degradation If improperly set up, there is a chance that surface degradation will occur during welding. This happens if the top part absorbs too much of the laser energy or if the bottom part absorbs too little. This can be somewhat adjusted for by changing the focal point of the laser, but it is best avoided by choosing the materials with good laser welding properties at the outset. Burning The greatest potential for aesthetic flaws in an established process is marring from dirt or dust that is burned by the laser during the weld. Any dust in the path of the laser will absorb the weld energy and cause a disparity in the weld. To prevent this, it is important to maintain the cleanliness of the lens and the weld joint.

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Burning also can appear in the process set-up phase as overwelding. To resolve this issue, decrease wattage to lessen the laser energy or increase the travel speed of the laser. In some systems, over-welding can be eliminated by adjusting the focus point of the laser so that it is further from the part. Thermal Staking Thermal staking is a method of mechanically bonding two parts by melting and reforming one of the parts to contain the other. Most often, a post on the part with the lower melting temperature is melted and formed into a dome shape to hold in the second part, similar to a rivet. Thermal staking is frequently used to contain circuit boards or to replace screws on consumer products. Stake Design The most common cause of unattractive stakes is improper post or tool detail design. It is vital that the staking detail has the same volume as the unformed post. If it is too small, excess material can be pushed out around the base of the stake. If it is too large, the detail will be only half-formed and uneven in appearance. Figure 8 shows two of the most common staking detail designs.

Figure 8: Thermal staking design diagrams

Sticking Even if the post and staking detail are properly designed, there is a chance that the formed dome can be marred if the melted material sticks to the thermal tool. This is especially common with soft materials, like polyethylene. Happily, it can be avoided through temperature modulation and the use of post cool. If an application must be beautiful, then it is best to begin considering the assembly method early in the design process. Most of the common cosmetic defects can be avoided with proper part design. Planning for aesthetic assembly in these early stages will help allow a widened processing window in production and reduce reject rate. n Miranda Marcus is an applications engineer for Dukane - Intelligent Assembly Solutions. Dukane Corporation is a diversified global manufacturer and marketer of advanced technology products. A privately held corporation for more than 80 years, Dukane's two divisions offer audio visual equipment such as LCD projectors and ultrasonic plastic assembly systems. For information, call 630.584.2300 or visit www.dukane.com.



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ASSOCIATION NEWS 2010 IMDA Award Winners

The In-Mold Decorating Association (IMDA) is an organization of molders, printers, material suppliers, equipment suppliers and others committed to the development and growth of in-mold decorating products, technologies and markets. The IMDA proudly presents the winners of the 2010 IMDA Awards Competition, which recognizes the industry’s best IMD/IML-decorated packaging and durable products. The following winners represent the best of 45 entries from 20 companies worldwide based on creativity in design, engineering and innovation.

Best IMD Durable Product Spa Controller Panel submitted by distinctive Plastics molder: distinctive Plastics

This controller panel/ bezel utilizes the Kurz reel-to-reel IMD method, which combines superior chemical resistance with a machined look and dead front/transparent window graphics as well as crisp/ clean text to create a high-end look spa controller not previously available in the industry. The use of IMD also eliminated certain assembly requirements and reduced the total part cost when compared to the previous controller.

Best Injection Molded Part Alouette® Blue Cheese Package submitted by Treofan/iml labels canada molder: lacroix Packaging inc.

The container has an easy open and close feature that allows perfect sprinkling of the crumbed cheese without removing the lid. The container can lay flat or on its side in stores, the product can be seen through the clear container and the excellent concentric-shaded graphics stand out on the white label background. The in-mold labeled PP container is 100 percent recyclable.

Honorable Mention – Injection Molded Part Vacuum Cleaner Fascia submitted by serigraph inc. molder: serigraph inc.

This two-shot inje ct ion mold e d vacuum cleaner fascia, which incorporates clear P C a nd a lig ht shroud in opaque resin, delivers both

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cost savings and flexibility. The clear resin at the base of the fascia creates an integrated headlight lens, which reduced the product cost in comparison to previous multiple part designs. The IML process enables custom graphics to be changed easily without additional tooling expense. More than 10 different graphic designs have been used in this part.

Best Label Design Chapman’s® Yogurt submitted by Treofan/iml labels canada molder: Jokey canada

Chapman’s is the #1 Frozen Yogurt in Canada and deserves a top of the line IML look. This fantastic package offers up ample landscape to showcase the benefits of a great product and beautiful crisp, clear photography. A sharper look, a tamper-evident lid and an all around ‘greener’ package makes this product friendly for both consumer and manufacturer. Best Part Design On the Border® Margarita Mix submitted by ropak Packaging molder: ropak Packaging

ROPAK’s patent-pending Diamond Weave Technology™ was incorporated into Truco Company’s frozen drink mix containers resulting in a 33 percent source reduction and a 38 percent reduction in GHG emissions. The diamond lattice structure on the internal surface of the container adds structural strength so that top load performance is maintained after the container is significantly light-weighted. The new design also features a lid with a channel for dipping the edge of margarita glasses in salt, creative branding on the lid that is laser engraved, improved IML graphics for shelf-appeal and improved access to the cover for consumer convenience.


Honorable Mention – Part Design iPhone Back Cover Submitted by Trexta Molder: Trexta

the letters on the Slurpee logo as windows to additional movie action. The subtlety of the touch is appreciated by hardcore fans.

After many years of research and development Trexta has managed to cover the plastic with genuine leather - real leather and real stitching with a technology that ensures long lasting usage, precise match of two materials and a great bond between the Trexta’s Snap On covers and the users who can stand out and express their feelings.

Best Thin Wall Packaging Lloyd’s® Barbeque Package Submitted by Airlite Plastics Co. Molder: Airlite Plastics Co.

Best Product Family Nesquik® Containers Submitted by StackTeck & Gateway Plastics Molder: Gateway Plastics

T h is ergonom ica l ly friendly rectangula r container fits perfectly in the consumer’s hand while providing a large billboard to bring shelf awareness to the product itself. A 360-degree wrap-around rotogravure glossy label with transparent lid increases overall aesthetics and consumer acceptance. In combination with a state-of-the-art mold at minimum draft and precise label placement, this package is preferred and chosen by millions of consumers every day. Honorable Mention – Product Family 22 oz Transformers – Slurpee® Cups Submitted by IGH Solutions Molder: Technimark

These 22oz lenticular cups incorporate windows of vivid, action-packed scenes and crisp, twophase flips of each cup’s featured character, combined with spot animation inside the Slurpee® logo. Each cup version features

Airlite Plastics Co. and Hormel worked together to redesign primary packaging for its Lloyd’s prepared barbeque meats. The package incorporates three IML labels, two on the container and one on the lid. The conversion allowed Lloyd’s to eliminate the paperboard sleeve as information is now directly on the container and lid. This correlates to significant sustainable benefits as the elimination of the throwaway sleeve saved 973 tons of paper. Additionally, the design of the container includes “stay cool” handles, which makes it easier for the consumer to remove the heated container from the microwave. The container is also re-usable and fully recyclable. Honorable Mention – Thin Wall Packaging Meadow Fresh Yoghurt Package Submitted by Alto Packaging & Goodman Fielder Molder: Alto Packaging

This asymmetrical container has indented curves, providing an easy grip feature for consumers and a tub that fits easily into the refrigerator door. With a tamper evident break-band and fully re-sealable lid, this design helps to reduce product spoilage after opening. The in-mold labels deliver high impact graphics, stretching from the base to the top of the tub and on the lid as well. Recyclability is improved because the foil seal is eliminated and due to the strength of the tub, the container may be re-used as a storage container in the home for both dry and wet goods.

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ASSOCIATION NEWS

Letter from the Chairman In the previous issue of Plastic Decorating magazine, I shared technical tips from leading experts in plastics assembly technologies. As promised for this issue, I wanted to share insights into the newest innovations in the decorating of plastics that were seen at the K-Show in Düsseldorf: Laser Marking. A new class of interference pigments which act as absorbers in the laser marking of plastics has been developed, based on coated flake-form substrates which are distinguished by having a layer of SiO2 with a layer thickness of 5-350 nm, a high refractive coating with an index > 1.8, and an outer protective layer. In-Mold Decorating. A new method of manufacturing decorative plastic composites using in-mold labels has been developed whereby the label utilizes a decorative layer, a backing layer and a clear outer layer that provide exceptional depth of image. Decorative or protective appliqués having a wide range of decorative patterns can be formed by injection molding a backing layer behind a clear outer layer on the top surface of a thin foil, film, fabric or veneer. Pad Printing. A new system called “rotary flow” has been developed for pad printing on syringe barrels. The system is expandable by using an assembly automation and laser components. Surface Pretreatment. A novel atmospheric plasma surface modification system has been developed which breaks barriers relative to boundary layer air interference with surface discharge, material processing width and process speeds. Automatic gap adjustment, ultra-low gas consumption and no ozone are additional features of the process. Hot Stamping. A new hot stamping foil has been developed for outdoor applications. The foil has been specially developed for decorating and labeling plastic articles such as beverage crates, trash cans, pallets, tubs and buckets. The surface coatings produced are able to withstand high wear and tear conditions. The coating is suitable, for example, for decorating plastics that are stored outdoors and subjected to a variety of wash cycles with cleaning agents. This is just a short list of innovations that were seen and discussed at the K-Show this year. Many of these innovations in plastics decorating were presented by members of the Decorating & Assembly Division of SPE. If you want to be ahead of the curve on technologies in plastics decorating and assembly, please consider joining the SPE Decorating & Assembly Division by contacting SPE at www.4spe.org or me directly at rwolf@enerconmail.com. Rory A. Wolf Enercon Industries Corporation Chair, SPE Decorating & Assembly Division

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Call for ANTEC Papers The Decorating & Assembly Division of the Society of Plastics Engineering (SPE) announces its official Call for Papers for the 2011 Annual Technical Conference (ANTEC) to be held May 1-5, 2011, at the Haynes Convention Center in Boston, MA. The deadline for abstracts and initial papers is November 19, 2010. Final revisions will be due February 1, 2011. Information on submitting and preparing a paper is available at http:// www.4spe.org/antec-2011-technical-program-information. Presentations should run 25 minutes and technical paper length between five and six pages. Proposed presentation title and short abstract should be sent to the Technical Program Chair Paul Uglum at paul.a.uglum@delphi.com or call 765.451.9355. ‘Get in the Know’ with Plastics Decorating Webinars Stay current on the latest trends a nd technologies in plastics decoration and assembly in Plastic Decorating magazine’s webinar series, sponsored by the SPE Decorating & Assembly Division. Already this year, hundreds of participants have explored the latest trends in plastics decoration and assembly in several one-hour webinars focused on extreme value for participants. Easy-to-navigate, these webinars provide information on today’s plastics technologies from industry experts in a concise format at very low registration fees. Each webinar session ends with a Q&A session, allowing participants to submit questions and get immediate answers. Some of the topics covered in past webinars have included the following: • Surface Activation Systems for Optimizing Adhesion to Polymers • Laser Marking and Machine Vision Codes for Product Security and Traceability • Electromagnetic Welding • The Keys to Successful Pad Printing • Industrial Digital Inkjet Printing The next webinar is scheduled for November 9, 2010, on In-Mold Labeling and Process Integration. For information on future webinars or to register, simply visit the Plastics Decorating website at www.plasticsdecorating. com. A world of valuable information is just a click away. n



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ASK THE EXPERT Plastics Decorating is pleased to feature this section in our magazine in which you (our readers) can ask industry experts specific questions about plastics decorating. To ask one of our columnists a question, send an email to QA@petersonpublications.com. By Scott Sabreen, The Sabreen Group, Inc.

What types of pigments are used to achieve the luster effect on cars that seem to change appearance at different viewing angles? You are most likely referring to “pearlescent pigments”. The primary type of pearlescent pigments used in paint, inks and plastic is based on mica flakes coated with titanium dioxide. As the coating thickness increases, the color varies from silvery white to yellow, red, blue and green. Different colors can be achieved by adding a second coating of iron oxide (gold and beige) or chrome oxide (green), and a range of metallic colors (bronze and copper) is achieved by replacing the titanium dioxide with iron oxide. What makes these pigments special is not so much their color, but their pearl-like appearance, which can be “tuned” by adjusting the size of the flakes. Small flakes (about 5 microns) give rise to a satiny appearance with good opacity. Larger flakes (about 25 microns) give a lustrous effect with lower hiding power. Typically you would blend different particle sizes to achieve a desired combination of luster and opacity. Color stylists typically combine pearlescent pigments with transparent pigments and dyes to add luster to the base color. They not only make the finish more attractive but they also protect it by reflecting harmful rays from the sun. Because the size and shape of these particles are so important to the resulting appearance, special care has to be taken when processing the pigments

in plastics. High shear forces can fracture the f lakes and reduce the luster effect that the surface of the pearlescent flakes reflect light. In contrast, the edges scatter the light in all directions and are comparatively darker. This can lead to an undesired effect in injection molded parts. When flow fronts come together they may form a weld line. If pearlescent pigments are used, the flakes tend to flop over at the weld line exposing their edges. The result is a dark line accentuating the weld. Proper mold design places the gates in such a way that the weld lines are in less visible locations. Can you explain the difference between “Hue” and “Chroma” terminology? Color formulators generally speak of color in terms of three attributes: hue, chroma and value. Hue describes the color in relation to red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet (ROYGBIV). Chroma relates to the purity and intensity of color. You reduce the chroma by adding white or black to the color formulation. Value refers to lightness/darkness. On a scale of 0 to 100, bright whites approach 100 and jet blacks approach 0. I’ve seen products that change colors, like coffee mugs when hot coffee is poured into them. How does this work? Thermochromics are sometimes referred to as special-effect pigments. They can be used for novelty items, product security and a broad range of industrial applications. Thermochromics can be “reversible”, mainly used

for promotional and novelty items, or “irreversible” for anti-tampering and security applications. In terms of composition, a Leuco-dye and a developer are dissolved in a high boiling point solvent and encapsulated in a very tough polymeric capsule. They form a colored molecular association when mixed. Upon heating, the solvent melts and dissociates dye and developer, thus one color disappears leaving the underlying desired dye color. Colors are adjustable by choosing different Leuco dyes and multi-colors are achievable. Thermochromics are commonly blended with traditional pigments. The transition temperature can be adjusted by selecting the proper solvent. For example, cold beverages can change color at 10 degrees Centigrade, while hot beverages can change color at 40 degrees Centigrade. Application considerations include a) Thermochromic color strength is weaker than conventional inks, b) Thermochromics have limited UV stability and c) Thermochromics have a shelf stability of about six months when stored in dark light and ambient conditions. n Scott R. Sabreen is founder and president of The Sabreen Group, Inc. The Sabreen Group is a global engineering consulting company specializing in secondary plastics manufacturing processes – surface pretreatments, adhesion bonding, decorating and finishing, laser marking and product security. For more information, call 888. SABREEN or visit www.sabreen.com or www.plasticslasermarking.com.

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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

November 2010 • Pack Expo International 2010, October 31-November 3, Chicago, IL, 703.243.8555, www.packexpo.com • In-Mold Labeling and Process Integration Webinar, November 9, 785.271.5801, www.plasticsdecorating.com

February 2011 • PLASTEC West, MD&M West, ATX Automation Technology Expo, West Pack, Pacific Design & Mfg. West, Green Mfg. Expo, February 8-10, Anaheim, CA, 310.445.4200, www.plastecwest.com

May 2011 • SPE ANTEC 2011, May 1-5, Boston, MA, 203.775.0471, www.4spe.org

June 2011 • PLASTEC East, MD&M East, Automation Technology Expo, East Pack, Atlantic Design & Mfg. East, Green Mfg. Expo, June 7-9, New York, NY, 310.445.4200, www.plasteceast.com

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ADVERTISER INDEX Apex Machine Company / www.apexmachine.com ............................. 27 A.W.T. World Trade, Inc. / www.awt-gpi.com ....................................... 17 Autoroll Print Technologies / www.autoroll.com.................................. 32 CDigital Markets LLC / www.grafixx.com ............................................. 31 Central Decal / www.centraldecal.com .................................................. 28 CFC International - an ITW Company / www.cfcintl.com ................. 18 Comdec(Ruco) / www.comdecinc.com .................................................. 13 Corotec Corporation / www.corotec.com .............................................. 37 CPS Resources, Inc. / www.cpsresourcesusa.com ...................back cover Die Stampco Inc. / www.diestampco.com.............................................. 23 Digitran / www.comdecinc.com .............................................................. 12 Diversified Printing Techniques / www.diverprint.com ........................ 4 Enercon Industries Corporation / www.enerconind.com/treating ...... 9 Extol / www.extolinc.com ............................................................17, 19, 21 Industramark / www.industramark.com .................................................. 5 Industrial Pad Printing Supplies / www.indpad.com ........................... 41 Inkcups Now / www.inkcups.com.....................................................24, 25 In-mold Graphic Solutions (Romo Durable Graphics) / www.romoinc.com .............................. 7 ITW Trans Tech / www.itwtranstech.com ...................inside front cover Pad Print Machinery of Vermont / www.padprintmachinery.com ................................. inside back cover PLASTEC West / www.plastecwest.com ................................................ 45 Proell, Inc. / www.proell.us ...................................................................... 35 Ruco USA / www.rucousa.com ............................................................... 16 Sabreen Group, The / www.sabreen.com................................................ 42 Schwerdtle, Inc. / www.schwerdtle.com ................................................. 34 Standard Machines / www.comdecinc.com ........................................... 12 Taber Industries / www.taberindustries.com......................................... 18 Tampoprint / www.tampoprintusa.com ................................................. 22 Trekk Equipment Group / www.trekkequipment.com......................... 11 United Silicone / www.unitedsilicone.com ............................................ 37 Webtech, Inc. / www.webtech-hts.com................................................... 32