Plastics Decorating - October November 2016

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Soft-Touch Paint Gaining Market Share 2016 IMDA Award Winners Electromagnetic Welding Cleanroom Operations

Contents October/November 2016

COVER STORY Technology page 6 Soft-Touch Paint Gaining Market Share

By using soft-touch paint, manufacturers can take a simple plastic part and add texture and consumer appeal with high resistance to abrasions and scratches.



page 14

Vendor Collaboration Provides IML Solution for Commercial Plastics

A tradeshow demonstration sparked one manufacturer to reach out to vendors to help solve a problem with medical waste containers.


IMDA Award Winners Announced

page 18

The In-Mold Decorating Association (IMDA) has announced the best of inmold labeling and decorating, honored through its annual competition.

Ask the Expert

Q&A: Electromagnetic Welding of Plastics

page 28

Electromagnetic welding is a simple, rapid way to obtain welds on most thermoplastic materials and TPEs.


Regulatory Impact on the Plastics Industry

Viewpoint Product Process Highlight

page 46 page 11 page 22

Tech Watch

page 25

Industry Association Marketplace Calendar Ad Index

page 36 page 47 page 48 page 50 page 50

(In-Mold Decorating and Labeling) (Mimaki USA’s UJF-6042 MkII)

page 32

Rules and regulations related to safety and the environment are set to have an effect on how the plastics industry operates in the coming year.


Adding a Cleanroom for Decorating and Assembly

page 40

Cleanrooms are used on plastics operations performing assembly and decoration for a variety of industries where contamination can impede the function or appearance of the final product.

Read Plastics Decorating at or download the Plastics Decorating app. Cover photo courtesy of Graco, Inc.

October/November 2016 3

VIEWPOINT I recently attended the Manufacturers Association of Plastics Processors (MAPP) annual Benchmarking Conference. I have mentioned it before, but if you are involved in plastics molding, you should attend this conference. It is two days packed full of great speakers, roundtables and other networking opportunities. I had an opportunity to talk with many attendees, mainly small- to medium-sized injection molders and suppliers. Most everyone I talked with is very upbeat about current and future business. One molder told me he has grown from 11 to 18 molding machines in the last three years and is looking for more space. One interesting comment he had was regarding the business he is beginning to receive from customers who are bringing jobs back to the US from China. He told me that the cost of doing business in China has increased significantly. This is sweet music to everyone’s ears. A recent report from Research and Markets indicates the plastics market will continue on a path of growth over the next several years. The report suggests that purchased plastic injection molded products will help the market reach an overall value of $162 billion by the year 2020. And, as we all know, many of these molded products must be decorated and/or assembled. This issue of Plastics Decorating has a focus on the growing market of in-mold decorating. This includes a highlight of this year's IMDA award winners and an interesting Focus article detailing a collaboration on a special in-mold label application. This issue also includes a Technology article on soft-touch paint, a Trends article on new regulations for plastics and an Ask the Expert on electromagnetic welding of plastics. It is hard to believe we are talking about 2017 already! We certainly appreciate the continued support from our readers and advertisers for Plastics Decorating. I look forward to seeing many of you in 2017.

Jeff Peterson, Editor-in-Chief,

ISSN: 1536-9870

October/November 2016

Published by: Peterson Publications, Inc.

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

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

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

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

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Soft-Touch Paint Gaining Market Share by Patrick Smith and Nick Strauss, Graco, Inc.


t seems that end users spanning across multiple industries just can’t keep their hands off soft touch. So much, in fact, that according to a study by Future Market Insights, “The global soft-touch polyurethane coatings market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 7.2 percent from 2015-2025.” So, what is so special about soft touch? Soft-touch materials have the ability to transform the sometimes uninviting feel of plastic into a comfortable rubber-, leather- or velvet-like sensation. It turns a hard, cold plastic part into a warm, inviting object that says, “grab me.” On top of that, it exhibits high scratch and abrasion resistance, and protects the plastic from chemicals that may cause deterioration or ugly yellowing due to exposure to a harsh environment. With its tough exterior and positive haptic effects, it still maintains a trendy low gloss, low reflectivity look. This allows manufacturers to take a relatively inexpensive material, such as plastic, and apply a coating to give it the appearance of a high-end luxury item.

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The ability to create a high-end appearance with lower cost materials is driving many industries to adopt soft-touch coatings. The automotive industry held 37 percent of the market share in 2014, using soft touch primarily to coat interior parts: steering wheels, front panels, door handles and trims, push buttons, air bag compartments and armrests. Similar applications are found in the aerospace industry on interior paneling of cockpits. Soft-touch coatings also are commonly found on consumer goods found in the kitchen, such as coffee Above: Spray applying soft-touch coating to computer keyboard buttons

machines, ovens, refrigerators and even the handles on pots and pans. In addition, as mobile and handheld electronics continue to become commonplace, the appearance, feel and protective qualities of soft touch have become the norm for their exteriors. It often is found on laptops, tablets, remote controls and mobile phone casings to make for a nicer feel that also protects the product from common drops and prevents it from sliding of the table. The scope of soft touch has even spread beyond durable goods into the consumer packaging industry, where it is applied to everything from cosmetic bottles to food canisters. This coating provides a high quality and even luxurious appearance to potential consumers. For this reason, many industries are turning to soft touch to differentiate their products from those of competitors. John Federjaka, the owner of FedCor Global, LLC, a hybrid manufacturing company dealing in the US and Asia, applies soft touch to nutrition canisters. According to Federjaka, “Soft-touch paint is a way for companies to differentiate their brand from others on the shelf because it gives a perception of quality. When two canisters are sitting on the shelf containing essentially the same thing for the same price, it becomes hard to differentiate the products. Oftentimes, customers are making the decision based on something as simple as, ‘this one feels like a higher quality product.’ ” This quality perception can make all the difference in a consumer’s buying decision. The soft-touch coating is a high solid, two-component polyurethane material. Currently, there are two options for the base of soft-touch paint. Traditionally, solvent has been used as the primary base for reduction. However, recent government regulations on volatile organic contents (VOC) and a surge of more environmentally conscious companies around the world have created market for water-based coatings. This trend is expected to take off in coming years and continue to take more of the market share as industry leaders begin to shift their focus toward more water-based material to keep up with environmental regulations and trends. Soft Touch in the Paint Line Manufacturers interested in implementing this coating should analyze their paint line capabilities. Soft touch is an application that can be easily implemented; however, there are a few things to know about the material before starting. It’s thick The material itself is very thick, but often can be delivered from the supplier in a pre-reduced version to meet specifications. The level of reduction or solvent added will depend on the type of finish required. A highly reduced material will have a lower viscosity and be easier to spray, but will have more solvent waste. A non-reduced material will be very thick, require a higher pressure to spray and result in less control over surface

The ability to create a high-end appearance with lower cost materials is driving many industries to adopt softtouch coatings. The automotive industry held 37 percent of the market share in 2014, using soft touch primarily to coat interior parts: steering wheels, front panels, door handles and trims, push buttons, air bag compartments and armrests. finish. Because the material resin is thick, the solids tend to settle at the bottom and clump together, requiring more effort to mix the material. This means that prior to starting the process the resin material will need to be mixed to ensure the materials are stirred off the bottom and then agitated throughout the finishing process. This will ensure a homogeneous mixture and consistent results. Short pot and working life Soft-touch coatings are two-component materials requiring the mixture of a base and catalyst to create a chemical reaction that eventually cures and solidifies within a set timeframe. This is what produces the unique soft feel, yet with a tough, scratch-resistant surface. However, once the materials are mixed, the clock is ticking, and limited time is available to apply the material before it cures beyond acceptable spraying viscosity or fully solidifies. This timeframe is known as pot life or working life. Soft-touch coatings can have a relatively short pot life, which can be challenging in a production environment. In addition, if the material isn’t moving or being sprayed for an extended amount of time, it can start to gel in the hose and cause all sorts of problems with streaking or surface finish. When utilizing a batch mixing process, the short pot life can lead to the need for frequent mixing and flushing, smaller batch sizes, increased waste, increased labor, increased downtime and decreased productivity. Because of these issues, it is highly recommended to mix the catalyst and the resin on demand, using 2K proportion equipment, to save time, materials and costs while avoiding quality defects. Surface treatment Like most painting processes involving plastic, it is important to keep the surface clean before applying the coating. This can be completed in a number of ways, including solvent hand wiping,

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aqueous power washing, ionized air blow off and even CO2 snow cleaning. Some manufacturers also will use a flame treatment or atmospheric plasma operation to increase the surface adhesion of the part and improve its compatibility with the coatings. Application The application process is essentially the same, but due to the minor differences in the makeup of the material, considering a few points could increase quality and greatly improve overall production, resulting in fewer headaches for those applying the coating and higher satisfaction from end users. Most of the application equipment required for soft-touch materials is similar to that used for other finishing paints and coatings. Spray guns, pumps and agitators should all easily translate into soft-touch applications. But, due to the heavy nature of this material, it tends to sag if it isn’t sprayed with the right parameters for the desired finish. Before starting production with this new material, run a few tests to make sure the process parameters are right. Controlling parameters such as flow rate, spray gun air and pressure during the production process also will ensure desired consistency is met and maintained. Keep in mind, it will be harder to get a consistent spray pattern near the end of the pot life cycle.

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The need for correct ratio mixing and impact of the pot life can bring into question the mixing strategy. Once mixed, the softtouch resin and the catalyst have a specific window before the material can no longer be sprayed. So, the biggest question to answer when looking to implement soft touch is, “What is the most efficient and effective way to mix?” Let’s take a look at the options for mixing. Hand mixing One option is to hand mix the resin and the catalyst. This option often is cheaper on the front end because it requires minimal technology, but also brings with it many limitations. When plural component materials are mixed in batches, it creates increased waste that can’t be saved once the paint is cured. This leads to a large amount of unused material, and proper disposal of this material can be expensive. In addition to waste issues, ratio accuracy problems also arise. If the material is not mixed to the proper ratio, the paint might not cure fully or fail to reach the necessary level of performance, thus causing quality defects. Inconsistency between batches due to human error also tends to occur more often than not, resulting in inconsistent finishes on parts. Electronic mixing and metering Electronic proportioners provide an automatic way to mix two component materials on demand. The equipment utilizes meters, dosing valves and electronic closed-loop controls to mix materials to the proper ratio as the product is sprayed. Only what is needed at that moment is mixed, which dramatically cuts down on the wasted material experienced with batch mixing. In addition, colors can easily be changed on the fly, flow rates can be controlled and access to alarms is available for quality control in case issues arise. Electronic 2K systems have a track record for paying for themselves over time due to savings in waste and time.

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Automation For the highest level of cost reduction and quality control capabilities, look into automating the soft-touch line. Once considered a luxury, paint robots now have significantly dropped in price and are quickly becoming the norm in industrial finishing. These systems best ensure consistent finish on every part, every time. Better consistency also means less wasted material, and automated systems have been shown to reduce material consumption by up to 30 percent. Soft touch has proven to be a rising trend, and the forecasts point to continued success. The differentiating characteristics of this material are making consumers want to reach for it and causing more end users to seek out manufacturers with the capabilities to apply it to their parts. The applications span a wide variety of

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industries and are only expected to grow. The possibilities are wide open in the expanding soft-touch market. n Nick Strauss is a global markets manager responsible for growing and developing the automation market for the Industrial Products Division at Graco. He has been with Graco since 2005, performing in a variety of roles including engineering, operations management, product marketing and business development. Since 1926, Graco Inc. has been a leading provider of premium pumps and spray equipment for fluid handling in the construction, manufacturing, processing and Strauss maintenance industries. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Graco works closely with distributors around the world to offer innovative products that set the quality standard for spray finishing, paint circulation, lubrication, sealant and adhesives dispensing, process application and contractor power equipment. For more information, email or visit


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PRODUCT EIT Develops New Line of UV Measurement Devices EIT LLC., Sterling, Virginia, developed the EIT LEDCure™, the first product in the LED-R™ (LED-Radiometer) family of instruments. It is designed specifically to measure industrial UV LED sources and is the result of a two-year R&D effort that has resulted in a patent-pending “Total Optical Measured Response” approach. “Total Optical Measured Response” takes into account all components in the optics stack, not just the filter, as other instruments do. The result is a flat, predictable and repeatable response unit-to-unit and sourceto-source across the LED spectrum of interest. The first optics band (L395) developed by EIT is intended for 395nm LED sources. The instrument responds to energy in the 370nm to 420nm range and has a dynamic range to support LED output up to 40W/cm2. The LEDCure L395 has been released and is commercially available. Additional wavelength choices beginning with L365 (340nm to 390nm) will be released soon. For more information, visit KBA-Kammann Releases New K20 Product Line KBA-Kammann GmbH, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany, introduced the new K20 series of container decorating machines. The new product line replaces the K1 series. Faster and more productive, it features both direct-to-shape inkjet and screen printing and can handle almost all article shapes. The K20 line will set new standards in terms of flexibility, output and innovative solutions for decorating containers. For more information, visit Proell KG Develops Printing Lacquer Norilux® DC from Proell KG, Bayern, Germany, is a formable, abrasion-resistant, dual-cure screen printing lacquer that can be used as protective lacquer or hard coat on PC, PMMA, ABS and PP film. It is ideally suited for first surface coating/protection of products manufactured in IMD/FIM technology. The glossy version of the dual cure lacquer can be printed on textured film surfaces to produce abrasion-resistant and transparent display windows. The matte version of Norilux® DC can be printed on uncured transparent hard coat films such as Makrofol® HF 278 or 312 to create matte and high-gloss effects in one item. Besides the glossy Norilux® DC lacquer, various satin gloss, textured and matte grades – as well as pigmented and UV stabilized versions – are available. For more information, visit

Desco Reveals New Closure Printer Desco Machine, Twinsburg, Ohio, sister company to Apex Machine Company, revealed its solution for providing high speed and quality print on closures, the DCP-3. It can print up to three colors with speeds exceeding 3,000 caps per minute. This economic and simple closure top printer is available with the new FlexApex print heads. It offers complete automation including – but not limited to – counting, boxing, bagging, inspecting and much more. For more information, visit Mimaki Launches New Series UV-LED Tabletop Printers Mimaki USA, Suwanee, Georgia, launched the UJF Mark II (MkII) Series UV-LED tabletop printers. The two new models are production-focused, professional tools built on a small-footprint, proven platform that can deliver consistent quality for any level of production. This series includes features that enable users – including commercial print service providers, promotional and personalization item printers, makers, technologists, educators and manufacturers – to realize the benefits of digital printing with higher margins and lower production costs, without compromising quality. The UJF-3042 MkII printer can print onto media up to 11.8x16.5x6", using standard CMYK inks plus available White, Clear and jettable Primer. The UJF-6042 MkII printer can print onto media up to 24x16.5x6", using standard CMYK inks plus available Light Cyan, Light Magenta, White, Clear and jettable Primer. Ink sets for the UJF MkII Series printer include LH-100 ink for high scratch and chemical resistance, and LUS-120 ink for flexibility and scratch resistance. LUS-150 ink for balanced adhesion and flexibility will be available in the future. The UJF-3042 MkII and UJF-6042 MkII printers are expected to be available for order from Mimaki authorized representatives in early November 2016. For more information, visit www.

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Enercon Unveils Blown Ion Plasma Surface Treater Enercon Industries Corporation, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, unveiled its latest blown ion plasma surface treater with robot integration. It is designed to clean, etch and functionalize surfaces to improve the adhesion of inks, adhesives and coatings. Blown ion plasma delivers highly effective treatment for both conductive and non-conductive applications. Its ability to treat flat surfaces, as well as difficult to reach recesses, makes this versatile technology a safe treatment solution for a wide variety of applications. For more information, visit LORD Launches New IMB Adhesive Solutions LORD Corporation, Cary, North Carolina, launched two new in-mold bonding (IMB) systems for bonding platinum-cured silicones to multiple substrates, including plastics, without the need for special surface preparation. LORD IMB 3000 and IMB 3010 adhesive solutions effectively bond platinumcured liquid silicone rubber (LSR) to various substrates

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directly in an injection- or compression-molding process. Applying LORD IMB adhesives to a rigid substrate provides a structural bond when over-molded with thermoplastic or liquid silicone rubber. This technology enables assemblies between plastics, silicones and metals to be made during the molding process. Applications for IMB adhesives include consumer electronics, automotive components and medical devices. For more information, call 877.275.5673 or visit Kurz Develops Technology Leonhard Kurz, represented in the US by Kurz USA, Charlotte, North Carolina, has developed a new technology in cooperation with Bond Laminates. The IPD-Skin (Individual Post Decoration) process is a combined hybrid molding and in-mold decoration process which involves coating a semifinished fiber composite part with plastic and decorating it in a single work operation. The process is especially suitable for the cost-effective decoration of small-run items and prototypes. It also enables highly curved components to be decorated and can produce pronounced tactile structures. For more information, visit n

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Vendor Collaboration Provides IML Solution for Commercial Plastics By Nancy Cates, contributing writer, Plastics Decorating


hen Commercial Plastics needed a better solution for a troublesome in-mold labeling system, it turned to vendors for help.

The project at Commercial involved in-mold labeling for a line of medical waste containers produced at the Kenosha, Wisconsin, plant. OSHA and FDA standards for such containers require a warning label that “… must be either an integral part of the container … or affixed … to prevent its loss or unintentional removal.” In addition, the warning labels are barcoded for traceability from production and distribution through disposal of the container.

Commercial, which bought the Kenosha plant about two years ago, was launched in 1950. It is based in Mundelein, Illinois, where it produces lighting, aerospace, recreational and outdoor products.

“The main goal for us was to use this hybrid IML technology with precut or perforated roll-fed labels to eliminate the potential for any barcode to be out of sequence,” O’Connor said. “The previous method was cut and stack. It’s used

Bill O’Connor, Commercial Plastics’ owner, said the primary goal was a better product with enhanced quality control needed to meet the OSHA and FDA regulatory requirements.

Above: A roll-fed system eliminates the stack of labels ready to be molded into a container.

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widely today, but if the labels are sequenced and you mispick, then there’s potential to mispick the next few labels.” The original process involved extracting a label from a stack before molding it into the container. Sometimes static electricity would cause more than one label to cling when being picked up or would skew the stack, inaccurately placing the next label. A scanning system would check label sequences for errors, but the system would set off an alarm and stop production while corrections were made. “Any time you place a large label on a four-sided container there are lots of things that can happen: Labels can shift in the label stack, double pick or place crooked,” said Bob Travis, president of InkWorks Printing LLC, the Plymouth, Wisconsin, company that supplies the labels. InkWorks specializes in developing and launching conventional brand and in-mold labels as well as interactive imaging, including the use of QR codes or digital watermarking. “Commercial Plastics tried interventions,” Travis said, “such as using a smaller label stack, but the workarounds added labor costs because they required more attention. Efficiencies were eroded. “In addition, antistatic methods that were used to solve problems in the label stack created static pinning problems in the mold, which can lead to label shifting or blowouts,” he continued. “These problems were compounded by environmental conditions: too dry or too humid. It got to a point where scrap rates were unacceptable.” When Travis saw CBW Automation’s roll-fed label presentation machine being demonstrated at a tradeshow, he thought it could help solve the efficiency problem at Commercial Plastics. “It seemed appropriate for their application, so I talked to Bill about the CBW solution as a way to overcome their struggles,” he explained. “Commercial also has a good relationship with Robotic Automation Systems. RAS is very skilled at robotic systems and integration, so they seemed to be a natural partner to help pull everything together.” The idea sparked the collaboration, and everyone went to work. CBW Automation, founded in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1970, moved in 1989 to Fort Collins, Colorado, where it now employs about 130 in its 42,000-square-foot plant. The collaboration was somewhat unique, according to Robert Harvey, vice president for sales and marketing for CBW. “We typically build IML systems for high-speed applications, but this is the first time the technology has been used outside a CBW Automation cell.

A FANUC 6-axis robot picks labels from the roll for precise placement during container application.

“Their IML system was underperforming,” Harvey continued. “This solution provides an opportunity to reduce costs with a precut roll-fed label presentation system that leaves the labels in the digitally printed web. The robot pulls the label from the web for the first time just before its placement in the mold, eliminating stacking and banding. The process allows sequencing very easily as the web is unrolled. The labels are checked by a barcode scanner so there is no possibility of the stack getting out of sequence. The system eliminates scrap, which wastes the label, the part and the machine time. This way, we never mold a part with the wrong label, and there is never an interruption to the molding time.” O’Connor agreed: “If the barcode is bad, misprinted or out of sequence. It automatically sequences instead of alarming out. It completely eliminated that problem.” “This approach had never been done, to our understanding,” said Craig Tormoen, president of Robotic Automation Systems, Waunakee, Wisconsin. “We have a long-term relationship with the molder, Commercial Plastics, formerly XTen, and have worked with Bob Travis, now with InkWorks, for about 20 years. It was the first collaboration with CBW Automation.”

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Robotic Automation Systems began using Swiss robots in the plastics industry in 1994 as Geiger Handling USA. “We design and build full turnkey systems for the injection molding industry,” Tormoen continued. “Using an end-of-arm tool with integral motion would have been more complex, and we would never have been able to achieve the allotted cycle time. This process leaves labels cut and perfed on the roll. It allows the robot to make perfect label placement every cycle.” Tormoen said the project went smoothly. “This application was a perfect marriage between a 3-axis top-entry robot working on a 500-ton molding machine with a FANUC 6-axis as an upstream support robot to hand off the labels. This approach opens many more doors to accommodate higher volume and more complicated IML applications while achieving an almost zero percent scrap rate.” The collaborators agreed that the project went rather smoothly.

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“Being a new technology, a lot of development took place but we expected that,” said O’Connor. “It was new to CBW, InkWorks, RAS … and we learned a lot. We’re about to launch a second line. We’ll integrate it much faster since we are already prepped.” “There was nothing we didn’t expect,” Harvey agreed. “We knew we needed to develop the label and the way it’s held in the web with the appropriate number of tabs in the right location based on the stiffness and thickness of the material. Also, we had to optimize the web unwind and label pick sequence.” Travis sees more potential applications. “I think it is gamechanging in the industry. It brings into a more practical form the advantages press-side cutting has to offer, eliminating the stack. This solution gives the molder the advantage of efficiencies, cost reduction and accuracy. The dispenser is highly flexible, so it can be quickly modified to run a different shape or size. We can use films with unique properties and put them in the mold quite easily.” The solution also lends itself to more accurate placement of small, oddly shaped, or otherwise tricky labels. “With the roll-fed technology,” Harvey says, “you never have the stacks, so we can use very small labels. Imagine a label the size of a dime or a strip in a fortune cookie. Imagine trying to cut and stack those in a magazine. Or maybe you have a Above: A single label is plucked from the roll just before being placed in the mold.

multilayer label with layers that shrink at different rates, causing curling. If you stack them, you have a stack of potato chips with no flat surface to pick from. “If you consider tying digital printing to the roll-fed presentation,” Harvey continued, “it offers so many opportunities for individual identification, traceability or anti-counterfeiting. Medical devices or packaging could add a barcode – or even a hidden feature in the label – that could be scanned all the way from production and handling to distribution and recycling. Short production runs with customized labels are feasible. There are many ways to apply this technology with a financial justification, and not just marketing or functionality benefit.”

It brings into a more practical form the advantages press-side cutting has to offer, eliminating the stack. This solution gives the molder the advantage of efficiencies, cost reduction and accuracy. This is not just for 2016 … it’s the next five years. As labels continue to improve we’ll be able to use the new technology. This is the future.” n

O’Connor is pleased with the results. “A secondary goal was cost-driven and improvement in process. In rolls you can go with a thinner label and still pass federal requirements. It lowers the cost of the entire stream, and it’s easier to process thinner labels. Using this automation, I can run other products. When you don’t have to put a lot of money into one product that is customized, it improves return on investment. “The collaboration allowed us to bring in the newest technology, using the automation to integrate the best of best.

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IMDA Award Winners Announced The In-Mold Decorating Association (IMDA) is a trade association representing molders, printers, material suppliers, equipment suppliers and others committed to the development and growth of in-mold labeling and decorating products, technologies and markets. Its mission is to raise the level of awareness and acceptance of in-mold decorated durable products and in-mold labeled packaging by OEMs, brand owners and marketers. IMDA represents and supports all of its member companies across the entire in-mold labeling and decorating supply chain. On an annual basis, the IMDA solicits product entries showcasing the best of in-mold labeling and decorating. The winners of the 2016 IMDA Awards are featured in Plastics Decorating and other industry publications, as well as featured at and displayed at PACK EXPO International in Chicago, Illinois. The 2017 awards competition will begin in February 2017. Best Injection Molded (IML) Package Gold Award: Easy Open & Hold IML Container Submitted By: Polipa North America, LLC Brand Owner: Premier Tech Home & Garden Molder: Polipa North America, LLC Label Supplier: Cakirlar

Best Label Design Gold Award: Sparkle Canister Submitted By: Dynaplast Brand Owner: Tupperware Indonesia Molder: Dynaplast Label Supplier: Korsini Italy

This tailor-made IML package had initially been developed to replace classic cardboard packaging by improving the durability and presence of t he produc t s a nd brands. Because of its wide space in the front and back, it shows a great deal of visual image and improves customer perception. The package is a very convenient size and shape for easy grip and use with the flip-up tamper-evident feature on the lid.

Tupperware’s Sparkle Canister has an amazing 3D effect with a special glittering and sparkling look for a glamorous and modern impression. The Sparkle Canister, with its Korsini-SAF threelayer in-mold label, passed 125 dishwasher cycles at 85°C. This great product design also comes with great functionality. The canister is liquid-tight and also can keep snacks and crackers fresh without losing crispness. Sparkle Canister is a new product to celebrate Indonesia Tupperware’s 25th anniversary in 2016.

18 October/November 2016

Best Blow Molded Package Gold Award: Laban Baladi Yogurt Submitted By: Verstraete In-Mold Labels Brand Owner: Taanayel Les Fermes Molder: Taanayel Les Fermes Label Supplier: Verstraete In-Mold Labels

Best Product Family

The Lebanese dairy giant and market leader, Taanayel Les Fermes, known for its natural, authentic and traditional dairy products, chose IML for blow molding from Verstraete IML for its Laban Baladi product range. The company chose the IML technique blow molding because it can produce hollow plastic packaging and decorate it with IML in one step. That makes it the perfect technique for dairy product packaging.

The Unilever margarine tubs and lids are a great combination of an upgraded packaging with the best of industry standards for production technology. This project consists of seven sizes: 7.5oz, 9oz, 15oz, 22.5oz, 30oz, 45oz and 80oz. Thanks to the photographic quality of the Verstraete IML label and the seven different sizes, all four brands have a unique market position. These Unilever margarine tubs and lids made an impressive changeover on two levels. First, the shape of the products changed from round to rectangular. Second, Unilever decided to switch its decoration technique from direct printing to in-mold labeling. Additionally, the wall thickness has been reduced to production limits while maintaining demanding technical specifications, such as drop test and product stability. The margarine tubs now are fully decorated with Verstraete IML labels, which attract the consumer and make the tubs a commercial success story.

M o r e o v e r, I M L packaging is strong and hygienic. The I M L labels f rom Verstraete IML are moisture-resistant and can withstand temperature f luctuations. Laban Baladi yogurt is sold in 500g, 1kg and 2kg packaging, all of which have an IML label from Verstraete IML. Taanayel Les Fermes opted for an authentic and “natural” look, since the packaging has the shape of a fresh milk bucket. The design emphasizes the authenticity and purity of the Taanayel Les Fermes DNA and image.

Gold Award: Unilever® Margarine Submitted By: Verstraete In-Mold Labels Brand Owner: Unilever America Molders: PSPM Inc., Berry Plastics and RPC Bramlage Wiko USA Label Supplier: Verstraete In-Mold Labels

Best Part Design Gold Award: Baby Wipes Package Submitted By: Inland Molder: Berry Plastics Label Supplier: Inland The Scented Baby Wipes IML part is integrated into a flexible package by offering an easy-to-use, one-handed, pop-up dispenser – adding convenience for the consumer. This IML part has both a graphically superior design and a custom diecut shape for functionality. The Scented Baby Wipes part is one of the smallest commercially available cut and stack IML application products on the market today.

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Best Product Family Silver Award: SelecTE Submitted By: Berry Plastics Molder: Berry Plastics Label Supplier: Verstraete In-Mold Labels Berry Plastics’ SelecTE™ product family is a series of premium non-round, tamper-evident containers with three- and fivesided IML options. This product family provides the solution for consumers to see the quality of their food through clear windows while the brand still has large graphic real estate inside and outside the container. The total package is fully recyclable since the container, lid and label are all made of polypropylene. The IML also can be clear or printed with metallic ink to help increase the brand’s shelf impact.

Best Prototype Part Gold Award: IME Washing Machine Control Panel Submitted By: Jabil Brand Owner: Jabil Molder: Jabil Label Supplier: Duratech Industries Jabil’s novel in-mold electronics (IME) washer control panel incorporates an in-mold label (IML) made possible with capacitive touch electronics printed on a flexible film. The Jabil washer control panel is unique and innovative because it replaces a traditional printed circuit board (PCB), eliminating the need for post-molding decoration and hardware for illumination. As a result, production is simpler, less costly and faster. Best of all, the decorative and fully functional panel can be easily modified to appeal to changing consumer tastes, language preferences and more. It can even be quickly modified for use on a wide array of products, including stoves, refrigerators and other appliances.

Best Injection Molded Durable (IMD) Part Gold Award: Laundry User Interface Submitted By: Eimo Technology Brand Owner: Electrolux Molder: Eimo Technology Label Supplier: Nissha Printing This beautiful user interface (UI) is an awardwinning example of IMD film from Nissha Printing Co. and IMD molding at Eimo Technologies (a subsidiary of Nissha USA) in Southwest Michigan. The OEM design group wanted to add a very challenging design to the surface of the UI: the Electrolux logo gradation fade from the outer edge toward the part’s center. It’s very faint, but was a “must have” for this user interface. Nissha and Eimo were able to achieve Electrolux’s requirements. n

20 October/November 2016

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

The SERVOJET machine is the new digital solution for tube decoration with innovative features which enhance quality, reliability and efficiency. Features include: • Version for soft and rigid tubes, full height print, up to 7 colors • Full digital system, advanced inkjet technology for 3D container • Precise surface treatment, full LED UV and final curing • Compact footprint, easy installation and operation

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Est. 1952


In-Mold Decorating and Labeling from hybrid and side-entry IML robots to specific molds. IML now presents a product expected to change the industry standards for molds. iMould, the first intelligent mold, introduces the predictive maintenance concept. Total control of the production lines is available for the first time, resulting in the disappearance of unexpected downtime. Central Decal 800.869.7654

Industrial Decorating Solutions 630.909.4559

Central Decal, Burr Ridge, Illinois, a specialist in PP and HDPE durable IML solutions, has expanded its in-mold labeling solutions to include rigid PC, PVC, PET, PMMA SAN and PETG IML graphics. Proprietary KAP coatings and clears withstand gating directly behind the IML and provide no washout/no tarnish colors. KAP technology has been expanded to include bright white, mirror, high resolution, brushed and stainless steel graphics.

A brand of Industrial Decorating Solutions (IDS), United Silicone has introduced the Evolution HT, a heat transfer decorating machine designed specifically for high-speed application of multicolored heat transfer labels. Applying heat transfers up to 355 degrees on contoured injection and blow molded containers, such as construction pails, the Evolution HT Series’ unique design allows for adjustment to accommodate various pail/bucket diameters, draft angles and heights.

Dubuit Inks International 630.894.9500 Dubuit Inks International, through Dubuit Inks of America, Roselle, Illinois, introduced Evopanel Ink, a new generation of screen UV inks for industrial graphics applications, including automotive, aerospace, medical devices, overlays and membrane switches. Evopanel Ink is NVP-free, compatible with most adhesives and has excellent rub and adhesion properties. The Evopanel black is extremely opaque and flexible and can withstand high temperatures, making it ideal for in-mold applications. Evopanel ink can be printed on polycarbonate and print treated polyester. For more information, visit

Inland Packaging 608.788.5800 Inland Packaging, LaCrosse, Wisconsin, has introduced prediecut, roll-fed in-mold labels, creating new possibilities for high-volume, low-SKU products. Roll-fed labeling can use thinner gauge films and provide significant cost savings when used for the right applications. Inland continues to see domestic growth in both clear and white film in-mold labels in food, beverage and consumer product packaging, with a trajectory of over one billion in-mold labels to be sold in 2016.

IML Solutions 704.414.6526

KURZ Transfer Products L.P. 704.927.3700

IML Solutions, Charlotte, North Carolina, specializes in providing comprehensive solutions in the area of in-mold labeling,

KURZ Transfer Products L.P., Charlotte, North Carolina, announced its new “Dead Front” decorative metal-brushed foils

22 October/November 2016

materials, inks and coatings for polyolefin/polypropylene, nylon and ABS resins. The company’s specialty is projects that require durability and longevity in outdoor environments. Schober USA 513.489.7393

with PolyIC sensor technology. The KURZ non-conductive vacuum metallization (NCVM) foils allow for successful touch functionality using KURZ hot stamping or in-mold decoration applications. The touch icons remain hidden in the surface until they are back-illuminated. The PolyIC sensor lines are invisible in the structure, ensuring that the icons illuminate clearly. PolyIC touch buttons and sliders can be combined with gesture-sensor technology as an innovation for the automotive and appliance markets.

The RSM-DIGI-VARICUT from Schober USA, Fairfield, Ohio, is a new generation of rotary diecutting equipment available to convert pre-printed IML with vector technology. Using a modular system for materials with a web width up to 850mm and a print length up to 1,220mm, materials can be either digitally or conventionally printed. Several systems are available for the collection and distribution of the finished product, including the high-speed robot “Spider.” Simco-Ion Industrial Group 215.822.6401

Proell, Inc. 630.587.2300 NORIPHAN® XMR from Proell, Inc., St. Charles, Illinois, is a new halogen-free, two-component ink system for IMD/FIM technology. NORIPHAN® XMR is formable, shows extremely high wash-out resistance and has outstanding cohesion in compound. The mild screen ink can be used as a decorating ink or wash-out protective layer on PC and PET films. NORIPHAN® XMR can be printed on NORIPHAN® HTR N and N2K and vice versa. Romo Durable Graphics 920.336.5100

The Pinner-LP arc-resistant charging bar is part of Hatfield, Pennsylvania-based Simco-Ion’s Charging series. With its lowprofile design, the Pinner-LP fits easily in tight spaces. Various lengths are available, allowing for the perfect fit. The Pinner-LP is equipped with long-life emitter pins, providing stunning pinning performance for industrial applications, including in-mold labeling. The Pinner-LP bar is compatible with Simco-Ion’s MCM30 charging generator. MCM30 offers remote operation capability and is programmable for either voltage or current control mode to supply high voltage. MCM30 packs a punch in a small size, providing simple and economical solutions for a wide range of processes. n

In-mold durable graphics from Romo Durable Graphics, De Pere, Wisconsin, are applied to products as part of the manufacturing process, right when parts are molded. Romo’s in-mold label product line, In-mold Graphic Solutions, gives customers a way to become leaner and more efficient by reducing both labor cost and scrap when compared to secondary decoration. Romo designs in-mold

October/November 2016 23

Proud to support its member companies.

Committed to the development and growth of in-mold decorated products, technologies and markets. In-Mold Decorating Association 480.415.3379


Mimaki USA’s UJF-6042 MkII by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Decorating

Making its first public appearance at SGIA in September 2016, the new UJF-6042 MkII from Mimaki USA, Suwanee, Georgia, is the next-generation model tabletop printer following the success of the UJF-6042HG. Intended to maximize efficiencies for production, this small-format UV-LED printer facilitates users in creating a variety of products while also allowing for “just-intime” production, component pieces and more. To effectively produce greater quality output, the UJF-6042 MkII combines higher accuracy dot placement with speed improvements of up to 20 percent over the previous generation. The print area is fully enclosed, reducing opportunities for dust or other airborne particle contamination. “This feature will reduce reprints, ensure production stays on track and also enable placement in more demanding environments, such as a production floor,” noted Josh Hope, senior manager, Mimaki USA. Automated efficiencies were added to the updated model to increase production with little effort. Laser sensor media detection and automated gap check guarantee that the print head is at the optimal height on each print. Exchanging the smaller cartridge system for larger, one-liter bottles for all colors makes ink delivery more efficient and enables longer runs without stopping for ink replenishment. “The switch to one-liter bottles also ensures customers running other Mimaki UV-LED printers can better manage their overall inventory when using compatible Mimaki original inks,” Hope stated. Additionally, the print bed of the new machine accommodates jigs created for previous models. Current UJF-6042HG users purchasing a new UJF-6042 MkII can quickly expand their printer line-up without the need to rework jigs. The UJF-6042 MkII streamlines production with multiple workflow enhancements. “UJF-6042 MkII printers are fully networkable, with industry standard Gigabit Ethernet for multiple printer connections over greater distances, ensuring the highest productivity,” explained Hope. “Users can take advantage of features in RasterLink6 RIP software, such as the ability to build a template and auto-populate the data using variable data with the Adobe® InDesign® data merge function or third-party VDP plug-ins, to create a table’s-worth of personalized items.” The latest version of Mimaki’s UJF-6042 printer comes with integrated tools that offer high-tolerance repeatable output. Where the previous model featured a stationary table and gantry movement, the new device incorporates ball screw table movement paired with precise ink drop placement. The modifications result in enhanced image quality. Additionally, threaded registration pins are utilized for repeatable media placement. “Combined,” Hope emphasized, “these features ensure consistent accuracy

resulting in beautiful images, maximum production and minimal waste, even with the most complex jobs.” Several of Mimaki’s core technologies are included to guarantee high quality and productivity. The Mimaki Advanced Pass System 4, for example, uses an advanced algorithm pattern to reduce banding, and the Waveform Control shapes and places individual ink drops by using well-tuned frequencies for each ink’s specific gravity and viscosity. Mimaki Circulation Technology continuously circulates white ink, thus reducing the need for manual maintenance and waste. Furthermore, the Nozzle Check Unit monitors nozzle outages and automatically activates a series of recovery functions, and the Nozzle Recovery System assigns operational nozzles when an outage is detected. Since its worldwide debut in September, Mimaki’s UJF-6042 MkII has been well received. “The printer was designed to help customers realize the benefits of digital printing with higher margins and lower production costs without compromising quality,” Hope pointed out. Shipments are expected to start in the US by early November 2016. Technical details The UJF-6042 MkII features a maximum print area of 24x16.5" (610 x 420 mm) with maximum media thickness of 6" (153mm) and maximum media weight of 17.6lbs (8kg). Print resolutions are 600, 900 and 1200dpi, with a maximum print speed of up to 39.4 square feet (3.66SqM) /hr. The printer measures 65.5x50.8x33.7" (1660 x 1290 x 856 mm) and weighs 342lbs (155kg). Ink types include LH-100 UV for high scratch and chemical resistance: C, M, Y, K, Lc, Lm, W, clear; and LUS-120 UV for flexibility and scratch resistance: C, M, Y, K, Lc, Lm, W, Clear. Available in the future will be LUS150 UV for balanced adhesion and flexibility: C, M, Y, K, W. n

October/November 2016 25


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Q&A: Electromagnetic Welding of Plastics By Steven M. Chookazian, Emabond Solutions, LLC


What is electromagnetic welding? Electromagnetic welding, also more commonly known as the Emabond Process, is a design and assembly method that provides a simple, rapid and reliable assembly technique to produce structural, hermetic or highpressure welds on most thermoplastic materials and TPEs. It employs the basic principles of induction heating by developing fusion temperature at the abutting interface of parts to be bonded using a specially formulated thermoplastic resin, commonly referred to as the EM resin material, which is 100 percent solids, environmentally friendly and highly reliable. The process is so versatile it can bond almost any thermoplastic, filled or unfilled, to itself plus certain dissimilar thermoplastics. The electromagnetic welding process can easily join such difficult-to-join materials as polyolefins and elastomers, as well as engineering thermoplastics. The electromagnetic welding process offers designers an alternative enabling technology, assembly method and design

Before Joining Emabond resin is deposited in the joint. The mating parts are brought together and placed within a fixture containing a work coil.

Water-cooled copper work coil

tool that picks up where traditional plastic welding methods leave off.


How does Emabond work? The image below illustrates the “before” – “during” – “after” phases of a successful weld created within a typical tongue and groove joint design. Before joining – The EM resin preform is deposited in the joint. The mating parts are brought together and placed within a fixture containing a work coil, which conforms to the weld line geometry. This phase is easily automated or operatorinitiated. During joining – The activated coil heats the EM resin, causing the adjoining surfaces to melt. Energy is only consumed during the actual heating cycle, which typically is 1 to 30 seconds. Low clamping force is applied via the specially designed fixture to allow efficient transfer of melt temperature to the substrate. After joining – The EM resin has filled the gap. The process has fused the mating parts, resulting in a polymer-to-polymer permanent weld. Note the compact joint cross section when compared to frictional methods of assembly, which typically require broader land area and or flash traps.

During Joining The activated coil heats the Emabond resin, causing the adjoining surfaces to melt. Low pressure applied

After Joining

The Emabond resin has filled the gap. The process has fused the mating parts, resulting in polymer to polymer permanent bond.

High frequency energy

H 2O

Emabond Resin is 100 percent contained

28 October/November 2016

Precise heat delivery from power source to bond line

Produces a structural joint capable of high shear strength


Why should I consider electromagnetic welding? There are many advantages when compared to alternative methods of assembly. On a broader scale, the advantages can be segmented into design, aesthetic and manufacturing. Design advantages: • Superior joining of polyolefins – PP & PE (all densities) • Highly filled polymers, such as glass-, talc- and mineral-filled • Ability to provide a shear joint design with gap-filling properties • Meets leak-proof, high-pressure and strength specifications • Meets code requirements – e.g. NSF for potable water and certain FDA applications • Clean process with no particulate generated Aesthetic advantages: • Flash-free weld line • Compact joint design • Clean, smooth, distortion-free bond line Manufacturing advantages: • No surface pretreatment required • Precise heat delivery at the weld line • Environmentally safe – completely solvent- and VOC-free • Quiet operation • Reduce scrap: Zero waste capability • Ability to reverse the process to reclaim internal components or reweld assembly • Reduce overall operating costs through waste reduction The process has often been considered as the ideal method for critical high-performance applications where the cost of weld failure is of great concern. It is a non-contact, nonviolent method of assembly that is gentle on parts.


Do I have to incorporate a specific joint design interface? Proper joint design is essential to the ultimate success of the weld, regardless of the welding method. Commonly used welding methods (for example, ultrasonic, vibration, spin, hotplate and laser welding) require specific joint designs to provide optimum performance. Electromagnetic welding in this regard is no different. Leak-proof and pressure-tight joints generally require a tongue and groove type of design. Since the EM resin material located within the joint interface becomes molten when activated, it flows under pressure into the voids and irregular surfaces to produce reliable welds with near zero reject rates. Ideally, the molten flow should be contained and subjected to an internal pressure against the abutting weld surface. The flow of the EM resin material can be compared to filling a cavity in injection molding. The following formula is generally used to determine the amount of material required to fill the joint:

Ae = k*Av where Ae = cross-sectional area of the EM resin material Av = cross-sectional area of the void in the joint k = constant, ranging from 1.02 to 1.07 depending upon the amount of joint interface pressure desired and the material being welded. Many approaches exist when designing a proper joint. An influencing factor would be whether the part is injection molded, blow molded, extruded profile or thermoformed. The most critical factor for determining the proper joint design is the performance requirements of the final assembly. If a leakproof weld is required, it is best to use a tongue and groove design. If high-pressure is needed, then a step joint or a tall tongue and groove joint designed to put the EM resin material in shear would be most desirable. If all that is required is a static flow airtight seal or a structural weld, a flat-to-flat flange may be sufficient. Typically, a tongue and groove joint that places EM resin material in shear is employed when leakproof, pressure-tight welds are required.

Q 3 3 3 3

Joint void with flow stop

Pre-bond engagement of joint Design includes flow channel and a physical stop Radius or chamfered tongue directs flow Correct joint – Emabond resin volume relationship Area (e) Emabond material = 105% of the area (v) joint void

What are the commonly used EM resins forms? EM resins are 100 percent solid and available in a wide variety of forms. The composition and final form is fully dependent on the materials being joined, performance requirements and – ultimately – the joint design configuration. The material composition used for the welding process consists of two major components: the susceptor material (typically either fine iron or stainless steel particles) and the thermoplastic resin matrix, which is compatible with the materials being joined.

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ph: 704-583-9433

t p. 29


The most common form would be an extruded profile – typically round, although it can be rectangular. Other forms include sheet, which can be die stamped into special shapes, or ribbon for flat-to-flat joining. EM resins also are offered as injection molded gaskets and can be co-injected directly into one half of the part being assembled.


What kind of equipment is required? A standard welding machine consists of five key components: 1) high-frequency, solid-state generator operating at 13.56 Mhz; 2) pneumatic press; 3) controls and 4) water cooling for the high-frequency components and application-specific work coils. All four of these components are typically integrated into a seamless unitized machine. The fifth component is the application-specific tooling or welding fixture, which consists of a water-cooled copper work coil and holding fixtures matching the part geometry. The five key components must be optimally designed to achieve the desired results.


What are some typical end-use applications? The process has been used effectively on a wide range of demanding applications, including automotive, filtration, plumbing, medical devices, industrial, office furniture and consumer appliances. Historically, greater than 80 percent of the applications have been leak-proof and pressure-tight, often with demanding specifications where the cost of failure is high. n Steve Chookazian is currently the vice president of global sales for Emabond Solutions, LLC. He has more than 35 years of experience providing solutions to the plastics industry for high value, challenging assembly applications using the Emabond electromagnetic welding process. Chookazian’s knowledge of the assembly methods and end-use market is broadly based, having specific exposure to all of the conventional methods of assembly, such as ultrasonic, vibration, Chookazian hotplate, laser and structural adhesives. He has been an SPE Member since 1988 and, for nearly 10 years, continues to actively serve as a board member of the Decorating and Assembly Division of SPE. Chookazian can be reached at More information also can be obtained at

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Regulatory Impact on the Plastics Industry By Robert F. Helminiak, vice president of Science and Regulatory Affairs, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association


he plastics industry is facing a busy time in the regulatory world – including federal, state, international and local regulations. The industry has to comply with plastic industry-specific regulations, as well as general manufacturing and industry regulations. The regulations primarily affecting the plastics industry focus mainly on safety and environmental issues. The Toxic Substances Control Act On the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked with protecting human health and the environment. One of the major regulations that EPA is working on is the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). TSCA is the main federal law that governs chemical safety in the United States. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was signed into law June 22, 2016. The legislation charges EPA with updating TSCA regulations. Specifically, EPA must complete reviews for chemicals in commerce, complete safety findings for new chemicals, assure protections for particularly vulnerable individuals and require more aggressive review and rulemaking deadlines. SPI supported this legislation as being positive for the plastics industry. The legislation makes chemical safety a federal issue that will be handled nearly exclusively by EPA. The legislation is positive for all Americans because it requires a greater level of chemical safety and provides the federal government with the authority to tackle the issue. Presently, EPA is holding public meetings and developing proposed rules, as well as continuing to evaluate chemicals. EPA is specifically obligated by the legislation to publish two final rules by June 2017 (the one-year anniversary of the passage of the legislation) that will have a direct effect on the plastics industry. The two rules that must be completed are the Prioritization Procedural Rule and the Risk Evaluation Process.

32 October/November 2016

The Prioritization Procedural Rule must establish a riskbased process by which EPA identifies chemicals to prioritize for the Risk Evaluation Process. The rule will identify how the chemicals are evaluated as either “high” or “low” priority. Chemicals that are designated “high” priority will require a risk evaluation to determine their safety. Chemicals that are designated “low” priority do not require further action. The Risk Evaluation Process rule will establish a new riskbased safety standard, which will be used to determine “unreasonable risk.” EPA is required to complete a final risk management action within two years on any chemical that is deemed to have an “unreasonable risk.” The administration has promised (and is obligated by law) to have proposed rules published in December 2016 for both the Prioritization Procedural Rule and the Risk Evaluation Process. The proposed rules are a prerequisite to have the final rules completed by June 2017. The impacts of the elections in November and the subsequent changing of the White House (and likely some EPA staff) are yet to be seen, but could work to impede the publication of final rules. Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration One of the issues facing the plastics industry is a lockout/tagout issue in Michigan. Currently, Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) offers alternative procedures from the overarching OSHA lockout/tagout rule. This is referred to in Part 62 of the General Industry Safety Standards of the Michigan code. The alternatives allow plastics manufacturers to comply with safety regulations in a manner



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that saves them downtime on the equipment and maintains the same level of safety. Effective Jan. 1, 2017, the alternative compliance methods are no longer permitted. This creates a major issue because without these alternatives the lockout/tagout process will cause significant additional downtime. Further, it may require equipment to be retrofitted at the cost of the manufacturer. The worst part of the situation is that there is no additional level of safety gained by banning the alternative routes of compliance. Consumer Product Safety Commission The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has published a proposed rule to allow some rigid plastic products to forego phthalate testing. This is a very positive, logical step for CPSC, and one that SPI strongly supports. Testing rigid plastics for phthalates is an unnecessary step because phthalates make products flexible; hence, rigid plastic products will not contain phthalates. SPI supports the rule and strongly encourages CPSC to expand this rule to include additional products beyond the scope of the proposal. General Industry A number of federal rules impact the plastics industry, including those concerning the tracking of workplace injuries, overtime, and risk management for facilities with hazardous chemicals on site. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recently published the final Recordkeeping – Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule. This rule requires employers to electronically file all injury and illness reports with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). A major concern of this rule is that OSHA will publish the reports (though they will redact the names of the employees) because there is a possibility that publication could discourage employees from reporting injuries for fear of their identity leaking and their personal information becoming public. The rule takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, and the first reporting requirements are July 2017. Another rule that industry is struggling with is the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Overtime Rule, which was published in May 2016. This rule changes the requirements on employers to pay overtime based on employee salary. The new rule sets the standard salary level at $47,476 annually for a full year; the previous mark was $23,600. The rule goes into effect Dec. 1, 2016, though it is currently being challenged by an industrybacked lawsuit. EPA has published a Risk Management Plan proposed rule. At the same time, OSHA is contemplating publishing a proposed rule on Process Safety Management. These rules both cover facilities that have designated amounts of hazardous chemicals

There is a possibility that publication could discourage employees from reporting injuries for fear of their identity leaking and their personal information becoming public. on site. The rules require the facility to have plans in place in case there is a release of the chemicals. The plastics industry is working to make sure that the rules are similar, do not conflict and make compliance easy. Since both rules have similar intended purposes, the goal should be to make the requirements of the rules similar to avoid potential conflicts in compliance. Marine Debris The plastics industry also is greatly concerned with marine debris. SPI is beginning to see marine debris shape legislation and regulations throughout the US. One specific instance is the Microbeads Free Water Act, which passed in December 2015. The plastics industry supported the legislation, which includes the phase-out of rinse-off cosmetics that contain intentionallyadded plastic microbeads. The legislation begins to take effect July 1, 2017. Waste Management Plans SPI also is working with several states on formal waste management plans. These plans include a variety of issues, including solid waste, recycling and curbside pickups. SPI is providing input to states to make sure they develop plans that will have both a positive effect on waste management, as well as maintain job security for plastics industry employees. n Robert F. Helminiak is vice president of Science and Regulatory Affairs with SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association. Founded in 1937, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association promotes growth in the $427 billion US plastics industry. Representing nearly one million American workers in the third largest US manufacturing industry, SPI delivers advocacy, market research, industry promotion, and the fostering of business relationships and zero waste Helminiak strategies. The SPI advocacy staff of in-house lobbyists, along with a network of consultants and coalition partners, carefully monitors and evaluates legislative and regulatory proposals and then designs and implements strategies to address policy challenges and opportunities to ensure that the plastics industry’s voice is heard. For additional questions, email

October/November 2016 35

INDUSTRY Sun Chemical Opens New Coatings Lab Sun Chemical, Parsippany, New Jersey, opened a new coatings lab in its Carlstadt, New Jersey, research and development facility. The 11,000-square-foot investment features equipment and analytical support for studying migration, adhesion, permeability and other performance-related coating phenomena. A variety of equipment has been added to the new lab, including gas transmission rate analyzers, glass bottle testing instrumentation and coatings spraying equipment to develop new and improved water-, solvent- and energy-curable primers, inks and coatings. A lab laminator will be added in 2017 to help study the interaction between ink, substrate, primers, overprint varnishes and laminating adhesives. The lab is the fourth of its kind worldwide, joining similar laboratories located in the United Kingdom and DIC R&D centers in Japan. For more information, visit www. 3DT Celebrates 25 Years 3DT LLC, Germantown, Wisconsin, celebrated its 25th anniversary this August. In the 1990s most automotive, medical and packaging manufacturers were using chemical primer baths, physical abrasion and flame treatment to increase the surface tension and bonding on 3D parts. The drawbacks of these methods included environmental and health hazards, as well as cost. As a result, the new, safe, quick and less labor-intensive corona treatment took off. Today, 3DT produces a complete line of surface treatment systems developed to manage difficulties on nearly all substrates and configuration of parts. 3DT covers the spectrum in surface treatment solutions from microcleaning Petri dishes for cell growth to improving the adhesion of flocking on rubber profiles. Their systems range from compact tabletop units to mammoth 10-treating-head systems. 3DT represents two German companies for North America: SOFTAL and AFS. For more information, visit Leonhard Kurz acquires Burg Design Leonhard Kurz, Fürth, Germany, acquired the designoriented production company Burg Design from Spanish automotive supplier Grupo Antolin to extend design and decoration capabilities for its global customer base. This addition enables Kurz to broaden its range of design technologies, thereby offering its customers even more comprehensive solutions to meet the demand for visually refined and customizable surface designs. Kurz and Burg have successfully collaborated on a number of customer projects, and while doing so tailored the technologies of both companies to one another, combining them synergistically. For more information, visit

36 October/November 2016

Dr. Graphx Acquires Langer Printing Dr. Graphx, Chicago, Illinois, has acquired Langer Printing, a company that has been printing on three-dimensional products and surfaces for more than 30 years. The partnership allows the companies to offer a broad array of services to architects, builders, advertising specialists, event graphic planners and all other unique printing processors and services. By acquiring Langer Printing, Dr. Graphx can extend its expertise to virtually any product or surface imaginable. For more information, visit www.drgraphx. com or Americhem and LPKF Collaborate on Laser Welding Technology Americhem Inc., Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and LPKF Laser & Electronics have collaborated on a laser plastic welding technology that allows manufacturers to save weight, time and money versus using traditional materials while maintaining and optimizing part aesthetics. LPKF sells the production equipment and process solutions used in laser plastic welding and Americhem provides coloring technology for both the upper and lower layers. To provide the ultimate in design aesthetics, Americhem can match colors in the transmissive upper layer that enable the laser to pass through this visible layer and create the laser weld using the absorbing lower layer. This technology is gaining wide use in the automotive, medical and consumer products industries. An example of the technology’s advantages is a car taillight cover on which the laser plastic welding helps ensure a tight seam. With LPKF’s welding equipment and Americhem’s color, the seal along the top of the taillight is visible and used as part of the taillight’s creative design. For more information, visit www.americhem. com or Herrmann Ultrasonics Opens New Tech-Center Herrmann Ultrasonics, North America headquarters in Bartlett, Illinois, invested in increasing its presence in California with a new expanded Tech-Center. The Irvine, California, facility has tripled the local lab size and will offer increased technical support capabilities. In honor of the new technology center’s grand opening, Herrmann Ultrasonics offered an inaugural Technology Day event on Sept. 29, 2016.

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Seven ultrasonic joining workshops were held throughout the day, including workshops hosted by Cepheid and MoviMed. Continuous growth of its plastic, packaging and nonwovens divisions has allowed the company to establish Technology Centers throughout North America. The new California facility will allow Herrmann Ultrasonics to offer more local seminars and local feasibility tests to customers. For more information, visit SPI Announces Project to Increase Automotive Recycling SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, Washington, D.C., announced a new project, the Automotive End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) Recycling Demonstration Project, which will test the belief that increased automotive recycling is beneficial to recyclers and the plastics industry. Organizations partnering with SPI to make this program a reality include the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC), Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and a number of independent plastics and automotive recyclers. The goal of the ELV Recycling Demonstration Project is to develop a method of collection and recovery of Polypropylene (PP) and Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) auto parts in a way that demonstrates technical and economic feasibility. Another goal of the ELV Recycling Demonstration Project is to gather information to better guide design for

recycling opportunities that can help inform future automotive design and recovery of plastics. For more information, visit Verstraete IML Announces First Production Site in USA Maldegem, Belgium-based Verstraete IML announced its plans to open a new production site. In the coming months, the company will start preparing the construction work for the new production site in Clarksville, Tennessee, together with its parent company Constantia Flexibles. The new site will allow Verstraete IML to get closer to its customers in the largest growth market for IML labels outside Europe. The site will begin production in the second half of 2017 and will have multiple printing press and finishing lines. Some 55 jobs will be created. Verstraete IML expects to invest EUR 18 million (USD $20 million) in its new US plant within a period of three years. For more information, visit Oransky Named President of Roland DGA Roland DGA, Irvine, California, announced that Andrew Oransky has been appointed the company’s new president. Oransky previously served as Roland DGA’s vice president of sales and marketing, and prior to that was director of marketing and product management for the company. For more information, visit


Mimaki Opens Toronto Branch Mimaki USA, Suwanee, Georgia, celebrated the opening of its new Toronto branch, the company’s first in Canada and seventh in North America. The facility is home to Mimaki trained sales, support and service staff designed to provide Mimaki dealers and end users with prompt, direct, local sales and technical support. This 11,000-square-foot facility is the site of product demonstrations, Dealer Technician Certification courses, end-user software and applications training and open house events. Led by Lucas Crossley, the facility showcases the latest in digital printing technology in areas such as latex, dye sublimation, UV and solvent printing. A gallery also is available for visitors to view samples of the many types of applications possible using Mimaki printers, cutters and software. For more information, visit n

38 October/November 2016

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Adding a Cleanroom for Decorating and Assembly by Ron Kosmalski, sales manager, Clean Air Technology, Inc.


rom electronics to medical applications to automotive interiors, avoiding the surface mars or product contamination that can happen in everyday manufacturing environments is the job of a cleanroom.

Cleanrooms are used in practically every industry where small particles can adversely affect the manufacturing process. These spaces vary in size and complexity, dependent upon the end user requirements. From industries such as medical device and life sciences to automotive, aerospace and defense, high quality standards and the need to reduce or eliminate potential contaminants are driving an increased use of cleanrooms in the plastics decorating and assembly segments. Whether the soft-touch interior of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, a glossy black cellphone case or a welded microfluidic device, cleanrooms can be the difference between acceptable product and rejected scrap.

40 October/November 2016

What is a cleanroom? Understanding the role of a cleanroom requires an understanding of the particulates that exist in an everyday manufacturing facility. The ambient air outside in a typical city environment contains 35,000,000 particles per cubic meter in sizes of 0.5 micron and larger in diameter. These particles could be dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles and chemical vapors. This level of particulate corresponds to an ISO 9 cleanroom, which is at the lowest level of recognized cleanroom standards. An ISO 1 cleanroom can reduce particles of that size to zero. A cleanroom is a designated space where levels of contamination are reduced, while other environmental parameters – such

ď ľ Photo courtesy of Clean Air Technology, Inc.

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as temperature, humidity and pressure – are controlled. The key component is the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter that is used to trap particles that are 0.3 micron and larger in size. All of the air delivered to a cleanroom passes through HEPA filters and, in some cases where stringent cleanliness performance is necessary, Ultra Low Particulate Air (ULPA) filters are used.

released off the wearer’s body and contaminating the environment. The cleanroom clothing itself must not release particles or fibers to prevent contamination of the environment by personnel. Cleanroom garments include boots, shoes, aprons, beard covers, bouffant caps, coveralls, face masks, frocks/lab coats, gowns, glove and finger cots, hairnets, hoods, sleeves and shoe covers.

Because human beings are a significant source of contaminants – think of skin, hair, clothing fibers – robotics are often used for decorating and assembly functions within a cleanroom environment. When human intervention is needed, manufacturing personnel who are selected to work in cleanrooms undergo extensive training in contamination control theory. They enter and exit the cleanroom through airlocks, air showers and/or gowning rooms, and they must wear special clothing designed to trap contaminants that are naturally generated by skin and the body. Depending on the room classification or function, personnel gowning may be as limited as lab coats and hairnets or as extensive as fully enveloped in multiple layered bunny suits with self-contained breathing apparatus.

The type of cleanroom garments used should reflect the cleanroom and product specifications. Low-level cleanrooms may only require special shoes having completely smooth soles that do not track in dust or dirt. However, shoe bottoms must not create slipping hazards since safety always takes precedence. A cleanroom suit is usually required for entering a cleanroom. Class 10,000 cleanrooms may use simple smocks, head covers, and booties. For Class 10 cleanrooms, careful gown wearing procedures with a zipped cover all, boots, gloves and complete respirator enclosure are required.

Cleanroom clothing is used to prevent substances from being Table 1. BS 5295 Cleanroom Standards

Table 2. ISO 14644-1 Cleanroom Standards

42 October/November 2016

Cleanroom classifications Cleanrooms are classified by how clean the air is within the contained space. In the US, the Federal Standard 209 was developed and eventually progressed from 209A thru 209E. Clas-

sifications defined the number of particles measured in a cubic foot of air, and various sizes ranging from 0.1 micron through 10 micron were listed. Particles of 0.5 micron and larger were the standard in qualifying classifications. The metric nomenclature also is accepted in the most recent 209E version. Concurrently, European and British Standards were established, and most recently, the global contamination control community adopted the classifications of the International Standards Organization, with classifications ranging from ISO-9 up to ISO-1. The cleanroom classification standards FS 209E and/or ISO 14644-1 require specific particle count measurements and calculations to classify the cleanliness level of a cleanroom or clean area. Cleanrooms are classified according to the number and size of particles permitted per volume of air. Large numbers like “class 100,000” or “class 10,000” refer to FED_STD-209E, and denote the number of particles of size 0.5μm or larger permitted per cubic foot of air. The standard also allows interpolation, so it is possible to describe e.g. “class 2000.” See Table 1. Single-digit classifications refer to ISO 14644-1 standards, which specify the decimal logarithm of the number of particles 0.1 µm or larger permitted per cubic meter of air. So, for example, an ISO class 5 cleanroom has at most 3,520 particles 0.5μm per m³. See Table 2. Both FS 209E and ISO 14644-1 assume log-log relationships between particle size and particle concentration. For that reason, there is no such thing as zero particle concentration. As mentioned previously, ordinary room air is approximately class 1,000,000 or ISO 9. Factors to consider in cleanroom design The US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has defined cleanroom requirements in its standards for drug products, quoted here from the FDA’s Guidance for Industry for Sterile Drug Products Produced by Aseptic Processing – Current Good Manufacturing Practice ( Drugs/.../Guidances/ucm070342.pdf).

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21 CFR 211.42(c) states, in part, that “Operations shall be performed within specifically defined areas of adequate size. There shall be separate or defined areas or such other control systems for the firm’s operations as are necessary to prevent contamination or mix-ups during the course of the following procedures: * * * (10) Aseptic processing, which includes as appropriate:

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(i) Floors, walls and ceilings of smooth, hard surfaces that are easily cleanable; (ii) Temperature and humidity controls; (iii) An air supply filtered through high-efficiency

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t p. 43


particulate air filters under positive pressure, regardless of whether flow is laminar or nonlaminar; (iv) A system for monitoring environmental conditions; (v) A system for cleaning and disinfecting the room and equipment to produce aseptic conditions; (vi) A system for maintaining any equipment used to control the aseptic conditions.” In addition to defining the components of a cleanroom, there are a multitude of questions to consider when adding a cleanroom for decorating and assembly purposes, ultimately leading to an understanding of which standard must be met for the particular application that will be performed within the space. Questions could include the following: • How much heat will be generated by the equipment operating within the space, and how is the equipment cooled? • How many people will be working within the cleanroom? • What are the normal temperature and humidity levels of the area in which the cleanroom will be contained? What temperature and humidity levels are required for the project? • If hazardous or flammable materials will be utilized in

44 October/November 2016

any processes, what exhaust volume will be required? • Do special requirements exist for lighting or room material construction? • What types of data/communication or environmental controls need to be added to the space? Cleanrooms facilitate high-quality plastic decorating and assembly operations by removing contaminants that could mar the surface, hinder the adhesion or destroy the required “aseptic appearance” of the final manufactured product. n Ron Kosmalski is sales manager for Clean Air Technology, Inc. Clean Air Technology, Inc. is a top design and build manufacturer and contractor for modular and portable cleanrooms. The company manufactures load-bearing wall and deck systems and application specific air handlers and filtration systems that are ideally suited for all controlled environments: cleanrooms, dryrooms and clean manufacturing facilities. Its fabrication capability allows for delivering site speKosmalski cific air cleanliness solutions. For more information, call 734.459.6320 or email

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ASSOCIATION Letter from the Chair To understand something, it is important to be able to define what it is. So, what is plastic decoration and assembly? Equally, or more important, why do we decorate or join plastic parts? As a working definition and in a broad sense, it is the collection of secondary operations we apply to our plastic parts to improve their performance or to meet customer expectations. One definition of plastic decoration is the application of in-mold and post injection molding (or extrusion) processes to achieve (or impart) aesthetic, performance or functional properties in the finished part. This is maybe not the best definition, but processes include – but, are not limited to – coating, printing, embossing, laser marking, laser ablation, plating, flocking and thermal transfer. Plastic joining and assembly, likewise, have a large and complex collection of processes and methods. Recent advances have made the world even more complex and the boundary as to what constitutes plastic decoration and joining less clear. Smart materials and in-molded electronics and optics are just two such advances. Femto-second lasers are making in-mold holograms possible on molded parts, and ink-jetting graphics into tools provides a new way to do in-mold decoration. The range of capabilities and complexity are ever increasing. So, how should you learn about the newest advances or – if you are new to the field – the basics? Webinars and the internet only proved an introduction to many materials and processes. If you need to understand what processes and materials are available and the design standards needed to successfully use them, you will need resources to both inform and provide an ongoing opportunity to network. Fortunately, the purpose of the Society of Plastic Engineers is to provide a forum for that exchange of information and for the introduction of the latest technologies. In the coming year will be two opportunities to learn and network. The first opportunity will be SPE Annual Technical Conference (ANTEC), May 8-10, 2017, in Anaheim, California. This is the largest annual technical conference in the United States for the plastics industry, with 2,500 attendees, more than 600 paper presentations and an exhibitor floor. The Decorating and Assembly Division again will have a session focused on the latest technologies in plastic decoration and assembly. The second opportunity will be a more focused technical conference hosted by the Decorating and Assembly Division, June 19-20, 2017. That conference will be two days of papers exclusively on plastic decoration and assembly and will be held at the Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort. We will once again hold a joint conference with the In-Mold Decorating Association (IMDA). This joint conference will provide an

exceptionally broad selection of experts in all fields of plastic decoration and assembly. This would be a good time to consider writing and presenting a paper if you have a new technology or improvement in a current technology. Participation in either or both conferences will provide a high level of visibility with an audience of those who are interested and working in the field. There will soon be a call for papers, so if you are interested, now is the time to begin to identify topics and start writing. Papers on new and emerging technologies and materials always are welcome. Topics such as problem solving, innovation, and cost reduction also are welcome. Papers are due for ANTEC by Jan. 13, 2017. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Recently SPE has expanded the opportunity to network and to seek help with specific problems. They have created a networking platform, THE CHAIN, specific to the plastics industry. SPE also has made it easier for you to join THE CHAIN if you are not already a member of SPE. Go to the SPE web page: If you are a new visitor and would like to register as an SPE e-Member, but do not already have a username and login, you can use the New Visitor Registration to register for the site. SPE e-Members receive instant access to SPE’s THE CHAIN, which is the exclusive online networking platform for the global plastics industry. If you are having issues with login, please call SPE at 203.775.0471. Learn more at the Society of Plastics Engineers website,, or by contacting Paul Uglum Delphi Electronics and Safety Chair, SPE Decorating & Assembly Division


2017 SPE TopCon and IMDA Symposium Set For Chicago The SPE Decorating & Assembly Division will again partner with the In-Mold Decorating Association (IMDA) to host joint conferences. After a successful combined meeting in 2016, an agreement between both parties has been made to host the 2017 event at the Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort, just outside Chicago, Illinois. The two-day event will include papers on the latest in plastics decorating and assembly processes, with separate sessions and workshops hosted by IMDA on in-mold decorating and labeling. It also will include a Supplier Trade Fair for attendees of both conferences, with tabletop exhibits from leading suppliers to the industry. Look for a full schedule and registration information soon on the Plastics Decorating ( and IMDA ( websites. If interested in presenting a paper at the 2017 TopCon or Symposium, contact Jeff Peterson at n

October/November 2016 47


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• PACK EXPO International, Nov. 6-9, McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois, • AWA IMLCON™ & IMDCON™, Nov. 16-18, Hyatt Rosemont, Chicago, Illinois,


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


• PLASTEC New England Expo, May 3-4, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston, Massachusetts, • ANTEC® Anaheim, May 8-10, Hilton Anaheim, Anaheim, California,


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

AD INDEX AWA IMLCON™ & IMDCON™ 2017 / A.W.T. World Trade, Inc. / Branson Ultrasonics / CDigital LLC / Central Decal / Comdec, Inc. (Ruco) /, 44 Die Stampco Inc. / Diversified Printing Techniques / Engineered Printing Solutions / inside front cover h+m USA / IML Solutions / ITW IDS – Trans Tech and United Silicone / Infinity Foils, Inc., a UEI Group Company / Inkcups Now /, 27 InkWorks Printing LLC / Innovative Digital Systems / back cover Innovative Marking Systems / KBA-Kammann USA / ...........................................39 Kent Pad Printer Canada, Inc. / Marabu North America / Mimaki / back cover OMSO North America, Inc. / Pad Print Pros / Precision Press / Proell, Inc. / Romo Durable Graphics / Serigraph / Sonics & Materials, Inc. / SPE Decorating & Assembly Division TopCon / Standard Machines, Inc. / Webtech, Inc. /

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