How Proto Labs Is Building the Factory of the Future

Ambition has a distinctive sound--and you can hear it if you step inside the newly renovated plant outside Plymouth, Minn. Proto Labs' machines are running 24 hours a day, sculpting small bricks from dozens of different types of plastics and metals into parts that will serve as prototypes for the likes of Xerox, Northrop Grumman, Medtronic, Siemens and Ford. Most of the vast, echoing factory floor (166,000 square feet) is empty. Not for long: Vicki Holt, the 56-year-old CEO, has big plans.

Holt was hired in February to turn Proto Labs from a $185 million (sales) rapid prototyping outfit into a billion-dollar technology powerhouse. Tall and lean, with her gamine blonde bob and elegant coat, she's hardly a factory boss out of central casting. Holt insists Proto Labs isn't a manufacturing company at all, though it runs six plants in the U.S., Europe and Japan. That's because its entire process--from taking online orders to creating parts via computer-numerical control machining, 3-D printing or plastic- or metal-injection molding--is automated. All but one of the analysts who follow the company now have it pegged as a tech play and, says Holt with a grin, the last guy is primed to switch soon.

"It's a very large market out there," says Holt, sitting in her unadorned office in Maple Plain, about 20 miles west of Minneapolis. She is sometimes given to banging her desk for emphasis while outlining her hoped-for trajectory for Proto Labs: an eventual $7 billion bite out of the $90-billion-a-year market in the three continents where she operates. "Our sales are only $200 million, so you can see we've got a long way to go." With that steep climb in mind she's picking her targets carefully, emphasizing medical equipment, because the road to FDA approval requires multiple steps (as well as a lot of iteration and testing, translating into orders for highly customized parts) and the lighting industry (since buildings are being retrofitted with LEDs but under tight regulation requiring many prototypes).

Proto Labs was conceived in frustration. Founder and inventor Larry Lukis was fed up with the months-long wait and high cost of a few injection-molded parts for the laser printers he was designing. So he launched the Protomold Co. in 1999, using software to automate the process for those parts. Soon he began thinking outside of printers.

Engineers in consumer products, medical devices, appliances, electronics and automobiles started leaning on the company for quick turnaround of prototype parts made cheaply and precisely. Protomold became the go-to shop for rush orders before a medical trial or product test--as well as for small batches of parts for discontinued goods still in use (an older line of washing machines, for example) and for new products, like a Xerox copier, being rushed to market. Customers could shoot their 3-D computer-aided designs over the Web and get a quote for the part in a few hours. Most larger competitors, focused on huge runs of single parts, scorned such small-bore jobs. Lukis' startup grew on average 25% per annum every year except recession-rocked 2009, when it folded in a computer-numerical control machining service and changed its name to Proto Labs.

"No one can really do what they do," says Troy Jensen, a managing director at Piper Jaffray. But he has one concern: the growing enthusiasm for 3-D printers. As more industrial companies embrace the devices--and the technology evolves beyond plastic to more durable materials like metal--more prototypes may be made in-house. Still, says Brian Drab, an analyst at William Blair, for speed, scale and cost, nothing beats injection molding.

Holt took over from Brad Cleveland, who'd been running the show since he answered Lukis' ad for a CEO back in 2001. (Cleveland, who has been living with brain cancer, stepped down and sold most of his $75 million stake.) Proto Labs, public since 2012, needed someone with experience running a large operation. Holt had earned plaudits at her last gig. In less than three years she jump-started Spartech, a sluggish maker of plastic sheeting and compounds used in aircraft cabin windows and bulletproof barriers, increasing operating income by 73%. Two years ago she sold the $1.2 billion (sales) company to PolyOne for about $400 million.

While Holt doesn't like to dwell on it, there are precious few women running manufacturing companies (and they represent only 27% of the workforce); across all industries they make up 5% of the top jobs at the largest U.S. corporations. "It takes a generation," she sighs. With a B.A. in chemistry from Duke and an M.B.A. from Pace University, Holt was girded for battle in fields as various as polymer science, finance and marketing. She spent 18 years at Monsanto overseeing various plastics divisions but also doing sales of food and pharmaceutical ingredients. Another seven years at PPG Industries gave her global exposure. At Spartech she gained expertise in turnarounds.

To put Proto Labs on a fast-growth regimen, Holt wants to broaden the customer base beyond engineers. Different kinds of clients, she says, "need consultation, someone to advise them, 'Do I want injection molding or machine or additive? What drill do I want to use?' " She raps the table with a growth chart, the one that projects company sales of $1 billion someday. In her excitement she reverts to jargon: "The secret is executing so that our customers really can explode this part of our growth vector!"

Of course, explosions occur differently across the globe, and Holt knows it. Proto Labs has discovered, for example, that marketing "fast, cheap parts" to customers in Germany or Japan perversely suggests poor quality. In the U.S. the demand for increasingly intricate prototypes prompted Holt to acquire FineLine, a 3-D printer company.

Holt is also reengineering Proto Labs. As the company expands and the complexities multiply, the biggest challenge, she says, is having everyone--from techies to salespeople--"stay aligned." The company has recently hired 300 people, for a total 1,000. She needs more sales and marketing staffers who know every aspect of its proprietary custom parts; more developers to make the front end--the automation of quotes, uploading 3-D CAD files, choosing the right materials--more intuitive and customer-friendly, as well as to write and maintain the software that runs the plant; and more highly skilled factory workers who can manage work flow in addition to operating the machinery on the floor.

Not easy luring the talent. A popular refrain: "Millennials don't want to live in Maple Plain"--which might as well be the dark side of the moon. Competing with the likes of Honeywell and 3M for engineers is one thing; convincing folks to move from Silicon Valley to a region that spent half the year in the grip of the Polar Vortex is an almost hopeless challenge. So Holt is sending out missionaries to local high schools to tell kids about the opportunities, where they can start on the floor at $11 an hour without a college degree and work up to $30 as a supervisor.

Little surprise that Holt feels a tad skittish about keeping the developers she has. "You've got to whisper in here," she says, gesturing to the hoodies hunched over screens in a bullpen segregated from the rest of headquarters. "We've added a lounge area. I mean, it's not Google, but you know." She smiles. "I think maybe we should add a lava lamp."

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PVC INJECTION MOLDING PROCESS
PVC material is amorphism material, usually when injection molding the PVC material, it will also add stabilizer, lubricant, antiimpact agent and others. PVC material is with low flammability, high strength .PVC material Chemical and physical prosperity: PVC is the most extensive used plastic material.Runner and injection gate: all the normal injection gate can use, if the plastic parts is very small, then it will be better to use valve gate or submarine gate, for the large plastic parts with thick wall, then it will be better to use fan-shaped gate type. The valve gate smallest diameter should be 1mm or bigger.Injection molding process condition1.Material dry: usually it don't need dry.2.Melt temperature: 185205 degree.3.Mould temperature:2050 degree.4.Injection pressure: up to 1500bar.5.Holding pressure: up to 1000 bar.6.Injection speed: in order to avoid material degradation, usually use fast injection speed.When injection molding the PVC material, melt temperature is an important parameters. Due to PVC material with low MFI, its injection molding process parameter range is very small. PVC shrinkage is very low, usually is from 0.20.6%.Applications of PVC injection moldingWater supply pipe, home appliance pipe, house wall plate, industry machine housing body, electronic products packaging, medical equipments, food package, etc.About JasonMould Industrial Company LimitedJasonmould is a manufacturer of plastic molds- injection mold, die casting moulds, plastic blow molding, rotational molding, medical plastic injection molding, two shot plastic injection molding, insert molding, overmolding, metal injection molding, micro injection molding, powder injection molding, ceramic injection molding, liquid injection molding, husky injection molding, household mold, casting mold, die mold tool, custom molds, china moulds, rapid prototyping tooling, plastic prototyping tooling, punch press tooling, die and tooling for mobile/ cell phone parts, automotive parts, vacuum cleaners, rechargeable tools, telephones, copiers, computers, multimedia speakers, and many other electronic products and household appliances. And also a plastic product manufacturer- plastic parts, plastic water tank, plastic balls, plastic containers, plastic buckle, plastic anchor, plastic hanger, plastic spoon, plastic pipe fitting, plastic tumble, plastic tableware, plastic cups, plastic bottles, plastic tray, plastic cosmetic container, plastic case, plastic food container, plastic chairs, plastic caps, plastic cap closure, plastic tubes, plastic water pipes, plastic knobs, plastic tubing, plastic utility boxes, plastic racks and so on.Contact:Person: James YuanCompany: JasonMould Industrial Company LimitedAdd:LongGangVillage,LongXiTown,BoLuoCounty,HuiZhouCity,GuangDong Province, ChinaTel: 86-752-6682869Email: ite: ·RELATED QUESTIONI didn't get Google Glass Explorer Edition. Is trying to learn Glass dev without the hardware a futile effort?No, you can still learn the fundamentals of Glass development without the hardware.There are three main approaches for accomplishing this:1) Visit the Mirror API documentation, get into the playground, and start hashing up some code. Download the PHP, Java, and Python library, whichever you're most comfortable with. Familiarize yourself with the jargon and converntions (timeline, bundles, menus, etc). Read the support documentation (second link below) to see how the Glass hardware actually functions. Build some apps to this specification. Soon enough, you will find a friend with hardware to t
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Through-thickness Embossing Process for Fabrication of Three-dimensional Thermoplastic Parts.
INTRODUCTION The standard hot embossing process is designed for imprinting surface features onto polymer substrates , . The substrate is relatively thick as compared with the feature size. During the process a heated embossing master, typically a metallic stamp with to-be-replicated features, is pressed against the substrate, either heated or not heated, for feature transfer. Owing to this simplicity in tool and process setup, hot embossing has been widely used in polymer microfabrication. The process, however, is subjected to some process flaws, greatly limiting its capability. Because of the open-die nature of the process, the polymer squeezes out in the lateral direction during the embossing stage. This is generally considered to be acceptable in replication of low aspect ratio surface features. It may, however, result in incomplete replication when a high embossing pressure is needed, e.g., during embossing of high aspect ratio features. Further, separable or discrete features, e.g., microgears, waveguides, micro thorough holes, among others, are difficult to fabricate. If one defines surface features as 2.5D features, these aforementioned discrete features/parts are indeed more three-dimensional (3D). To emboss such precision 3D features out of a polymer sheet, an appropriate through-thickness action is needed. At the moment, precision 3D parts are mainly produced using precision injection molding. The molding results, however, are often compromised, because of the complex tool setup and the high amount of stresses introduced to the part during injection molding. It is thus advantageous to use hot embossing, a low-stress process with a simpler tool and process setup, for precision fabrication. To date, however, there has been limited effort in adapting the hot embossing process for fabrication of through-thickness features. Heckele and Durand developed a technique for producing through-holes by hot embossing. They used a substrate with two layers of different materials. After embossing, the tool features protruded through the upper layer into the lower layer. After removal of the lower layer, through holes were left on the upper layer. Werner described a process involving identical top and bottom mold halves, both containing pins, whose top surfaces are attached to each other upon mold closure. By this process, through holes, with only a thin residual layer remaining, can be embossed. Mazzeo et al. developed a tool set for punching thin plastic films. They were able to emboss holes as small as 500 [micro]m in diameter. The methods described earlier all involve a through-thickness action for fabricating through holes. Similar ideas may be developed for hot-embossing discrete 3D parts out of polymer sheets. In this study, a hybrid punching and embossing process was investigated for through-thickness embossing of 3D parts. The embossing tool includes a punching head and to-be-replicated features in the socket behind the punching head. The built-in punching head allows for a through-thickness action and provided a close-die environment for embossing pressure buildup. The method was used to successfully emboss multichannel waveguides which require uniform edges and accurate dimensions. [FIGURE 1 OMITTED] EXPERIMENTAL Waveguide Design Millimeter waveguides, because of their low signal attenuation, are widely used in remote sensing applications . Currently, the industry uses metal as the waveguide material and relies on precision machining for waveguide fabrication. The resulting waveguides are expensive, thus demanding new waveguide materials and their net-shape manufacturing processes. Polymers, for their versatile properties and mass-production capabilities, would be promising materials in such applications . In this study, a multichannel waveguide, as shown in Fig. 1, was chosen. The original design was a shell structure (Fig. 1a). The channel dimensions were determined using a commercial finite element method (FEM) software package, Ansoft HFSS[TM] from Ansoft Corporation, to achieve a cut-off frequency between 40 and 75 GHz. To facilitate manufacturability, this geometry was modified into a two-piece assembly comprising a grooved disc (Fig. 1b) and a solid disc, which can be electroplated and assembled together to form sealed grooves. Mold Design and Fabrication The hot-embossing mold for the waveguide comprises a mold insert assembly and a pair of hot and cold plates, attached to a platen set. The mold insert was designed as an assembly of three mating pieces: a punching cutter, a shaper, and a disc spacer, as shown in Fig. 2. The three-piece design of the mold was adopted to achieve (1) complete fill of the mold cavity during the embossing process, (2) a mold with sharp edges and tight dimensional tolerances, (3) easy cleaning of residual polymers after embossing, and (4) evacuation of trapped air during the embossing process. [FIGURE 2 OMITTED] [FIGURE 3 OMITTED] The critical component in the mold insert assembly is the shaper, which is designed as the negative pattern of the geometry to be embossed. Slots cut at the end of the four arms assist in the mating of the shaper with the holder. Close dimensional tolerances were employed during machining of the shaper, the shaper holder, and the disc spacer to prevent leakage of the polymeric material during the embossing process. The contour of the shaper was produced using micro electrical discharge machining with a 50 [micro]m diameter tungsten wire. The shaper holder is necessary for aligning the shaper and providing open channels on the embossed part. The shaper holder and the punching cutter are a combined single component in the present design. The polymer blank is cut along the circumference of the circular cutter as the punching head move down during the embossing process. Full mating of the shaper and the shaper holder creates a cavity of 2-mm thickness below the shaper, used to form the base of the waveguide during the embossing process. The disc spacer prevents the polymer leaking from the shaper holder during embossing. Standard hot embossing often utilizes vacuum to assist in complete fill of cavities. This, however, could result in more complicated mold designs. The use of vacuum during waveguide embossing was eliminated by employment of a small clearance on the order of 5 [micro]m between the spacer and the shaper. This small clearance creates a path for the trapped air to escape. The assembled mold insert was fastened to a hot plate with heating and cooling elements embedded, as shown in Fig. 3. A precision platen set was used to mount the hot and cold plates, as shown in Fig. 4. The hot plate was mounted to the top platen, the moving platen, and the cold plate to the bottom platen, the fixed platen. Thermal insulation composites were inserted between the plates and the platens. Embossing Setup A pneumatic press was modified and used as an embossing apparatus. The stationary platen of the platen set was fastened to the base of the pneumatic press by means of a lock screw. The moving platen was connected to the piston of the pneumatic press by means of a threaded stainless steel stud. The daylight opening between the mold and the base plate was set to 12.5 mm by adjusting the threaded stud connecting the platen and the piston. This was done to ensure that there was no contact between the mold and the polymer substrate prior to the embossing process. The stroke length of the piston was adjusted to achieve complete fill of the mold cavity and control of the cutter position during the embossing process. The stroke length of the piston can be adjusted by varying the position of the piston lock screws at the top of the cylinders. The optimum stroke length for the embossing process was calculated by trial and error. The fabrication process consists of a series of sequential operations, i.e., mold preheating, embossing, cooling, mold opening, and finally part ejection from the mold, as illustrated in Fig. 5. Before embossing, a machined polymer slab, 75 x 37.5 x 6.4 [mm.sup., was placed on the lower plate, and at the same time the top plate was heated to reach the designated embossing temperature. The embossing stage was commenced by activation of the optical switch and movement of the ram on the pneumatic press, resulting in contact of the cutter with the polymer substrate. It should be noted that the heated cutter causes the polymer to soften, thus assisting in the cutting action. Further movement of the punching cutter results in heating, softening, and then squeezing of the polymer billet inside the mold cavity. The embossing stage was constant force controlled. After a designated embossing period elapsed, the heated top plate was cooled by circulating with tap water. At the end of the cooling cycle, the embossing force was released. The embossed waveguide was attached to the polymer substrate at the circumference with a ring in a thickness of 0.5 mm, similar to a ring gate in injection molding. The waveguide was manually ejected from the mold by cyclic loading on both sides of the polymer blank. Care was taken to ensure that the vibrations were within the elastic range of the material to prevent any damage to the embossed part. The ring connector was mechanically trimmed off to disconnect the embossed waveguide from the polymer sheet. In production, the cutter could cut all the way throughout the entire blank thickness, thus eliminating the trimming step. This, however, requires a more sophisticated ejection mechanism and redesign of the mold, and was therefore not investigated in this study. [FIGURE 4 OMITTED] [FIGURE 5 OMITTED] EMBOSSING RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ABS was chosen as the polymer for through-thickness embossing of the multichannel waveguide. The polymer has a glass transition temperature ([T.sub.g]) at 105[degrees]C. Design of experiments was carried out to optimize the major process parameters, including tool temperature and embossing force, so as to obtain complete replication of the waveguide. The optimum embossing condition was found to be 140[degrees]C (embossing temperature) and 4000 N (embossing force). The waveguides fabricated under these conditions demonstrated complete mold fill, as well as sharp edges and smooth surfaces along the channels, as shown in Fig. 6. The entire embossing stage, starting from the contact between the cutter and the polymer and ending at the beginning of the cooling stage, lasted for 3 min. The constant force control scheme, rather than constant speed control, is considered advantageous in the present application. In the constant force case, the softening process and the deformation process are automatically synchronized in a creeping mode; that is, deformation carries on as the polymer at the contact softens. This helps protect the cutter's blade, on one hand, and create a stable process, on the other hand. The small contact area between the cutter blade and the polymer, as opposed to a much larger contact area in the standard embossing process, helps maintain a small deformation zone on the polymer substrate. The nonisothermal embossing setup, rather than an isothermal setup in the standard embossing process, is also considered beneficial. This is understandable since the material away from the cutter is maintained below the glass transition temperature, thus reducing the amount of squeezing flow toward the surrounding area. At the end of the embossing stage, tap water was circulated inside the heated plate, while the same embossing force was applied on the tool to produce a holding pressure. The force was removed when the heated plate was cooled to about 70[degrees]C, well below the [T.sub.g] of the polymer. The total cycle time was 7 min. [FIGURE 6 OMITTED] [FIGURE 7 OMITTED] The embossing force and temperature were found to have a profound influence on the quality of the embossed waveguide. To study such effects, the embossing process was carried out at varied embossing temperature and force. At a lower embossing temperature, e.g., 120[degrees]C, complete fill of the mold cavity was not obtained even with the application of a higher embossing force, e.g., twice higher, as shown in Fig. 7a. At a higher embossing temperature, e.g., 160[degrees]C, incomplete fill also occurred, as shown in Fig. 7b. The former case is easy to understand considering the increased resistance, i.e., increased viscosity, of the polymer to deformation at a lower temperature. The latter may be attributed to the increased lateral flow to the adjacent area, thus lowering the pressure in the cavity. This increased outflow was actually observed in the experiment. [FIGURE 8 OMITTED] The effect of the embossing force was also investigated. The embossing temperature was kept at 140[degrees]C while the embossing force was varied. Lower embossing forces, e.g., 3000 N, resulted in surface irregularities and incomplete fill of the post on the waveguide, as shown in Fig. 8. Particularly, a large void was observed on the waveguide surface. These surface irregularities suggest that the waveguide was not sufficiently packed during the embossing and holding stage. Similar parametric studies were conducted for PMMA. For PMMA, complete cavity fill was achieved at a mold temperature of 180[degrees]C and an embossing force of 4000 N. Similar to the ABS case, considerably lower or higher embossing temperature than the optimum temperature resulted in incomplete cavity fill. The PMMA waveguide was found to be more difficult to eject and often fractured during ejection. The increased ejection difficulty can be accredited to the relatively brittle nature of PMMA as compared to ABS, a toughened copolymer. MODELING OF THROUGH-THICKNESS EMBOSSING The through-thickness embossing process that involves a punching mechanism as described earlier is highly nonisothermal. The process starts from a line contact between the tool and the polymer. The polymer that contacts with the punching cutter is instantaneously heated, creating a sharp temperature gradient near the cutter edge. This, in turn, creates a large gradient in viscosity, as polymer's viscosity is extremely sensitive to thermal changes. The large gradient in viscosity results in a localized deformation zone surrounding the cutter edge. From previous investigations in nonisothermal embossing processes , , such localized deformation greatly influences the cavity filling process. Since a hot mold is employed in standard hot embossing, it is difficult to produce frozen partial fills experimentally. This is different from injection molding. In injection molding, partial cavity fills can be readily created, because the polymer in contact with a cold mold instantaneously freezes when flow is stopped. To study the thermomechanical changes during the through-thickness embossing process and generalize the findings for other process conditions, a thermal flow model for the process is needed. Hot embossing involves deformation of polymer near the glass transition temperature. Rheological behavior at such a meso-temperature range is quite complex. Considering the long embossing stage, 3 min long, in the waveguide embossing process as described earlier, one may adopt a creep flow model. As such, a viscous material model with a temperature shift factor can be used to approximate the more complex rheological properties. Further, the deformation rate during the prolonged embossing stage is estimated to be low, and thus one may drop the strain rate dependence in the viscosity model. The thermal creep flow model used in the waveguide embossing simulation solves the simplified conservation equations, as follows: [nabla] x [[nu].[bar]] = 0; (1) -[nabla]p [nabla] x [[eta]([nabla][[nu].[bar]] [nabla][[nu].bar.sup.T])] = 0; (2) [rho][c.sub.p] ([[partial derivative]T/[partial derivative]t] [[nu].[bar]] x [nabla]T) = [nabla] x (k[nabla]T) [eta]([nabla][[nu].[bar]] [nabla][[nu].bar.sup.T]): [nabla][[nu].[bar]]; (3) where [[nu].[bar]] is a velocity field, T is temperature, [eta] is viscosity, [rho] is density, [c.sub.p] is specific heat, and k is thermal conductivity. The inertia and body force effects are neglected in the momentum equation. This is justified by the high viscosity of the polymer near the glass transition temperature. The temperature dependency of viscosity is modeled using the following equation: [eta](T) = [eta]([T.sub.g])exp[-[[[C.sub.(T - [T.sub.g])]/[[C.sub. T - [T.sub.g]]]], (4) where [C.sub. and [C.sub. are material constants in the temperature shift factor. Below [T.sub.g], an infinite viscosity was assigned to the polymer. The representative material parameters for ABS (Moldflow Plastics Insight[R], Moldflow Corporation) were chosen for the embossing simulation, as listed in Table 1. A similar model was used previously by the authors in simulating a nonisothermal microlens embossing process and was able to reasonably predict the embossing behavior . Compared with the microlens embossing process, the through-thickness embossing process in this study involves much larger deformation, particularly in the vicinity of the punching cutter. Thus, special care was taken to ensure convergence of the solution. Specifically, an adaptive meshing method was used to remesh the geometry in the vicinity of the contact at each time step. A small radius was also added to the sharp cutter edge to improve convergence of the solution. The geometry and boundary conditions are shown in Fig. 9. An axisymmetric geometry was used to approximate the more 3D geometry of the waveguide. The flow boundary conditions are: BC.1 (axisymmetry), BC.2 ([[nu].sub.n] = 0 and [f.sub.s] = 0, where [[nu].sub.n] is normal velocity and [f.sub.s] is tangential stress), BC.3 (periodic symmetry), BC.4 (free surface with contact detection), and BC.5 (mold surface to be contacted). The thermal boundary conditions are: BC.1, BC.2, and BC.3 (zero heat flux), BC.4 (zero heat flux before contact but convective after contact is detected), and BC.5 (constant mold temperature). After contact is detected on BC.4, the convective heat transfer coefficient is equal to the thermal contact conductance between the polymer and the mold. Three regions, R.1, R.2, and R.3, are labeled in the figure to study the flow behavior in these different regions. The cutter edge is denoted as Point C. [FIGURE 9 OMITTED] [FIGURE 10 OMITTED] The above model was implemented using Polyflow[R], a commercially available FEM software package for polymer processing from Fluent Corporation. SIMULATION RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Isothermal through-thickness embossing was simulated first. In this case, both mold and polymer were set to a constant temperature at 140[degrees]C. The embossing time was set to 180 s. Figure 10a shows the simulated flow pattern. The normalized time in the figure is defined as [.t] = t/[t.sub.p], where t is the actual time and [t.sub.p] is the processing time. Complete fill of the waveguide geometry is not achieved in this isothermal case, even when the cutter cuts through the whole substrate thickness. This filling difficulty may be explained by the unique flow mechanism in isothermal through-thickness embossing. At the initial embossing stage, e.g., [.t] = 0.25, the cutter contacts with the polymer and leaves an indentation on the polymer. After that, significant flow occurs in all three regions, i.e., R.1, R.2, and R.3. The squeeze flow results in gradual filling of R.1 and R.2, but also increases the thickness of the substrate, i.e., flows into R.3. By the end of filling, the substrate has experienced a thickness increases above 15% in R.3. This significant outflow surrounding the waveguide cavity causes a difficulty in pressure buildup and consequently incomplete fill of the cavity. One could study if changes in process conditions, e.g., changes in the isothermal temperature and embossing speed would help with the cavity filling process. However, these adjustments do not improve the percentage of cavity fill in the isothermal embossing case. This can be theoretically proved by rewriting the momentum equation in a process condition independent format: -[nabla][.p] [nabla] x [([nabla][.v.[bar]] [nabla][.v.[bar].sup.T])] = 0, (5) where [.v.[bar]] is defined as [.v.[bar]] = [[partial derivative][x.[bar]]]/[[partial derivative][.t]] = [t.sub.p][[nu].[bar]], and [.p] is defined as [.p] = [[t.sub.p]p]/[[eta](T)]. From Eq. 5, it can be seen that the material is at the same position, [x.[bar]], at a given [.t]. Therefore, the same degree of cavity fill is obtained at the end of embossing, i.e., at [.t] = 1. In the nonisothermal case, the degree of cavity fill is expected to be dependent on process conditions. In this case, the variation of the thermal field results in a gradient in the viscosity, and therefore Eq. 5 is not valid. Two nonisothermal embossing cases were simulated. The interfacial conductance between the mold and polymer was taken to be infinite. This represents a perfect thermal contact with zero thermal resistance. The simulation results were compared with those in the isothermal case. The comparisons are shown in Figs. 10-12. Figure 10 compares the advancement of the flow front under different thermal conditions. The mold temperature was set to 140[degrees]C for all three cases, but the initial temperatures of the polymer were set, respectively, at 140, 120, and 100[degrees]C. For the two nonisothermal cases, one has an initial temperature above [T.sub.g] and the other below [T.sub.g]. It can be seen that, as the polymer temperature is decreased, the degree of fill at a given time instant is improved. At a polymer temperature of 120[degrees]C, the cavity can be completely filled at [.t] = 0.93. As compared with the isothermal case, the squeeze flow is more confined at the tool-polymer contact. There still exists outflow surrounding the cavity, but the outflow is more confined in the vicinity of the cutter. The increase in substrate thickness is around 5% at the end of complete cavity fill. This substantially reduced outflow can be used to explain the increase in cavity fill in this nonisothermal case. As the polymer temperature is further reduced to 100[degrees]C, below [T.sub.g], the above difference becomes more drastic. The time for complete cavity fill further reduces to [.t] = 0.65. The outflow in this case is more confined, and essentially becomes a wall-climbing flow. At the end of the cavity fill, no change in substrate thickness can be detected. It is also seen that a relatively large cushion layer of polymer is retained at the end of the cavity fill. This cushion layer is considered important, as it supplies additional polymer during the holding/cooling stage to compensate for the thermal shrinkage. The above filling results are summarized in Table 2. The vast change in flow pattern can be understood by examining the velocity field during the embossing stage, as shown in Fig. 11. Under isothermal embossing, the velocity field is distributed quite evenly in the entire substrate, indicating a uniform squeezing flow across the entire substrate. At a polymer temperature of 100[degrees]C, the velocity field is confined near the contact, indicating a more localized squeezing flow. [FIGURE 11 OMITTED] Figure 12 provides simulated temperature distributions in the nonisothermal embossing cases. For generality, the temperature was normalized, defined as [.T] = (T - [T.sub.i])/([T.sub.m] - [T.sub.i]), where [T.sub.i] is the initial temperature and [T.sub.m] is the mold temperature. The evolution of the thermal field can be used to explain the unique flow pattern in the nonisothermal embossing case. At the initial embossing stage, [.t] = 0.25, high temperature is localized at the contact point only, thus resulting in a localized flow surrounding the cutter edge. As time elapses, the high temperature zone enlarges, and the flow field inside the cavity becomes more uniform, particularly for the higher initial temperature case. An attempt was made to simulate through-thickness embossing at a lower initial polymer temperature, e.g., T = 25[degrees]C. However, convergence of the solution was not achieved, since an extremely fine mesh size was unaffordable for simulating the extremely high gradient of the field variables near the contact. Nevertheless, one may use the dimensionless temperature obtained in Fig. 12 to estimate the temperature evolution in other cases with a lower polymer temperature. For example, given [T.sub.i] = 25[degrees]C, one can use [.T] = 0.7 to estimate the size of the zone near the contact that has reached the glass transition temperature. In Fig. 12, this corresponds to a zone with a color of red and yellow. This method should offer a quick estimation as long as the process is speed controlled with the same embossing time. In general, the results in Figs. 10 and 11 suggest that, as the polymer temperature reduces, the zone with temperature above [T.sub.g] reduces, thus resulting in a more confined flow field near the polymer-cutter contact, i.e. Point C in Fig. 9. The more confined flow field promotes the flow inside the cavity and consequently results in the complete fill of the cavity. However, it should be mentioned that a reduction in temperature causes an increase in viscosity, and therefore a higher embossing pressure is needed. [FIGURE 12 OMITTED] CONCLUSIONS A four-channel polymer waveguide was fabricated using a single-step through-thickness embossing process. An embossing insert with an integrated punching cutter and embossing shaper was designed and fabricated. Selection of ABS as an embossing polymer, an embossing temperature of 140[degrees]C, an embossing force of 4000 N, and a total cycle time of 7 min resulted in complete cavity fill and wave-guides with sharp, uniform edges. The effects of the tool temperature and the embossing force were studied. At both lower and higher tool temperatures, incomplete cavity fill was observed; the former was attributed to the increased resistance from the material at a lower temperature, given the same embossing force, while the latter was believed to be caused by the increased outflow at a higher temperature. A computer model was set up to study the filling process in the waveguide cavity during through-thickness embossing. It is found that, under isothermal embossing conditions, significant outflow exists, thus resulting in a difficulty in obtaining complete cavity fill. As the difference in temperature between the tool and the polymer increases, the flow becomes more confined in the vicinity of the contact. This reduces the outflow into the surrounding region while promoting localized squeezing flow into the cavity. The nonisothermal embossing setup with the combined punching and embossing tool essentially creates a closed-die embossing environment for filling cavities in a single-step through-thickness action. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The research was sponsored by Delphi Research Laboratories. DY acknowledges the support of NSF CAREER Award under Grant No. DMI-0503138. REFERENCES 1. M. Heckele and W.K. Schomburg, J. Micromech. Microeng., 14, R1 (2004). 2. H. Becker and C. Gartner, Electrophoresis, 21, 12 (2000). 3. M. Heckele and A. Durand, in The Proceedings of 2001 Euspen's 2nd International Conference, Torino, Italy, May 27-31, 196-198 (2001). 4. M. Werner, "Hot Embossing of Through-Holes in Cyclo-Olefin Copolymer," Diploma Thesis, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark, 2005. 5. A.D. Mazzeo, M. Dirckx, and D.E. Hardt, SPE ANTEC Technical Papers, Cincinnati, May 6-10, 2977-2981 (2007). 6. J. Kraus and D. Fleisch, Electromagnetics with Applications, McGraw-Hill, New York, 456-468 (1999). 7. F. Sammoura, Y.-C. Su, Y. Cai, C.-Y. Chi, B. Elamaran, L. Lin, and L.-C. Chiao, Sensor Actuator A, 129, 270 (2006). 8. D. Yao, V.L. Virupaksha, and B. Kim, Polym. Eng. Sci., 45, 652 (2005). 9. Y.-J. Juang, L.J. Lee, and K.W. Koelling, Polym. Eng. Sci., 42, 551 (2002). 10. D. Yao, P. Nagarajan, L. Li, and A.Y. Yi, Polym. Eng. Sci., 47, 530 (2007). Pratapkumar Nagarajan, (1) Donggang Yao, (1) Thomas S. Ellis, (2) Reza Azadegan (2) (1) School of Polymer Textile and Fiber Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia (2) Delphi Research Labs, Shelby Township, Michigan 48315 Correspondence to: D. Yao; e-mail:
2021 07 18
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Israeli Startup Converts Garbage into Construction ...
Garbage is a blight. It gets collected by the city - or in some cases even by the mafia -, which pile it up, burns it or dumps it illegally somewhere else, contaminating land and sea. Rich countries export theirs to poor ones, which burn their own, fouling the air even more. Recycling is a sop, not a panacea: the World Bank estimates that global municipal solid waste will grow from 2.01 billion tonnes a year to 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050.No large-scale solutions for trash have ever been found, aside from returning to the Stone Age - until the Israeli startup UBQ invented a way to turn garbage into something extremely useful: a new composite material that looks like plastic, acts like plastic but unlike plastic, is fully recyclable.All garbage? "With the food residue too," boasts co-founder and CEO Jack 'Tato' Bigio, a member of the extremely experienced executive and advisory team, which includes Nobel laureate Roger Kornberg. The company, which has reached 33 employees, is working on converting trash into bricks and pavement too.Why plastic? Itself a blessing and a blight too, it was invented in the early 1900s and hailed for its indestructability, then bewailed for that very characteristic. We assuage our consciences by tossing one of every hundred containers we use towards a recycling bin, but recycled plastic quickly loses its features. UBQ's composite includes cellulose from foods and wood and can thus be recycled indefinitely, the company explains.Using a patented conversion process, UBQ turns unsorted garbage into thermoplastic pellets for plastic manufacture. Existing manufacturers can use the pellets without retrofitting, says Mr. Bigio.Manufacturers can use this new material to make things like panels and pipes by extrusion, or to make bins, pallets, boxes and flower pots by injection molding. The pre-plastic pellets are made from more finely chopped trash; road materials and bricks are being developed from coarser trash. The only input into both processes: garbage. The only output: plastic precursor and water vapour that escapes from the drying garbage itself.Crucially, the company's process it is massively carbon-negative, Mr. Bigio explains. It does emit greenhouse gases (GHG) when transporting trash to UBQ conversion plants, and from the power to run the plants. But while making one tonne of polypropylene produces more than two tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (and the feedstock is fossil fuels), and producing a tonne of polylactic acid from corn generates 3.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide, UBQ claims that each tonne of its composite reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about 15 tonnes, in net terms.How? "Because of the GHG emissions from garbage," Mr. Bigio explains. "One tonne of solid waste emits about 7 to 9 tonnes of GHGs a year." Founded in 2012, UBQ operates out of a WeWork office in Tel Aviv and an industrial plant in the Negev Desert."At this stage, we are focused on the plastic applications (which are the more complicated and also profitable) while developing the next generation: bricks, stone, and pavement,"Mr. Bigio says. "I believe it will take us between one to two years to be out with that product."Asked how durable the bricks are, Mr. Bigio couldn't be sure; but Haaretz held one. It looked like a brick, it felt like a brick and we will know soon enough.The company isn't profitable yet, because of investment in R&D, personnel and factories. "It really depends on us. I believe it will take a few years," Mr. Bigio says.The company's process can even handle electronics, which people know perfectly well they shouldn't junk, but do anyway. Electronics get crushed and chopped with the rest of the garbage, and heavy metals get removed with metal elements in the trash, by applying magnets and metal detectors to the trash throughout the conversion process.The recyclability of UBQ's material is also greater than that of conventional plastics, leading us closer to a truly viable circular economy, right now, Mr. Bigio says.So the company has invented a patented method to convert our crap into a novel patented thermoplastic substance (i.e., it melts when heated) that looks like plastic, behaves like plastic, has the tensile strength of plastic, and can be 100% recycled. It emits no waste, just water vapour.The price of its composite is competitive with ordinary plastic, he says. Anyway, collecting and dumping trash is expensive too. As for the future production trash conversion plants into bricks and roads, the company intends to sell whole plants, and points out that in the case of needy countries, organizations such as the World Bank or UN could help with funding.It's a solution for everybody: everybody produces garbage and wants plastics and needs building materials.One rub. If UBQ's product ends up in a landfill or the sea, it behaves like all other plastic. It isn't compostable like the alternative plastic made by companies such as Israel-based Tipa, or biodegradable. On the other hand, if we recycle at all, it can be recycled, and people do like their Tupperware and "rubber" duckies.This article is being published as part of Earth Beats, an international and collaborative initiative gathering 18 news media outlets from around the world to focus on solutions to waste and pollution.
2021 07 11
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ARE YOU GETTING ALL YOU CAN FROM YOUR MANUFACTURING ENGINEERING SERVICES PARTNER
Plastics In-House Engineering CapabilitiesMost manufacturers get components and assemblies from a variety of vendors. It's not cost-effective to produce these items in-house. However, your vendors don't have to be just glorified warehouses that provide pieces of your products. A full-featured manufacturing engineering services partner offers not just manufacturing but also engineering design and support.Manufacturing and Engineering ServicesObviously your first concern with manufacturing engineering services is their ability to manufacture. You need to be sure the company has the capacity to handle your production needs, including the ability to scale up as your company grows. They need to be employing the latest technology along with highly qualified personnel to maintain production in the face of any challenges so you know you have a reliable component stream.Don't forget about quality. This can be reflected in certifications such as ISO 9001, but also in their ability to communicate clearly with you and their commitment to keeping you happy. You want to know that the components received will meet your standards the first time and not need to be remanufactured. If you need to make changes, they should accommodate you quickly and courteously.DesignYou have a great idea but aren't sure how to implement it. Or you have an existing design but need to modify it to meet changing consumer needs. Unfortunately, you can't afford the in-house staff needed to draw up those designs. Comprehensive manufacturing engineering services give you access to experienced component engineers who can handle those changes and provide a better product.Design experts may also be able to help you do what you do better. Just because you've followed a design for years doesn't mean it's the best way to manufacture. Their engineers can suggest optimizations or best practices that could save money, shorten manufacturing time or improve the quality of the components. A broad experience with multiple market sectors can give you access to innovations you might never have found if you look only in your own industry.SupportYour relationship with a basic component manufacturer is you say, "Make this," and they make it. However, sometimes you need help. You know where you want to be but aren't sure how to get there. A manufacturing engineering services company helps you find the way to reach your goals. They can help you with aspects of new and existing products that fall outside of basic production, assisting with everything from the initial design to the final product launch.Engineering support provides an ongoing relationship over the life of your project. As your needs change, they can help you understand how that will affect production and budget and other aspects of your company. They offer a level of expertise you simply can't afford to hire within your own organization.JasonMould Plastics is more than simply a high quality plastic components and assemblies producer. We offer a full range of manufacturing engineering services so you can get your product designed, built and to market faster and cheaper than before. Contact us for more information on how we can help your organization.By China mold makerAbout JasonMould Industrial Company Limited:JasonMould Industrial Company Limited is a leading plastic injection molding manufacturer in China. The company had established in the year 2010. The company has made a reputation of being one of the finest plastic mold producers in China. They are great at making medical equipment, appliances, electronic equipment and even safety equipment.For more about custom manufacturer of plastic molding products,please visit jasonmolding.com/Inquiry Contact:Contact person: James YuanCompany name: JasonMould Industrial Company LimitedAddress: LongGang Village,LongXi Town,BoLuo County,HuiZhou City,GuangDong Province, ChinaTelephone: 86-752-6682869Email: ebsite: Original From: ·RELATED QUESTIONI didn't get Google Glass Explorer Edition. Is trying to learn Glass dev without the hardware a futile effort?No, you can still learn the fundamentals of Glass development without the hardware.There are three main approaches for accomplishing this:1) Visit the Mirror API documentation, get into the playground, and start hashing up some code. Download the PHP, Java, and Python library, whichever you're most comfortable with. Familiarize yourself with the jargon and converntions (timeline, bundles, menus, etc). Read the support documentation (second link below) to see how the Glass hardware actually functions. Build some apps to this specification. Soon enough, you will find a friend with hardware to t
2021 07 08
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What Is the Difference Between High Speed Injection Molding Machine and Ordinary Injection Molding M
High-speed injection molding machine is the whole motor, ordinary injection molding machine is hydraulic injection molding machine, and hydraulic injection molding machine relative speed is slow. All-electric injection molding machine uses servo motor to achieve open and close mold, ejection and demoulding, raw material injection and storage, etc. The running speed is fast and precise, greatly improving or improving the production environment and production efficiency. But now the servo electric injection molding machine only has a clamping force less than 850 tons.High-speed injection molding machine is efficient, the molding process of ordinary injection molding machine is: locking - injection - cooling - storage - Open - mold - Support - clearance time; high-speed injection molding machine adopts three-axis linkage, commonly known as the three-loop. The forming process is: mould locking - injection - cooling - opening (synchronous mold support, material storage) - clearance time. For example, a product with ordinary injection molding machine molding time is 10 seconds, and high-speed injection molding machine using the principle of three-axis linkage, molding time is greatly shortened by about 6 seconds, minus two small steps, but time increased by about half speed.The high-speed injection molding machine is environmentally friendly. The standard pump used in the ordinary injection molding machine pollutes the power, hydraulic oil and noise. High speed injection molding machine adopts oil and electric hybrid type of oil pump and servo motor.The advantages of the servo hydraulic system are as follows: the implementation of soft start mold will not affect the power network, avoid voltage and spoke pollution. It can effectively prevent high oil temperature and cool down. Greatly reduce the replacement rate of hydraulic oil. Servo hydraulic system can greatly reduce the noise of machine operation and production and improve the working environment because of better click and power system gear pump.What is the difference between high speed injection molding machine and ordinary injection molding machine?.• Related QuestionsWhat is one of the most obvious advantages to injection molding?One of the most obvious advantages to injection molding is that the housing serves multiple purposes. First, it serves as a handle for the end user to interact with. It also acts as a receptacle for the battery and motor as well the location of various screw bosses that will be used to fasten the device together once the internal parts are assembled. In other words, injection molding is extremely effective when you need to organize a lot of internal parts within a housing. As a consequence, it's a fantastic way to reduce the number of total parts ("piece count"). Of note, this part is also an overmolded part. For more on this process read here. Some of the other reasons that injection molding is a good fit for this example include the fact that the drill is being produced in large volume. That is, Panasonic is creating a large number of copies of the same drill handle. Injection molding is wonderful for this kind of high volume production because the high initial costs pay the manufacturer back over time with low per unit costs. For this same reason injection molding can be a poor choice for low volume production. Additionally of note, there are some design constraints if using injection molding. For example, the part has nearly uniform wall thickness (which is important in order to avoid defects), and the part is made with a thermoplastic material (allowing for solid plastic stock to be repeatedly melted for the procedure). If you were designing a part with a thermoset material then injection molding would be more nuanced. You can injection mold a thermoset material but you can only do it once. Trying to melt a thermoset plastic a second time will result in burning the material. Similarly, a part with varied wall thickness would require more attention in the mold tool design to ensure uniform cooling and to avoid defects during production.What is one of the most obvious advantages to injection molding?------What is double color injection molding?Double color injection mainly by double color molding machine two tube with two sets of moulds according to the order made after two forming double color products.nCompared with the traditional injection molding, the double shot of injection molding process has the following advantages:n1, the core material can use low viscosity of the material to reduce the injection pressure.n2, from an environmental consideration, core can use recycling secondary material. n3, according to the use of different characteristics, such as the cortex thickness unit is expected to use the soft material, core core use hard material or material can use foamed plastics to reduce weight.n4, can take advantage of the low quality of core materials to reduce costs.n5, cortex or core material can use expensive and special surface properties, such as preventing electromagnetic interference and high conductivity materials in order to increase product performance. n6, the cortex and core material with appropriate can reduce residual stress and increase the mechanical strength moulded part or product surface properties.n7, such as marble grain products.nFrom the multi-color injection molding, the characteristics and application of double common injection molding can be seen that the future has a tendency to gradually replace the traditional injection molding process. Innovative injection molding technology not only improve the precision of the injection molding process, providing a difficult process technology, and expand the range in the field of injection molding process. Injection equipment and process of innovation, only enough to meet more and more diversified, high quality and high value added products demand. Bi-color injection molding is now widely used in electronic products, electric tools, medical products, home appliances, toys and so on almost all of the plastic area, two-color mold making and molding and double color multi-color injection molding machine and double color injection molding raw materials research and development has a rapid development.What is double color injection molding?What is a double color injection molding uff1f?.------Did working on plastic factory (injection molding) (ABS, polycarbonate, polystyrene, polyethylene) for 30 years and 8 hours in day heighten the risk of getting cancer or other diseases?Thanks for Request-to-Answer.Q: "Did working on plastic factory (injection molding) (ABS, polycarbonate, polystyrene, polyethylene) for 30 years and 8 hours in day heighten the risk of getting cancer or other diseases?"Cancer and diseases like that are so complicated and many genetic and environmental factors play roles on them. Some of these factors have been identified and many not yet. It has been proved that smoking cigarette is a cause of some diseases like cancer. But, we can find people at very old ages that smoked for a long time in their lives.One of the important factors that has effects on health conditions is environment. So, it is obvious that someone working for a long time in an atmosphere with chemical pollution (like a plastics molding hall), because of more exposure to chemicals in fumes released from molten plastics, has more risk of health problems. Working in such place doesn't equal to exposure to chemicals. It depends on the concentration of chemicals in the air and internal air quality in the plastic molding hall. I was working in a chemical lab in production plant. We had to drink a bottle of milk every day and there were perfect ventilation everywhere that the workers were going, but our cloths had intense smell of the chemicals that could be felt by people outside after work. The pollution are everywhere, even in farms, mostly inevitable; the exposure to these pollution must be minimized. The exposure may develop health issues (like cancer) or give no harm, we must avoid the pollution. If you worry about your health conditions as a result of exposing to molten plastics fumes, your family physician is the only source that can examine and find out if any kind of disease has been developed during that 30 years period or not.Did working on plastic factory (injection molding) (ABS, polycarbonate, polystyrene, polyethylene) for 30 years and 8 hours in day heighten the risk of getting cancer or other diseases?------What is the development prospect of the injection molding machine?There are more factories producing injection molding machines in China. According to incomplete statistics, more than 3000 have been made. The two types of the injection molding machine are vertical and horizontal. The products produced can be divided into an ordinary injection molding machine and a precision injection molding machine. One injection is 18-51000g, and the clamping force is 30-36000kN; the processing materials are three kinds of thermosetting plastic, thermoplastic and rubber. Thermoplastics include polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon, polyurethane, polycarbonate, plexiglass, polysulfone and (acrylonitrile / butadiene / styrene) copolymer (ABS). From the processed products, there are monochrome, double color general and precision plastic products.The leading direction of ordinary horizontal injection molding machine is still the development of injection molding machine, its basic structure is almost no big change, but to continue to improve its control and level of automation, reduce energy consumption, the manufacturers according to market changes is the combination of series direction as injection molding machine configuration model, and a mistress injection device. Combined into standard type and combination type, increase flexibility, expand the scope of use, improve economic efficiency. In recent years, injection molding machine manufacturers in developed countries in the world are constantly improving the function, quality, auxiliary equipment matching capabilities and automation level of common injection molding machines. At the same time, we must develop and develop large injection molding machine, special injection molding machine, reaction injection molding machine and precision injection molding machine to meet the needs of plastic products, magnetic plastic and embedded plastic products.The injection molding machine is one of the varieties of plastic machinery Chinese presses in the fastest, and the level of industrial developed countries the gap smaller. But it mainly refers to the ordinary injection molding machine. Some products are still blank in the large variety, various special, precision injection molding machines, which is the main gap between the developed countries and the developed countries.What is the development prospect of the injection molding machine?.------What's the advantages of thermoplastic injection molding machine?Every production process has its pros and cons. Before we cover some of the limitations, here are some of the advantages of thermoplastic injection molding:Accuracy: Thermoplastic injection molded parts are able to be produced with pin-point accuracy, which is a major advantage over other prototyping processes like 3D printing. (More on this later when design considerations are discussed. )Surface Finish: Thermoplastic injection molding can be executed with a variety of general and engineering-grade resins. The process is also able to create parts with pristine surface finishes, which makes the production process viable to create not only prototypes, but small and large production runs. Rough or pebble textured surface finishes can also be created with the production process. Speed: Parts that are thermoplastic injection molded are typically turned around within days. If it's used for prototyping, this allows developers to make design changes quickly, thereby enabling it to go to market sooner. And if the process is being used for manufacturing, runs can be completed within days, so they're able to be on store shelves sooner. The longest part of the injection molding process is the time that needs to be spent creating the mold. However, molds can also be created to fine-tune prototypes and then used again for a manufacturing run.Predictor of manufacturability: We already discussed how thermoplastic injection molding can be utilized for prototyping purposes. And here's why - parts can not only be completed and turned around quickly with days, but the two benefits of the technology mentioned above, accuracy and surface finish quality, make the process a great predictor of manufacturability. Often times, developers will order several early prototyping runs on other technology, then use thermoplastic injection molding to validate product design prior to green-lighting the product for manufacturing. Since parts can be crafted in several different resins, developers will also experiment with surface finishes and materials to see what they want to manufacture in. What's the advantages of thermoplastic injection molding machine?
2021 07 05
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Materials: From PPs for Frozen-food Packaging to Nylons and Alloys That Withstand the Heat of Circui
Food packaging that can go from freezer to microwave, stiff/tough nanocomposites, microcellular nylons with smooth surfaces, and crosslinkable TPUs are just a few of the intriguing new materials that made their debut at the big show in Chicago. More than three dozen new resins and compounds were introduced for automotive, electronics, building construction, sporting goods, and any number of other consumer and industrial applications. And that's not all--see our show preview in June for coverage of more new materials that space won't let us repeat here. PP, LLDPE for frozen food Four new polyolefins for injection molded frozen-food packaging were featured by two suppliers. Basell claims to be the first PP producer in North America to offer grades that can withstand freezer temperatures, opening the door to new applications in tubs, trays, and cups from 4 oz to 1.75 qt. Previously available PPs could withstand only refrigerator temperatures without susceptibility to cracking or breaking on impact, says Basell. Its two new grades reportedly also withstand microwave temperatures and are dishwasher safe. One, Pro-fax EP390S, is a high-flow, high-impact copolymer for opaque, thin-wall injection molding. It has 35 MFR, drop-weight impact >45 ft-lb at -29 C, notched Izod impact of 3.6 ft-lb/in, at 23 C, and HDT of 185 F at 66 psi. The other, Clyrell EC140R, is a nucleated heterophasic impact copolymer produced with the Catalloy process for clear, thin-wall injection molding. A 30 MFR resin, it boasts very high impact at both ambient and sub-zero temperatures and good resistance to stress whitening. It shows "no break" in Charpy unnotched impact tests at 23 C and 0 C. At -20 C, Charpy impact is 155 kJ/[m.sup. unnotched and 4 kJ/[m.sup. notched. Meanwhile, Nova Chemicals launched two LLDPE injection molding resins for packaging ice cream and other frozen foods. Surpass IFs542-R is for tubs and IFs730-R for lids. They are made with the Advanced Sclairtech process utilizing a proprietary single-site catalyst that is said to produce resins that process at lower temperatures and shorter cycle times. IFs542-R has 0.942 g/cc density, 60 MI, tensile yield strength of 3176 psi, yield elongation of 10%, and flexural modulus of 135,465 psi. IFs730-R has 0.930 density, 85 MI, tensile yield strength 2205 psi, yield elongation of 12%, and flex modulus of 76,290 psi. More news in packaging Other new packaging materials include a family of foamable SMA copolymers, metallocene-based PP (mPP) grades for injection molding and cast film, and a PET bottle resin PET that's said to raise the bar for uv protection. Nova Chemicals' new foamable SMAs for microwaveable packaging are alternatives to PS foam and solid filled and unfilled PP. Dylark FG resins consist of blends of crystal and impact Dylark FG grades that can be tailored for foams that can be processed on existing PS foam extrusion equipment with direct gas injection or chemical foaming. These foamable resins reportedly resist temperatures from the freezer up to 250 F and produce significantly lighter parts than solid PP at 20% to 25% lower part cost, Nova claims. Foam takeout containers made with these resins reportedly maintain their rigidity and provide insulation performance during travel and during microwaving. Basell has two new grades of Metocene mPP homopolymers for injection molding, both of which are nucleated and have very narrow molecular-weight distribution. They are said to provide low warpage, high clarity, good stiffness, and high flow (achieved in the reactor without "visbreaking"). HM640T is a high-flow (60 MFR) resin suited to thin-wall food containers or CD/DVD cases. It has a tensile strength of 5200 psi (36 MPa), flex modulus of 220,000 psi (1515 MPa), notched Izod impact of 0.5 ft-lb/in. (27 J/m), and haze value of 7%. HM1753 is a very high-flow resin (140 MFR) that contains an antistat. It is aimed at thin-wall food containers, multimedia packaging, and housewares. It has a tensile yield strength of 5800 psi (40 MPa), flex modulus of 275,500 psi (1900 MPa), notched Izod impact of 2.3 kJ/[m.sup., and haze of 10%. Basell's new mPP for cast film, Metocene Xl1291-55-1, is a 9.5 MFR homopolymer that can be used in packaging, candy twist wrap, photo albums, laminations, geomembranes, and fibers. It boasts exceptional clarity and sealability due to the combination of very narrow MWD and low melting point of 293 F (145 C). This is said to be a clean-running resin with low smoke and volatiles that contains no peroxide and has low levels of extractables. A PET resin with new integral uv-barrier technology is said to set a new standard for uv protection, extending the shelf life of packaged materials like vitamins, health and beauty aids, and beverages. Introduced by DAK Americas, Laser UV combines DAK's own proprietary technology with ClearShield UV 400 uv absorber from Milliken Chemical. PET itself absorbs uv light up to a wavelength of approximately 320 nm. Standard uv absorbers can extend that protection up to 360 to 370 nm. But that's not enough for sensitive ingredients like vitamins and natural and artificial colors, DAK says. Laser UV PET absorbs uv up to 390 nm. MDPE for floor heating A fractional-melt MDPE that has been used in Europe for in-floor heating pipe for over a decade was introduced at NPE to North America by Dow Plastics. "Radiant floor heating is becoming more popular, particularly in the Northeast. We are seeing this in both the retrofit area and custom homes and expect to see more in new construction in the future. Annual market growth is estimated at somewhere between 8% and 12%," says Heather Lau, Dow's North America market manager for plastic pipe. New Dowlex 2344 is a 0.933-g/cc, 0.7 MI octene copolymer with controlled side-chain distribution that is said to provide excellent ESCR plus very good long-term hydrostatic strength at high temperature without the need for crosslinking. It is the only non-crosslinked PE with a Plastic Pipe Institute (PPI) listing at 180 F. With 79,000 psi flex modulus, Dowlex 2344 is more flexible than crosslinked PE, facilitating easier installation. It is also more easily recyclable and is priced competitively with crosslinked PE but could provide faster processing without the crosslinking step. It costs at least 50% less than copper pipe. New/old source of CPVC PolyOne Corp. has launched the first grade in a line of CPVC molding and extrusion compounds for high-temperature applications, including hot-water pipe and fittings and components for pools and spas, windows, and electrical products. These are the first CPVC products for PolyOne, which traces its heritage back to the former BFGoodrich Co. The former Goodrich TempRite CPVC line now belongs to Noveon Inc. PolyOne's Geon CPVC compounds will include transparent and opaque grades and are said to offer easier processing than competitive products. One grade is initially available for hot-water pipe and fittings. Nanocomposite news Continuing R&D in nanocomposites was evident in announcements at the show. DuPont gave a preview of new engineering nanocomposites that will be introduced in 2007. These include resins containing DNM, a high-aspect-ratio nanoclay that reportedly can provide substantial property improvements at 1.5% to 5% loadings. For example, DuPont reports that 1.5% of DNM in glass-reinforced PET boosts HDT by 10[degrees] to 15[degrees] C. Adding DNM also allows reducing glass-fiber content (and resulting weight) while retaining equivalent properties. DuPont noted that small amounts of DNM can improve high-temperature creep resistance up to 30% while enhancing the stiffness-toughness balance of PET. DuPont is also examining DNM in nylon. Specialty compounder RTP has developed new nylon nanoclay compounds for barrier uses in automotive fuel systems. The new compounds are claimed to provide a monolayer solution for small-engine fuel-tank makers who must meet new fuel-emission standards. Organically treated nanoclay particles create a "tortuous path" for diffusion of fuel molecules through the tank wall. Transmission rates can be cut by 50% to 75%, RTP claims. Reduced permeability is also seen in food packaging, where nylon 6/nanoclay compounds reduce oxygen transmission by 75% to 80% versus straight nylon 6. This can allow thinner and lighter packages with similar shelf life. The nanoclay compounds also improve mechanical and thermal properties at low loadings (2% to 8%) with minimal impact on specific gravity. Better surface for nylon Trexel and Rhodia Engineering Plastics announced new material and process developments that improve the surface finish of nylon parts molded with Trexel's MuCell microcellular foam process. Nylon has been used with the MuCell process but surface appearance has been a limiting factor. Working with Trexel, Rhodia adjusted material formulations to overcome the natural tendency of gas to migrate to the interface between the melt and mold while being injected and thus create splay. In addition, Trexel has refined the parameters of the injection process, including injection-speed profiles, gate sizes, and mold and melt temperatures to get the improved surface. Rhodia has adapted its Technyl Star technology to create new Technyl XCell nylon 6 and 66 grades optimized for the MuCell process. Technyl XCell nylon 6 offers high flow (more than 200% greater spiral flow length than standard nylon) and good property retention while maintaining surface appearance. The 66 grade also offers excellent property retention and good surface appearance, along with 160% higher spiral flow. The MuCell process brings 10% less weight, lower cavity pressures, reduced processing temperature, and ability to use smaller presses. Application areas include rocker covers, engine covers, and air-intake manifolds. Under the agreement, Trexel will work exclusively with Rhodia on nylon applications. DuPont has new halogen-free and high-flow grades of high-heat semi-aromatic nylons. Zytel HTN53G50LRHF is a 50% glass-filled grade with 20% higher flow than comparable products. Halogen-free Zytel HTNFR52G30NH is a 30% glass-filled PPA (polyphthalamide) that is compatible with emerging electronic recycling systems. It can withstand high-temperature circuit assembly with lead-free solder, and it has good strength, stiffness, and toughness over a wide temperature and humidity range. For high-voltage applications, this grade also has a comparative tracking index (CTI) greater than 600 v, the highest IEC 60112 classification. This allows closer spacing of current-carrying parts. In other high-temperature resins, DuPont has developed a new PCT poly ester compound for small, hotter-running automotive ignition coils. Thermx TE4001 contains glass fiber and flake and boasts good high-temperature electrical properties. Its dielectric strength remains virtually constant (41 to 42 kV/mm) from ambient temperatures to 200 C. Its maximum operating temperature in ignition coils is 170 C. It also has higher flow than competing materials such as modified PPO. It exhibits good adhesion to epoxy coil encapsulants. Advances in TPEs As reported last month, a developmental family of novel thermoplastic olefin block copolymers (OBCs) was unveiled at NPE by Dow Chemical. Infuse OBCs are lauded as a breakthrough in olefinic elastomer chemistry due to their unique block structure, which reportedly delivers novel combinations of properties and process-ability at a "cost in use" competitive with materials such as TPVs, TPUs, and styrenic block copolymers. These materials also boast performance advantages over EVA and flexible PVC for applications in flexible molded goods, extruded profiles, hose, tubing, elastic fibers and films, foams, coated fabrics, tapes and melt adhesives. Developed with "post-metallocene" catalysts, the first Infuse grades will be announced later this year. Also reported last month was Dow's new family of TPOs for large-part thermoforming. The first grade, Inspire EFP 500, is a 0.5 MFR material with a flexural modulus of 300,000 psi aimed at sporting goods, automotive components, RV parts, canoes, kayaks, all-terrain vehicles, and tractors. GLS Corp. introduced new TPE alloys as replacements for more costly silicone and PVC compounds in applications requiring both clarity and heat resistance. The Versaflex CL2200 Series has water clarity, excellent heat resistance in boiling water, and USP Class VI acceptability for food and drug containers. It is designed for overmolding onto PP and other olefinics. Injection grades are available in 42 and 50 Shore A hardness. TPUs extend their range A range of new TPU developments at the show include chemically crosslinked materials that are said to perform similarly to or better than castable thermoset polyurethanes. X-Link TPUs from PriPro Polymers reportedly provide the superior properties of castable PUR systems with the manufacturing advantages of injection molding or extrusion and 50% lower cost than castable systems. PriPro has developed proprietary additive and processing technology that can be applied to all commercially available TPUs with either ester or ether backbones and hardnesses from 60 Shore A to 75 Shore D. The proprietary additive loading of 3% to 8% can be tailored to optimize certain properties. The TPU must be post-cured and aged for two weeks to achieve full mechanical properties. Applications include skateboard wheels, in-line skates, automotive seals and wiper blades, and industrial parts. Along with injection molded and extruded TPUs, PriPro is developing custom masterbatches and expects to license the technology. BASF introduced Elastollan 1190A16 TPU, which is NSF approved for lining cured-in-place epoxy pipe for potable water. It is claimed to be the only TPU that complies with the NSF standard without limitations on surface exposure or time. BASF also launched Elastollan C85A15 HPM, a high-heat TPU that meets the ISO 6722 temperature classification Type D (150 C, 3000 hr) for cable jacketing. Typical TPUs are said to achieve only Type C classification (125 C, 3000 hr). The plasticizer-free grade is aimed at under-hood uses, anti-lock brake cables, and general cables. This grade extends the Elastollan HPM series into harder grades (above 80 Shore A). Three new TPUs from Noveon provide improved resistance to biodiesel and other fuels, as well as styrene, perchloroethylene, and acetone. Among them is Estane HS85DN (85 Shore D), said to be a new class of polymer with very low permeability to hydrocarbons. The water-clear material also has high stiffness. Better chemical resistance is also offered by Estane X-1181 (85A) and Estane X-1130 (90A). X-1181 swells only 1% after a week's immersion in biodiesel fuel, compared with 3% for a standard 85A polyester TPU. Targeted applications include fuel hoses, valves, and filter housings; storage devices; and sports and recreational equipment. Noveon also launched a TPU with improved durability for conveyor drive belts. Round drive belts made of Estane X-1222 reportedly have three times the life expectancy of competitive TPU belts. The material boasts superior creep resistance, which results in low abrasion and low belt slippage. Dura-Belt, a manufacturer of urethane belting for power transmission and conveyors, is the first to offer belts made of Estane X-1222. It offers an unprecedented two-year warranty on the belts. New conductive compound An as-yet unnamed U.S. compounder is expected to be the first to sell commercial quantities of a unique highly conductive compound called ElectriPlast, developed by Integral Technologies Inc. The material consists of 6- to 25-micron conductive fibers (metallic or carbon) plus a special chemical dopant in any of a variety of base resins. A special dispersion technique is part of the technology, which has been licensed to Heatron, a maker of heating elements in Leavenworth, Kan. Prototype antennas are among several other products that have also been produced from ElectriPlast. EPS for concrete forms New EPS beads from Nova Chemicals are said to deliver "best-in-class" performance for insulated concrete forms (ICFs). Nova's EPS 35MB-ICF grades are said to offer substantial processing advantages due to shorter molding cycles and pre-foam aging times, as well as improved yields from easier filling and improved packing within molds. In addition, these beads reportedly mold smooth-surfaced ICFs that are easily finished. They also boast good dimensional stability and significantly higher flexural strength than competing products, which result in improved reliability for builders. More new styrenics New ABS/nylon alloys were introduced by Lanxess Corp. Triax 3250 is an on-line paintable, static-dissipative grade for auto body panels and Triax 3210 is a general-purpose grade for consumer and electronics applications. Both materials can withstand the high oven temperatures used in electrostatic painting. Triax 3250 reportedly eliminates the need for a conductive primer. The materials are said to match the performance of competitive PPO/nylon alloys while also offering improved flow and stiffness and reduced CLTE. Lanxess also launched two soft-touch products for extruded sheet capstock. Lustran ST 4566 ABS and Centrex ST 4766 weatherable ASA offer a leather or vinyl feel for interior and exterior RV, truck, bus, and marine applications. They provide low gloss and uniform appearance after forming. NEED TO KNOW MORE? For more information, enter PTDirect code at www.ptonline.com. Basell North America Inc., Elkton, Md. (410) 996-2000 * PTDirect: 217LH BASF Corp., Urethanes, Wyandotte, Mich. (800) 227-3746 * PTDirect: 517FV DAK Americas, Charlotte, B.C. (888) 738-2002 * PTDirect: 188ZT Dow Specialty Plastics & Elastomers, Midland, Mich. (800) 441-4369 * PTDirect: 983XZ DuPont Engineering Polymers, Wilmington, Del. (800) 441-0575 * PTDirect: 412SX GLS Corp., McHenry, Ill. (815) 385-8500 * PTDirect: 664QF Integral Technologies Inc., Bellingham, Wash. (888) 666-8833 * PTDirect: 583WF Lanxess Corp., Pittsburgh (800) 662-2927 * PTDirect: 411NZ Nova Chemicals Inc., Moon Township, Pa. (412) 490-4200 * PTDirect: 279JK Noveon Inc., Cleveland (216) 447-5000 * PTDirect: 754XX PolyOne Corp., Avon Lake, Ohio 866-POLYONE * PTDirect: 347VD PriPro Polymers Inc., Carlsbad, Calif. (760) 473-5577 * PTDirect: 613EM Rhodia Engineering Plastics, Farmington Hills, Mich. (248) 994-6120 * PTDirect: 348ET RTP Co., Winona, Minn. (507) 454-6900 * PTDirect: 116PH Trexel Inc., Woburn, Mass. (781) 932-0202 * PTDirect: 262XD
2021 07 03
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Navy Funds Study of Underwater Glue Made Using Protein Extracted From Mussels
Anyone who has ever made the mistake of wearing a Band-Aid in the shower knows all too well that adhesives which appear to be secure when dry quickly peel off when they get wet.The challenge of creating glue that works underwater is the focus of Bruce Lee, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Michigan Technological University. To help him crack this conundrum, Lee has just been awarded three years of funding from the Office of Naval Research as part of its Young Investigator Program award.Lee's work is based on looking at one of the strongest natural undersea adhesives we know of -- namely, that used by mussels to adhere themselves to rocks and the underside of boats."Mussels use a protein adhesive in order to attach to surfaces," Lee tells Digital Trends. "It's almost like injection molding: they inject it as a liquid, and then it adheres to a surface. One of those main proteins is an amino acid called DOPA. What we've done is to take that molecule and used chemistry to incorporate it into a synthetic adhesive."Lee says that there are two main possible applications for his work. The first of these would be useful for naval work involving the attaching of underwater sensors or devices on ships, submarines, or underwater robots. The second is a medical application involving the creation of dressings that will stay attached when a person sweats or otherwise gets wet.As if underwater glue wasn't enough of a challenge, Lee also wants to create an adhesive that can be switched "on" and "off" -- meaning that it could be made sticky or non-sticky at will. Doing this means figuring out how to temporarily block the DOPA molecule, thereby triggering a structural change in the adhesive."By making our adhesive reversible, the hope is that we'll be able to attach something underwater by turning it on, and then if you want to detach it, you simply turn it off again," he says. "That's something that's quite novel, and is what makes the project exciting."The Office of Naval Research funding will help Lee study the biochemistry involved with the concept. "Once we have worked out the basic mechanism, then we can focus on establishing the materials to turn this into a physical application," he saidSo, smart underwater adhesives by 2020, then? We'll stick around to find out.
2021 07 03
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Province Tries to Allay Business Fears Over Minimum Wage Hike
Queen's Park is moving to allay businesses' fears over the forthcoming increase to the minimum wage.Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said the government will soon unveil a package of measures to offset the impact of the $11.40 hourly wage rising to $14 in January and $15 in 2019."We know this is challenging for small business - we don't underestimate that challenge," Flynn told reporters Thursday at Snakes and Lattes, a College Street café."If government and business can work together, we can get this right," he said."You look at things like taxes, you look at things like regulations, you look at things like the employer health tax - you look at those types of things. So I think if there was going to be any sort of relief it would be amongst the existing channels between government and business."His comments came the same week as TD Bank warned that the wage hike could cost the province up to 90,000 jobs and the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis recommended slowing down the phase-in of the increase to protect employment.The province's independent Financial Accountability Office estimates 50,000 jobs could be lost because businesses will have to reduce staff to handle soaring payroll costs."They're a forecast, they're a guess, and you see the guesses are all over the place. They're all over the map to be blunt," said Flynn, noting research by OECD, the Center for Economic and Policy Research in the U.S., and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives that urge a higher minimum wage."I haven't seen anything that would steer me away from the current course that we're on. I want to make sure that everybody who works a week's work in Ontario is able to raise a family, is able to afford the basics," he said.Ben Castanie, owner of the three Snakes and Lattes board game cafés, said his 100 workers, who are already paid more than the current minimum wage, will be getting a well-deserved raise."We have a little bit of catching up to do," said Castanie, adding he does "not necessarily" think he will need to raise his prices to afford the higher wages."It could be a great thing for us if everyone makes more money and has a little bit more disposable income. It's definitely beneficial to us," he said.Not all businesses are embracing the changes.Peter Gossmann - co-owner of Plasticap, a plastics injection molding company in Richmond Hill - said he worries about the effect on the overall labour force, not just minimum wage earners.His firm's 35 unionized employees are members of Unifor and earn at least $15.80 an hour."It will inflate all of the wages. It seems to me that . . . the government wants to increase . . . wages to increase their taxes," said Gossmann, noting the provincial treasury stands to benefit most from higher salaries."So it's a windfall for the government. It's going to contribute to inflation. Inflation contributes to higher interest rates and that stifles growth."Toronto Star
2021 07 02
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The Uses of Metal Injection Mold
For 25 years now the industry of metal injection molds has be growing at a steady pace. Metal injection molding is the process of using a mold to create products made of metal. Metal mold injecting is used today for a variety of products. Generally plastic has always been used to create products using molds. There are many different types of metal which can be used to make molds. When someone wants to use a mold to create a metal product they will generally talk to a mold maker. Mold makers will create a mold using a specific design. Engineers generally create these designs with the intent of having them made into molds. The mold will be a reverse version of the original design. This will allow a material to be melted and forced into the mold. Once the material has cooled and set, it will have been formed into the specific design. Metal injection molding is used to create a variety of different products. Using metal in the mold ensures that the final product will be very strong and resilient. There are many small products which are made using metal injection molding. Often these small products are parts which are used in machines. Metal mold injection produces very strong parts which could not be made using plastic. That is the great advantage which metal injection into molds has over the plastic variety. Injection mold techniques can be used to makes some large items as well. Plastic has traditionally been used when making products using injection molding. However, the use of metals in molds is increasing in popularity. People are seeking stronger products which can only be made using steel. Plastic is cheap and flimsy. It is not ideal for use in many industrial applications. If you are looking to mass produce an item that is going to see some heavy usage you should use a metal injection mold process. There are many different metals which can be used in an injection mold process. Carbon can be used. Metal alloys can be used. Stainless steel is often used to create molds. This is a metal which creates a strong and sturdy product. Titanium is also become popular for use in molds. It has seen a lot of use in the application of making medical devices. These need to be made using strong metal and precise techniques. For 25 years now the industry of metal injection molds has be growing at a steady pace. Metal injection molding is the process of using a mold to create products made of metal. Metal mold injecting is used today for a variety of products. Generally plastic has always been used to create products using molds. There are many different types of metal which can be used to make molds. Metal has been used for some time now in the process of using injection molds. This is a process which involves melting metal down and injecting it into a mold. This will then harden and create a finished product which is strong and durable. There are many different products made using metal injection molds.
2021 06 04
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