Plastic processors and machinery suppliers collaborate as productivity gains score over price

07/13/04

Technical Insights Plastics Processing — Emerging Technologies and Trends Analysis




Palo Alto, Calif. -- July 13, 2004 -- Although price is a significant purchase factor, plastic processors are forging partnerships with their machinery suppliers based on quality of products and service. These partnerships, especially among multinational corporations, have to be flexible no matter which sector (primary, auxiliary, software, or services) the processing equipment is meant for.

For example, an off-the-shelf robotic handling system cannot be standardized globally. Its features for the Chinese or European markets will be very different from those for the U.S. market.

Three-way partnerships are also becoming popular among global manufacturers because the collaborations are highly productive, cost effective, and good for maintaining the proprietary nature of finished product development.

"The need for plastics processors to achieve quicker cycles and tighter tolerances, and faster introduction of higher performance engineering plastics has compelled primary and auxiliary equipment suppliers to maintain strong development programs," says Technical Insights Senior Research Analyst Dr. Donald Rosato.

Selecting the right plastics processing equipment is no mean task, given the wide range of equipment suppliers, need for reduced energy consumption without compromising on equipment functionality, and quick payback requirement for capital investment.

While plastic fabricator manufacturers focus on faster payback to move ahead to new orders, plastic processors concentrate on emerging, new age technology. Next-generation technologies, especially those used in hybrid machines, are stealing the march over conventional ones.

Hybrid machines are no longer merely about energy savings at low additional costs. Their lure lies in the combination of servomotors and hydraulic circuit configurations in the clamp mechanism.

Molders have started adopting hybrid machines as improved alternatives to all-electric or all-hydraulic clamping systems for their lower costs, greater processing speed, and superior precision.

"Key features of the two-stage units include significantly improved injection rates and hydraulic designs, Polaris control for greater repeatability, and high-resolution position transducers for better control during high-speed injection," says Rosato.

Turnkey injection molding systems for thick-walled plastic jars are also available for manufacturers that wish to shorten the cycle times, reduce scrap rates, and produce higher yields.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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