PT Blog

Bigger, Faster, Lower-Cost Robots at K 2019

More power and more speed were the key themes of robot exhibits at the Düsseldorf show in October. “Less” was a contrasting theme: less upfront investment and lower operating costs, less space occupied, less safety guarding required, and less complexity in programming. Some systems were specialized for structural composites, IML, medical pipettes, and single-use coffee capsules. Related news in automation included quick-mold-change (QMC) systems and automated guided vehicles (AGVs).


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Custom Molder’s Strategic Edge: Top-Class Metrology Services

Octex is more than a molder. The Octex Group in Sarasota, Fla., comprises three companies: Octex custom injection molding division, which has a growing emphasis on value-added secondary operations like decorating and assembly; Choice Tool & Mold, the moldmaking arm; and Omnia Scientific, the metrology business. The latter two units serve primarily outside customers. Omnia, one of the faster-growing parts of the Group, has become a major focus in differentiating Octex from its competitors.


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Facing a Wave of Data? Grab a Paddle

These days with watches that tell you how much—and how well—you sleep; cars that calculate fuel economy in real time and phones that break down just how online you are, it can be pretty easy to feel overwhelmed by data. All this information is supposed to make us smarter but at times it can have the opposite effect.

The data deluge extends to the shop floor where most machinery gives users the option to collect production information down to the cycle. Forward-thinking shops gather, interpret and act on that data. Plastics Technology’s Top Shops injection molding benchmarking survey allows its users to gather, interpret and act on not only their own production data but that of their peers.

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K 2019 Report: Auxiliaries Stake Their Claim in the Circular Economy

In auxiliary equipment at October’s K 2019 show, the green-ward shift was manifested in new machinery designed for drying, conveying, blending and feeding recycled materials. Carl Litherland, chief marketing officer at Motan, said his company, like many others in Düsseldorf, was responding to customer and market interest. “We handle raw materials, whether they’re virgin, regrind or recyclate,” Litherland said, noting that for the latter materials, mechanical and physical properties are different from those of virgin pellets. “It’s becoming more complicated; our product has to become more intelligent to recognize and deal with different materials.”

Motan introduced the Metro G/F/R (granulate, flake, regrind) at K, saying the unit can automatically load large quantities of granulate, dusty regrind and flakes, utilizing filters and large outlet flaps for smooth operation. Motan says dust is actively removed and conveyed to a central dust filter. The filter itself is made from PTFE-coated cloth, and a compressed-air accumulator integrated into the loader’s lid has a direct connection to air outlet nozzles for filter cleaning.

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Within the last few years, we have reported on the trend to recyclable all-PE pouches driven by the growing demand for sustainable packaging options from consumers and brand owners. Such structures have already gained a lead simply because of their potential recyclability advantage over multilayer, multi-material film structures.

We have also reported on the significant commercial strides in all-PE pouches that have been made by a handful of leading polyolefin suppliers—primarily, Dow, ExxonMobil, Nova Chemicals and SABIC, and their specialty, high-performance PE polymers. These include metallocene-catalyzed LLDPE (mLLDPE), advanced HDPEs, polyolefin elastomers and plastomers, and specialty coatings that allow replace­ment of film structures that contain PET or nylon for barrier properties and increased stiffness.

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