Injection Molding Innovations Conference (IM TECH)

Steinwall is in attendance at the first annual Injection Molding Division’s three-day conference August 1-3.

Injection Molding – From Art to Innovation Engineering

This full three-day conference includes 36 technical sessions, industry exhibits, plant tours at Chicago area plants and networking receptions. This event also features the latest industry trends, meetings with vendors highlighting their products and services and networking with fellow industry professionals. Students attending receive special reduced rate!

Does Low Constant Pressure Injection Molding Work?

Jan H. Schut, Plastics Engineering

It could be the most unusual new development in injection molding in the past 20 years, developed by household products giant Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, OH (us.pg.com). According to P&G patents, the technology consists of retrofittable controls and software for aluminum injection molds with pressure sensors and special cooling, which P&G claims increase productivity more than 50% on existing injection molding machines. P&G set up a subsidiary, Imflux Inc. (imflux.com), in May 2013 in Hamilton, OH, to develop and build the retrofits and aluminum molds and requires packaging suppliers to use them if they want to mold for P&G.

plastic injection molding minneapolis mn

Productivity gains are in material savings, not faster cycle time. Imflux U.S. Pat. Applic. # 20160096303 says its proprietary control software and in-mold sensors “deliver a 20-25% average throughput benefit” on existing presses and tools. Using aluminum molds increases throughput another 20-25% because of aluminum’s high thermal conductivity. Imflux patents describe molds made of aluminum alloys like QC-10 from Arconic Inc., formerly part of Alcoa (www.arconic.com), which are 4.5 times more thermally conductive than tool steel (92.2 BTU/ft/hr/ft sq/F for QC-10 vs. 20.2 for P20 tool steel).

Cycle time for Imflux llow-pressure molding is reportedly roughly the same as for hhigh-pressure injection molding, but divided very differently. Where conventional high-pressure injection molding spends about 10% of cycle time filling, 50% packing, and 40% cooling, Imflux technology spends 90% of cycle time filling, only 10% cooling (U.S. Pat. # 882829), and little or no time on pack and hold. P&G touted the Imflux technology loudly four years ago when it was introduced, but has said next to nothing about it since it went commercial.

Imflux says its low constant pressure injection molding with aluminum molds

increases throughput by more than 50% on the same size or smaller press
uses 25% less resin than conventional molding because of thinner walls
reduces cold runner volume by 50% (and doesn’t need hot runners)
can mold non-traditional part designs, not previously thought possible
can substitute lower cost materials in the same mold with better surface quality
uses melt temperatures below resin spec for new co-injection possibilities

THE IMFLUX BACK STORY

Imflux came out of an unusual 10-year period of outside collaboration and growth at P&G under high-profile CEO Alan George “A.G.” Lafley, from 2000 to 2010. Lafley, who has a Harvard M.B.A., brought Harvard-trained innovation consultants into P&G, proclaimed P&G “an innovation factory,” offered “innovation college” courses, and set up a FutureWorks division to incubate new technology. Imflux president and CEO, Nathan Estruth, and V.P. of Customer Operations, Jared Kline, both came out of P&G’s FutureWorks division.

P&G claims Imflux invented its low, constant pressure molding technology, but that’s not strictly true. It’s based on technology invented in the 1990s by Milko Guergov, president and founder of Intellim

old/MGV Enterprises Inc., Ann Arbor, MI, and acquired by P&G around 2010. By 2012 P&G had registered the Intellimold trademark and process in Imflux’s name, but never marketed it as Intellimold. After P&G acquired Intellimold’s intellectual property, Guergov consulted with P&G to adapt his process to thin-wall packaging. Guergov’s name, spelled “Gergov” by P&G, is on several Imflux patents (U.S. Pat. # 8980146 and # 9481119) along with P&G inventors.

Guergov had previously sold his Intellimold patents and process in 2000 to Textron Automotive Co., which Guergov says used it commercially to injection mold parts ranging in size from small components to whole bumper fascia. The patents traveled a lot after that. Guergov’s U.S. Pat. # 6019918, for example, on “Gas-assisted injection molding with controlled internal melt pressure” was assigned in February 2000 to Guergov, then in May 2000 to Textron, then back to Guergov’s M&C Advanced Processes Inc. in December 2001 before Textron’s automotive trim division was acquired by Collins & Aikman Corp. in January 2002.

 

plastic injection molding minneapolis mn

Imflux also offers retrofits to outside customers in non-competing areas like medical and automotive and gives seminars in Hamilton on the technology – all under non-disclosure agreements. No outside users have been announced. P&G senior manager of global company communications, Jeff LeRoy, says Imflux customers are confidential and that which P&G brands use Imflux technology is considered proprietary.

To read the entire article, click HERE

 

What is the Job of a Process Engineer?

What is Process Engineering?

process engineering minneapolis mn Process Engineering can be defined as “the branch of engineering concerned with industrial processes (especially continuous ones), such as the production of petrochemicals.

What is Involved in a Process Engineering Minneapolis MN Job?

There are many variants within the wider scope of an engineering career, and one that has seen a growth in awareness recently is that of process engineer. So, what does someone working in a process engineer job actually do on a day-to-day basis?

Within a manufacturing company, the process engineers will be the people most closely involved in the planning, management, on-going co-ordination and control of a manufacturing process, whatever the end product may be. They are the ones who ensure that the manufacturer creates goods efficiently, within its cost parameters, and that those goods are up to the required level of quality.

When the manufacturing process begins, the process engineer will be the one who takes on the responsibility for the end to end creation of process engineering minneapolis mn whatever the product is, and who will be there on a day to day basis to ensure that the manufacturing process runs to plan. They will normally be responsible for setting costs and budgets, determining timescales and employment needs, and supervising this team through the process. They may also be involved in overseeing tenders for new equipment.

The nature of the manufacturing process will, of course, differ between industries. Process engineers could be overseeing the creation of anything from industrial paint and chemicals to our everyday household consumables, but the skills that are required to maintain the required manufacturing discipline and output will be the same.

What are Some Good Traits of a Process Engineer?

Problem-solving skills are essential when becoming a Process Engineer. Process engineers need to be logical thinkers, with the capability to look at a problem from various angles and come up with a practical, cost-effective solution. They will need good negotiating and motivational skills, as well as fine attention to detail. Typically, they will be working with a range of other

 

engineers across the project, and will also need to be able to liaise with many other employees who have input into the process, such as accountants, constructionprocess engineering minneapolis mn workers, and human resources.

Process engineers must be able to keep a project to time and to budget, and ensure that a wide team of employees also work consistently towards this goal. Over time, process engineers can look to attained incorporated engineer status.

Shampoo Bottle Made From Ocean Plastics Hailed as ‘Technological Breakthrough’ – “The Guardian”

“Beaches strewn with plastic waste have become a graphic illustration of just how much plastic we use in everything from food packaging to cosmetics, and how much of it gets thrown away.

Consumer goods giant P&G has become the latest company to attempt to show it is tackling the problem, announcing plans for a limited run of Head & Shoulders shampoo in bottles made partly from plastic waste collected by volunteers on France’s beaches.

It follows the likes of Adidas, which put 7,000 pairs of trainers made from marine plastics on sale in November, and Pharrell Williams, whose clothing line for G-Star RAW has featured denim containing plastic from the oceans.

Ecover, which sells cleaning products, has produced several limited edition bottles, using marine plastics from the North Sea and waste collected from Amsterdam’s canals. Saskia van Gendt, head of sustainability for Europe at Ecover, says it plans to launch new packaging later this year with plastic collected from UK beaches by environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage.Steinwall_Injection-molding-manufacturing-in-minnesota-plastic-injection-plastics-molding-terracycle-logo

P&G expects to manufacture up to 170,000 of their special edition bottle, produced in collaboration with recycling business TerraCycle and waste management firm Suez.

That may be the biggest deployment of marine and beach plastic ever, according to TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky, but it still represents less than 0.6% of the 29m bottles of Head & Shoulders P&G was reported in 2011 to be selling every year.

However, Steve Morgan, technical director at plastics recycling network Recoup, says the level of recycled content in the beach plastic shampoo bottles – up to 25% according to P&G – makes the initiative a “technological breakthrough”, despite its limited size.

“In the past when companies have tried to use plastics that have been sourced from oceans or beaches, it hasn’t been technically possible because of the exposure to UV, and also the plastics degrade and don’t recycle that well. What they’ve done here is make it technically viable, which is kind of the big thing,” says Morgan.

That breakthrough – and its potential knock-on effects for recycling of challenging materials in general – is more significant than the origins of the waste plastic, says Morgan. “The bigger thing for me is the fact they’re using recycled plastic. Whether it’s from the oceans or not is kind of irrelevant.”

“Once the technology is developed a bit more and economies of scale are made easier, it might become more mainstream,” he adds.

Solutions to plastic waste

Millions of tons of plastic are sent to landfill every year, and a large chunk of this ends up in the oceans: research suggests there could be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

Plastics production is expected to double in the next 20 years (pdf), but just 14% of plastic packaging is currently recycled globally, a figure that could be raisedSteinwall_Injection-molding-manufacturing-in-minnesota-plastic-injection-molding-plastics to 70% with concerted effort from industry, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Recycling may be the first step but if companies want to show real leadership they should shift to more circular economy business models, says Sophie Unwin, director of Scottish social enterprise Remade in Edinburgh. That means zero waste. “Innovations in product design are to be welcomed, but they mean little if the company is contributing to a trend of generating more waste overall,” says Unwin.

Liz Goodwin, senior fellow, and director of food loss and waste at the World Resources Institute, echoes this. While initiatives to remove plastics from the ocean are positive, she believes more needs to be done at an earlier stage: “In an ideal world we should be preventing waste plastic from going into the water in the first place and keeping waste plastic in use for as long as possible and recycling it.”

This may require a more dramatic shift in approach – in the words of Ecover’s Van Gendt, “rethinking the bottle in general to something that’s much more closed loop”. Ecover, for example, is trying to encourage greater reuse with refillable cleaning products: “The most sustainable way to use a bottle is by refilling it multiple times,” she says.

P&G has meanwhile pledged to boost its use of recycled content more broadly by using half a billion bottles made with 25% recycled plastic for European hair products by the end of 2018.”

-Olivia Boyd

For the full article, click HERE.

Plastic Injection Molding vs. 3D Printing

With 3D printing advancing every day, some may wonder why we don’t put a greater focus on it. While it has been a great invention, there are drawbacks to it. Read on to find out more!

What are some differences between plastic injection molding and 3D printing?

Cost

  • Up front, the cost of 3D printing is low, but due to the chance of misprints, it could go up. Plastic injection molding is relatively expensive at first, but the costs will go down over the course of a high-volume production run.

Quality

  • The number of 3D printable materials is very small compared to the number available for injection molding.  Because of this, 3D printed things will not have the same plastic injection moldingproperties as injection molded parts.

Time

  • When using injection molding you inject polymers into a mold and then rapidly cool them in order for another cycle can start. 3D printing requires a plastic filament be melted and used a drop at a time to make the printed item; which can take hours. Overall, plastic injection molding is a much faster process than 3D printing.

Technical Issues

  • For the most part, injection molding doesn’t come with any technical difficulties, but software glitches continue to hit 3D printers

What are your thoughts on the two processes? Would you prefer plastic injection molding or 3D printing? Comment below!