K 2019 Preview: Injection Molding Goes for the ‘Green’ : Plastics Technology

‘Circular Economy’ joins Industry 4.0 as common themes of injection molding exhibits in Düsseldorf. If you attended a major international plastics trade show in recent years, you were likely bombarded with messages that the future of plastics processing is “digitalization,” also known as Industry 4.0. That theme will continue in force at October’s K 2019 show, where numerous exhibitors will present their latest features and products for “smart machines, smart processes and smart service.”  But another overarching theme will claim pride of place at this year’s event—“Circular Economy,” which refers to the whole range of strategies for recycling and reuse of plastics waste, as well as design for recyclability. While this will be one of the dominant notes sounded at the show, other elements of sustainability, such as energy savings and lightweighting of plastics parts, will be heard frequently as well. How does injection molding relate to the idea of the Circular Economy? A number of exhibitors will endeavor to answer that question: •  Because variation in melt viscosity is one of the major challenges to molders of recycled plastics, Engel will show how its iQ weight control softwa...

Accelerating thermoplastic composites in aerospace: CompositesWorld

ATC Manufacturing produces millions of thermoplastic composite parts per year, and is investing for future growth.  Continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites (TPCs) have been cited as an enabling technology for the future of sustainable aircraft, offering increased production rates of lightweight, high-toughness parts that can be joined without holes or fasteners into economical welded assemblies. CW published a series of articles in 2018 on TPC tapes, in-situ consolidation and welding and presented two webinars in 2019 on TPCs in automotive applications and TPC developments for aerospace. Most of my articles and presentations to date reference TPC parts manufacturers and equipment suppliers in Europe, as well as Trelleborg’s Automated Dynamics division in the U.S. I also did a tour of U.S.-based Tri-Mack Plastics. But I have unfortunately overlooked another TPC parts manufacturer here in the U.S. that has been quietly pushing the technology and production envelope forward for 15 years. ATC Manufacturing — located in Post Falls, Idaho just outside of Spokane, Washington — produces one million parts per year, all continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastics and all for t...