Thermoforming Quarterly is a journal published quarterly by the Thermoforming Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers. The magazine is a great way to keep up with industry trends and developments. SPE Thermoforming Division members receive the magazine by mail four times a year. Non-members can access old issues here via PDF file. If you are not an SPE member this is a great reason to join! Become a member today to start receiving this valuable information in your mailbox.
We welcome objective, technical and related articles that provide valuable information to our community of thermoformers, toolmakers, material suppliers and OEMs. Articles are typically 1500-2000 words. We recommend viewing past articles for further guidance. All submissions should be in MS Word, 12-pt Times New Roman.
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First Quarter 2017
Heating the Sagging Sheet
by Jim Throne, Dunedin, FL
Sheet sags while being heated. Nearly all sheet is heated radiantly and nearly all of that sheet is heated from both sides. We spent inordinate hours balancing our heaters to ensure nearly the same energy input to each side of the sheet. Great technical minds propose mind-expanding mathematical treatises to describe how the sheet accepts the energy. And everybody envisions the sheet in the oven as a triad of parallel planes: top heater, sheet, bottom heater. But we all know that as the sheet heats, it begins to sag under its own weight. In short, the heated sheet is no longer planar.
Radiant energy from any point source moves outward in a hemispherical fashion. An object that is close to the radiant source will receive more incident energy than one that is further away. As the sheet sags, the center moves downward toward the lower heaters and away from the upper heaters. So, we assume, the top center surface, being further away from the top energy source than other spots on the top surface, should heat more slowly. And further, the bottom center surface, being closer to the bottom energy source than other spots on the bottom surface, should heat more quickly. We can show that this way.
Innovation Before Technology – AMI Thin Wall Packaging Asia Conference Review
By Conor Carlin, Boston, MA
The population of the 10 member states of ASEAN is approximately 670 million people which ranks higher than NAFTA and EU-28 as a trading bloc. Purchasing power, however, remains significantly lower on aggregate though growth rates are higher than most western countries. And though the term “South East Asia” was used throughout the event, several presenters drew distinctions among individual countries as the region cannot be considered monolithic. That said, there were a few ‘megatrends’ that appeared in multiple papers: demographic shifts; inter-material replacement; and ambient vs. chilled packaging. In addition, there were several interesting, unique trends such as the continued importance of PP thermoformed water cups in Indonesia, PP replacing EPS in Malaysia, and how the importance of 7-11 stores in Thailand influenced packaged goods.
There is no doubt that PP continues to be an important material in thin wall packaging, both as a replacement for existing polymers (PET, PS) and other materials (glass, tin, paper). Versatile, low density, easy to recycle with a relatively low environmental footprint (in terms of water and energy inputs) and a higher energy recovery rate, PP scores high all across the value chain. Speakers from Milliken Chemical (China) and Borouge (Singapore) extolled the virtues of polyolefins while presenting impressive facts on rates of growth in India, China and ASEAN markets. Beyond food and dairy packaging, PP is finding greater adoption in other sectors such industrial paints and lubricants where it is replacing traditional tin and steel containers. In terms of sustainability, PP is very much in favor and is helping to build foundational planks for local circular economies.
Full articles appears in print magazine mailed to members.