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.
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First Quarter 2018
Vacuum Thermoforming Process: An Approach to Modeling and Optimization Using Artificial Neural Networks
In the vacuum thermoforming process, the group effects of the processing parameters, when
related to the minimizing of the product deviations set, have conflicting and non-linear values which make their mathematical modelling complex and multi-objective. Therefore, this work developed models of prediction and optimization using artificial neural networks (ANN), having the processing parameters set as the networks’ inputs and the deviations group as the outputs and, furthermore, an objective function of deviation minimization. For the ANN data, samples were produced in experimental tests of a product standard in polystyrene, through a fractional factorial design (2k-p).
Preliminary computational studies were carried out with various ANN structures and configurations with the test data until reaching satisfactory models and, afterwards, multi-criteria optimization models were developed. The validation tests were developed with the models’ predictions and solutions showed that the estimates for them have prediction errors within the limit of values found in the samples produced. Thus, it was demonstrated that, within certain limits, the ANN models are valid to model the vacuum thermoforming process using multiple parameters for the input and objective, by means of reduced data quantity.
One Company’s Sustainability Journey to Zero Waste
Sekisui Chemical’s Zero Emissions Program
Zero emissions is a designation by Sekisui Chemical. This rigorous program was started in 1998 to make all Sekisui facilities “zero waste to landfill” within five years of becoming a Sekisui Chemical company. To date, 12 factories have earned the designation.
Being good stewards of the planet and community has always been a part of SEKISUI SPI’s business philosophy, history, and culture, so achieving zero emissions was a natural step in their environmental efforts. In 2010, SEKISUI SPI began its journey towards zero emissions by creating a cross-departmental team tasked with conducting an in-depth audit of its processes and materials.
The company’s zero emissions team utilized the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle in pursuit of eliminating facility landfill waste. The team, guided by Environmental Health and Safety Manager, Tom Kapelewski, evaluated over 25,000 purchase records to determine which items could be kept out of landfills. First, the team distributed new recycling and waste-to-energy containers in all office and production areas. Then, they developed plans to recycle all possible materials including cardboard, metals, paper, and magazines; reuse material that isn’t traditionally recyclable including edge trim and PVC powder; repurpose non-recyclable items or find vendors who will; and convert non-recyclable materials to energy. SEKISUI SPI’s north campus facility received its certification in March 2016. That year, 48 tons of waste were converted to 19,528 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power SEKISUI SPI’s fleet of Nissan Leaf EVs for 65,000 miles.
Full articles appears in print magazine mailed to members.