Quarterly Mags: 2005 1st

FIRST QUARTER 2005, VOLUME 24, NUMBER 1 Non-Profit Org.
U.S.
POSTAGE
PAID
SOCIETY OF
PLASTICS
ENGINEERS, INC
A JOURNAL OF THE THERMOFORMING DIVISION OF THE SOCIETY OF PLASTICS ENGINEERS
Division
Our mission is to facilitate the advancement of thermoforming
technologies through education, application, promotion and research.
SPE National
Executive Director
Susan Oderwald
Direct Line: 203/740-5471
Fax: 203/775-8490
email: Seoderwald@4spe.org
THERMOFORMING DIVISION ORGANIZATIONAL CHART
Roger Kipp
McClarin Plastics
P.O. Box 486, 600 Linden Avenue
Hanover, PA 17331
(717) 637-2241 • FAX (717) 637-1728
rkipp@mcclarinplastics.com
Walt Walker
Prent Corporation
P. O. Box 471, 2225 Kennedy Road
Janesville, WI 53547-0471
(608) 754-0276 • FAX (608) 754-2410
wwalker@prent.com
Barry Shepherd
Shepherd Thermoforming & Pkging, Inc.
396 Clarance Street
Brampton, Ontario L6W1T5 CANADA
(905) 459-4545 Ext. 229 • FAX (905) 459-6746
barry@shepherd.ca
Roger Fox
The Foxmor Group, Inc.
373 South County Farm Road, Suite 202
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 653-2200 • FAX (630) 653-1474
rfox@foxmor.com
Stephen D. Hasselbach
CMI Plastics
P. O. Box 369
Cranbury, NJ 08512
(609) 395-1920 • FAX (609) 395-0981
steve@cmiplastics.com
CHAIR ELECT
TREASURER
SECRETARY
COUNCILOR WITH TERM
ENDING ANTEC 2006
Joe Peters
Universal Plastics
75 Whiting Farms Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
(413) 592-4791 • FAX (413) 592-6876
petersj@universalplastics.com
PRIOR CHAIR
Executive
Committee
2004 – 2006
CHAIR
Conference Coordinator
Gwen Mathis
124 Avenue D, SE
Lindale, Georgia 30147-1027
706/235-9298 • Fax: 706/295-4276
email: gmathis224@aol.com
P. O. Box 471
Lindale, Georgia 30147
CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED
“ARTIFICIAL NEURAL NETWORKS TO CHARACTERIZE ABS, HIPS”
BY F. ERCHIQUI AND A.N. KANDIL, QUEBEC – see page 10
Website: http://www.4spe.org/communities/divisions/d25.php
or www.thermoformingdivision.com
Web Site: www.thermoformingdivision.com
THERMOFORMING DIVISION
2004-2006
Roger Kipp
Chair
Chair Elect
Walt Walker
Secretary
Roger Fox
Treasurer
Barry Shepherd
Prior Chair
Joe Peters
Councilor
Steve Hasselbach
Nominating
Dennis Northrop
Publications
Laura Pichon
Recognition
Hal Gillam
Student Programs
Ken Griep
Finance
James Alongi
Technical
Committees
Newsletter
Editor
Gwen Mathis
ARRC
Rich Freeman
Antec
Don Hylton
Materials
Jim Armor
Equipment
Don Kruschke
Processing
Bob Porsche
Web Site
Rich
Freeman
THERMOFORMING DIVISION HOT LINE 800-233-3189
Roger Kipp, Chairman, Extension 225 at McClarin Plastics, Inc.
Membership/
Marketing
Mike Sirotnak
OPCOM/
Contract Review
Mike Lowery
Conference
Procedure
Lola Carere
Marketing
Support
Conor CarlinConference Coordination
Consultant
Gwen Mathis
2004 Conference
Indianapolis
Laura Pichon
2005 Conference
Milwaukee
Bob Porsche
2006 Conference
Nashville
Martin Stephenson
A JOURNAL OF THE THERMOFORMING DIVISION OF THE SOCIETY OF PLASTICS ENGINEERS
“WINNER 2003 & 2004 AWARD OF EXCELLENCE”
LEAN MANUFACTURING AT
PRODUCTIVE PLASTICS
A Customer-Driven Approach
FIRST QUARTER 2005, VOLUME 24, NUMBER 1 Non-Profit Org.
U.S.
POSTAGE
PAID
SOCIETY OF
PLASTICS
ENGINEERS, INC
A JOURNAL OF THE THERMOFORMING DIVISION OF THE SOCIETY OF PLASTICS ENGINEERS
Division
Our mission is to facilitate the advancement of thermoforming
technologies through education, application, promotion and research.
SPE National
Executive Director
Susan Oderwald
Direct Line: 203/740-5471
Fax: 203/775-8490
email: Seoderwald@4spe.org
THERMOFORMING DIVISION ORGANIZATIONAL CHART
Roger Kipp
McClarin Plastics
P.O. Box 486, 600 Linden Avenue
Hanover, PA 17331
(717) 637-2241 • FAX (717) 637-1728
rkipp@mcclarinplastics.com
Walt Walker
Prent Corporation
P. O. Box 471, 2225 Kennedy Road
Janesville, WI 53547-0471
(608) 754-0276 • FAX (608) 754-2410
wwalker@prent.com
Barry Shepherd
Shepherd Thermoforming & Pkging, Inc.
396 Clarance Street
Brampton, Ontario L6W1T5 CANADA
(905) 459-4545 Ext. 229 • FAX (905) 459-6746
barry@shepherd.ca
Roger Fox
The Foxmor Group, Inc.
373 South County Farm Road, Suite 202
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 653-2200 • FAX (630) 653-1474
rfox@foxmor.com
Stephen D. Hasselbach
CMI Plastics
P. O. Box 369
Cranbury, NJ 08512
(609) 395-1920 • FAX (609) 395-0981
steve@cmiplastics.com
CHAIR ELECT
TREASURER
SECRETARY
COUNCILOR WITH TERM
ENDING ANTEC 2006
Joe Peters
Universal Plastics
75 Whiting Farms Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
(413) 592-4791 • FAX (413) 592-6876
petersj@universalplastics.com
PRIOR CHAIR
Executive
Committee
2004 – 2006
CHAIR
Conference Coordinator
Gwen Mathis
124 Avenue D, SE
Lindale, Georgia 30147-1027
706/235-9298 • Fax: 706/295-4276
email: gmathis224@aol.com
P. O. Box 471
Lindale, Georgia 30147
CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED
“ARTIFICIAL NEURAL NETWORKS TO CHARACTERIZE ABS, HIPS”
BY F. ERCHIQUI AND A.N. KANDIL, QUEBEC – see page 10
Website: http://www.4spe.org/communities/divisions/d25.php
or www.thermoformingdivision.com
Web Site: www.thermoformingdivision.com
THERMOFORMING DIVISION
2004-2006
Roger Kipp
Chair
Chair Elect
Walt Walker
Secretary
Roger Fox
Treasurer
Barry Shepherd
Prior Chair
Joe Peters
Councilor
Steve Hasselbach
Nominating
Dennis Northrop
Publications
Laura Pichon
Recognition
Hal Gillam
Student Programs
Ken Griep
Finance
James Alongi
Technical
Committees
Newsletter
Editor
Gwen Mathis
ARRC
Rich Freeman
Antec
Don Hylton
Materials
Jim Armor
Equipment
Don Kruschke
Processing
Bob Porsche
Web Site
Rich
Freeman
THERMOFORMING DIVISION HOT LINE 800-233-3189
Roger Kipp, Chairman, Extension 225 at McClarin Plastics, Inc.
Membership/
Marketing
Mike Sirotnak
OPCOM/
Contract Review
Mike Lowery
Conference
Procedure
Lola Carere
Marketing
Support
Conor CarlinConference Coordination
Consultant
Gwen Mathis
2004 Conference
Indianapolis
Laura Pichon
2005 Conference
Milwaukee
Bob Porsche
2006 Conference
Nashville
Martin Stephenson
A JOURNAL OF THE THERMOFORMING DIVISION OF THE SOCIETY OF PLASTICS ENGINEERS
“WINNER 2003 & 2004 AWARD OF EXCELLENCE”
LEAN MANUFACTURING AT
PRODUCTIVE PLASTICS
A Customer-Driven Approach

CHAIRMAN’S CORNER

IT’S ABOUT PLASTICS!

In October I attended the SPE Na

tional Council Meeting in Cleveland.

This Forum is the opportunity for divi

sions and sections to steer the future of

the Society. Hundreds of hours of com

mittee and sub-committee time is dedi

cated to “Good Works” for the Society.
Focus on SPE products, division officer training, GAP
analysis, Pride report revisions, restructuring division
boards and numerous other administrative topics consume
many of these hours. Concerns with section and division
associations as well as value of membership were prevalent
both in committee and social gatherings.

I completed several days of observation and discussion
around the many pieces of a foundation for why
we should be members of the Society of Plastics Engineers,
and the effort to continue to define the value of membership.
These committee discussions and actions were all well
thought and well intended. But I could not help but think
that we failed to make a case …

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF SPE MEMBERSHIP?
IT’S ABOUT PLASTICS!

We as plastics engineers must demonstrate to the
global markets and to public policy leaders the unique and
vital role plastics manufacturing plays in product development
as well as the U.S. economy.

A strong National/International organization focused
on the technical growth and equally important marketing
of the importance of that technology is vital to the
demonstration of the value of the plastics’ industry. As plastics
engineers, our combined resources through SPE will
support our future and the future of our industry.

Thermoforming Division members have recently
received the ballots for Board position elections. This is
your opportunity to support the value of membership by
placing your well thought vote for individuals you believe
will continue the support and promotion of our industry.
Please complete your ballot and return by the January 31,
2005 deadline.

The Thermoforming Industry has come of age.
However, as it was pointed out at the SPE European 2004
Thermoforming Conference, only a small number of the
potential customer base knows anything about our process.

The Thermoforming Division leadership with the
focused effort of Jack Hill, Walt Walker, Walt Speck and
the marketing committee has completed the “What Exactly
is Thermoforming?” DVD included in this quarterly edition
for our division members. We hope that you will share
this presentation in the support of continuing education
on our process.

BY ROGER KIPP, CHAIR

As members of the Society and the Thermoforming
Division, it is the responsibility of each one of us to promote
and maintain the growth of plastics and thermoforming.
To accomplish this we must manage the relationship
with that potential customer or group. Managing these
relationships requires:

1) Cultivation – Building positive perception

2) Acquisitions – Closing the deal with that perspective

account

3) Development – Generating repeat thermoforming pro

grams
4) Retention – Build loyalty to our process and programs
5) Growth – Increased use of our products

The keystone to these relationship stages is service.
As SPE National, the Thermoforming Division, our companies,
and individuals we are all involved in service marketing.
Most of our experience and education is based on
product marketing. The thermoforming process of formed
and trimmed components has minimal product distinction.
As product marketers, we can either reduce price or more
appropriately add value. Adding value relates to providing
service.

The ability to cultivate the thermoforming process
will come down to our vision of the added value service
provided from our industry. This responsibility, of cultivating
this vision, is not limited to the hands of individual
engineers. It is not limited to the thermoforming processors.
It is, however, the responsibility of all individuals and
companies participating in the total thermoforming supply
chain; equipment manufacturers, resin processors, extruders
and thermoformers.

The Thermoforming Division Executive Committee
is administrating a division structure that involves all
of these players. It is our vision that the service philosophy
must be in balance as the baton is handed throughout our
thermoforming industry team.

With focused cultivation, this group will see the
successful acquisition of new markets and continued development,
retention and growth.

SPE membership assures our chance to have input
into the process of building a positive perception of acquiring
more believers, developing further opportunity, with
retention and growth of our thermoforming industry.

If you are not currently a member of SPE and the
Thermoforming Division, I urge you to join us, and please
fell free to contact me at rkipp@mcclarinplastics.com and
remember …

IT’S ABOUT PLASTICS!

Roger C. Kipp, Chairman

THERMOFORMING DIVISION BOARD OF DIRECTORS
James A. Alongi – 2006

MAAC Machinery
590 Tower Boulevard
Carol Stream, IL 60188-9426
TEL (630) 665-1700
FAX (630) 665-7799
jalongi@maacmachinery.com

Jim Armor – 2005

Armor & Associates
16181 Santa Barbara Lane
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
TEL (714) 846-7000
FAX (714) 846-7001
jimarmor@aol.com

Phil S. Barhouse – 2006

Creative Forming
100 Creative Way

P.O. Box 128
Ripon, WI 54971
TEL (920) 748-1119
FAX (920) 748-9466
phil.barhouse@creativeforming.com
Michael Book – 2007

Neocon International
35 Akerley Blvd.
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia,
B3B1J7
Canada
TEL (902) 468-6663 EXT. 223
FAX (902) 468-6880
mbook@neoconinc.com

Arthur Buckel – 2005

McConnell Co., Inc.
3452 Bayonne Drive
San Diego, CA 92109
TEL (858) 273-9620
FAX (858) 273-6837
artbuckel@thermoforming.com

Bob Carrier – 2006

C & K Plastics
159 Liberty Street
Metuchen, NJ 08840
TEL (732) 549-0011 EXT. 203
FAX (732) 549-1889
bob@candkplastics.com

Richard Freeman – 2006

Freetech Plastics
2211 Warm Springs Court
Fremont, CA 94539
TEL (510) 651-9996
FAX (510) 651-9917
rfree@freetechplastics.com

Hal Gilham – 2007

Productive Plastics, Inc.
103 West Park Drive
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08045
TEL (856) 778-4300
FAX (856) 234-3310
halg@productiveplastics.com

Ken Griep – 2005

Portage Casting & Mold, Inc.
2901 Portage Road
Portage, WI 53901
TEL (608) 742-7137
FAX (608) 742-2199
ken@pcmwi.com

Vin McElhone – 2007

Jack Hill – 2007 Mike Sirotnak – 2007

Stand-Up Plastics

Tool-Less Plastic Technologies

Solar Products
13330 Oakhurst Drive

5 Fordham Trail

228 Wanaque Ave.
Elm Grove, WI 53122

Old Saybrook, CT 06475

Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442
TEL (262) 827-0206

TEL (860) 395-1133

TEL (973) 248-9370
FAX (262) 827-0771

FAX (860) 395-1181

FAX (973) 835-7856
jhill47733@aol.com

vjmpacesales@aol.com

msirotnak@solarproducts.com

Stephen R. Murrill – 2006

Donald C. Hylton – 2007

Walt Speck – 2007

Profile Plastics Corp.

646 Holyfield Highway

Speck Plastics, Inc.

65 S. Waukegan

Fairburn, GA 30213

P. O. Box 421
Lake Bluff, IL 60044

TEL (678) 772-5008

Nazareth, PA 18064

TEL (847) 604-5100 EXT. 21

don@thermoforming.com

TEL (610) 759-1807

FAX (847) 604-8030

FAX (610) 759-3916

Bill Kent – 2005

SMurrill@thermoform.com

wspeck@speckplastics.com

Brown Machine

Dennis Northrop – 2006

330 North Ross Street

Martin J. Stephenson – 2006

Avery Dennison

Beaverton, MI 48612-0434

3052 Edge Mar Drive

Automotive Division

TEL (989) 435-7741

Edgewood, KY 41017-2650

650 W. 67th Avenue

FAX (989) 435-2821

TEL (859) 426-1327

Schererville, IN 46375-1390

bill.kent@brown-machine.com

deznmar@aol.com

TEL (219) 322-5030

Don Kruschke – 2007 FAX (219) 322-2623

Jay Waddell – 2005

Stopol, Inc.

Dennis.Northrop@averydennison.com

Plastic Concepts & Innovations,

31875 Solon Road

LLC

Laura Pichon – 2005

Solon, OH 44139

Tolers Cove

Ex-Tech Plastics

TEL (440) 498-4000

1653 Marsh Harbor Lane

11413 Burlington Road

FAX (440) 498-4001

Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464-4569

Richmond, IL 60071

donk@Stopol.com

TEL (843) 971-7833

FAX (843) 971-7898

TEL (815) 678-2131 Ext. 624

FAX (815) 678-4248

Mike Lowery – 2007

jwaddell@plasticoncepts.com

lpichon@extechplastics.com
9680 S. Oakwood Park Dr.

Premier Plastics

Brian Winton – 2007

Robert G. Porsche – 2006

Franklin, WI 53132

Modern Machinery

General Plastics, Inc.

TEL (414) 423-5940 Ext 102

P. O. Box 423
2609 West Mill Road

FAX (414) 423-5930

Milwaukee, WI 53209

Beaverton, MI 48612-0423

mikel@lowerytech.com

TEL (414) 351-1000

TEL (989) 435-9071

FAX (414) 351-1284

FAX (989) 435-3940

Wm. K. McConnell, Jr. – 2005

bob@genplas.com

bwinton@modernmachineinc.com

McConnell Co., Inc.

3030 Sandage St.

Brian Ray – 2005

Ray Products
Fort Worth, TX 76110

P.O. Box 11512
1700 Chablis Avenue
TEL (817) 926-8287

Ontario, CA 91761
FAX (817) 926-8298

TEL (909) 390-9906
billmc@thermoforming.com

FAX (909) 390-9984

brianr@rayplastics.com

These sponsors enable us to publish Thermoforming QUARTERLY

Contents

Thermoforming

®

Q U A R T E R L Y

TECHNICAL SECTION

Spotlight on Industry:

Productive Plastics ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 8

Lead Technical Article:

Neuronal Networks Application for Characterization of Softened Polymers …. 10

University Spotlight:

Penn College ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 16

Industry Practice:

Energy Units in Thermoforming………………………………………………………………….. 17

Industry Practice:

Thermoforming: Growth & Evolution, Part I ……………………………………………….. 18

Thermoforming 101:

Why is Part Design Important?……………………………………………………………………. 22

Book Review:

The Plastic Age: From Bakelite to Beanbags and Beyond……………………………… 24

DIVISION ACTIVITIES

Chairman’s Corner ……………………………………………… Inside Front Cover
Membership Memo: The Many Challenges Ahead!…………………………2
New Members………………………………………………………………………………3
Thermoformer of the Year 2006 Nomination Form…………………………5
Spring 2005 Board Meeting Schedule…………………………………………….6
Membership Application……………………………………………………………..32
Index of Sponsors ……………………………………………………………………….36
Board of Directors List …………………………………………. Inside Back Cover

These sponsors enable us to publish Thermoforming QUARTERLY

Radiant Efficiency = Energy Savings

You can’t have one without the other!

Solar Products can offer you
maximum energy savings along with:

Lower cycle rates • Lower reject rates
Greater heater life • Greater oven uniformity

Don’t be fooled by claims of outrageous energy
savings. Ask your heater supplier to provide
documented proof of radiant efficiency.

Ask for Solar Products on your next new machine
purchase or for that old machine retrofit.

Tel (973) 248-9370
Fax (973) 835-7856

228 Wanaque Ave., Pompton Lake, NJ 07442 www.solarproducts.com

A NOTE TO
PROSPECTIVE
AUTHORS

TFQ is an “equal opportunity”
publisher! You will note that we have
several categories of technical articles,
ranging from the super-high tech
(sometimes with equations!), to
industry practice articles, to book
reviews, how to articles, tutorial
articles, and so on. Got an article that
doesn’t seem to fit in these categories?
Send it to Jim Throne, Technical Editor,
anyway. He’ll fit it in! He promises. [By
the way, if you are submitting an
article, Jim would appreciate it on
CD-ROM in DOC format. All graphs
and photos should be black and white
and of sufficient size and contrast to
be scannable. Thanks.]

Thermoforming

®

QUARTERLY

A JOURNAL PUBLISHED EACH CALENDAR
QUARTER BY THE THERMOFORMING DIVISION
OF THE SOCIETY OF PLASTICS ENGINEERS

Editor

Gwen Mathis

(706) 235-9298 • Fax (706) 295-4276
gmathis224@aol.com
Technical Editor

Dr. James Throne

Sherwood Technologies, Inc.
1797 Santa Barbara Drive
Dunedin, FL 34698-3347
1-800-273-6370 • Fax (727) 734-5081
throne@foamandform.com
jthrone@tampabay.rr.com

Sponsorships

Laura Pichon

(815) 678-2131 Ext. 624
Fax (815) 678-4248
lpichon@extechplastics.com
Thermoforming Quarterly® is published four times annually
as an informational and educational bulletin
to the members of the Society of Plastics
Engineers, Thermoforming Division, and the
thermoforming industry. The name, “Thermoforming
Quarterly®” and its logotype, are registered trademarks
of the Thermoforming Division of the Society
of Plastics Engineers, Inc. No part of this publication
may be reproduced in any form or by any means
without prior written permission of the publisher,
copyright holder. Opinions of the authors are their
own, and the publishers cannot be held responsible
for opinions or representations of any unsolicited
material. Printed in the U.S.A.

Thermoforming Quarterly® is registered in the US
Patent and Trademark Office (Registration no.
2,229,747).

1 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

MEMBERSHIP MEMO

The Many
Challenges Ahead!

BY MIKE SIROTNAK, MEMBERSHIP CHAIRMAN

B
B
eing a member of the only

has grown because of the net

grow this industry. There are
thermoforming exclusive

working that we do together.

still a lot of good products
group does come with some

Whether you are purchasing

being built right here in our
responsibilities. We do have

a machine, plastic, molds,

own backyard by Division
the challenge to do the right

heaters or whatever, remem

supporters.
things to protect and grow

ber which companies support

This Division continues
our industry. That is why I am

our industry and which com

to do great things: DVD,
so proud to be a member of

panies are only in it for the

scholarships, Thermoforming
the Thermoforming Di-

Quarterly and the Convision
and an active

ference. Milwaukee is
member of the Board of

looking great and Bob

MEMBERSHIP REPORT

Directors. Enclosed in

Porsche is doing an

as of 1/4/05

this issue is an educa

outstanding job. Our
tional DVD that gives

Board of Directors conthe
viewer a 6-minute Primary Paid …………………..1,200 tinues to push itself to
voyage of our great in

come up with new in-

Secondary Paid ………………….427

dustry. This DVD can

novative ways to edube
used in the class-Total Membership …………..1,627 cate and grow the
room to educate the

industry. We urge you

Goal as of 6/30/2005 ………2,000

next generation or can

to consider joining us
be brought to the board

for a meeting and conroom
to have a customer con

money. We see a lot of “new”

sider joining the Board. As alsider
thermoforming for their

companies popping up each

ways, feel free to contact me
product. Fellow Board mem

year; we need to consider if

with any questions regarding
ber Jack Hill spearheaded this

these companies are good for

your membership or the
project and did an outstand

our industry. Many of us run

Division itself.
ing job.

our own businesses and do

Happy New Year and
As a tight family-ori

not get to be involved in the

God Bless America! ¦

ented group, I feel it is im

day-to-day decision-making

perative that we do what we

on where to purchase every

can to support our own. In a

single item. This does not ex

global world it is important to

cuse us from supporting the

remember that this industry

companies that have helped

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 2

To Our New Members

Sean B. Alvarez
Dopaco, Inc.
Downingtown,

PA

Peter J. Bauman
Durakon
Industries
Lapeer, MI

Steve Beninato
Lake Forest, CA

Michael A.
Brown
Packaging 2.0
LLC
Jamestown, RI

Joe A. Chavez
Fontana, CA

Jorge D.

DeSimone
Termotec Srl
Buenos Aires,

Argentina

Dennis
DeLeonard
Durakon
Industries
Lapeer, MI

Alejandro

Dyner
Sajiplast SA
Barreal De

Heredia,
Costa Rica

Anthony S.

Georges
Amut North
America
Woodbridge,
Ontario,
Canada

Joseph G.

Gronski, Jr.
Dopaco, Inc.
Downington,

PA

Thomas A.

Hessen
Tray-Pak Corp.
Reading, PA

Almas Hyder

Synthetic
Products
Enterprises

Lahore, Punjab,
Pakistan

Todd P.
Kennedy
Abbottstown,
PA

Ulrich Kiefer

Kiefer
Werkzeugbau
GmbH

Schwaigern,
Germany

Todj
Klimaszewski
Hamden, CT

Masaya Kosaka
Claremont, CA

Vish Kurup

Kirkintilloch
Glasgow, G66
1PG, United
Kingdom

William B.
Mercer

Virginia
Industrial
Plastics

Elkton, VA

John Monk
Durakon
Industries
Lapeer, MI

Krishna V.
Nadella
University of
Washington

Dept. of
Mechanical
Engineering

Seattle, WA

Francisco Javier
Orozco
Plascencia

Fragamex SA De

CV
Prol Milo 3671
Guadalajara,

Jalisco,
Mexico

Christopher M.

Ryan
Cargill Dow
Minnetonka,

MN

Amit R. Shah

Wonderopack
Industries
Pvt. Ltd.

Nasid,
Maharashtra,
India

Phillip J.
Shelton

J. Shelton & Co.
Pty. Ltd.
Villawood,
NSW,
Australia

Dennis G. Simon A. Thayil Ko Wai Yip
Simmons Bloomington, Boway Plastics
Rietschle MN Engineering,
Thomas
Hanover Inc.
Hanover, MD
Daniel J.
Spencer
IPR
Automation/
Sohner
Cheryl Tillery
Avery Dennison
Schererville, IN
David B. Toher
Textron Systems
Wilmington,
MA
Ltd.
Chai Wan, Hong
Kong,
Peoples
Republic of
China
Peter J. Zeiss
Transportant
Plastics Rob Wren Container
Ann Arbor, MI CK Products Berkeley, IL
Fort Wayne, IN

WHY JOIN?

It has never been more important to
be a member of your professional
society than now, in the current
climate of change and volatility in the
plastics industry. Now, more than ever,
the information you access and the
personal networks you create can and
will directly impact your future and
your career.

Active membership in SPE:

• keeps you current
• keeps you informed
• keeps you connected
The question really isn’t
“why join?” but …

WHY NOT?

3 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

THERMOFORMER OF THE YEAR
CRITERIA FOR 2006

E
E
very year The SPE Thermoforming
Division selects a individual
who has made a outstanding
contribution to our industry and
awards them the Thermoformer of
the Year award.

The award in the past has gone
to industry pioneers like Bo Stratton
and Sam Shapiro, who were among
the first to found thermoforming
companies and develop our industry.
We have included machine designers
and builders Gaylord Brown
and Robert Butzko and toolmaker
John Greip, individuals who helped
develop the equipment and mold
ideas we all use today. We have
also honored engineers like Lew
Blanchard and Stephen Sweig, who
developed and patented new methods
of thermoforming. Additionally,
we have featured educators like Bill
McConnell, Jim Throne and
Herman R. Osmers, who have both
spread the word and were key figures
in founding the Thermoforming
Division.

We’re looking for more individuals
like these and we’re turning to
the Thermoforming community to
find them. Requirements would include
several of the following:

.Founder or Owner of a
Thermoforming Company
.Patents Developed
.Is currently active in or recently
retired from the Thermoforming
Industry
.Is a Processor – or capable of
processing
.Someone who developed new
markets for or started a new trend
or style of Thermoforming
.Significant contributions to the
work of the Thermoforming Division
Board of Directors
.Has made a significant educational
contribution to the
Thermoforming Industry.
If you would like to bring someone
who meets some or all of these
requirements to the attention of the
Thermoforming Division, please fill
out a nomination form and a oneto
two-page biography and forward
it to:

Thermoforming Division Awards

Committee

% Productive Plastics, Inc.

Hal Gilham

103 West Park Drive

Mt. Laurel, NJ 08045

Tel: 856-778-4300

Fax: 856-234-3310

Email:
halg@productiveplastics.com

You can also find the form and see all the past
winners at www.thermoformingdivision.com in
the Thermoformer of the Year section.

You can submit nominations and bios at any time
but please keep in mind our deadline for
submissions is no later than December 1st of
each year, so nominations received after that
time will go forward to the next year.

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Thermoforming QUARTERLY 4

Thermoformers of the Year …

1982

William K. McConnell, Jr.
McConnell Company

1983

E. Bowman Stratton, Jr.
Auto-Vac Corp.
1984

Gaylord Brown

Brown Machine

1985

Robert L. Butzko

Thermtrol Corp.

1986

George Wiss
Plastofilm Industries

1987

Dr. Herman R. Osmers

Educator & Consultant

1988

Robert Kittridge
Fabri-Kal Corporation

1989

Jack Pregont
Prent Corporation

1990

Ripley W. Gage

Gage Industries

1991

Stanley Rosen
Mold Systems Corp.

1992

Samuel Shapiro
Maryland Cup
Sweetheart Plastics

1993

John Grundy
Profile Plastics

1994

R. Lewis Blanchard
Dow Chemical
1995

James L. Blin
Triangle Plastics

1996

John Griep
Portage Casting & Mold

1997

John S. Hopple, Hopple Plastics

1998

Lyle Shuert, Shuert Industries

1999

Art Buckel
McConnell Company

2000

Dr. James Throne
Sherwood Technologies

2001

Joseph Pregont, Prent Corp.

2002

Stephen Sweig, Profile Plastics

2003

William Benjamin,
Benjamin Mfg.

2004

Steve Hasselbach, CMI Plastics

THERMOFORMER OF
THE YEAR 2006

Presented at the September 2006 Thermoforming Conference in Nashville, Tennessee

The Awards Committee is now accepting nominations for the 2006
THERMOFORMER OF THE YEAR. Please help us by identifying worthy candidates.
This prestigious honor will be awarded to a member of our industry that has made
a significant contribution to the Thermoforming Industry in a Technical, Educational,
or Management aspect of Thermoforming. Nominees will be evaluated
and voted on by the Thermoforming Board of Directors at the Winter 2006 meeting.
The deadline for submitting nominations is December 1st, 2005. Please complete
the form below and include all biographical information.

Person Nominated:_______________________________________ Title: _____________________
Firm or Institution: _________________________________________________________________
Street Address: _____________________________ City, State, Zip: ________________________
Telephone: _________________ Fax: _________________________ E-mail: _________________

Biographical Information:

•
Nominee’s Experience in the Thermoforming Industry.
•
Nominee’s Education (include degrees, year granted, name and location of
university)
•
Prior corporate or academic affiliations (include company and/or institutions,
title, and approximate dates of affiliations)
•
Professional society affiliations
•
Professional honors and awards.
•
Publications and patents (please attach list).
•
Evaluation of the effect of this individual’s achievement on technology and
progress of the plastics industry. (To support nomination, attach substantial
documentation of these achievements.)
•
Other significant accomplishments in the field of plastics.
•
Professional achievements in plastics (summarize specific achievements upon
which this nomination is based on a separate sheet).
Individual Submitting Nomination: _______________________ Title: _____________________
Firm or Institution: _________________________________________________________________
Address: ____________________________________ City, State, Zip: ________________________
Phone: ____________________ Fax: _________________________ E-mail: _________________

Signature: ______________________________________ Date: ____________________
(ALL NOMINATIONS MUST BE SIGNED)

Please submit all nominations to: Hal Gilham,
Productive Plastics, 103 West Park Drive
Mt. Laurel, New Jersey 08045

5 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

THERMOFORMING
DIVISION
SPRING 2005
BOARD MEETING
SCHEDULE

May 4 – 8, 2005

National Plastics Museum
Sheraton Four Points Hotel
Leominster, Massachusetts

RESERVATIONS:
CALL 978-534-9000

REQUEST SPE ROOM RATE OF $95.00
(Deadline for reservations April 4, 2005)

35 miles from Boston Logan Airport
40 miles from Providence, Rhode Island
40 miles from Manchester, New Hampshire

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Executive Committee and Technical Chairs
Arrive

Thursday, May 5, 2005

8:30 am – 9:30 am – Technical Chairs Meet
with Executive Committee – Boardroom –
Sheraton Four Points
9:30 am – 5:00 pm – Executive Committee
-Boardroom – Sheraton Four Points
Friday, May 6, 2005

8:00 am – 3:00 pm – Committee Meetings –
Boardroom – Sheraton Four Points
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Tour National Plastics
Museum
Dinner on Your Own

Saturday, May 7, 2005

7:30 am – 8:30 am – Breakfast – National
Plastics Museum
8:30 am – Noon – Board of Directors’
Meeting – National Plastics Museum
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm – Lunch – National
Plastics Museum
1:30 pm – Board Bus at Sheraton Four
Points – Travel to Universal Plastics for
Plant Tour
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm – Hosted Cocktail
Reception at Colony Club – DRESS
CODE: JACKET & TIE
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm – Dinner – Colony Club
7:00 pm – Bus Trip back to Sheraton Four
Points in Leominster
Sunday, May 8, 2005
Depart

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Thermoforming QUARTERLY 6

These sponsors enable us to publish

These sponsors enable us to publish Thermoforming QUARTERLY

Thermoforming

QUARTERLY

Visit the
SPE
website
at
www.4spe.org
7 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

Spotlight on Industry

Lean Manufacturing at Productive Plastics

A Customer-Driven Approach

Gerald J. Bose and John Zerillo, Productive Plastics, Mt. Laurel, NJ

W
W
hen the concept of lean manufacturing was

presented to the management team at Pro

ductive Plastics, Inc. (PPI), many of the common

obstacles typically raised by shop personnel were

voiced. Comments like “Lean is not for us,” “We

are a built-to-order house,” and “we don’t make

1,000 widgets a day” were the norm and needed

to be overcome before any new corporate manage

ment philosophy and practice could be instilled.

In contrast, the executive team felt strongly
that lean techniques would work well in our custom
thermoforming job shop environment. In fact,
it is this new philosophy that PPI is busy implementing
throughout the business. The challenge is
creating awareness with our customers, employees
and suppliers, training associates in all aspects of
lean techniques and creating an environment conducive
for change within our two manufacturing
facilities in Mount Laurel, NJ and Greene, NY.

Lean manufacturing can be defined as the
systematic elimination of waste throughout the
operation. “Waste” is any activity that does not add
value to the product. Common waste components
are inventory, moving, transporting, defects, waiting,
overproduction, underutilized people and nonvalue
added processing.

Rather than attacking the entire business, we
first selected a segment of business as our pilot,

which represented around 20% of annual revenue
spread over approximately 100 part numbers.
Each plant produced roughly 50% of this
demand, so total involvement would be assured.
Annual volumes for each part ranged from a
maximum of 2100 to a minimum of 10.

Our customer, who was pushing for reduced
lead times and inventories, had clearly stated their
goal: reduce purchase order lead time from the standard
8 weeks to 5 business days. This would call
for releasing product from a local third-party warehouse
on a daily basis ultimately reducing their inventory
levels to 5 days. The incentive for reaching
this goal was significant: customer would pay PPI
5 days after receipt of order (ARO).

Finding a customer who was actively seeking
suppliers who would partner with them to
“lean” the supply chain was critical. As in most
good lean pilots we sought the customer out to
specify their goals and objectives, next we mapped
the process and the pilot out carefully, then began
to work on creating the streamlined flow of products
and information. Currently, we are standardizing
the flow to create “pull” as shown in the figure
below.

We identified three key success factors required
to accomplish our goal. First, we needed to
build a partnership with our customer that required
them to provide access to their daily demand. Prior
to this, they had only provided monthly forecasts

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 8

goals:
ries
by part number. PPI was required to have the upcoming
month of supply in stock by the end of the
proceeding month. Obviously, this practice created
excess inventories and a misallocation of resources.

Secondly, to be successful our sheet suppliers
and prime sub-contractors would need to reduce
their lead times significantly. Since the part
numbers we selected comprised multiple sheet sizes
and colors, many production runs were as low as
250 pounds, which created production inefficiencies
for our sheet extruders. So, it was critical that
we bring our suppliers into the value chain and
share forecasts and schedules so they could better
plan for our requirements. One side benefit of providing
this information was that it allow for more
consolidated production runs, enhanced efficiencies
and lower inventories for our sheet extruder.

Finally, we had to apply “lean thinking” to
the administration component of our plan. Customer
service had to gain a keener awareness of customer
demand in order to shorten reaction times to
unexpected changes in the forecast/build plan. This
meant a more frequent, closer review of the demand/
supply projection for all critical parts. In
turn, this allowed Purchasing and Production Control
to react in short order. To fully leverage the opportunity,
we had to streamline and improve our
systems for handling orders, demand planning and
shop scheduling and PO releases.

As we launched our pilot, we set a goal to
reduce total lead-time from receipt of order through
invoice from 8 to 4 weeks and began to identify the
following actions for success:

• Identify and train group leaders and dedicated
set-up personnel
• Produce “golden parts” that meet customer
specifications
• Manufacture “mistake-proof” check fixtures to
ensure operators can easily and efficiently assure
part quality conformance
• Ensure production methods and bills of material
have a high degree of accuracy
• Identify and maintain dedicated staging areas
for tooling, fixtures, cutters, hand tools, etc. to
reduce changeover times
• Reorganize our facilities to provide improved
product flow and optimize visibility for team
leaders and operators
We are confident the results will be a much
more profitable business segment that will specialize
in small lot production, be flexible to changing
customer demand, have shorter lead times and improved
quality and on-time delivery. To be sure,
expectations are extremely high at PPI as we embark
on this journey. We are encouraged by both
the challenges and the results, thus far, with the pilot
program where we are focused on the following

• Reduced setup times by up to 75%
• 50% reduction in lead times
• 70% increase in throughput
• 25% reduced WIP and Finished Goods Invento•
98% on-time delivery
• 98% quality conformance
• 10% cost reduction
Summary/Conclusion

The lean journey is long and rife with roadblocks,
which can be expected any time a company
adopts a new business model and embraces change
as a way of life. Despite the “bumps along the way,”
the Executive Team is convinced that Lean is the way
to go.

What makes Lean different than other business
improvement processes is that you involve the
customer right from the beginning. Since, the customer
is on board and demanding change as quickly
as it can be realized, turning back to “the way we’ve
always done it” is simply not an option. ¦

Gerald J. Bose is Vice-President, Manufacturing at Productive
Plastics, Inc. and leading the lean transformation. John
Zerillo is Vice-President, Sales at PPI and is leading this
pilot program.

9 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

LEAD TECHNICAL ARTICLE

Neuronal Networks Application for
Characterization of Softened Polymers1

BY F. ERCHIQUI AND A.N. KANDIL
UNIVERSITE DE QUEBEC ABITIBI-TIMASCAMBINQUE, QUEBEC CANADA

Abstract

Recent progress in computer-aided polymer processing
analysis demonstrates the need for accurate
description of the material behavior under the
conjugated effect of applied stress and temperature.
In this work, we are interested in the characterization
of circular thermoplastic membranes, ABS and
HIPS thermoforming grade, under biaxial deformation
using the bubble inflation technique.
Hyperelastic (Mooney-Rivlin, Ogden) models are
considered. First, the governing equations for the
inflation of a flat circular membrane are solved using
a dynamic finite element model (triangular
membrane elements), and thereafter, a neuronal algorithm
is employed to determine the materials
constants. Moreover, the influence of the Mooney-
Rivlin and Ogden constitutive models on the thickness
and the stress distribution in the
thermoforming sheet are analyzed.

Introduction

Deformation of a flat polymer sheet clamped
around its edges into a 3D shape is the main feature
of the thermoforming process. Generally the
deformation is very rapid, is of a non-uniform
multi-axial type, and takes place at a forming temperature
that is above the glass transition temperature.
The neuronal networks approach [8] is
employed to determine the material constants. The
experimental set-up used for this work has been
described elsewhere [3]. The pressure inside the
bubble and the height at the hemispheric pole are
recorded during the experiments and are used to

1 This paper was presented at ANTEC 2004, Chicago. It has been
reviewed and edited. All alterations to the paper are the responsibility
of the Technical Editor.

solve the non-linear equations governing the dynamic
inflation process [8]. In this work we use this
technique to describe the behavior of a sheet of an
ABS and of an HIPS thermoforming grade heated
at 145ºC and 150ºC, respectively, using both the
Mooney-Rivlin and Ogden models. Then a dynamic
finite element analysis is carried out to compute
the time evolution of the bubble polar height
for a given air flow rate. The principal extension
ratios as well as the stresses are also calculated as a
function of time.

Experimental

The materials considered in this work are the ABS
and the HIPS. The initial sheet thickness is 0.46 mm
for ABS and 0.97 mm for HIPS. The exposed circular
domain of radius R0=3.175 cm is heated to the
softening point inside a heating chamber using infrared
heaters. When the temperature is quite uniform
over the flat sheet, the inflation is started using
compressed air at a controlled flow rate. In most
inflation tests, the experiment ends when the
bubble bursts. The bubble pressure, its height at
the pole and time are recorded simultaneously using
a video camera and a data acquisition system.

Theory

The bubble inflation process is simulated using
the dynamic finite element method. The mathematical
formulation of the problem closely follows
the approach detailed by Erchiqui [8] and is not
repeated here. The governing equations of the inflation
problem are solved by total Lagrangian finite
element method using membrane triangular
elements and explicit finite difference scheme for
time integration to describe the material behavior.

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 10

Mooney-Rivlin:

W is the strain energy function, I1 and I2 are the
primary and secondary strain tensor invariants
given by:

where 1, 2, 3 are the principal stretch ratios in
the longitudinal, azimuthal, and thickness direc

tions of the membrane and are
related by the incompressibility
condition 123 = 1. Cij are material
constants. Two constants,
C1 and C2, are used here.

Ogden:

pings without explicit programming and extract
relationships (both linear and nonlinear) between
data sets presented during a learning process.
ANNs are massively parallel, so that, in principle,
they are able to respond with high speed. Furthermore,
the redundancy of their interconnections
ensures robustness and fault tolerance, and they
can be designed to self-adapt and learn.

In this proposed work, these ANN strengths are
exploited to model the relationship between the mechanical
parameters, the experimental height, h,
and the corresponding pressure, P. The well-known
multi-layered perceptron (MLP) is used as a pri

(continued on next page)

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.

Where i and i are the material
constants. The use of three sets
of constants (I=3) in the series is
usually sufficient to describe the
material nonlinear response under
deformation.

The Neural Networks
Approach

Artificial Neural Networks
(ANN), whose operation is
based on certain known properties
of biological neurons, comprise
various architectures of
highly interconnected processing
elements that offer alternatives
to conventional computing
approaches. They respond in
parallel to a set of inputs and are
more concerned with transformations
than algorithms and
procedures. They can achieve
complicated input-output map

11 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

(continued from previous page)

mary test in this application. More complex and
advanced ANN types will be tested later for better
results. The ANN used consists of an input layer,
one hidden layer, and an output layer. In the output
layer, only one neuron is needed to anticipate
the mechanical parameters, for a given pressure, P,
while the input to the ANN is the variance of the
corresponding pressure.

Simulation data are used for training the ANN.
However, experimental data are used for testing
the ANN. Hence, the testing data were not used
during the training process. All inputs are normalized
before training. The well-known Generalized
Delta Rule (GDR), also called error back propagation
algorithm, is used to train the layered
perceptron-type ANN. However, instead of applying
the steepest descent method characterized by
slow convergence and long training time, an approximation
of Newton’s method called
Levenberg-Marquard algorithm is used. This optimization
technique is more powerful than gradient
descent, but requires more memory. The theory
behind this approach may be found in [9].

Results

Theoretical material constants for Mooney-Rivlin
are obtained by using the neuronal networks approach
for ABS at 145ºC and HIPS at 150ºC. The
material constants are given in Table 1. For the 6parameter
Ogden model, we had difficulty identi-

Table 1

HIPS and ABS material constants at 145ºC
for Mooney-Rivlin models

HIPS: C1=0.085, C2=0 ABS: C1=0.230, C2=0

Table 2

HIPS material constants at 145ºC for
the Ogden model

1 = +0.17435 MPa 1 = +1.85226
2 = +0.10469 MPa 2 = +0.01498
3 = +0.52915 MPa 3 = -0.02208

fying all values using the neuronal networks approach.
For this case, the air bubble inflation technique
[1,2] was used to fit the constitutive models.
The material constants for Ogden model are given
in Table 2 for HIPS and Table 3 for ABS.

Table 3

ABS material constants at 150ºC for
the Ogden model

1 = +0.146913 MPa 1 = +0.52668
2 = +0.3661 MPa 2 = +1.91694
3 = +0.0293 MPa 3 = -0.079

Figures 1 and 2 show experimental measurements
with numerical curves for Mooney-Rivlin
and Ogden models, respectively. The error on the
measurements is of the order of 10%. It is noted
that when the maximum pressure is reached, the
bubble height is about equal to the initial membrane
radius. Beyond this critical point, the bubble height
increases rapidly while the pressure falls.

Figure 1. Experimental pressure v. bubble height, HIPS.

Thermoforming Application

As with the circular viscoelastic membrane blowing
application of the previous section, in this section,
we also use the dynamic approach with a load
applied in terms of the linear air flow rate, to study
the thermoforming of a container made of ABS or
HIPS material. The geometries of the mold and the
sheet are marked with a grid using the triangular
elements membranes. The initial sheet configura-

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 12

Figure 2. Experimental pressure v. bubble height, ABS.

tion is a rectangular sheet with a length of 25.4 cm,
a width of 15.24 cm and a uniform thickness of 0.16
cm and its edges are considered as fixed. In this
paper, we present a comparative analysis of the
thickness and the stress distribution in the
thermoforming sheet for the hyperelastic behaviour
(Mooney-Rivlin, Ogden). The materials parameters
used for these materials are given in Tables 1 to 3.

For the contact of the preform and the mold, we
consider the assumption of sticking contact, because
it is estimated that the polymer cools and stiffens
quickly and that the pressure of working is not
sufficient to deform the part of the sheet that is in
contact with mold. Figures 3 and 4 present two different
views of the sheet mesh deformation process.
Figure 3 presents the evolutions of the (1, 2,

3) extensions at 0.10 second, at the time of working
of the formed polymeric part using the Ogden
model (HIPS). Figure 4 presents the different views
of the deformations distribution, at the end of deformation
of the thermoformed part for ABS using
the Mooney-Rivlin model.
In Figures 5 and 6, we present the final thickness
distribution for ABS and HIPS materials on the halfplanes
of symmetry XZ and YZ in the
thermoformed container for the Mooney-Rivlin and
Ogden models. According to these figures, we observe
a maximum thinning of 10%, which is reached
at the respective positions of 8.01 cm and 18.07 cm.
In the center of the lower part of the part, the thinning
is 32.5%. These thinnings are almost similar

Figure 3. Steps of sheet deformation (1, 2, 3), Ogden
model at t=0.10 sec for HIPS.

to those obtained with the Mooney-Rivlin and the
Ogden model.

In thermoforming numerical simulation, the
thickness prediction is an important goal but the
stress estimation is also helpful for part design. Indeed,
the prediction of the residual stress and the
shape stability of the part are strongly related to
the estimated stress. In this section, the stress prediction
obtained from the investigated constitutive
models is discussed. The localized thinning effect
of the deformed membrane is generally accompanied
by the increase in the Cauchy stresses or the
true stresses of the material. Figures 7 and 8 present
the final von Mises stresses distribution, as pre

(continued on next page)

13 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

(continued from previous page)
Figure 4. Distribution of extension after inflation for ABS
with Mooney-Rivlin model.

dicted by using different constitutive models, on
the XZ and YZ halfplanes of symmetry in the
thermoformed container.

Figure 5. Thickness distribution, symmetry plan, XZ.

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 14

Figure 6. Thickness distribution, symmetry plan, YZ.

Conclusions

The behavior of a thermoplastic circular membrane
was investigated both experimentally and
numerically. The neuronal networks approach is
employed to determine two constants of Mooney-
Rivlin model. For the Ogden model, the theoretical
material constants are obtained by fitting pressure
deformation experimental data. The two models
give different results when the bubble pressure
level is close to the maximum pressure reached during
experiments.

Also, in this work, we have presented the application
of a dynamic finite element approach based
on the total Lagrangian formulation for simulating
the response of isotropic, incompressible ther-

Figure 7. Von Mises stress distribution, symmetry plan,
XZ.

These sponsors enable us to publish Thermoforming QUARTERLY Saad, “Use of ANNs for Short-

Term Load Forecasting, the Canadian
Conference on Electrical and
Computer Engineering,” CCECE
’99, Mai 199, Edmonton, Alberta,
Canada.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank
the Natural Sciences and Engineering
Research Council of Canada
(NSERC) and the FUQAT at the
University of Quebec in Abitibi-
Temiscamingue. ¦

Figure 8. Von Mises stress distribution, symmetry plan,
YZ.

moplastic materials during thermoforming process.
The forming load function is defined in terms of
gas flow rate instead of static pressure. Moreover,
we have simulated the thermoforming of a rectangular
container made of ABS and HIPS material and
studied the influence of hyperelastic (Ogden,
Mooney-Rivlin) constitutive laws on the thickness
distribution of this thin part, by varying the air flow
loading distribution.

The results obtained have highlighted the importance
of applying the loads when expressed in
terms of air flow instead of classical pressure for

efficiently describing the response of thermoplastic
membrane. These preliminary studies are essential
steps towards the full achievement of our midterm
goals of performing and developing tools for
modeling and simulation of thermoplastic forming
processes, as related in particular to the extrusionblow
molding and thermoforming processes.

References

1. D. D. Joye, G. W. Poehlein, and C. D. Denson,
Trans. Soc. Rheol., 16, pp. 421-445, (1972).
2. L.R. Schmidt and J.F. Carley, Int. J. Engng. Sci.,
13, pp. 563-577, (1975).
3. A. Derdouri, R. Connolly, R. Khayat, E. Verron
and B. Peseux, Proc. Antec ’98, pp. 672-675, (1998).
4. W. W. Feng, J. Appl. Mech., ASME Trans.,
(1992), 59, pp. S59-S34.
5. H. G. DeLorenzi and H. F. Nied, Computers &
Structures, 26, No. 1/2, pp. 197-106, (1987).
6. L.R.G. Treloar, The Physics of Rubber Elasticity.
Clarendon Press, Oxford, (1975).
7. A.S. Lodge, Elastic Liquids. Academic Press, Inc.
1984.
8. F. Erchiqui, D. Diri, Revue des composites et
des matériaux avancées, 13:1, pp.99-114, 2003.
9. N. Kandil, V. K. Sood, and M.
15 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

UNIVERSITY HIGHLIGHT – PENN COLLEGE

Industry Support Helps College Promote
Plastics Industry Careers

P
P
ennsylvania College of Technology
is embarking on a project to build
interest among high school students
for careers in the plastics industry.

With financial support from some
Pennsylvania companies and an industry
group, Penn College has purchased
four pieces of “tabletop” plasticsmanufacturing
equipment that demonstrate
the fundamental processes
used in the industry: an injection molding
machine, a blow molding machine,
a thermoforming machine and a rotational
molding machine.

The equipment has been installed on
carts, which also will carry related
tools and materials. The machines will
be rotated among high schools and vocational-
technical schools in Pennsylvania
to give students hands-on
experience with the basic tools, processes,
and materials of the plastics
industry.

Over the summer, faculty in the
College’s Plastics Department held
training sessions on the main campus
in Williamsport, showing teachers
from several high school and vocational-
technical schools in north central
Pennsylvania how to use the
equipment. The program will expand
later to include schools from other
parts of the state.

Penn College is one of a handful of
colleges and universities in the nation
with a certified program in Plastics and
Polymer Technology. Graduates find
excellent career opportunities, but industry
experts say there are not
enough students entering the career
field. Pennsylvania is home to nearly
1,500 plastics companies.

“The plastics industry continues to
grow in Pennsylvania,” said Dr.
Lawrence J. Fryda, dean of industrial
and engineering technologies. “Penn
College hopes to help high school students
become more aware of the employment
opportunities in this field
and the technical skills needed for success.”

Startup costs for the initiative were
offset by generous donations from an
industry organization, the Society of
Plastics Engineers (SPE) Foundation
and SPE’s Thermoforming Division;
and eight companies: Alcan Cable, PPL
Corp., Arrow International Inc., Washington
Penn Plastic Co. Inc., McClarin
Plastics Inc., West Pharmaceutical Services,
Inc., Quadrant Engineering Plastic
Products, Double-H Plastics, and
Kensey Nash Corp.

Penn College, a special mission affiliate
of The Pennsylvania State University,
also operates the Plastics
Manufacturing Center, which works
with industry to help solve productdevelopment
challenges.

Plastics and Polymer Technology at
Pennsylvania College of Technology is
one of only five plastics programs in
the nation that is recognized by the Accreditation
Board for Engineering and
Technology. This endorsement from
the leading authority in technology
education results from the
department’s extensive array of industrial-
size plastics processing equipment,
modern laboratory facilities,
highly credentialed faculty with lots of
real-world experience, and a comprehensive
curriculum that balances classroom
and hands-on time.

Students at
Warrior Run
High School
work with the
Penn College
thermoforming
machine.

The department has three full-time
faculty members:

Kirk M. Cantor, PhD, Associate Professor;
Ann K. Soucy, Doc. Eng., Assistant
Professor; and Timothy E. Weston,
Assistant Professor and Department
Head.

The department offers two degrees:

* Associate of Applied Science in Plastics
and Polymer Technology
* Bachelor of Science in Plastics and
Polymer Engineering Technology
Graduates from these programs are
in high demand to fill plastics industry
career positions in manufacturing
operations, process technology, supervision,
research and development,
product and machine design, and
many more. Starting salaries range
from approximately $35,000 to $45,000.
Graduates of the department are currently
employed at companies across
Pennsylvania and the country, including
Honda, Toyota, General Electric,
DuPont, Tyco, Owens-Illinois, Graham,
Atofina, Truck-Lite, West Company,
and Alcan.

For more information on Penn College,
contact the Plastics & Polymer
Technology Department, Breuder Advanced
Technology & Health Sciences
Center, Room E134, Pennsylvania College
of Technology, Williamsport PA,
www.pct.edu or plastics@pct.edu. ¦

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 16

INDUSTRY PRACTICE

Energy Units in Thermoforming

BY JIM THRONE, SHERWOOD TECHNOLOGIES, INC., DUNEDIN, FLORIDA

T
T
hermoformers pay utility companies for the energy
needed to heat plastics to forming conditions. Table
1 gives conversion units for natural gas and propane
energy (and heating oil) to electrical energy.

In the U.S., we typically use British Thermal Units or
Btu to determine the amount of energy needed to heat
a sheet of plastic to the forming temperature. We size
our electric heaters in kW. We buy our natural gas in
cubic feet and our propane by the gallon. Conversion
between units can often be a problem. For example, the
energy from one 10 kW heater will boil 28.5 U.S. gallons
of water, starting from room temperature, in one
hour. That’s about 34,000 Btu.

Table 2 relates the consumption of 100,000 Btu to other
energy sources.

But conversion of units is usually incomplete unless
we add in energy costs. Consider the case where electricity
costs 7.3 cents/kWh, natural gas costs $6.30/1,000
cubic feet, propane costs 91 cents/gallon, and #2 heating
oil costs $1.30/gallon. Using 100,000 Btu as our standard,
we find that electricity costs $2.14, natural gas
costs $0.61, propane costs $0.99, and #2 heating oil costs
$0.932, with the ratio being 1 to 0.29 to 0.46 to 0.43. These
values are given in Table 2. Keep in mind, though, that
these values assume 100 percent conversion of energy
to heat absorbed by the sheet and do not include installation,
maintenance, and loss in conversion over the life
of the heater.

Table 1

Energy Source kWh Equivalent
Natural Gas
Cubic foot 0.302
Cubic meter 10.66
Btu 29.3 x 10-5
Therm 29.3
Megajoule [MJ] 0.2778
Propane

U.S. Gallon 32
#2 Heating Oil
U.S. Gallon 41
Liter 10.7
Table 2
Energy Source 100,000 Btu Equivalent Cost/unit1 Cost/100,000 Btu, $
Electricity
29.3 kWh 8.3 cents $2.14
Natural Gas
Cubic foot 97.02 6.3 cents $0.61
Cubic meter 2.75 22.2 cents dto
Btu 100,000 6.1 x 10-4 cents dto
Therm 1 61 cents dto
Megajoule 105.5 0.58 cents dto
Propane
U.S. Gallon 1.09 91 cents $0.99
#2 Heating Oil
U.S. Gallon 0.715 130 cents $0.93
Liter 2.74 33.9 cents dto

1 1Q03, DOE. As energy costs vary widely across the nation, please use your own values here.
2 In 1992, the ratio of electricity cost to natural gas cost in the U.S. was 5.4. #2 heating oil was at parity with natural gas.

17 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

INDUSTRY PRACTICE

Thermoforming: Growth and Evolution1
Part I

BY JAMES L. THRONE, SHERWOOD TECHNOLOGIES, INC., DUNEDIN, FL 34698 AND
PETER J. MOONEY, PLASTICS CUSTOM RESEARCH SERVICES, ADVANCE, NC 27006

Abstract

Thermoforming is the process of heating and shaping
plastic sheet into rigid containers, components of
final assemblies, and stand-alone end-use parts. The
value of all thermoformed parts produced in North
America in 2003 exceeded US$10 billion. Traditionally,
about 3/4 of all thermoformed products are produced
from sheet of 1.5 mm or less in thickness and are primarily
rigid disposable packaging products. Most of
the rest is produced from sheet of 3 mm or more in thickness
and are primarily durable structural goods.

Thermoforming has benefited by its ability to fabricate
thin-walled parts having large areas, using relatively
inexpensive, single-sided aluminum tooling. Its
deficiencies – variable wall thickness, the added cost of
sheet and trim regrind, and extensive trimming and
additional cost to reprocess the trim – are offset by the
ability to economically produce low-volume, thickwalled
parts or high-volume thin-walled parts.

The advances in thermoforming technology in the
past decade have allowed the industry to grow at a rate
that exceeded the growth rate of the plastics industry
in general. However, this pattern has changed in the
past few years. Newer advances in plastic materials,
tooling, forming machinery, and auxiliary equipment
are needed to regain earlier growth rate momentum.

This paper considers several emerging technologies
such as forming composite sheet materials, surface
decoration, and new material development. It also considers
the effect of globalization on both thin-gauge and
heavy-gauge domestic thermoformers.

Introduction

The thermoforming process begins with an extruded
sheet of plastic. It is heated between infrared heaters to
its forming temperature. Then it is stretched over or

1 The authors were invited to present this paper in a special session
at 2005 SPE ANTEC, but the abstract was not accepted. The first
part of the paper is presented here. The conclusion of the paper
will be presented in the next issue.

into a temperature-controlled metal mold. It is held
against the mold surface until it is cooled. The formed
sheet is then removed from the mold and the formed
part is trimmed from the sheet. The trim is then
reground and returned to the extruder to be mixed with
virgin plastic for extrusion into sheet.

There are two general thermoforming process categories.
Sheet 1.5 mm (0.060 inches) or less in thickness is
usually delivered to the thermoforming press in rolls.
Thin-gauge, roll-fed thermoforming applications are
dominated by rigid or semi-rigid disposable packaging
products. Sheet 3 mm (0.120 inches) or more in thickness
is usually delivered to the forming press cut close
to final dimensions and stacked on pallets. Heavy- or
thick-gauge, cut sheet thermoforming applications are
primarily permanent structural components. There is
a small but growing medium-gauge market that forms
sheet 1.5 mm to 3 mm in thickness. Thermoformed parts
are as small as thimbles with wall thicknesses less than

0.015 mm (0.0006 inches) or as large as swimming pools
with wall thicknesses greater than 25 mm (1 inch).
The North American thermoforming market has traditionally
been split into 3/4 thin-gauge products and
1/4 heavy-gauge products. There are about 150 thingauge
thermoformers in North America. Sixty percent
form proprietary products, 30% are custom formers,
and 10% are OEMs with in-house forming capability.
There are about a dozen thin-gauge formers having
annual sales of U.S. $100 million or more. The largest,
Pactiv Corporation of Lake Forest, IL, has annual sales
in excess of U.S. $1,000 million.

There are about 250 heavy-gauge formers in North
America. Nearly all are custom formers. Only a handful
of heavy-gauge formers have annual sales of more
than U.S. $100 million. In 2003, the largest, Wilbert Plastic
Services of St. Paul, MN, had annual sales of about

U.S. $140 million.
Historically, thermoforming is one of the oldest plastics
processes (1). Baby rattles and teething rings were
formed of camphorated cellulose nitrate or pyroxylinTM
in the 1890s (2). The industry did not grow substan-

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 18

tially until the 1930s when the development of cellulose
acetate and acrylic provided the industry with
formable sheet. The earliest roll-fed thermoforming machines
were developed in the late 1930s in Europe (3).
Throughout WWII, heavy-gauge forming depended on
convection oven heating of the sheet and hand draping
of the sheet over male or positive molds (4,5). Shuttle
presses were developed in the late 1940s, and rotary
machines followed in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Growth Dynamic for the Industry

For many years, the growth rate of the industry exceeded
the growth rate of the plastics industry, in general.
The forming industry grew at about 8.5% to 9%
annually through the 1970s. From 1984 to 2000, the
heavy-gauge growth rate was in excess of 5% annually,
but by the second half of the 1990s, the thin-gauge packaging
business had slowed to about 3.4% annually (6).
From 2000 to 2003, the overall industry growth rate
dropped to zero. The forecast for the coming years for
both thin-gauge and heavy-gauge forming is a growth
rate below that of the plastics industry, in general (7). A
maturing industry and the effects of globalization are
the primary forces behind this decrease in its growth
rate.

Maturation of the Industry

It is our observation that the thermoforming industry
is moving into its mature stage. In the last half-century,
the industry has evolved from toaster-wire heaters,
using sag as a measure of formability, wooden molds,
and hand trimming, to energy-efficient heaters, sheet
temperature monitoring, temperature-controlled
molds, and advanced trimming machines. Because of
this evolution, one wag has said, “We’ve formed all the
easy, pretty parts.”

Market penetration requires ratcheting up the technical
level. But it also increases piece-part costs and invites
competition. Injection molders, for example, for
some time have been molding plastics with superior
mechanical strength to compete with structural
thermoformed parts, and they are now bidding for lowvolume
parts to just cover their variable costs. They are
once again investing in large-platen, high-tonnage
presses to challenge heavy-gauge formers. Rotational
and blow molders are strongly resisting inroads by
twin-sheet thermoformers into hollow part production
(8). Yet, as we note below, new thermoforming techniques
may help counter these infringements.

Globalization

Over the last half-century, the three North American
economies have been truly transformed by globalization.
In the United States, the share of foreign trade in
our gross national product has risen from roughly 5%
a half-century ago to over 10% today. The opportunities
for expanding production through exports have
increased. At the same time, consumer choice has been
enhanced through imports (9).

Although some domestic industries have benefited
from globalization, the overall domestic plastics industry
has suffered. Injection molders, in particular, have
endured a continuing decrease in their markets as many
domestic OEMs have either relocated their manufacturing
operations to Asia and other regions of the world
or have outsourced the production of parts – in some
cases, entire assemblies – to foreign countries with comparative
advantages in the form of low-cost labor. Injection
molders are particularly susceptible to this trend
because their mode of production has become standardized
and automated, and their output is typically small
in physical size and economical to transport in container
ships.

Thin-gauge part formers have already been impacted
by this trend to globalization as parts produced offshore
are usually also packaged offshore. Heavy-gauge formers
are just now beginning to feel the globalization effects.
The major barrier that Asian heavy-gauge part
formers faced in the past was poor quality sheet. This
is now beginning to change. To meet the inevitable
growing challenge of foreign competition, the domestic
heavy-gauge part formers must be relentless in reviewing
their entire operation to increase overall
efficiency. And they need to explore export opportunities,
which have traditionally been a small fraction of
their customer base.

A Caveat on Newer Advances in
Thermoforming

In Table 1, we list several recent advances of importance
to formed sheet fabrication. However, we must
keep in mind that thermoformers tend to be very pragmatic
regarding new concepts. In many cases, formers
are aware of these technologies, but they will only adopt
them when the customer is willing to pay for the time
and effort needed to learn how to use them. Technologies
such as twin-sheet forming, multi-axis trimming
of heavy-gauge parts, formable PP, and syntactic foam
for pre-stretching thin-gauge parts were tested and

(continued on next page)

19 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

(continued from previous page)

Table 1

Technologies Available by 1980
But Adopted Much Later by Thermoformers

Tungsten-wire halogen heater (late 1800s)
Nichrome wire in quartz glass heater (1930s)
Low-pressure natural gas or propane heater (1800s)
Electric platen drive (1960s, injection molding)
Enclosed oven heating (1970s, Japan)
Twin-sheet forming (late 1800s)
Pressure forming (late 1800s)
Computer models for predicting heating rates (1970s)
Polypropylene for thin-gauge forming (1970s)
Oil-less bearing surfaces (1960s)
Localized matched-tool forming or “coining” (1970s,

injection molding)
Syntactic foam (1970s)
In-mold labeling (1970s)
Infrared temperature measurement (1970s)
Scrapless thermoforming (Dow STP, 1970s)
Multi-axis trimming (3-axis,1930s metalworking; 5

axis,1950s woodworking)
Computer-driven machining (1960s, metalworking)
Machining and bending for assembly (1940s, hobbyists)
Computer-aided distortion printing (1970s, Hollywood

morphing)
Mathematical wall thickness prediction (1970s, Fukase,
blow molding)

available for years before thermoformers chose to employ
them. Interestingly, once thermoformers learn the
value of these technologies, they quickly embrace them.

Is Thermoforming Evolving?

Nearly a decade ago, one of us (PJM) conducted the
first extended survey of North American industrial
thermoforming (10). At that time, he noted that most of
the companies interviewed had little or no interest in
the latest thermoforming technologies. In the forward
to this report, the other of us (JLT) noted that many of
these same companies had recently invested heavily in
pressure forming, CNC trimmers, syntactic foam plugs,
epoxy foam prototype tools, extensive sheet drying
equipment, ceramic, quartz, and/or natural gas heaters,
and in-house vacuum and pressure systems. Many
of these techniques were experimental or not fully developed
only a decade earlier. So, despite
thermoformers’ claims that they have no interest in the
latest innovations, they do ultimately adopt them. This
year he (PJM) conducted a follow-up survey of these
processors (7) and once again, he concluded that this
attitude toward new technological advances still prevails.

So, what new developments should formers be
adopting in the days and years ahead? Table 2 lists many
technologies that have been around for a while but have
not yet become part of the thermoformers’ lexicon.
Some of these will become economically important in
the next few years.

Table 2

Technologies Known Since 1980
But in Limited Use Now

Small-particle fillers (including nanofillers)
Biodegradable and compostable polymers
In-mold decorating
Secondary reinforcement of formed part
Water jet cutting
Short, long, and continuous glass fiber-reinforced sheet
Coordinate measurement uses (other than QC)
Porous metal and porous ceramic mold materials
Formable high-performance sheet applications
Antistatic and static-dissipative sheet applications
Surface venting – poppet valve
Thin-gauge, in-mold, trim-in-place forming
High-density foam sheet
Thin-gauge wheel forming
Linear motor multi-axis trimming devices

References

1.
Throne, J. L., “Thermoforming: From Baby Rattles
to Bed Springs and Beyond,” 60th SPE ANTEC,
San Francisco, SPE Tech. Papers, 47, 4089-4095,
(2002).
2.
DuBois, J. H., Plastics History U.S.A., Cahners
Books, Boston, 44-45 (1972).
3.
DuBois, J. H., Plastics History U.S.A., Cahners
Books, Boston, 248-249 (1972).
4.
Anon., 1941 Modern Plastics Catalog, Breskin Publishing
Corp., New York, 52 and 180 (1940).
5.
Anon., 1943 Modern Plastics Catalog, Plastics Catalogue
Corp., Chicago, 130, 395, 508-516, and 524528
(1942).
6.
Mooney, P. J., “Understanding the Thermoformed
Packaging Business,” Plastics Custom Research Services,
Advance, NC (May 2002).
7.
Mooney, P. J., “The Industrial Thermoforming Business:
Review and Outlook,” Plastics Custom Research
Services, Advance, NC (Nov. 2004).
8.
Beall, G. L., and J. L. Throne, Hollow Plastic Parts:
Design and Manufacture, Hanser Publishers,
Munich (2004).
9.
Mooney, P. J., “It’s the Economy, Stupid!” Plastics
News, 6, 23 (15 Nov. 2004).
10.
Mooney, P. J., “An Analysis of the North American
Industrial Thermoforming Business,” Plastics
Custom Research Services, Advance, NC (Sep. 1995).
¦

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 20

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Thermoforming QUARTERLY

Paul Lapointe

Standex Engraving Group
5901 Lewis Rd.
Sandston, VA 23150

Ph: 804/236-3065

Fax: 804/226-3462

Roger Fox David A. J. Morgese
(630) 653-2200
www.foxmor.com
21 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

Why is Part Design Important?

BY JIM THRONE, SHERWOOD TECHNOLOGIES, INC., DUNEDIN, FL

T
T
hroughout this series of
tutorials, we have
assiduously1 avoided the issue of
part design. And for good
reasons. First and foremost,
technologists – of which I am one
– are normally not good
designers. We tend to get hung
up on the nuts-and-bolts of
problem solving rather than the
esthetics of the thing we’re
making. And second, there really
isn’t a good way of categorizing
part design, particularly when
there are so many applications
and variants on the process.

Having cited these caveats,
perhaps it is time to review at
least some of the generic aspects
about thermoformed part design.
We try to do this in the next
series of lessons. And we begin
by considering some of the limitations
to the thermoforming
process.

Can You Make the Part
the Customer Wants at
the Price He’ll Pay (and
Still Make a Profit)?

There are some fundamental
reasons for not quoting on a job,
even though it appears “doable”
and the potential profit is substantial.
Some of these are obvious,
to wit:

• The parts are too large for
the available equipment
1 Assiduously: Unceasingly; persistently.
2 Coup de grace: A decisive, finishing
stroke.

• The parts are too small for
the available equipment
• Too few parts are needed
• Too many parts are needed
Others depend on the nature
of the plastic needed for the job.
Consider these limitations:

• The polymer cannot be extruded
into sheet
• The polymer cannot be
drawn to the requisite depth
• The polymer needs to be
drawn to near its extensional
limit
• The polymer cannot be
reground or reprocessed
economically
• The design requires highperformance
plastics
• The design requires highly
filled or reinforced plastics
Some depend on the match between
the part requirements and
your forming abilities:

• The design requires complex
forming techniques
that you don’t have
• It is more exotic than your
current skills
• The design accuracy is
greater than your current
abilities
THERMOFORMING
101

• You cannot trim to the required
accuracy
• Your workers do not have
the skills to repeatedly form
quality parts
• You do not have in-house
ability to test product serviceability
• You cannot prototype to determine
part acceptability
And still others depend on the
characteristics of the design,
such as:

• The forces required to
achieve the final shape are
too high for the available
equipment
• The design requires excessive
web or trim
• Part tolerances, draft angles
are unachievable in
thermoforming
• Part design requires uniform
wall thickness
• Part design requires stepped
wall thicknesses
And finally, the coup de grace2

– Competitive processes are
more competitive! This one is
probably the most difficult design
limitation, simply because
companies using competitive
processes are now recognizing
the capabilities of thermo-
Thermoforming QUARTERLY 22

forming and now are either
altering their technologies to
compete more effectively or are
deciding to enter the
thermoforming field.

What Not To Do

In most cases, we know the
limitations of our equipment
and ourselves. So we quote on
parts we know we can mold. In
some cases, however, the thrill of
“taking a chance” is too much to
pass by. That’s when the thingauge
part must be molded diagonally
with the mold ends
extending beyond the platen. Or
when we try to “pressure form”
in a press without a proper
clamping system, hoping that
the press won’t open until the
part has completely form. Or
when the depth of draw of the
part is so great that we need to
heat the sheet until it sags to the
point where it drags across the
tooling. Or when … Well, you
get the idea.

So, What Lessons Will
We Learn?

In this series-within-a-series,
we’ll take a look at some simple
issues such as female or negative
molding and male or positive
forming. We’ll consider design
aspects such as corners and
chamfers, vent hole locations,
and lip and edge formation. And
surface texture, draft angles, and
more. It should be fun. And
maybe we’ll all learn something
on the way. ¦

Keywords: Design, formability,
dimensional tolerance, draft
angle

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23 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

BOOK REVIEW

Penny Sparke, Ed., The Plastics
Age: From Bakelite to
Beanbags and Beyond, Overlook
Press, Woodstock, NY,
1993, 160 + vi pages, $25.00
(paperback). [Check ebay
however. I found it listed at
$7!]

F
F
irst off, even though this is
a very glitzy book, it isn’t
technical. It’s a very modest
history of plastics that focuses
primarily on everyday applications
of plastics. The monograph
is divided into three
unequal parts – Plastics Pre-
History 1860-1914, Plastics and
Modernity 1915-1960, and
Plastics and Post-Modernity
1961-1990. There are sixteen essays
by many experts in modern
history and product
design. Dr. Sparke, the editor
and author of an article and of
section introductions is Senior
Tutor in the Cultural History
Department at the Royal College
of Art, London.

In many respects, this is a
well-written and fabulously illustrated
work. The color photographs
alone are worth the

1 For those who attend ANTECs, I presented
a keynote paper on Thermoforming
at the San Francisco ANTEC in 2001, using
a knock-off title, “Thermoforming: From
Baby Rattles to Bedsprings and Beyond.”

2 Short shrift. Scant attention.
3 Although this book has been out of print
for many years, on occasion it appears on
the eBay auction site.

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 24

price of the book. For many
topics, the glamour of the
photographs overwhelms and
reduces the writing to sketches.
This is unfortunate, because the
reader feels that there should
be much more on the subject.
For example, Jeffrey Meikle’s
chapter “Plastics in the American
Machine Age – 1920-1950,”
has 6 full pages of photos, has,
astonishingly, 31 references,
but is only 14 columns long!

As noted, the work focuses
primarily on consumer product
design. The Italian influence on
modern plastics design is
clearly identified. The postmodern
era is replete with the
now-ubiquitous plastic chairs
and kitchen utensils. Because
the trip to plastic-land essentially
ends in 1990, we are not
treated to the radical designs of
cell phones, for example. Or
skateboards. Or MRI equipment
cabinets. Or …

I was disappointed with the
book in two ways. First, the
subtitle of the book implies that
the plastic age began with the
discovery of compressionmolded
phenol-formaldehyde,
patented in 1909 by Leo
Baekeland. Of course, that isn’t
true. Natural plastics such as
amber, lac (shellac), wood, and
tortoise shell have been used by
mankind since our beginning.
Gutta percha was extruded
onto copper wire in the 1840s
for transatlantic cable. Parkes
and Hyatt worked to develop
cellulose nitrate in the 1860s1.

I was also disappointed that
non-consumer products were
given short shrift2. As I said in
my review of the work for
Amazon.com, “we technical
guys know all about how plastic
pipe and siding [and] carpeting
have revolutionized the
construction industry and
about how plastics packaging
has reduced produce spoilage
and product pilfering.” I mean,
even though Tupperware revolutionized
the home shopping
concept, it wasn’t the first way
of protecting foodstuffs and it
certainly wasn’t the last.

In 1972, J. Harry DuBois
wrote – in my mind – the definitive
book on plastics history,
entitled Plastics History
U.S.A., Cahners Books, Boston
MA3. While Sparke et al cover
much the same ground as
DuBois, and while Sparke et al
provide the glitz that is subdued
or missing from DuBois’
book, DuBois provides the
plastics person with a firm understanding
of how the products
were made. This is missing
from the Sparke-edited monograph.

As a result, although I am
grateful to the editor and her
staff for the wonderful images
of the past, I cannot in good
conscience give the effort more

than three books out of five. 
~ Jim Throne

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September 24-27, 2005
GET READY TO
SOAR AT THE
15th Annual
Thermoforming
Conference
Midwest Airlines Convention
Center
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
25 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

We need
your
continued
support
and
your
efforts
on
membership
recruitment!!

Council Report …
Cleveland, Ohio

BY STEVE HASSELBACH, COUNCILOR

T
T
his summary is intended to
help you review the highlights
of the Council Meeting held in
Cleveland, Ohio on October 9, 2004.
Please note that all support documentation
remains available to
Councilors and Section/Division
board members at: http://
www.4spe. org/communities/
leadership/0410/index.php.

SPE President Karen Winkler
called the meeting to order.

The new Council weekend format
was as follows:

• Council Orientation – This new
session provided an orientation for
the weekend, highlighting the “big
rock” topics that were discussed
throughout the weekend’s meetings,
including the 2005 budget,
current financial status, SPE Foundation,
membership, and a product
portfolio review.
• Council/Council Committee of
the Whole Format – There was not
a separate Council Committee of
the Whole meeting. However, at the
Council meeting on Saturday, a
new format was used to reduce repetition
of reports, use our collective
time more productively and keep
us focused on the “big rock” items.
The new format had presentations
followed by open discussion on the
presentations, breakout sessions at
lunchtime, and ample time for general
discussion. This general discussion
time matched the amount of
time usually committed to the
CCOW meeting.
Moment of Silence:

The Council recognized the recent
passing of the following members:

John T. (Jack) Lutz, Jr., SPE Fellow,
member Philadelphia Section and
Vinyl Division

Nick Rosato, SPE Fellow, Eastern

N.E. Section and Injection Molding
Division
Bob Ringwood, SPE Fellow, Palisades
Section and Vinyl Division
Jim Courter, former Councilor,
Southern Section and member Marketing
& Management Division

Finances/Executive Director
Update:

Susan Oderwald reviewed staff
changes and provided Council with
an updated organizational chart.
She also reported on the launch of
the new SPE WEbsite at
www.4spe.org and a new database
upgrade initiative. Susan delivered
a financial update through August
(September numbers were not
available in time for the meeting).

Finally, Susan clarified SPE’s insurance
coverage with respect to
General Liability coverage and Directors
and Officer Liability Insurance
(D&O). A full write-up on the
issue was sent to Councilors and is
being revised given Council discussion
for distribution to Section and
Division board members.

Budget

The major Council action was the
apprval of the 2005 clendar year
budget. A full write-up on the budget
had been distributed to Coun

cilors as well as all Section and Division
board members last August.
The budget that was approved calls
for gross income of $5,820,000, direct
expenses of $3,271,000, staff &
overhead expenses of $2,470,000,
and a net contribution of $79,000.
Council approved the budget by a
clear majority vote unchanged from
the original presentation. A full
area-by-area presentation of this
budget is available to Section and
Division board members on http:/
/www.4spe.org/communities/
leadership/0410/index.php.

Other Business:

Presentations and discussions
also took place on the following
topics:

The SPE Foundation Update

State of the Society Discussion

Educational Program Review

& Discussion

Technical Advisory Board

Report

Officer/Committee Reports

Membership Update

Revenue from Membership

Discussion

ANTEC Comps & Sponsorship

Program & Discussion

Constitution & Bylaw Issue

Proposed Bylaw Amendment B-.7

The following first reading of a
proposed amendment to the SPE
Bylaws took place as follows:

All votes by Section Councilors,
Division Councilors, Councilors at
Large, or their proxies on issues
that concern changes to fees, dues,
and/or rebates shall be recorded to

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 26

include the name of the Section, or
Division they are voting for, (in the
case of Councilors at Large, they
shall be listed as “Executive Committee”),
the name of the individual,
and how the person voted.
The records of any such vote shall
be available to any member of SPE
via the SPE International website.
This posting shall be available no
later than ten business days after
the vote is counted.

This amendment will have a second
reading and be voted on at the
January Council meeting.

Committee Meetings

Twelve committees met prior to
the Council meetings, including:
ANTEC Committee, Conference &
Seminar Committee, Constitution
& Bylaws Committee, Divisions
Committee, Education Awards
Committee, Executive Committee,
Finance Committee, International
Committee, Membership Growth
Committee, Nominations Committee,
Sections Committee, and the
SPE Foundation Executive Committee.

Presentations

All presentations and supporting
documentation for Council and
committee discussions can be
viewed on the SPE website at:
http://www.4spe.org/
communicites/leadership/0410/
index.php.

Contributions

SPE is grateful to the following
organizations that made contributions
in support of SPE and The SPE
Foundation:

• Raymond Wyer, Chicago Section
& Norm Andre, Thermoset Division,
presented a check for $1,755
for the proceeds from the Thermoset
Conference.
• Elliott Weinberg, Palisades Section,
presented a check for $1,000
to the Foundation
• Jon Ratzlaff, Rotational Molding
Division, presented a check for $200
for the Student Travel Fund. ¦
These sponsors enable us to publish Thermoforming QUARTERLY

27 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

These sponsors enable us to publish Thermoforming QUARTERLY

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 28

Help Sponsor

Thermoforming®

Q U A R T E R L Y

ONE YR. SPONSORSHIPS

**Please note the increase in sponsorship
rates. This is the first increase since the
inception of the Thermoforming Quarterly
in 1981. We appreciate your continued
support of our award winning publication.

Patron – $625

(Includes 2.25″ x 1.25″ notice)

Benefactor – $2,000

(Includes 4.75″ x 3″ notice)

Questions?

Please Contact:

Laura Pichon

Ex-Tech Plastics
815/678-2131 Ext. 624
lpichon@extechplastics.com

We Appreciate Your Support!

From The Editor

Thermoforming Quarterly

welcomes letters from its

readers. All letters are subject

to editing for clarity and space

and must be signed. Send to:

Mail Bag, Thermoforming

Quarterly, P. O. Box 471,

Lindale, Georgia 30147-1027,

fax 706/295-4276 or e-mail to:

gmathis224@aol.com.

29 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

Thermoformers, have

you discovered a
forming tip that you
are willing to share
with your fellow
formers?
A time saver?
Or a cost saver?
Or something that
will save wear and
tear on your machine?
Or your employees?
Then the

TIPS

column
is for you!

Just send Jim Throne a fax at
727-734-5081, outlining your
tip in less than a couple
hundred words. You can
include drawings, sketches,
whatever. Thanks!

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 30

YOU ASKED –
WE LISTENED …

Due to the many surveys requesting
that we change the dates of
the annual Thermoforming Conference,
the Board has listened
and beginning in 2006, we are
pleased to announce the new

dates.

Sunday, September 17
thrugh Wednesday,
September 20, 2006

“CREATIVITY &
INNOVATION IN
THERMOFORMING”

Renaissance Nashville
Hotel & Nashville
Convention Center

General Chairman:
Martin Stephenson
Phone: 859-426-1327
E-Mail: deznmar@aol.com

Technical Chairman:
Mike Lowery
Premier Plastics
Phone: 414-423-5940 Ext. 102
E-Mail: mikel@lowerytech.com

31 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

MEMBERSHIP
APPLICATION
®
MEMBERSHIP
APPLICATION
®
Thermoforming QUARTERLY 32

Kinship keeps thermoformers group tight-knit

PLASTICS NEWS OPINION

I
I
t has become less fashionable to join groups. Whether
we’re a society too obsessed with our own work or
our personal time, we don’t always want to fit an association
into our life. We have enough to fill up our Palm
Pilots already.

Maybe it’s a commentary on the era we live in. But
the fact that the Thermoforming Division of the Society
of Plastics Engineers could attract 1,003 people to
its conference in Indianapolis in September is reason
for some optimism. Those attendance numbers are
holding steady from the division’s previous conference
in Cincinnati in 2003, a record year.

Look at what else we’ve seen during this decade. SPE
as a whole lost half its members and was forced to lay
off some staff. The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
has had similar challenges, losing companies and some
staff. It’s not easy being a trade group. In other manufacturing
sectors, the news has been of comparable
struggles.

But SPE’s Thermoforming Division is unique – a
merry band of entrepreneurs that has stayed tight and
true to its roots. It incorporates a mix of top corporate
executives and plant engineers, most of whom work
for midsize companies with annual sales of less than
$50 million.

All of them grew up together in the industry. Compared
to injection molding, thermoforming is a relatively
young field. Its denizens are more craftspeople
than businesspeople, and they are fighting to gain a
greater measure of respect.

That us-against-the-world mentality is

probably what has united the group. Or

maybe it’s just that the group is like a

tightly knit club where everyone knows

each other and can relate to each other’s

concerns. Smoking jackets not required.

No matter, there are only about 250

thermoforming companies in North

America, according to division Chairman

Roger Kipp. But they all seem to know each

other.

The board even commits to coming

nearly a week before the conference begins

to spend a few days talking business. At

the meeting this year, the group added

$10,000 in annual scholarships for schools,

doubling the size of that bequest. The new
funds are earmarked for technical schools offering associate
degrees in the field, Kipp said.

The division also matches funds to high schools,
spending $80,000 this year to train young prospects for
thermoforming, he said. The group is looking out for
the future.

And another $7,500 was parceled to the Discovery
Museum in Milwaukee, for the center to prepare a DVD
about thermoforming. The group wants to keep the information
flow circulating.

Representatives from other SPE divisions were on
hand at the conference to see how to duplicate the
thermoforming division’s efforts. So was SPE President
Karen Winkler. About half the Thermoforming
Division’s profits go to mother SPE, a large sum in the
association world, Kipp said.

Altogether, what the band of business owners has
been able to accomplish is impressive enough. But
maybe it’s the type of member that has led to the group’s
success.

“We are a group with entrepreneurial business
sense,” Kipp said. “Our business owners are also managers
in their businesses. We’re quite a hands-on
group.”

We hope others can learn from their example. ¦

Printed with Permission of Plastics News, Copyright
Crain Communications Inc. Originally published in
Plastics News 10/18/04.

33 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

These sponsors enable us to publish

These sponsors enable us to publish Thermoforming QUARTERLY

Thermoforming

QUARTERLY

TIM WELDON
General Manager
(989) 793-8881
Fax (989) 793-8888
Email: timweldon@millermold.com
Thermoforming QUARTERLY 34
1305 Lincoln Avenue, Holland, MI 49423
PH (800) 833-1305 / FX (800) 832-5536
www.allenx.com
ABS ABSFR PCABS
HIPS HIPSFR GELOY
CENTREX LURAN NORYL
SOLARKOTE
A Tradition of Excellence Since 1970
When it comes to answering your
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you can’t find a better source
than Producto.

• Complete turnkey service
• Tooling machined and assembled
with precision
• Deliveries to suit your schedules
• Mold beds up to 70″ x 120″
• Engineering design using the latest
CAD systems and programming
technologies
• Gun drilling services and
Temperature Control Plates
• Adjustable Pressure Boxes
• Die sets, punches and dies, springs,
pins & bushings and a full line of
quality accessory items
Producto Corporation

800 Union Ave., Bridgeport, CT 06607

(203) 367-8675
FAX: (203) 368-2597

PRODUCTS / INC
plastics………
RAY
™
The Experts in
Thermoforming
1700 Chablis Avenue
Ontario, CA 91761
909/390-9906
800/423-7859
FAX 909/390-9896
www.rayplastics.com
Brian Ray
Janice Petersen
Vice President
“Get A Grip” on Your Profits!
PHONE: 989-426-5265
FAX: 989-426-5601
AM0210@A1ACCESS.NET
3872 WEST M-61
GLADWIN, MI 48624
WWW.NESCCO.COM
NescCo • National Extruded Sheet Clamping Company, Inc.
CUSTOM CUT SHEET & ROLL FED MACHINERY
OVEN, CONTROL & INDEX RETROFIT KITS
PATENTED ADJUSTABLE CLAMP FRAMES
3031 GUERNSEY ROAD, BEAVERTON, MI
PH: 989-435-9071 FAX: 989-435-3940
Email: info@modernmachineinc.com
These sponsors enable us to publish Thermoforming QUARTERLY These sponsors enable us to publish
Thermoforming
QUARTERLY
ARES … CNC
MACHINING
CENTERS FOR
MACHINING
PLASTIC AND
COMPOSITE
MATERIALS
CMS NORTH AMERICA, INC.
Grand Rapids, MI
800.225.5267
Visit us on the web at:
www.cmsna.com
www.cms.it
or email us at
cmssales@cmsna.com
President
brianr@rayplastics.com
PRODUCTS / INC
plastics………
RAY
™
The Experts in
Thermoforming
1700 Chablis Avenue
Ontario, CA 91761
909/390-9906
800/423-7859
FAX 909/390-9896
www.rayplastics.com
Brian Ray
Janice Petersen
Vice President
“Get A Grip” on Your Profits!
PHONE: 989-426-5265
FAX: 989-426-5601
AM0210@A1ACCESS.NET
3872 WEST M-61
GLADWIN, MI 48624
WWW.NESCCO.COM
NescCo • National Extruded Sheet Clamping Company, Inc.
CUSTOM CUT SHEET & ROLL FED MACHINERY
OVEN, CONTROL & INDEX RETROFIT KITS
PATENTED ADJUSTABLE CLAMP FRAMES
3031 GUERNSEY ROAD, BEAVERTON, MI
PH: 989-435-9071 FAX: 989-435-3940
Email: info@modernmachineinc.com
These sponsors enable us to publish Thermoforming QUARTERLY These sponsors enable us to publish
Thermoforming
QUARTERLY
ARES … CNC
MACHINING
CENTERS FOR
MACHINING
PLASTIC AND
COMPOSITE
MATERIALS
CMS NORTH AMERICA, INC.
Grand Rapids, MI
800.225.5267
Visit us on the web at:
www.cmsna.com
www.cms.it
or email us at
cmssales@cmsna.com
President
brianr@rayplastics.com
35 Thermoforming QUARTERLY

INDEX OF SPONSORS

ADVANCED VENTURES IN

TECHNOLOGY, INC. …………….. 35
ALLEN EXTRUDERS ……………….. 34
AMERICAN CATALYTIC

TECHNOLOGIES ……………………. 6
ARISTECH ACRYLICS ……………… 23
BROWN MACHINE ………………….. 30
BUNZL EXTRUSION ………………… 21
CMS NORTH AMERICA ……………. 35
CMT MATERIALS, INC. …………….. 34
ENSINGER/PENN FIBRE ………….. 25

FOXMOR GROUP ……………………. 21
FUTURE MOLD CORP. …………….. 35
GEISS THERMOFORMING ……….. 29
GN PLASTICS …………………………. 27
IRWIN RESEARCH &

DEVELOPMENT …………………….. 4
JRM INTERNATIONAL ……………… 23
KIEFEL TECHNOLOGY …………….. 25
KYDEX …………………………………… 36
LAND INSTRUMENTS ……………….. 7
LANXESS ……………………………….. 27

These sponsors enable us to publish Thermoforming QUARTERLY

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 36

LYLE ………………………………………. 15
MAAC MACHINERY …………………. 35
McCLARIN PLASTICS ………………. 34
McCONNELL CO. ………………………. 7
MILLER MOLD CO. ………………….. 34
MODERN MACHINERY ……………. 35
NESCCO ………………………………… 35
NEW CASTLE INDUSTRIES ……… 28
ONSRUD CUTTER …………………… 27
PLASTICS CONCEPTS …………….. 21
PLASTIMACH ………………………….. 30
PORTAGE CASTING & MOLD,

INC……………………………………….. 7
PREMIER MATERIAL CONCEPTS . 7
PRIMEX PLASTICS ………………….. 34
PROCESSING TECHNOLOGIES .. 34
PRODUCTIVE PLASTICS, INC. …… 7
PRODUCTO CORPORATION ……. 34
PROFILE PLASTICS ………………….. 7
PROTHERM ……………………………. 21
RAY PRODUCTS, INC………………. 35
RTP ……………………………………….. 30
SELECT PLASTICS………………….. 35
SENCORP ………………………………. 36
SOLAR PRODUCTS ………………….. 1
SPARTECH PLASTICS …………….. 35
STANDEX ENGRAVING GROUP .. 21
STOPOL INC. ……………………………11
TEMPCO ELECTRIC ………………….. 6
THERMWOOD CORP…….Inside Back

Cover
TOOLING TECHNOLOGIES,

LLC …………………………………….. 23
TPS ……………………………………….. 21
ULTRA-METRIC TOOL CO. ……….. 31
WALTON PLASTICS…………………. 28
WECO PRODUCTS …………………. 21
WELEX, INC. …………………………… 28
ZED INDUSTRIES ……………………. 34

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