Quarterly Mags: 2008 1st

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18th ANNUAL THERMOFORMING CONFERENCE

For Reservations:

Call (612) 376-1000

Request: SPE Thermforming

Rate of $149.00

Minneapolis Convention Center

Minneapolis, Minnesota

**Please note! The hotel will require a deposit of one night’s
room and tax at the time the reservation is made. Cancellations
made after August 15, 2008 will result in the forfeiture of one
night’s deposit. Any reservation made after August 15, 2008
will require a non-refundable one night’s deposit at the time
the reservation is made.

TWO DAYS FULL TECHNICAL PROGRAM

(PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

WORKSHOPS INCLUDED WITH FULL CONFERENCE REGISTRATION (Please Select One)

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2008

(Please Select One)

Hilton Hotel – 8:30am – 4:00pm

McConnell-Buckel Cut Sheet Workshop – Limited to 100

“Adapting to Form the Future & Interactive Troubleshooting Workshop” – Part I

SPE Decorating & Assembly Division – Limited to 100

“Innovations in Decorating Thermoforming Applications”

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2008

(Please Select One)

Hilton Hotel – 8:30am – 4:00pm

Strachan Roll Fed Workshop – Limited to 100

“Advanced Cost Saving Techniques In Thin-Gage Thermoforming”

Mark Strachan, Global Thermoforming Training, Inc.

PLANT TOUR – Limited to 50

Wilbert Plastic Services, White Bear Lake, MN Facilities

Leave Hilton Hotel at 8:30am

MAKE YOUR PLANS TO EXHIBIT WITH US – SPACE IS STILL AVAILABLE

CONTACT: Gwen Mathis, Conference Coordinator at 706.235.9298 or gmathis224@aol.com

PARTS COMPETITION INFORMATION:
Contact Haydn Forward – 858.450.1591 or hforward@smi-mfg.com

FOR THE LATEST UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON THE MINNEAPOLIS CONFERENCE, CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE:

www.thermoformingdivision.com

SEPTEMBER 20 – 23, 2008 • MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA

www.octalglobal.comCMYCMMYCYCMYKOctalAd_05.pdf 12/21/07 10:08:18 AM

thermoforming quarterly

Thermoforming

Quarterly®

FIRST QUARTER 2008

VOLUME 27 n NUMBER 1

Thermoforming

Quarterly®

Contents

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

Editor

Conor Carlin

(440) 498-4000 Ext. 124

Fax (440) 498-4001

conorc@stopol.com

Technical Editor

Barry Shepherd

(905) 459-4545 Ext. 229

Fax (905) 459-6746

bshep@shepherd.ca

Sponsorships

Laura Pichon

(847) 829-8124

Fax (815) 678-4248

lpichon@extechplastics.com

Conference Coordinator

Gwen Mathis

(706) 235-9298

Fax (706) 295-4276

gmathis224@aol.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 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
(Registration no. 2,229,747). x

n Departments

Chairman’s Corner x 2

Thermoforming in the News x 4

University News x 20

European Thermoforming

Division x 22

Thermoforming and

Sustainability x 23

Photo Contest x 25

Front Cover

Page 20

n Features

Thermoforming Quarterly Exclusive x 6

The Next Generation of APET: Implications for Thermoformers

The Business of Thermoforming x 10

The Seven Year Itch: Exchange Old For New

Lead Technical Article x 14

Third-Motion Servo Plug Assist

Thermoforming 2.0 x 16

Demolding

Page 6

n In This Issue

Welcome New Members x 3

Sponsorship x 26

Thermoforming on the Web x 26

2008 Editorial Calendar x 28

Board of Directors x 31

Index of Sponsors x 32

Thermoforming

Quarterly®

Chairman’s Corner

Happy

New

Year!

Walt Walker

Well, What Do You
Think?

For the New Year, we have a great
new look for our Thermoforming
Quarterly! After months of hard work,
we’ve updated the appearance and content
of this professional journal. Although
the previous version served us so very,
very well – with in-depth content and
technical articles – it’s time to step up
to Version 2.0. But, let there be no doubt
that previous Managing Editor Gwen
Mathis and Technical Editor Jim Throne
were responsible for setting the dynamic
direction and high level of professionalism
displayed in this journal. Never satisfied
with the average, they continually worked
at pushing the envelope on thermoforming
information.

Now, our new Managing Editor Conor
Carlin and Technical Editor Barry
Shepherd have been challenged to create
Version 2.0 of the Thermoforming
Quarterly. For as Will Rogers said,
“Even if you are on the right track, you
will get run over if you just sit there.”

I know both Conor and Barry are more than
up to the challenge. Both have a passion
to make the Quarterly a meaningful
“read” for our members, a publication
you begin immersing yourself in as soon
as the postman delivers it. With the new
look and new layout come new material
and content categories. For our scientists,
there’s a new generation of advanced
technical articles. For our academic
family, there’s a focus on university issues.
For our managers, we’re taking a closer
look at the Business of Thermoforming.
For our amateur photographers, we’re
even having photo contests.

Finally, to ensure we provide the informa-
tion you need to keep fully informed on
new thermoforming developments and
trends, we encourage you to suggest story
ideas and technical tips.

Thermoforming
Pavilion at NPE?

At our February Board meeting, a hot
item on the agenda is discussion about
whether our Division should host a new
thermoforming pavilion at the 2009
National Plastics Exposition in Chicago,
June 22-26, 2009. No decision has been
made on this issue yet. If you have an
opinion, please contact one of our board
members.

It has been suggested the pavilion be
named “NPE Thermoforming World.”
With the thousands and thousands of
attendees at NPE from all over the world –
who have thermoforming on their minds –
we have the opportunity to help focus and
direct them to our members’ booths, as well
as provide generalized information about
the thermoforming industry. It would be
our Division’s responsibility to organize
the entire pavilion including several table
tops, kiosks and booths. We expect this
exposure will improve membership in
our Division and attendance at our yearly
conference.

Participation in the 2009 NPE Expo
would NOT replace our Division’s Fall
conferences.

2008 Fall
Conference in
Minneapolis

Speaking of Fall conferences, our next
Conference is set for September 20-23,
2008 in the Minneapolis Convention
Center. Conference Chairman is Dennis
Northrop and the Technical Chairmen
are Jim Armor and Phil Barhouse. They
have an incredible line-up of proposed
programs. The 2009 Conference is slated
for Milwaukee.

University Centers
of Excellence

Also on our February Board agenda
is a continued focus on developing
university thermoforming programs
and Centers of Excellence. Our goal
is to have partnerships with several
schools throughout the United States so
members can access them for technical
information, research, assistance, plus
use them as a source for future employees.
Current Centers of Excellence are the
Pennsylvania College of Technology in
Williamsport, PA and the University of
Wisconsin-Platteville. We are trying to
identify several additional universities.
Please contact a board member if you
have a suggestion.

Scholarship AND
Matching Grant
Applications Due

Don’t forget your local high school and
college students who need financial
assistance. Scholarships are available
through our division. Plus, we have
matching grants up to $10,000 for
colleges and universities to purchase
equipment. More information about both
these programs is available on our website
… which coincidentally is very popular,
getting in excess of 2,500 hits a week.

It’s a Great Day in
Thermoforming!

Walt Walker

Thermoforming

Quarterly®

New Members

Jameel Ahmed

Gurnee, IL

Marco Baglione

Astrapak Limited, Rigids
Division

New Germany,

Durban 3620,

South Africa

Steve Burress

Handl-it Inc

Bedford, OH

Brian Egan

Quenos

Altona, Vic 3018,

Australia

Allan J. Hastie

Invista

Charlotte, NC

Michael Herron

Pactiv Corporation

Covington, GA

Richard A. Hungerford, Sr.

ESCO Group Inc

Grand Rapids, MI

Galen Jamison

Formation Plastics

Quinter, KS

Futura Polyesters Limited

Chennai, India

Christian Mann

EXT, Inc.

Lenexa, KS

Chip A. Netzel

Royal Plastics

Lexington, KY

Jim Plamann

MacDermid Autotype Inc.

Thiensville, WI

Carlos H. Ruiz Vasquez

Caselsa

Bogota, Colombia

Francesca Vincenzetti

Etobicoke, ON, Canada

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, and keeps you connected.

The question really isn’t “why join?” but …

®

Why Not?

Thermoforming in the News

Cereplast
boosts PLA
performance with
nanotechnology

By Tony Deligio

Cereplast has launched a bioresin
based on NatureWorks polylactic
acid (PLA) that it says can be used
as a compostable high-temperature-
resistant thermoforming plastic.
CP-TH-6000 joins 15 grades of
compostable resin, and it has a high-
temperature limit of up to 155°F,
up from a temperature resistance
of 105°F for unmodified PLA. To
increase the temperature resistance,
Cereplast applied nanotechnology
and a patented process technology.

In an interview with MPW last
year, Frederic Scheer, Cereplast
(Hawthorne, CA) CEO, said the
company has a longstanding
research agreement focused on
nanotechnology with the University
of Valencia in Spain. “We see
nanomaterials as being a tremendous
help to bridge the gap in terms of
issues you have with agricultural
feedstock as compared with
petrochemical feedstock,” Scheer
said, adding that at the time, the
company was experimenting with
nanoclays as a functional additive.

Toyota leads with
thermoformable
thermoset foam

By Matt Defosse

Japanese carmaker Toyota Motor
Corp. is the first in that country to
specify Basotect TG thermoformable
thermoset foam for use in a Japanese-
made car, according to BASF
(Ludwigshafen, Germany), the supplier
of the material, which was introduced in
2006. Toyota is using the material for the
engine hood covers in its Lexus LS series
cars.

Basotect TG can be formed under
heat and eliminates the previous step
required to process this material, which
required impregnation with adhesives,
pressing, and then drying in order to
form complex automotive parts. This
foam, based on melamine, is lightweight
(density of about 9 kg/m³), flame-
resistant, sound absorbent, and can be
employed at temperatures up to 200°C
(392°F).

Sears gives PVC the
boot

By Matt Defosse

Sears Holdings Corp. (Hoffman
Estates, IL), the fourth largest U.S.
retailer with more than $50 billion in
annual revenues and approximately 3,800
full-line and specialty retail stores in the
U.S. and Canada, including the Sears
and Kmart chains, announced December
12 that it intends to reduce and phase
out the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
in its packaging and merchandise. The
company, in a statement, cited “the
potential health and environmental risks
tied to the manufacture, use, and disposal
of PVC,” as its reason for the shift.

Sears Holdings says it intends to
“identify safer, more sustainable and
cost-effective alternatives to PVC and
incorporate them into the design and
manufacturing process for private label
merchandise and packaging” and set
long-term goals for using bio-based
plastics or those with higher recycled
content and can be reused, recycled, or
composted. It will encourage its vendors
to reduce or eliminate their use of PVC in
merchandise and packaging.

Vinyl Institute reacts
to PVC pushback

By Tony Deligio

In response to increasing pressure,
including the decision by Sears Holdings
Corp. (Hoffman Estates, IL) to reduce
and ultimately phase out the use of
polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in packaging
and products, the Vinyl Institute (VI;
Arlington, VA) announced on December
13 that it would launch what it calls
“an aggressive information campaign
for retailers and packagers aimed at
providing facts about PVC’s safety and
benefits.” Sears, which includes the
Kmart chain, is the fourth largest U.S.
retailer.

In a statement, Tim Burns, VI
President, said the PVC industry needs
to do a better job of pointing out the
materials safety and energy benefits,
including the fact that more than 50%
of the end resin is derived from salt,
compared to the oil and gas used to
create other plastics. “The superior
safety, performance, practicality, and
convenience of products made with
PVC have been proven time after time
and in study after study,” Burns said
in a release. “That is why they are so
popular with consumers across the
country and throughout the world.”
VI’s new information campaign will
be aimed at the packaging and retail
sectors and will start in January. PVC
has traditionally faced resistance from
many environmental groups from
manufacturing through end-of-life due to
concerns over chlorine and toxins that can
be released if it’s burned. More recently,
however, greater concern has grown out
of concern over certain additives used
in PVC, including phthalates and heavy
metals. x

These articles appeared in the
November and December 2007 editions
of Modern Plastics and are reprinted with
the kind permission of Modern Plastics
Worldwide.

Thermoforming

Quarterly®

Exclusive

The Next Generation of APET:

Implications for Thermoformers

By Dr. William Karszes
Director of Operations & Chief Scientist, Octal

If one follows the market data
on volume growth, APET clear
rigid trays and containers is a
segment of the packaging business
enjoying a much-welcomed
prosperity. However, it is not clear
that all players are benefiting to
the degree you might expect. It
is also not clear that the industry
is leveraging its position as the
provider of a preferred packaging
substrate to full advantage, missing
the opportunity to grow demand for
APET packaging to its potential.

APET is a versatile packaging
polymer that combines the benefits
of many other polymers. It is clear,
like OPS, but without the brittleness.
It is tough like PVC, and somewhat
stiffer, but without the chlorine
content and the need for plasticizers.
It thermoforms more easily than PP
but is stiffer and clearer and more
resistant to staining by tomato-based
foods. And, it is fully recyclable
in the well-established PET bottle
recycling infrastructure. About the
only thing APET is not suitable for is
sustained use above 150o F.

These features have earned APET
double digit growth rates and broad
acceptance in virtually all food
packaging and many consumer
products packaging applications. But
APET will not ascend to its rightful
place as the leading clear rigid
packing polymer until maximum
efficiencies are extracted throughout
the value chain – from the resin to
the final tray.

It was almost inevitable that
someone would see and seize the
opportunity to make a significant
investment in an integrated complex
for both large scale resin and sheet
production. These two processes benefit
from being co-located and result in a
dense product that is efficiently produced
and transported. The next wave of
savings must take place at the converting
level, in the realms of package design,
resin content reduction and processing
efficiency.

But thermoformers have been down-
gauging and fine-tuning their processes
for years; they know where the money is.
Why should anyone think there is more
to be wrung from this process? One thing
we know is that variation equals cost.
And the further up the manufacturing
process the variation is introduced, the
greater the cost of the final product, as all
intermediate processes must be designed
to accommodate this variation.

So for thermoforming, raw material
uniformity is the best way to deliver
the opportunity to the thermoformer
for taking a very aggressive approach
to package design and down-gauging.
Simply put, this means an APET sheet
with no appreciable gauge variation.

Gauge variation drives many decisions
in material selection, process set up and
tool design, all of which help to define
realized efficiencies. A sheet with less
than one percent gauge variation opens
up possibilities to the package engineer
that a sheet with three to five percent
variation cannot deliver.

To simplify the situation, benefits
can be put into two different buckets:
yield improvement (mostly driven by
down-gauging) and process efficiency
improvement. Ultimately, nearly all
efforts to reduce cost can be categorized
this way. Down-gauging has been
on the minds of packaging designers
since the first accountant set foot in a
thermoforming operation. But there are
limits to it based on many variables,
foremost being the need to design to
the thinnest area of a sheet, knowing
(or assuming) that the thinnest area is

a specified percent below the average
gauge.

So designers build in an allowance for
this. If the thinnest area is five percent
less than the average gauge, then the
average gauge specified must be five
percent above the thinnest gauge that
will result in a package that performs as
specified.

Conversely, if the thinnest area is one
percent thinner than the average gauge,
the specified gauge must be only one
percent above the thinnest gauge that will
result in a good package. In this example,
this is a savings of four percent. It means
that most of the packages made from the
+/- five percent sheet had to be overbuilt
to ensure that no packages were made
below the minimum required gauge. In
the case of the high precision +/- one
percent sheet all the packages were built
closer to the minimum requirements,
saving material and cost, and providing
for a highly uniform product throughout
the run.

Efficient package design must
recognize and accommodate sheet
variation. To design a package assuming
a highly uniform sheet means designing
so packages perform reliably using the
minimum gauge required for the specified
end use. Proper use of rigidity features
and locking mechanisms are the keys to
taking advantage of a sheet that is now
thinner on average compared to a more
variable sheet.

But taking highly uniform sheet into
account during design has significant
advantages. Closures and other features
perform more consistently and reliably.
They are not hard to open and close on
some trays and too easy on other trays.
Snap fit lids deliver more reliable seals.
Tear tabs and perforations release with
a highly predictable force, which is
pleasing to the consumer.

As an example, with a container full of
fresh cut fruit with liquid, pulling off the
lid should be easy and predictable. If it is
too difficult, the instability of the package
when the lid seal breaks free can cause
the consumer to spill the contents. On the
other hand, if it is too loose, the container
will leak and in extreme cases, the lid
will not re-close. A uniform sheet
helps the designer and the toolmaker
engineer a solution that ensures the
optimum balance of performance and
ease of use.

So with down-gauging comes the
dual benefit of cost savings through
yield improvement and better end-
use performance through improved
consistency and predictability.

Process efficiencies are some of
the most difficult metrics to correlate
to sheet quality, but they are there!
Operators love uniform sheet because
they can set up the machine and get
to stable process settings quickly.
Furthermore, with high-precision
sheet, once the machine is lined out
for the first roll, it can be left at its
initial settings roll after roll, reducing
losses and lost production time.

But there is another important
process savings that is often not
realized but should be pursued
aggressively: throughput. A
thermoformer’s total capacity is
determined by the linear feet of sheet
processed per hour. The most often
cited bottleneck in a machine’s output
is the rate at which the sheet is cooled,
which determines the dwell time in
the die before the next cycle begins.

If a sheet is down-gauged, there
is less mass to heat and cool, but
generally the thermoformer is run
at the same settings for thin sheet
as for the thicker sheet due to a lack
of confidence in how the next roll
will form. This is an opportunity
lost. With high precision sheet,
thermoformers can confidently be
aggressive about reducing cycle
time to take full advantage of gauge
reduction. Just one extra cycle
per minute on a machine running
at 20 cycles means a five percent
throughput increase. If one assumes
90 percent machine availability, this
amounts to over nine full days of
incremental production in a year, and
all at no cost to the operation.

Other benefits of high-precision
sheet include the ability to predict
with accuracy the output of a roll
or of a lot of rolls. This allows

for more precise order quantities and
better inventory management and lower
working capital.

Additionally, consistent packages
and trays result in stacks coming off the
thermoformer that are very predictable
in their height. Predictable stack heights
mean than trays sold by count in
corrugated boxes will stack to the same
height every time. This means that the
corrugated box can be designed for the
expected stack height and not larger to
accommodate a variable stack height.
Equally important is that the trays can be
made to bear some load, which makes it
possible for the corrugated to be lighter
duty and thus less costly.

Taken together, the advantages of a
highly precise sheet can wring substantial
cost from the entire value chain, while
allowing well-run participants to maintain
and even expand their margins. This is
the real value creation that makes APET
a superior economic choice as well as the
best material choice for more and more
applications, which we are now starting
to see in the market. It is how aggressive
thermoformers are positioning themselves
to win in a hyper-competitive packaging
segment. x

About the Author: Dr. William Karszes is
a highly qualified chemical engineer with
extensive experience in the chemistry
and manufacturing of polyester resins
and extruded films. He brings a track
record in operations and start-ups,
specializing in extrusion in all formats
from film & fiber, to extrusion coating.
In addition to 30 years of experience in
plastic processing and a vast background
in physical testing and use of data to
characterize product and processes, Dr.
Karszes has several patents.

Dr. Karszes is a graduate of the
Rensselear Polytechnic Institute
with a Ph. D in plastic engineering
and a Bachelors Degree in chemical
engineering. He is a member of the
American Chemical Society, the American
Society of Chemical Engineers, TAPPI
and the Society of Plastic Engineers. He
has also served as the president of the
TAPPI’s Extrusion Coating Division and
sits on the National Board of Directors of
the Extrusion Division of the Society of
Plastic Engineers.

Membership Benefits

n Access to industry
knowledge from one
central location: www.
thermoformingdivision.
com.

n Subscription to
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Quarterly, voted
“Publication of the Year” by
SPE National.

n Exposure to new ideas
and trends from across the
globe. If you don’t think
your company is affected
by globalization, you need
to think again.

n New and innovative
part design at the Parts
Competition.

n Open dialogue with the
entire industry at the
annual conference.

n Discounts, discounts,
discounts on books,
seminars and conferences.

n For managers: workshops
and presentations tailored
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n For operators: workshops
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8 Surface Textures

Thermoforming

Quarterly®

The Business of Thermoforming

The Seven Year Itch:

Exchange Old For New

Ensure production quality, keep pace with technology and competition

Donald A. Kruschke, Executive Vice President,

Stopol, Inc.

T hermoforming needs to take a cue
from the auto industry.

The typical U.S. consumer
purchases or leases a new car every
three to five years – regardless of
whether the vehicle needs to be
replaced or not.

A significant portion of the general
public has been conditioned to replace
their cars or trucks every few years
for a variety of reasons:

r Just wanting the latest and
greatest bells and whistles

r Bored with their current car

r Elevation in social status

r Life change such as children
dictates the need for a larger
car

r Better performance

Of the reasons listed above,
only the last two can be considered
practical. Yet, people seem to have no
problem investing their hard-earned
cash in a product that loses 15% of its
value once it leaves the lot.

Now consider the thermoforming
industry and how processors hold
onto machines for up to 15 years
– despite a mountain of evidence
pointing to the impracticality of this
action.

Capital equipment purchases are
substantial investments and you have
to make sure that you maximize your
investment dollars. When you hold
onto equipment too long, you are
doing a great disservice to yourself,
your company and your customers
because you are not:

r Getting Full Residual Value

r Maintaining Production Quality

r Keeping Up with Technology

r Leveraging the Tax Code to Your
Advantage

The following details exactly why
thermoformers need to borrow from
the auto industry’s playbook and begin
exchanging their old equipment for new
equipment every seven years.

Getting Full
Residual Value

If after owning your car for seven
years, someone were to offer you 30% of
its original price tag, you would probably
pull a muscle leaping at the chance to
make that deal. But you know that you
will never get an offer like that – at least
not for your car.

However, the opportunity to make that
deal with your thermoforming machinery
is a daily reality.

After seven years, your thermoforming
machine should retain at least 30% of
its original value. The thermoformer
you bought brand new for $700,000 will
still be worth $250,000 after year seven.
However, that 30% figure will decrease
incrementally with each passing year and
if you hold onto a piece of equipment
too long, it’s only worth will be as scrap
material.

“The world is getting smaller, and the
world is demanding more quality,” said
Brian Crawford, Lyle Industries’ Vice
President of Sales. “There is no dumping
ground for old equipment. The people in
Mexico, India and China aren’t just going
to take any machine.”

The residual value of your machine can
vary, depending on a number of factors.

“After seven years, your residual value can
range from 20% to 50%, depending on the
condition of the machine,” according to
Bill Kent of Brown Machine L.L.C. “You
walk into some plants, and the machine is
8 years old but looks like it’s only a couple
years old. In others, you wonder what
century it was built in.”

When purchasing new equipment,
it’s also important to consider features
that will make this new machine more
attractive in the future – and thus hold a
higher residual value, according to Roger
Moore, TSL Vice President of Sales.

“You have to consider the original specs
on the equipment,” he said. “Sometimes the
additional value or cost up front for certain
features is little compared to the residual
value down the road. Quartz top-heat and
bottom-heat tunnels are preferred to calrod
or tubular heaters because of the materials
being used such as polypropylene.”

Moore added that certain features for
thermoformers, such as servo drives, are
vital to a machine retaining its residual
value.

“There’s always a buyer for everything,”
he said. “But trying to sell a non-servo
machine in today’s environment is very
difficult.”

Maintaining
Production Quality

Just like cars and their drivers,
thermoforming machines and their usage
patterns can be broken down into three
general categories:

1. Heavy Use: 7 years old, 5-7 days per
week, 2-3 shifts per day.

This is the equivalent of a car driven
by a sales rep or someone that puts
between 20,000 – 40,000 miles on
their car each year.

2. Moderate Use: 10 years old, 5-7
days per week, 1 shift per day.

This is the average driver that
commutes to and from work for a
total of about 32 miles daily.

3. Light Use: 10 years old and older, 1
shift per week.

This is the clichéd little old lady
who only drives her car to church
on Sundays.

With most thermoformers falling in the
Heavy Use and Moderate Use categories,
you can see that the lion’s share of
equipment in the industry experiences a
substantial amount of wear and tear. As
a result, you can count on your machine
to suffer considerable losses in both
performance and production.

“After seven years, you are definitely
going to lose speed and precision,” Lyle’s
Crawford said. “As parts loosen up, the
running tolerances will be a bit wider.
You can retool but if you don’t maintain
the press, you’ll lose quality around the
edges.”

In addition to a loss in quality, you are
also going to experience a significant loss
in the machine’s output.

“You are going to see a loss in
productivity of at least 10%,” Crawford
added. “Users of equipment can easily
verify this. And many would say that 10%
is a somewhat conservative estimate.”

Brian Urban, Sencorp, Inc. President
and CEO, is one of those people.

“After the seventh year, the machine
will be performing with less than 75%
efficiency. And that’s without technical
upgrades,” Urban said. He added that a
12-year-old machine that has been rebuilt
to specifications will still suffer a 25% loss
in throughput.

In addition, your costs to maintain and
upkeep your presses after the seventh year
will increase dramatically, Crawford said.

Another factor is tooling and whether
or not it is properly integrated with the
machine, said Brown’s Kent. In some
instances when using certain materials,
you have tooling that does not match the
press in terms of speed, so the processor
must slow down the entire run.

“And when you ask them, ‘Why don’t
you just buy some new tooling for your
press?,’ they tell you they can’t because
it’s cost prohibitive,” Kent said. “The
people doing the bigger production runs
can justify paying for the new tooling but
the short-run processors can’t.”

TSL addressed this tooling issue and is
very pleased with the results.

“In our particular case, it’s been about
five years since TSL introduced Low
Flex technology in our machines,” Moore
said. “Low Flex allowed us to run larger
tools or molds and to hold higher form
air pressures, resulting in a higher yield
and a higher quality product from our
machines.”

Keeping Up With
Technology

Seven years ago there was no satellite
radio in cars – or anywhere else for that
matter.

But nowadays, satellite radio is nearly a
standard option in most cars.

GPS navigation. Blue tooth-compatible
electronic systems. Pre-crash safety
systems. Adaptive cruise control. These
are all relatively new bells and whistles
that the automakers have given us in
recent years.

And thermoforming machinery is no
different.

There are innovations every year to
thermoforming equipment and these
enhancements tend to add up over the
lifetime of a machine. What may have
been a new “bell or whistle” when you
purchased the machine is a standard in
year four.

“After seven years, you’re obviously
going to see better control schemes, heating
enhancements, advances in materials, and
new designs to make the thermoforming
process more precise,” Lyle’s Crawford
said.

Some parts – such as drives, motors,
computer-programmed controllers,
ovens and pneumatic cylinders – seem
to improve on an annual basis, Crawford
said. And the materials being used are in a
state of perpetual improvement.

“There will always be a demand placed
on the materials used and their ability to
form and cool quickly,” he said. “Plastics
materials are constantly evolving.”

Just look one aspect of the
thermoforming equation – heating.

Just a decade ago, gas catalytic heaters
were highly prevalent, but known for
their considerable up-front cost, lack
of control, substantial replacement
cost, short life, poor uniformity and
low temperature. These negatives were
enough mandate a change in technology.
And when infrared technology surfaced,
these “issues” were not only remedied,
but the overall performance of the new
technology was significantly stronger
as well. Infrared heating boasts an
efficiency of 80%, while gas catalytic
heaters run at a rate of about 30%.

And there is no ceiling to technological
advances to thermoforming equipment.
They will always occur because
competition drives OEMs to seek
new ways to improve and further
differentiate themselves from one
another. Whether it’s an improvement
in the thermoforming process or a
machine’s reliability, repeatability and
precision, technological progress is
inevitable.

Plus, processors often compete with
each other to respond to customer needs
and meet their demands.

“Ultimately, end-user demands
will drive change,” Crawford said.
“Customers are going to request better
and more precise parts from plastics
processors and they, in turn, will demand
greater quality and performance from
their machines. This will obviously
come back to the OEMs.”

Kent agreed that processors need to be
wary of keeping pace with technology
to meet customer and market demands.
“Technology is advancing so rapidly that
about every year something new comes
out,” he said. “About 20 years ago, it
was very difficult to get polypropylene
through a thermoformer. Today, people
do it and think nothing of it.”

Bob Colletti of Conlet Plastics, Inc.
recently added a MAAC Three-Station
Rotary Comet to his New Millford, CT,
facility and said the linear transducer,
quartz elements and two-speed platens
in the machine have really made a
difference at the company.

“It’s easily the fastest machine in
our shop,” Colletti said. “When you
upgrade your technology, the impact

goes beyond improved efficiencies and
production capacity. New equipment
adds value to your entire operation
because the added capabilities it brings
can attract customers.”

“Plus, a new machine like the Comet
gives you a great deal of flexibility in
terms of how you use the rest of the
equipment in your plant,” he added. “Its
speed alone frees up other machinery
for other jobs.”

Time is of the essence. Especially
when it comes to the time it takes to
actually get your new equipment.

Macedonia, Ohio-based Joslyn
Manufacturing Co. recently added two
Royce Routers to their facility.

“The turnaround was pretty quick
compared to others,” said Bret Joslyn.
“For us, downtime is a killer. With new
machinery, we want to plug it in and
have it start running immediately.”

Before adding the Royce Routers,
Joslyn had four older machines that
were down 30% of the time.

“The improvement in technology
warrants the purchase,” Joslyn said.
“The speed and holding tolerance of the
Royce is exceptional. By adding these
two machines, we probably improved
our cycle times by over 30%.”

Conclusion

The future hinges on our ability to
re-condition the industry and how they
perceive their equipment.

It makes economic sense to trade
in your 7-year-old machine and still
receive 30% of its residual value rather
than trying to “dump” the equipment
five years later and receive nothing in
return.

It makes business sense to continually
upgrade your technology to bolster
your performance and further meet the
demands and needs of your customers.

And it’s common sense to market
your company and its production
capabilities as proactive, progressive
and forward-thinking – qualities that
create value for your customers and for
you. x

Visit

the

SPE

website

at

www.4spe.org

Thermoforming

Quarterly®

Lead Technical Article

Third-Motion Servo Plug Assist

Bill Kent, Brown Machine

T he form press on most thermo-
forming machines features
upper and lower moving platens.
In addition, many machines now
feature a third motion – a plug-assist
drive. Initially, plug-assist tooling
was always mounted in a fixed
position on the platen opposite the
mold. However, there are significant
advantages to mounting plug assists
independent of the other two platens.
Machine builders call this third-
motion servo plug assist, servo-
driven plug assist, servo plug drive
or independent servo plug assist.

Regardless of the name,
all suppliers of large-platen
thermoforming equipment in North
America now offer independent,
third-motion, servo-driven plug
assists for processing deep-draw
products.

North American large bed
thermoformers normally have a mold
with female inserts mounted on the
top platen with the plug assist on
the lower platen. With the advent of
servo-operated platens, equipment
suppliers are more easily able to
incorporate a third motion to achieve
independent plug action.

Generally speaking, European
equipment has always had an
independent plug assist. Even in
trim-in-mold machines where one
platen is fixed and the opposite
moves, you are likely to find a
plug assist. The plug assists in
older equipment were driven via
pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders. In
this type of press, the plug assist was
attached to rods that passed through
the fixed tool half and connected to
a spider plate. The drive mechanism
was attached to the spider plate.
Today both form/trim/stack and
trim-in-mold machines incorporate
servomotors for the platen and plug
movements.

Processors of deep-drawn
containers need to incorporate
independent third motion plug assist on
any new equipment purchases to remain
competitive in the cost-driven world
markets of today. What does independent
third motion plug assist do for the
processors?

Benefits

A) Third-motion allows tooling to
be designed to eliminate flexing.
Elimination of flexing allows tooling
to clamp tighter and prevent any
slipping of material through the clamp
rings. Material slippage can be more
pronounced in large platen formers
due to larger, heavier tools.

B) Third motion allows for faster cycling
because plug assists can be moved
back to a home position before the
tools are opened, decreasing time
required for platen travel.

C) It is easier to down-gauge sheet
thickness requirements producing
product with more uniform material
distribution resulting in less weight
with comparable strength.

D) Third-motion tooling allows different
forming techniques. 1) The forming
air pressure can be started before
the plug assists is fully extended. 2)
A vacuum pulse (Brown Machine
– Patent Pending) can be applied on
the plug side to keep material away
from the mold cavity lip during
plus assisting. 3) It is very easy to
incorporate coining in the lip area
on the mold inserts. This gives
uniform consistent return lips on the
finished products. This is of particular
importance for those products that
require lip rolling.

Machine Design

Today there are two basic third-
motion designs used in large platen
thermoforming machines for the North
American market:

A) The pressure box is designed as a
rectangular box. The plug assists
mount to a plate inside the box. To get
strength in the clamp plate, posts are
mounted in the areas between plug
assists. Four to six rods are mounted
on the back side of the plug plate
and extend through the base of the
pressure box for connection to the
third-motion plug drive.

B) The pressure box is designed as a
solid box with bored holes for the
plug assists. The plug assists are each
mounted to a rod that extends through
the base of the pressure box. All plug
rods connect to a spider plate. The
third-motion drive connects to the
spider plate.

Fig. 1. Bottom platen with plug assist servo motor
in the foreground.

Method A does not have as much
strength as method B. In addition, the
compressed air consumption used in
method A is considerably greater than
that used in method B. Processors should
also look at the method of attaching the
third-motion drive. To mount the pressure
box easily in the thermoformer, both the
pressure box and plug drive should have
automatic connection to the platens.

Processors should review the method
of attaching the plug assist. The
difference in changing out plug assists
in a large, multi-cavity tool can vary
significantly depending on the method
used when changing plug assist.

Equipment suppliers each have their
own design for third-motion axes.
Processors should evaluate the actuation
method, guidance and stabilization, duty
factors and maintenance accessibility to
minimize downtime and reduce operating
costs. x

Need help

with your
technical school
or college
expenses?

If you or someone you
know is working towards a career
in the plastic industry, let the SPE
Thermoforming Division help support
those education goals.

Within this past year alone, our
organization has awarded multiple
scholarships! Get involved and take
advantage of available support from
your plastic industry!

Here is a partial list of schools
and colleges whose students have
benefited from the Thermoforming
Division Scholarship Program:

• UMASS Lowell

• San Jose State

• Pittsburg State

• Penn State Erie

• University of Wisconsin

• Michigan State

• Ferris State

• Madison Technical College

• Clemson University

• Illinois State

• Penn College

Start by completing the application
forms at www.thermoformingdivision.
com or at www.4spe.com. x

(vacuum or compressed air). Before
the part is separated from the tool
with demolding air (air blow-off) the
vacuum and pressure are shut off and
vacuum lines are vented to balance with
atmospheric pressure. This relieves the
formed part simultaneously creating a
reproducible starting condition for the
demolding air control system.

Pure pressure tools do not operate
with demolding air. Parts are demolded
mechanically by ejectors or other
mechanical demolding aids, subsequently
allowing the air to flow freely between
the tool and the part.

Demolding Speed

Demolding during fast cycle times is
more difficult to control than slower cycle
times.

Too little or too much demolding air
can deform the part. The tool should
be designed with as much venting as
possible in locations that will promote
demolding as well as provide good
vacuum.

Demolding Aids

The large venting system shown in Fig.
2 incorporates a weight-relieved valve
which facilitates demolding. This type of
valve is being used in diameters ranging
from about 40mm to 80mm. These are
used primarily for opaque parts where the
parting line would not be objectionable
on the finished part. Slotted nozzles
ranging from 4mm to 12mm in diameter
are also employed for venting air. These
are commercially available as inserts.

Plug assists can aid in demolding as
shown in Fig 3. In this example the main
aim is to prevent deformation of the part.
Although plug assisting is not necessary
for achieving good wall thickness
distribution during forming of flat parts
they can be employed as demolding aids
to prevent deformation.

Too much demolding air can deform
the part as well as too little. This is where
a plug that is the inverse shape of mold
can help. After cooling, the plug moves
to within 1 or 2 mm of the part. It is then
possible to blow the part against the
plug with a lot of demolding air without
deforming it, breaking the contact
between the part and the mold.

Note: When plug assists are utilized
for the purpose of demolding described
above as well as for good material
distribution on side walls, it will be
necessary to contour the plug the same
but slightly smaller than the mold. This
may prevent getting the maximum
benefits from the plug during forming.
Also, the length of the plug stroke for
forming would not be as long as the
stroke for demolding, making it necessary
to have an independent plug action with
a programmable control. See Fig. 4.

Process sequence:

• Form with plug assist

• Retract plug (if necessary for
cooling)

• Move plug into tool again

• Demolding air presses the part
against the plug

• Form tool moves away

• Plug moves away

• Remove part

Note: Roughing the surface of molds
can help the demolding air to flow faster
between the part and the mold. However
surfaces may require polishing in specific
areas to prevent friction (see below).

Friction between Part
and Tool

Friction between the part and the
tool can lead to scratch marks on the
part (Fig. 5a) and in the worst cases,
deformation (Fig. 5b).

Figure 3. Plug assist as aid for demolding flat parts: 1. Plug. 2. Part. 3. Mold.

Figure 4. Plug assist as aid for 0 draft
containers. 1. Plug. 2. Part. 3. Mold.

Figure 5 a. With demolding air on. Figure 5 b. With deformed corner.

Figure 2. Rapid venting inserts: 1. Weight relieved valve. 2. Slotted inserts. 3. Part. 4. Mold

Here are some practical guidelines:

• Rough surfaces on the mold
to benefit overall venting may
require polishing out in areas
where friction is a problem on
demolding.

• Release agents can be used on
sample or test tools, such as soft
soap for wooden tools or Teflon
or silicone spray for aluminum
tools.

• Production molds that are not
demolding can be coated by
electroplating with a porous
chrome or a nickel layer
containing sintered-in PTFE.

Demolding Undercuts

Some undercuts will demold
without tool breakaway sections if
the material type allows. Fig. 6 shows
an undercut which can be demolded
from a solid mold. This is common
practice on stackable cups and trays. If
the undercut is too large (Fig. 7) white
stress marks (“stress-whitening”)
or deformation will occur on some
plastics. This stress appears as a
change in color of pigmented plastics
or a milky hue in transparent plastics.
This is caused by the severe bending
of the plastic at temperatures below
the glass-transition point.

Severe undercuts can be demolded by
using mechanical breakaways or hinged
sections. Fig. 8 shows a tilting tool which
is made possible by the part geometry and
rigidity. During the platen’s downward
motion the tool hinges up which frees
the undercut. Some issues with this type
of breakaway are poor cooling of the
hinged section and the need to buffer the
dropping tool section if it is heavy.

Flexible materials that are formed into
undercuts on a male tool can be demolded
by using a “bell” that contours the mold
with space around the part allowing the
demolding air to force the molded part
out to the bell while the mold drops away
(Fig. 9).

Sheet machines which permit the
operator to access the tool during the
operation can be used for molds that have
loose tool components that come away
from the mold on demolding and can be
re-inserted by hand back into the mold.
This is usually only possible on heavier
gauges where the cycle time is long
enough to allow the operator to get into
the mold (Fig.10).

Finally, Fig. 11 shows a split tool with
a sliding section that stays in the part
when the mold drops. The clamp frames
remain closed until the sliding section
is clear of the undercut in the part. Once
clear, the sections in the mold drop back
to the forming position. Sufficient part
stability is necessary for this type of tool
and the sliding sections must move freely
on bearings to seat accurately. In some
cases these sections must be activated
by a pneumatic cylinder and controlled
electronically. x

Figure 9.

Figure 8.

Figure 10.

Figure 6.

Stressed area

Figure 11.

Figure 7.

University News

PTi Donates $2,000 to
Thermoforming Division
Scholarship Fund

Extrusion machinery manufacturer,
Processing Technologies, Inc. (PTi),
endowed the Thermoforming Division
Scholarship Fund with $2,000 at the
Cincinnati Conference.

PTi President Dana Hanson said,
“We are a long-time contributor to the
Thermoforming Division and as such
we wanted to make a contribution to
the future of the industry. Our view
is that scholarships are an important
way to ensure continued research and
development in the thermoforming and
extrusion sectors of the plastics industry.”

Located in Aurora, IL, PTi is a leading
manufacturer of high-performance,
precision-built single screw extrusion
systems for the plastics industry. Since
2001, PTi has been a sponsor and
exhibitor at the annual Thermoforming
Conference. x

UMASS Lowell Expands
Into Nanotechnology
Testing

In addition to the use of two
thermoforming machines in laboratory
courses, the Plastics Engineering
Department at the University of
Massachusetts – Lowell has two groups of
students conducting research who are also
using the machines for ongoing projects.

The first group is conducting research
that combines thermoforming with
nanotechnology. They are using carbon
nanotubes that are arranged in a specific
pattern and transferring that pattern to
a polyurethane film using a Lyle model
1620 thermoforming machine.

A second group is using a Maac ASP
thermoforming machine to study the
stretching behavior of various sheet
materials in plug assist thermoforming.

For more information, visit the
UMASS Lowell Plastics Engineering
website: http://www.uml.edu/college/
Engineering/plastics/aboutUs/overview.
html. x

UWP Department of Industrial Studies
Receives State-of-the-art Zed SC-Series
Roll-Fed Thermoformer

(From left to right, front row) Majid Tabrizi,
Director of the UWP Center for Plastics
Processing Technology; Provost Carol Sue Butts;
Chancellor David Markee; Tom Kuehn, President
and CEO of Plastics Ingenuity; Jan Acker,
President and CEO of Placon Corporation. (Left
to right, back row) Walt Walker, President of SPE
Thermoforming Division and VP of Operations at
Prent Corporation, and Marc Zelnick, President of
Zed Industries.

PLATTEVILLE – The University of
Wisconsin-Platteville Department of
Industrial Studies is now one of the
first universities in the nation to have a
Zed SC-Series roll-fed thermoformer.
The machine is housed in the Center
for Plastics Processing Technology.

Approximately 40 companies
from the United States and Canada
contributed to the donation. A
dedication ceremony, held October
1, 2007, recognized contributors and
attendees had the opportunity to see the
roll-fed thermoformer in action.

“I’m extremely proud to be here
and part of this activity,” said UWP
Chancellor David Markee.

Mark Zelnick, President of Zed
Industries (Vandalia, OH), collaborated
with many of the contributing
companies to make the donation
possible. Other major contributors
included Plastic Ingenuity of Cross
Plains, Prent Thermoforming of
Janesville, Placon Thermoforming
Products of Madison, the Milwaukee
chapter of SPE and the Thermoforming
Division of the Society of Plastics
Engineers. According to Tabrizi, many
of the companies and vendors made an
in-kind donation.

The machine was custom designed
for the UWP Center for Plastics
Processing Technology. It features
multiple emergency stops and safety
equipment and was designed for an
educational setting. Some components
of the machine are brand-new and
UWP is among the first to benefit from
such technology.

Tabrizi thought it was necessary
to have a roll-fed thermoformer to
complement the MAAC and Lyle cut-
sheet thermoformers the plastics lab
currently has. According to Tabrizi,
having experience and knowledge of both
types of machine gives students an edge
when they enter the workforce.

“The roll-fed thermoformer will give
us a much broader knowledge of how to
run different pieces of equipment. It will
also give more recognition to the program
and make it easier for students to find
a job,” said Mike Swets, a student in
plastics processing technology and Vice
President of the UWP Society of Plastics
Engineers.

Many of the representatives from the
companies who donated agree that the
new machine will greatly benefit students.
They believe that by contributing to the
donation of the roll-fed thermoformer,
they are making an investment where
the return is a skilled and knowledgeable
workforce.

“Platteville students are in every part
of our organization and they are a great
help. We wouldn’t be where we are today
if not for their talent,” said Tom Kuehn,
President and CEO of Plastics Ingenuity
of Cross Plains.

“The partnership with the plastics
industry has proven to be a successful
model. We are proud of seeing our
program as a model for other educational
institutions. We are eager to assist other
institutions in replicating this successful
industrial-educational model in their
curriculum,” said Tabrizi.

For more information: University of
Wisconsin-Platteville, Center for Plastics
Processing Technology; Dr. M. Tabrizi,
(608) 342-1115 or tabrizi@uwplatt.edu. x

PMC at Penn College to Launch
Thermoforming Center of Excellence

Released: December 7, 2007

Official News Release

Special to: The Society of Plastics Engineers

MARK YOUR
CALENDAR!!!

The Thermoforming
Board of Directors
has taken your advice
from your completed
surveys and beginning
in 2008 we will be
going back to our
old dates –

DATES:

Saturday, September 20th,
2008

through

Tuesday, September 23rd,

2008

MINNEAPOLIS
CONVENTION CENTER

HEADQUARTER HOTEL:

MINNEAPOLIS HILTON

& TOWERS

2008 Chairman:

Dennis Northrop

Avery Dennison
Performance Films

Cut Sheet Chairman:

Jim Armor

Armor & Associates

Roll Fed Chairman:

Phil Barhouse

Spartech Packaging

Technologies

Responding to the growing demands
of the region’s plastic processors,
the Plastics Manufacturing Center at
Pennsylvania College of Technology is in
the early stages of launching a Center of
Excellence program for thermoforming
in alliance with the Thermoforming
Division of the Society of Plastics
Engineers and the plastics industry.

The planned facility will be utilized
by thermoformers, sheet extruders, resin
suppliers, mold builders and equipment
manufacturers. The plastics program at
Penn College is recognized as one of
only five ABET-accredited programs
nationally. The PMC is one of the
top plastics-technology centers in the
country, with extensive material-testing
laboratories, industrial-scale process
equipment, world-class training facilities
and highly skilled consulting staff.

The PMC, in concert with the plastics
faculty of Penn College, proposed a
Ben Franklin grant to acquire funds to
construct and staff a Thermoforming
Center of Excellence. A recent letter
from the CEO of McClarin Plastics,
Todd Kennedy, emphasized the industry
need for thermoforming education and
industry-development services. The
National Society of Plastics Engineers
has pledged to support a national
thermoforming center. In addition,
many companies have expressed
interest in supporting a much-needed
thermoforming center.

Formation of the Thermoforming
Center of Excellence will bring national
recognition to Penn College’s plastics
program and provide much-needed
graduate engineers for the future of the
thermoforming industry.

“Although the center’s primary
focus is to assist regional companies,
it will be recognized nationally as one
of two or three research centers for
thermoforming in North America,” said
PMC Director Hank H. White. One of
the most significant issues facing the
plastics industry is the need for employee
understanding of plastics technology
to capitalize on the latest advances
in the industry. The PMC addresses
this and other issues facing plastic
processors, such as new-product and
process development and new-materials
evaluation and development.

The center at Penn College will explore
fundamental relationships between resin,
processing and product properties. The
infrastructure, including equipment and
staffing, will be developed in the first
year. Member recruitment will also be a
major goal. Developing specific projects
for industry and technology transfer will
begin as the industrial thermoforming
equipment is acquired. Additionally, the
academic program will strengthen its
curriculum for thermoforming education.

Members of the Thermoforming
Center of Excellence will participate
in focused research and benefit from
the comprehensive knowledge base
available at Penn College. There are
significant opportunities for plastics
processors to improve their productivity
and competitiveness through material and
process improvements. The capability to
“bring some science” to what has been, to
date, a very empirical process, will allow
the center to make key contributions
within the thermoforming industry.

The PMC is able to assist with
new-product development; material
selection, testing and analysis; custom
compounding; process improvement
and development; and workforce
training. Plastics professionals provide
customized, on-site training programs,
as well as on-campus courses. Services
from qualified consultants are tailored to
plastics product and process needs.

For more information, contact White
at (570) 321-5533, or send e-mail to
cwhite@pct.edu. x

5th European Thermoforming Conference

®
Program

SOCIETY OF PLASTICS ENGINEERS

European Thermoforming Division

Eric Sasselaan 51 ~ BE-2020 Antwerpen ~ Belgium

Tel. +32 3 541 77 55 ~ Fax +32 3 541 84 25

spe.europe@skynet.be ~ www.e-t-d.org

“Crossing Frontiers – Knowledge: The Key to Your Success”

3-4 April 2008 – Maritim Hotel Berlin, Germany

Thursday 3 April 2008

18.00-20.00 Conference Registration

20.00-22.00 Welcome Reception

Friday 4 April 2008

General Session

08.45-09.00 Introduction
Kitty Beijer, Chair ETD
Hubert Kittelmann, Conference Chair

09.00-09.45 Thermoforming in Central and Eastern Europe
Kalman Wappel / ECEBD, Hungary

09.45-10.30 “Travelling Lite”

Rik Hillaert / Samsonite, Belgium

10.30-11.00 Coffee Break

11.00-11.45 “Superior Interior”
Forming / Laminating Applications at JCI
Hans-Jörg Sakowsky / Johnson Controls Interiors,
Germany

11.45-12.30 The “TRUE” Origins of the Computer
Dr. Ing Horst Zuse / Germany

12.30-14.00 Lunch and Parts Presentation

Technical Processing Sessions

14.00-15.30 “……………………………P…….Art to Science, Controlling Your Process”
T-Form Update
Fabian Beilharz / IKT Stuttgart, Germany
Marco Smit / TNO Industrial Technology, Netherlands
“Automation in Thermoforming”
Erwin Wabnig / Kiefel, Germany

15.30-16.00 Coffee Break

16.00-17.30 “Real Cool Tools”
Peter Schwarzmann / Illig, Germany
“Plug-In,” Plug Materials Influence on Final Part
Quality in the Thermoforming Process
Marco Jungmeier / Jacob Kunststofftechnik, Germany

Material Technology Sessions

14.00-15.30 Bioplastics – The Beginning or the End?
Dr. Michael Thielen / Polymedia Publisher, Germany

“Peek Performance”

Application in Polyetheretherketone
Mike Percy / Victrex, UK

15.30-16.00 Coffee Break

16.00-17.30 “Under the Skin”
Colour and Gloss Management
Thomas Höfels / Senoplast, Austria

“Reading Between the Lines”
Improving Sheet Extrusion
John Vlachopoulos / McMaster University, Canada

18.30-23.00 Gala Dinner and Boat Trip on Board M/S “La Paloma”

Saturday 5 April 2008

08.00-08.45 Conference Registration

08.45-09.30 Reach for the Sky – High Performing Parts
Jim Griffing / Boeing – Material and Process Technology,
USA

09.30-10.15 How to Mobilise the Full Potential of the Organization
Ton Aerdts / Blom Consultancy, Netherlands

10.15-10.45 Nanocomposites
T.B.A.

10.45-11.15 Coffee Break

11.15-12.30 WORKSHOP I

Thermoforming vs. Alternative Technologies
Andy Eavis / Thompson Plastics Group, UK

WORKSHOP II

Shorter Lead Times – Fact or Fiction
Rich Freeman / Freetech Plastics, USA

12.30-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.30 WORKSHOP III

Analysing Thermoforming Material
Fabian Beilharz / IKT Stuttgart, Germany
David Liebing / IKT Stuttgart, Germany
Karel Kouba / Accuform, Czech Republic
Rupert Gschwendtner / Kiefel, Germany
Lennart Ederleh / IKV Aachen, Germany
Peter Martin / Queen’s University Belfast, UK
Marco Smit / TNO, Netherlands

WORKSHOP IV

Thermoformers “Go Green” and Save Money
John Jonckeere / Vitalo, Belgium

15.30-16.15 IML and Bottleforming
Reiner Albrecht / Illig, Germany
Hubert Kittelmann / Marbach, Germany

16.15-16.45 Conference Summary and Close
Hubert Kittelmann and Ken Darby

Thermoforming

Quarterly®

Thermoforming and Sustainability

2007 may well prove to be the year that sustainability became a household word.
Plastics are at the forefront of the new sustainability movement. As a prime
transformer of plastics, the thermoforming community has a unique opportunity
to play a leadership role in this new industry sector. As a service to our readers,
the editors of the Thermoforming Quarterly will dedicate a new section of
the journal to news and articles related to sustainability and thermoforming. As
always, reader contributions are welcomed and encouraged.

Understanding
Sustainability:
Keeping it Simple

Tim Ritter, Universal Protective Packaging, Inc.

Sustainability is a broad,
encompass-ing concept ultimately
aimed at minimizing human impact on
the environment and maximizing the
outcome for future generations. As
it relates to the packaging industry,
sustainability is mostly about optimiz-
ing a package’s life-cycle impact
(i.e., minimizing environmental
impact). Thermoformed packaging is
at the forefront of the sustainability
discussion because it is plastic and it
is disposable. As thermoformers, you
can take some simple steps to make
your business and products more
sustainable.

1) Recycling 100% of internal
plastic scrap. All of the raw material
waste generated in thermoforming
operations can be easily reprocessed
and returned into clean raw material
supply. By doing this you can keep
manufacturing waste from going into
landfills and reduce the amount of
virgin raw material required for your
operations.

2) Using post-consumer-recycled
plastic. Plenty of post-consumer-
recycled (PCR) plastic is available
to be converted into film and used
to manufacture your thermoformed
packages. This material has already
been through at least one consumer life
cycle as a drink bottle or some other
package and would have otherwise
been destined for a landfill.

3) Using bio-polymers and low-
impact hybrid materials. Many
advancements have been made in
a variety of alternative “plastics” for
thermoforming like the corn-based
film PLA. PLA is a clear packaging
film that is well suited for a variety of
thermoformed packages but it requires
careful and unique manufacturing
and handling processes. You can also
thermoform other materials that are
partially or entirely derived from non-
petroleum sources. In addition to being
made from sustainable resources many
of these materials are biodegradable,
industrial compost-able, or even water-
soluble.

4) Designing packages for minimal
impact. You can create thermoform
designs that minimize package volume
without affecting usability. By reducing
package components and light-weighting
you can minimize environmental impact
and reduce packaging cost at the same
time.

All plastic processors including
thermoformers should participate in
industry forums on sustainability and
material life-cycle studies. Involve
your technical personnel in the most
current education the plastics industry
has to offer and invest in technology
to keep pace with emerging materials.
The movement toward more sustainable
packaging solutions is happening
now. There is an important place for
thermoformers in this movement but you
must take the initiative to be a part of it.

Thermoforming
Division Grants
Funding to Redesign
Blow Molded Sun
Stove

At the September Division Board
Meeting in Cincinnati, the board
approved up to $1,500 to convert the
design of an existing blow molded sun
stove into thermoforming.

The story starts with an engineer by the
name of Dick Wareham from Brookfield,
WI. During his business travels in South
Africa for his mineral-export business,
Dick noticed that a significant portion of
the population was using wood-burning
stoves for cooking. This was a labor-
intensive process involving hours of
manual wood collection. As an engineer
accustomed to looking for efficiency
gains, Wareham saw an opportunity in
the form of an abundance of natural, solar
power: the sun stove. Moreover, the labor
to collect wood could be used for other
income-generating purposes, thus raising
the standard of living.

After looking at existing designs,
Wareham determined that a sun stove
could be manufactured using a blow
molded design. Over time however, it
became apparent that the capital costs
involved in blow molding were too
great to sustain the developing sun
stove business. The quantities required
to render the process affordable were
just not there. Wareham encountered a
second, socio-economic problem: the
stoves were being heavily subsidized and
therefore people were not attaching any
value to them. In other words, the most
effective way of promoting the sun stove
use was for the potential users to see
value in their use and then pay for them.

Wareham and his son, Dave,
realized that a different approach was
needed. After analyzing manufacturing
alternatives and working with Ed
Probst of Profile Plastics, they decided
that thermoforming offered significant
advantages that would help support the
small sun stove economy. The low run
quantities of the sun stove were better
served by the affordable costs offered by
thermoforming. A strategy was mapped
out to convert the existing blow molded

design into a thermoformed one. By
funding the design through a grant, the
SPE Thermoforming Division allowed
the sun stove organization to concentrate
on the next task which is to build the new
mold in South Africa.

For more information on the
Wareham’s work with the sun stove go to:
www.sungravity.com.

Sustainability – Is It
Truly Sustainable?

Tom Preston, Packaging Development Resources

(In a very short period of time,
sustainability and sustainable packaging
have grown from cottage industries to
major global trends.)

What Does It Mean for
Thermoforming?

For those looking for a definition of
sustainability and how this applies to
them, there is an excellent definition for
our marketplace and products developed
by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.
However, the basic elements are the
same: the key to this new way of thinking
is understanding the triple bottom line.
That is, to be truly sustainable, products
must:

• Be economically viable

• Have intrinsic benefits to humans

• Not harm the environment

Market leaders in food and consumer
goods such as Aveda, Procter & Gamble
and Kraft Foods have devoted Vice
Presidential status to sustainability
leaders and have committed a legion of
human and capital resources in pursuit
of a better sustainable answer for their
existing products and new product
launches.

Retailers, most notably Wal-Mart,
are keeping score and those who do not
comply with an improving record will be
left behind. Retailer demands are being
driven by corporations’ internal goals
as well as an educated and motivated
consumer.

Packaging is not a lone pioneer in this
new marketplace of consumer minds.
The revolution to convert our homes and
offices into more sustainable structures
is well underway. An industry-wide
push for standards and best practices is
being led by organizations such as LEED
(Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design) and the U.S. Green Building
Council.

How Do We Get Our Voice
Heard?

Green-washers beware! Today’s
consumers have a greater understanding
of the science in the parcels they
purchase. Market leaders like Timberland
and Nike are adding elements to the
consumer’s purchasing criteria by sharing
life cycle inputs for their materials and
packaging systems. This is prompting
new questions about other products and
how they are packaged.

Despite significant progress in size,
material reduction and the increasing use
of recycled content in our products, we
are still a target. However, there is an
opportunity presenting itself today for
us to raise the level of discussion about
our materials and their performance, the
reclaimed materials market, and the value
of low weight-to-performance ratios
in a market that is measuring life cycle
contributions and carbon footprint.

Working with Non-Governmental
Organizations (NGOs) and our customers
to establish standards or dovetail with
those already under development is a
pro-active step that many processors are
doing individually. Collaborative effort
will raise the entire industry and reduce
the skepticism about the motivation or
reliability of the product or company-
specific messages.

What Lies Ahead?

With crystal balls in short
supply, today’s leaders are faced
with the decision of what is best
for their companies with a new set
of measurement criteria. Unlike
previous “environmental” movements,
sustainability is intended to continue
because it is economically viable.
Compliance with Wal-Mart standards or
other customer-generated standards is
going to be the minimum requirement
and arguably will not be a final step
in our evolution to more sustainable
products.

Being sustainable will require us to
reduce the amount of material reaching
landfill and to lower our energy
consumption in the manufacturing
processes. By increasing our role in
establishing standards that begin with
science and data versus emotion and
anecdotal information, we will be able
to show that our products perform at
a very high level relative to substitute
materials and processes.

Many sustainability journals offer
studies that suggest only the companies
embracing sustainable principles will
survive. Though this may be a bit
extreme, there is mounting evidence in
the media and in our discussions with
customers that those who adopt these
ideals will gain a significant advantage
in the short term and establish a growth
platform for the future. x

Thermoforming Division

Board Meeting Schedule 2008

February 5-9 – Marathon, FL

May 14-17 – Sedona, AZ

September 17-20 – Minneapolis, MN

Board meetings are open to members
of the thermoforming industry.

If you would like to attend as a guest of the board, please notify
Membership Chairman Conor Carlin at conorc@stopol.com.

Become a

Thermoforming

Quarterly Sponsor

in 2008!

Do you like the

new look?

Additional sponsorship
opportunities will
include 4-color, full
page, and 1/2 page.

RESERVE
YOUR PRIME
SPONSORSHIP

SPACE TODAY.

Questions?

Call or email …

Laura Pichon

Ex-Tech Plastics

847-829-8124

Lpichon@extechplastics.com

BOOK SPACE

IN 2008!

Visit us on the Web!

www.thermoformingdivision.com

Our website is continually being updated with news and events. Find
all the information about thermoforming in one convenient site: lists
of material suppliers and machinery builders, instructional videos,
useful links and much, much more.

You can download all important forms online including the
membership application and the nomination form for Thermoformer
of the Year.

Feel free to send us your comments, suggestions, etc.

t

Register

Today!

GPEC® 2008

(MARCH 10-12, 2008)

“Sustainability
and Recycling
for a Greener
Environment”

The 2008 Global Plastics
Environmental Conference is just
around the corner. The GPEC®
2008 committee is working hard
to put on the best conference.
Our plenary speakers, Dr.
Seetha Coleman-Kammula and
Jerry Powell, are best in class.
New to the conference is the
“2008 Clean Technology and
Business Forum & Competition”
that is sure to be an excellent
opportunity that you will not
want to miss. More details on
the technical papers, program
schedule and our featured
events are on our website. You
may also register online.

www.4spe.org/conf/
gpec08/08gpec.php

Please join us for the excellent
technical and networking
opportunities at GPEC® 2008 in
Orlando, Florida.

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© 2005 Arkema Inc.All rights reserved.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………

2008

EDITORIAL

CALENDAR

Quarterly Deadlines for

Copy and Sponsorships

FINAL APPROVAL

COPY FOR EDITORIAL

APPROVAL

7-DEC 1-JUN

1-MAR 7-OCT

DEADLINE FOR

AD COPY

15-DEC 15-JUN

15-MAR 15-OCT

All artwork to be sent in
.eps or .jpg format with
minimum 300dpi resolution.

REDUCE …

REUSE …

RECYCLE!

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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

Conference Coordinator

Gwen Mathis

6 S. Second Street, SE

Lindale, Georgia 30147

706/235-9298

Fax: 706/295-4276

email: gmathis224@aol.com

Website:

http://www.4spe.org/communities/

divisions/d25.php

or

www.thermoformingdivision.com

…………………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
2007 – 2009 THERMOFORMING DIVISION ORGANIZATIONAL CHART

Executive

Committee

2006 – 2008

CHAIR

Walt Walker

Prent Corporation

P. O. Box 471, 2225 Kennedy Road

Janesville, WI 53547-0471

(608) 754-0276 x4410

Fax (608) 754-2410

wwalker@prent.com

CHAIR ELECT

Barry Shepherd

Shepherd Thermoforming & Packaging, Inc.

5 Abacus Road

Brampton, Ontario L6T 5B7 Canada

(905) 459-4545 x229

Fax (905) 459-6746

bshep@shepherd.ca

TREASURER

Brian Ray

Ray Products

1700 Chablis Avenue

Ontario, CA 91761

(909) 390-9906

Fax (909) 390-9984

brianr@rayplastics.com

SECRETARY

Mike Sirotnak

Solar Products

228 Wanaque Avenue

Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442

(973) 248-9370

Fax (973) 835-7856

msirotnak@solarproducts.com

COUNCILOR WITH TERM

ENDING ANTEC 2009

Lola Carere

Thermopro, Inc.

2860 Preston Ridge Lane

Dacula, GA 30019

(770) 592-8756

Fax (770) 339-4181

lcarere@bellsouth.net

PRIOR CHAIR

Roger Kipp

McClarin Plastics

P. O. Box 486, 15 Industrial Drive

Hanover, PA 17331

(717) 637-2241 x4003

Fax (717) 637-4811

rkipp@mcclarinplastics.com

Walt Speck

Minneapolis

Conor Carlin

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Barry Shepherd

Board of Directors

PROCESSING
COMMITTEE

Art Buckel

McConnell Company

Haydn Forward

Specialty Manufacturing Co.

Richard Freeman

Freetech Plastics

Hal Gilham

Productive Plastics, Inc.

Steve Hasselbach

CMI Plastics

Stephen Murrill

Profile Plastics

Joe Peters

Universal Plastics

Robert G. Porsche

General Plastics

Walt Speck

Speck Plastics

Jay Waddell

Plastics Concepts &

Innovations

MATERIALS

COMMITTEE

Jim Armor

Armor & Associates

Phil Barhouse

Spartech Packaging

Technologies

Donald Hylton

McConnell Company

Bill McConnell

McConnell Company

Vin McElhone

Stand Up Plastics

Dennis Northrop

Avery Dennison
Performance Films

Laura Pichon

Ex-Tech Plastics

Clarissa Schroeder

Invista S.A.R.L

MACHINERY

COMMITTEE

James Alongi

Maac Machinery

Conor Carlin

Stopol, Inc.

Roger Fox

The Foxmor Group

Ken Griep

Portage Casting & Mold

Bill Kent

Brown Machine

Don Kruschke

Stopol, Inc.

Brian Winton

Modern Machinery

Thermoforming

Quarterly®

FIRST QUARTER 2008

VOLUME 27 n NUMBER 1

Sponsor Index

These sponsors enable us to publish Thermoforming Quarterly

n Alcoa………………………………8

n Allen……………………………..21

n Advanced Ventures in

Technology………………….12

n American Catalytic

Technologies……………….19

n American Thermoforming

Machinery………………….19

n Arkma / Altuglas……………….27

n Brown Machine…………………12

n CMS………………………………..5

n CMT Materials………………….26

n Copper & Brass………………..28

n Edward D. Segen………………27

n Fox Mor Group…………………31

n Future Mold…………………….19

n GN Plastics……………………..19

n Kiefel…………………………….31

n Kleerdex…………………………..9

n KMT Robotic Solutions………..32

n Maac Machinery………………..28

n McClarin Plastics……………….19

n Modern Machinery…………….19

n Octal…………………..Back Cover

n Onsrud Cutter………………….13

n PCI……………………………….19

n PMC………………………………15

n Portage Casting & Mold…………5

n Primex Plastics…………………32

n Productive Plastics………………5

n Profile Plastics Corp……………..5

n Protherm………………………..15

n PTi………………………………….9

n Ray Products……………………31

n SenCorp…………………………27

n Solar Products………………….24

n Stopol………..Inside Front Cover

n Tempco……………………………5

n Thermwood…………………….13

n Tooling Technology…………….29

n TPS………………………………29

n Ultra-Metric Tool……………….30

n WECO……………………………..9

n Xaloy, Inc……………………….29

n Zed Industries………………….19

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