Quarterly Mags: 2008 3rd

P. O. Box 471
Lindale, Georgia 30147-0471
Non-Profit Org.
page 7
Keeping America Competitive: The Manufacturing Challenge page 12
Lead Technical Article: Bottle Forming page 18
Scholarship Winners pages 26-27
P. O. Box 471
Lindale, Georgia 30147-0471
Non-Profit Org.
page 7
Keeping America Competitive: The Manufacturing Challenge page 12
Lead Technical Article: Bottle Forming page 18
Scholarship Winners pages 26-27

www.octalglobal.com www.octalglobal.com



Conor Carlin

(216) 287-5375
Technical Editor

Barry Shepherd

(905) 459-4545 Ext. 229
Fax (905) 459-6746

Laura Pichon

(847) 829-8124
Fax (815) 678-4248
Conference Coordinator

Gwen Mathis

(706) 235-9298
Fax (706) 295-4276
Thermoforming Quarterly® is published
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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
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Thermoforming Quarterly® is registered
in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
(Registration no. 2,229,747). x

Chairman’s Corner x 2
Thermoforming in the News x 4
University News x
Thermoforming and

Sustainability x
Photo Contest x
Parts Competition Guidelines

Conference Exhibitors x 46

Page 5

Industry Practice x

Thermoplastic Composites Replace Metal

The Business of Thermoforming x

Keeping America Competitive: The Manufacturing Challenge

Thermoforming 2.0 x

Processes Used to Make Thermoforming Sheet

Front Cover
Lead Technical Article x

Expect the Unexpected: Thermoforming Pushes the Boundaries

6th European Thermoforming Conference x

Berlin, Germany

In This Issue
Welcome New Members x
Council Summary x 22
Thermoforming on the Web x
Roger Kipp x 38
Sponsorship x
2008 Editorial Calendar x 43
Executive Committee x 44
Board of Directors x 45
Index of Sponsors x 48

Page 38
Thermoforming QUArTerLY 1

Quarterly® Chairman’s Corner
Brian Ray
Chairman’s Corner
Brian Ray
he beginning of a newT

two-year term as chairman has kept
me very busy this summer. I have
spent countless hours speaking
with board members and executive
committee members regarding goals
and objectives for the coming term.
It is amazing how many things our
board has been able to accomplish
through the unwavering support
of its members. Without continued
review, it is easy to lose track of
all the fantastic things we have
accomplished: educational and
promotional events such as Antec
and the annual Thermoforming
Conference; the matching grant
fund for equipment to be placed at
universities and the matching grant
for the PlastiVan Program. New
opportunities include the Center of
Excellence at Penn College and a
Thermoforming Pavilion at NPE in
June 2009. The opportunities are
endless and as the industry continues
to grow, we will find ourselves not
looking for things to do, but rather
looking for individuals to help us
implement and execute our mission to
advance thermoforming technology
through education, application,
promotion and research.

Thank you, WalT

Outgoing Chairman Walt Walker has
done an excellent job positioning
our Division and Board of Directors
for continued growth. Through his
leadership our Division has continued
to stay true to our mission statement.
Walt’s dedication to the board of
directors has allowed our division to
move forward on several programs
which will continue to advance our
industry for years to come. Thank
you, Walt, for all that you have done
for this organization.

I am very excited to serve as your
chairman for the next two years.
The energy and enthusiasm that our
board members put into this volunteer
organization is encouraging. I intend
to stay focused on the programs
that continue to work well for us. I
will also be exploring new avenues
for growth and development which
will take the board and this division
to the next level. I am fortunate to
be working with a disciplined and
detail-oriented executive committee
comprised of Ken Griep, James
Alongi, Mike Sirotnak, Walt Walker,
and Roger Kipp. This well-balanced
group is poised for a very exciting
two-year run, so stay tuned.


In a few weeks we will all be
descending on Minneapolis,
Minnesota to discover our leading
edge. The technical program will
offer valuable insight and knowledge
of what it takes to stay competitive
in today’s thriving thermoforming

industry. As you may or may
not know, it is the success of our
annual conference that provides
revenue which is used to fulfill
our core objectives. This revenue
would not be possible without the
support of sponsors, exhibitors and
suppliers. Each year a committee
takes responsibility for the upcoming
conference and this year Dennis
Northrop, Jim Armor and Phil
Barhouse have done an excellent job
putting together an extremely relevant
program compressed to just a few

GeT involved

I welcome your opinions, suggestions
and thoughts regarding the conference
or the board of directors. It is with
your feedback that we can make
adjustments and improve. Without
feedback, we risk stagnation and
complacency. You can call me
anytime at 800-423-7859 or email
me at Brianr@rayplastics.com. We
have an exciting two years ahead of
us and I look forward to increasing
our general membership as well as
our board membership, increasing
conference participation with new
exhibitors and new attendees. Our
division is the primary organization
for all things thermoforming. I invite
you all to be a part this successful and
important division. x

Brian Ray

2 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

Quarterly® New Members New Members
Nicolae Abrudean

5 Barnett Street
Listowel, ON N4W 3V9

Sylvain Emery

Repaco Inc.
700 Cowie Street
Granby, QC J2G3X6

Gustavo Gomes De Amorim

PLM Plasticos SA
Est Ver Julio Ferreira Filho
Campina Grande So Sul,
83 430 000

Jesus Gonzalez

Carvel Print Serigraph Inc.
Calle 2 No 117
Parque Industrial Jurica
Queretaro, Queretaro CP

Jeff Hammond

5920 Lon Bor Drive
Boulder, Colorado 80301

Scott Irwin

Panoramic Inc.
1500 N. Parker Drive
Janesville, Wisconsin 53545

Luis German Joya Sanchez

Carvel Print Serigraph Inc.
Calle 2 No 117
Paque Industrial Jurica
Queretaro, Queretaro CP

John McKay

200 Ronthor Road
Social Circle, Georgia 30025

Margaret Reeber

1505 Marymount Drive
Franklin, Tennessee 37067

Robert D. Roberts

NOVA Chemicals Inc.
18 Franklin Street
Millers Falls, Massachusetts

Marco Roche

Plasticos Del Litoral S A
Km 11 5 Via a Daule
P O Box 09-01-1299

Why Join?
Why Not?
It has never been more important
to be a member of yo ur
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 con-
The question really isn’t “why
join?” but …
Claudio Rogerio

PLM Plastics
Est Ver Julio Ferreira Filho
Campina Grande Do Sul, PR

Felix G. Silva

Valle De San Sebastian
# 129
Col Valle Residencial
Celaya 38020

Steve Swain

3500 48th Avenue North
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 3

Thermoforming in the news
Packaging: Greiner,
RPC bring clever
new products to

Düsseldorf, Germany — Austrian
packaging processor Greiner
brought a number of innovative
new rigid packaging options to the
Interpack trade show, held April
23-30 in Düsseldorf, Germany.
One package shown to MPW
by Greiner’s Kenneth Boldog,
market product manager, includes
a thermoformed top cup and an
injection molded bottom cup, both
of polypropylene but the bottom
using clarified material. The top
cup contains yogurt, and the bottom
contains a small toy. Both cups are
wrapped with a paper label. The first
commercial customer is a European

Another new package from the
firm involved a thermoformed cup
that is entirely wrapped, to include
the bottom, but a paper label. The
paper is thick enough to fold across
the bottom. This bottom, says
Boldog, makes it very easy for bar
coding, and therefore speeds food
stores’ logistics and checkout. He
says Grenier is in talks with a number
of large food packagers regarding
this second package.

Competing rigid packaging
processor RPC brought a number of
new package solutions to Interpack,
but probably the most novel was
the Gizmo, a pressurized device
incorporated into a closure of a
container which, when opened,
releases under pressure (so also
mixes) the active ingredients into the
beverage or other product. MPW
opened one at the RPC stand, and
can easily picture children enjoying

the sudden surprise as the pressure is
released. Unfortunately RPC would
let the closure leave its stand, so its
components remain a bit of a mystery.
Shedding some light, Gizmo marketer,
Gizmo Packaging Co., has a video that
shows how the closure works at its
website. x

Industry report offers
harsh outlook, keys to

These and similar subject headers in
a new report make it clear that the North
American plastics processing industry is
a difficult market in which to succeed,
made more so in the past two years as
energy costs and the price of resin have
thrown a mean curve at many processors.

The complete downloadable
report, titled “Prospering in Today’s
Plastics Industry: Making the Right
Decisions in Turbulent Times,” is
available at the following website: www.
getWhitePaper.cfm. The report also
cites a poll conducted in the first half of
2008 of more than 150 plastics industry
executives to evaluate the state of the
industry, gather their views about the
future, and let them elaborate on the ways
they plan to navigate the current industry
downturn and drive future profitable

The poll and subsequent report were
conducted by Principia Partners, an
international strategy consulting firm
in the plastics, specialty chemicals,
and building products and materials
industries, and Akin Bay, a middle-market
investment bank. The report presents not
only the polling results but also these two
firms’ observations and opinion about the
implications for the future of the North
American plastics industry. Though the
difficulties faced by processors are not
understated, the report’s authors note that

even in challenging market conditions
opportunities remain for processors to
grow their businesses.

Among points cited in the report:

Of the projected total demand
increase for plastics, 75% of that
will stem from increased demand in
Asia. Another 15% will come from
new demand in the Middle East,
Latin America, and Central and
Eastern Europe.
The total value of plastic shipments
in North America has increased
by 22% since 2002, even as
employment in the industry has
dropped 20%, and the total number
of plastics processors has shrunk
30%, a reflection of the growth in
Multiples paid for plastics
processors have dropped in the past
few years from 8-10 times EBITDA
to just 5-7 times EBITDA.
Nearly 20% of the survey
respondents anticipate a change
in company ownership in the next
five years, which would almost
mirror the percentage of ownership
changes that did take place during
the past five years. x
These articles appeared in the May and
July 2008 editions of Modern Plastics and
are reprinted with the kind permission of
Modern Plastics Worldwide.

4 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

Photo Taken by Student
Dennis E. Haakenson, Jr. of the
University of Wisconsin – PlattevilleDennis E. Haakenson, Jr. of the
University of Wisconsin – Platteville

The winning photograph
features the new Zed
thermoformer that was
donated to the university
last year. This picture
shows fine composition
and balance.
18th Annual Thermoforming Conference
September 20 – 23, 2008
Minneapolis Convention Center
Register Online at: http://4spe.org/conf/thermo08/0809thermo.php
Hilton Downtown Minneapolis
For Reservations: 612-376-1000 Request SPE Room Rate of $149.00
For up-to-date conference information, go to our web site at: www.thermoformingdivision.com
or contact Gwen Mathis at 706-235-9298 or email gmathis224@aol.com
Thermoforming QUArTerLY 5

6 Thermoforming QUArTerLY
CMS North America, Inc.
Grand Rapids, MI
800.225.5267 Fax: 616.698.9730 www.cmsna.com
CMS North America, Inc.
Grand Rapids, MI
800.225.5267 Fax: 616.698.9730 www.cmsna.com

Thermoforming Quarterly®

is an “equal opportunity”
publisher! You will notice
that we have several
departments and feature
articles. If you have a
technical article, send it to
Barry Shepherd, Technical
Editor. All other articles
should be sent to Conor
Carlin, Editor. Please send in
.doc format. All graphs and
photos should be of sufficient
size and contrast to provide
a sharp printed image.


Industry Practice


Thermoplastic Composites
replace Metal

By Dale Brosius, Contributing Writer, Gardner Publications

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in Composites
Technology in February 2008. It is reprinted here
with the kind permission of Gardner Publications. We
offer this to our readers as an example of how the
thermoforming process is gaining traction in other

Low-pressure forming processes and low-density,
long fiber-reinforced thermoplastic come together
to cut weight of aluminum transit bus roof air
conditioning door by 40 percent.

omposites material suppliers and molders have spent
many years developing and producing lightweight
components for automobiles and heavy trucks, aimed at
improving fuel efficiency and cost. During this period, much
less attention has been devoted to mass transit applications
for composites. But that is changing, as transit equipment
manufacturers and governments recognize the opportunities to
reduce fuel consumption and road wear, particularly for buses.
Transit authorities in New Jersey, for example, have requested
bids for new buses that weigh 5,000 lb/2,270 kg less than current
models in use, says Uday Vaidya, director of the Engineering
Plastics and Composites Laboratory at the University of
Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Vaidya and his colleagues
Sellvum Pillay and Haibin Ning, in collaboration with the
National Composite Center (NCC, Kettering, Ohio) and other
partners, have recently completed a five-year effort, funded by
the U.S. Department of Transportation, to demonstrate how
buses can be made lighter using composites.

A key entity in the contracted effort was North American
Bus Industries Inc. (NABI, Anniston, Ala.), a major producer
of heavy-duty diesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied
natural gas (LNG) and hybrid electrically powered buses. NABI
offers standard-floor and low-floor transit buses, including 60ft/
18.2m articulated versions. In 2001, NABI also offered the
first bus with an all-composite body.

For this program, NABI provided the platforms from which
the UAB/NCC team selected components for its series of
demonstrations. In the program’s first four years, composite bus
seats, floor and frame sections, body panels, and a battery box
door were produced. For the culminating project, an aluminum
door/cover for the roof-mounted air conditioning system was
selected for conversion. The net result is an innovative hybrid:

an unreinforced thermoplastic outer skin made using lowcost
thermoforming technology backed with a structural,
low-density thermoplastic composite inner panel, produced
by low-pressure compression molding. The finished product
meets or exceeds all requirements for fit, form and function,
exhibiting greater stiffness, improved vibration damping
and a mass reduction of nearly 40 percent compared to the
aluminum production part.

iniTial Trial WiTh
unreinforCed TPo

The air conditioning cover doors on the NABI 60-BRT
(see “Learn More”) are part of a series of rooftop doors that
give access to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning
(HVAC) equipment. Other doors provide access to natural
gas tanks and other systems. The existing production door
is approximately 4 ft. wide and 6 ft. long (1.22m by 1.83m).
Weighing 46.2 lb./21 kg, the door is assembled from a curved
0.125-inch/3-mm thick sheet of aluminum with a metallic
stiffener rib. During service and maintenance of the bus,
technicians prop the cover open using an extender arm on
one end of the door. Under its own weight, the unsupported
end deflects approximately 1.9 inches/48 mm, a target for
improvement by switching to a lighter weight composite
door. Other goals of the project included providing a readyto-
paint or molded-in color surface, better sound absorption/
damping characteristics, and the use of simple, low-cost
manufacturing technologies.

Initial finite element analysis conducted at UAB looked at a
smooth outer skin with a ribbed inner panel, both produced via
thermoforming, using an extruded unreinforced thermoplastic
polyolefin (TPO) sheet material for both panels. The selected
material was Sequel E3000, a modified polypropylene from
Solvay Engineered Polymers Inc. (Auburn Hills, Mich.).
With inner and outer panels each measuring 0.125 inch/3mm
thick, this design offered a reduction in deflection but a weight
savings of only 18.5 percent compared to the baseline. It
was concluded that this design failed to offer enough weight
savings to justify conversion; the parts would have to be
significantly thinner or they would have to be thermoformed
from material of lower density. This latter possibility would
appear difficult to achieve given that the specific gravity of
the TPO is already a low 1.07.

(continued on next page)

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 7

TherMoPlasTiC hiTs

The solution was found by replacing
the unreinforced, ribbed inner panel
with a lightweight, glass-reinforced
thermoplastic composite material,
SuperLite SL551400.109, supplied
by Azdel Inc. (Lynchburg, Va.). The
SuperLite material is a form of glass
mat thermoplastic (GMT), but unlike
traditional GMT, which requires
compression molding at 1,500 psi to
2,000 psi (10 MPa to 13 MPa), it can
be consolidated via low-cost methods
such as vacuum thermoforming or lowpressure
compression molding (less
than 50 psi/0.3 MPa). This permitted
forming in low-cost tooling on the
same equipment used for the outer

The Super Lite material is manufactured
using a slurry process, similar
to that used in papermaking. Chopped
glass and polypropylene are combined
in an aqueous slurry and captured by a
moving belt that transports the material
through a drying process. The material
contains fibers oriented not only in
the x/y plane but also a percentage
oriented vertically or at angles in the
z direction. During manufacture, the
sheet is consolidated, causing fibers
with z orientation to bend and remain
so as the material solidifies. When the
finished sheet is subsequently heated
during part production, these fibers
straighten and have a “springing”
effect, causing the material to increase
in thickness or “loft.” Although by
weight the composite contains 55
percent glass and 45 percent resin,
lofting introduces a substantial amount
of air through the panel thickness,
resulting in much lower densities than
fully consolidated GMT of the same
thickness. For example, the material
used on the bus program, at 1,400 g/
m2 areal weight, has a specific gravity
of only 0.56 when heated to melting
point and compressed to 0.125-inch/3mm

Analyses run on combinations of
an unreinforced TPO outer sheet (still
required to meet the surface appearance
requirements) with the SuperLite inner
predicted deflection of less than 1.2
inches/30 mm in the fully open position
and a total weight of less than 33 lb./15
kg — a mass savings of more than 30
percent. This was considered sufficient
to move forward with prototype

ProCesses offer
hiGh-raTe PoTenTial

Although earlier projects in the
program had involved fully consolidated
long fiber thermoplastic components,
most of which could be manufactured at
the National Composite Center, the team
selected thermoforming to manufacture

the composite AC door. Because the
Center does not have thermoforming
equipment, NCC helped UAB find a site
for the manufacture of the components
in the prototype production phase,
notes Pritam Das, program manager for
advanced composites at NCC. The work
was done at Portage Casting & Mold
Inc. (Portage, Wis.).

The first choice of the team for the
AC door was twin-sheet thermoforming
of the smooth TPO outer sheet with the
SuperLite ribbed inner panel. However,
this produced parts with uneven shrinkage
and also resulted in significant printthrough
of the ribs due to differences
in thermal expansion between the two
materials. This necessitated manufacture
of the components individually, followed
by a secondary bonding process.

The tooling was fabricated by
Portage Cast and Mold and consists of a
curved, smooth mold for the outer TPO

8 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

skin and a ribbed mold for the inner
panel. Both were fabricated by casting
356 aluminum to near-net shape, with
heating and cooling lines cast in place.
The molds were finish machined and
polished to a 100-grit sandpaper finish.
It was decided to compression mold the
inner panel to a thickness of 0.125 inch/3
mm, so Portage also fabricated a mating
tool out of laminated tooling mahogany
for this step.

The molding was done on a fourstation
rotary thermoforming machine
supplied by Brown Machine LLC
(Beaverton, Mich.). Capable of
accommodating parts as large as 10 ft.
by 12 ft. (3m by 3.65m), the machine
also can generate forming pressures of
up to 60 psi/0.4 MPa. Thermoforming of
the outer skin involved loading the flat
sheet of TPO onto a clamping frame and
moving it through heating ovens until
forming temperature was reached (360ºF
to 400ºF/182ºC to 204ºC). The sheet then
was transferred to the preheated vacuum
forming tool, maintained at 150ºF to
160ºF (65ºC to 71ºC). After forming
and cooling, the part was moved to the
machine’s loading/unloading station and
removed. Due to the number of manual
steps involved in prototype fabrication,
total cycle time was 300 seconds, but
Vaidya expects that in an automated
situation parts could be produced every
100 seconds. While most of the outer
panels produced used the paintable
Sequel E3000, several trials were done
using a multilayer co-extruded sheet
of roughly the same thickness as the
paintable sheet, which combined E3000
and a thin, weatherable, pigmented cap
layer of Indure E1500 HG (high gloss),
also from Solvay. Use of the E1500 HG
part enabled successful production of
parts with molded-in color and a Class
A finish, eliminating the painting step.
Although NABI prefers to paint the
parts to match specific bus colors, Das
emphasizes that both materials process
identically in the thermoforming step
and, thus, the program validated the nopaint
option for other applications of the

For the inner panel, the machine
was set up for compression molding,
using the aluminum male tool and the

mahogany female tool. The low-density
composite sheet, which has a delivered
thickness of 0.25 inch/6 mm, was loaded
into the clamping frame and heated to
400ºF/204ºC, which caused the material
to loft to a thickness of approximately

0.35 inch/9 mm. The lofted sheet was
transferred to the molding cell, where it
was compressed to a thickness of 0.125
inch/3 mm under 40 psi to 50 psi (0.3
MPa to 0.35 MPa). The aluminum male
tool was maintained at 125ºF/52ºC while
the mahogany female tool was heated to
less than 100ºF/38ºC. After cooling, the
panel was transferred to the unloading
station and removed. Total cycle time
was about 240 seconds per inner panel.
In production, the lower tool also would
be aluminum and the cycle times with
automation reportedly could be reduced
to 80 to 100 seconds.
BenefiTs farreaChinG

The two molded components were
trimmed by hand and then assembled
via adhesive bonding. First, 3M Tape
Primer 94, a liquid, was rolled onto the
mating surface of each part and allowed
to dry. The primer provides additional
bonding strength to the low-surfaceenergy
polypropylene and TPO. Next,
the mating surface of the SuperLite
inner panel was covered with 3M VHB
Tape 5952, an adhesive tape in a foam
carrier. Both materials were supplied
by 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes
Div. (St. Paul, Minn.). The parts were
assembled, placed in a press fitted with
the upper tool used on the outer panel
and the lower tool used to form the inner
panel and compressed at 13 psi/0.9 MPa
for several seconds to ensure contact
before removal. The assembly then
was placed in a fixture and trimmed to
finished dimensions on a 5-axis CNC
machine supplied by Parpas America
Corp. (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.). After
mounting hardware was attached, the
part was ready for installation on the

Validation of the design objectives
included deflection testing, vibration
testing, mass verification and installation

on the test bus at NABI. The composite
door showed significant improvement
in freestanding deflection at 1.1
inch/27 mm — almost half that of the
aluminum production door. In vibration
testing of the materials used in the
door, the TPO/SuperLite combination
showed the highest damping ratio of
any individual material and more than
tenfold the ratio of the aluminum it
replaced. The high damping capacity
of the thermoplastic door is expected
to result in excellent noise abatement.

The actual weight of the composite
door is 27.1 lb./12.3 kg, 39 percent
lighter than the aluminum door.
Vaidya estimates that if all rooftop
doors on the bus were replaced with
composites, total weight savings per
vehicle would be 500 lb./227 kg. In
the weight reduction schema for an
entire bus, using this method and these
materials for all the rooftop doors
could, for example, satisfy 10 percent
of the New Jersey Transit authority’s
weight reduction request and would do
so without sacrificing part durability:
Although the AC doors are designed
with a “no step” requirement, when
mounted on the bus, they demonstrated
the ability to support the weight of two
people, notes Das.

The doors are currently undergoing
field trials and durability testing
at NABI. Vaidya does not know
if this particular design will enter
full production for NABI, but he
says it is being considered for use
as a replacement door. He points
out, however, that when lifecycle
costs are considered (up to 500,000
miles/800,000 km or 12 years), the
composite door offers significant
economic benefits. He also notes
that the UAB/NCC team is already
in discussions with manufacturers
in other transit categories, such as
light and heavy rail, about possible
applications of the material. NCC’s
Das also sees widespread opportunities
outside mass transit, including golf
carts, agriculture equipment, heavy
truck and medium-volume automotive
parts as well as the home appliance
industry. x

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 9

Membership Benefits

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10 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 11


The Business of Thermoforming

Keeping America Competitive:

The Manufacturing Challenge

Established in 1895, The National Association of
Manufacturers continues to advocate on behalf
of its members to enhance the competitiveness of
manufacturers by shaping a legislative and regulatory
environment conducive to U.S. economic growth and
to increase understanding among policymakers, the
media and the general public about the vital role of
manufacturing in America’s economic and national
security for today and in the future. The following
Executive Summary outlines the challenges facing
manufacturing today. For more information or to read
the complete report including footnotes, visit

anufacturers in the United States are innovative,
productive and efficient. For decades the
manufacturing sector has been the center of strength
of the American economy and its prospects for future growth.
Nonetheless, manufacturing faces several forces that have
sparked a period of transformation:

· Global pressures are squeezing U.S. manufacturers as
they face brutal competition from around the world. To
continue to succeed, U.S. manufacturers must compete less
on cost than on product design, productivity, flexibility,
quality and responsiveness to customer needs. These
competitive mandates put a high premium on the skills,
morale and commitment of workers.

· Relentless advances in technology have infused every
aspect of manufacturing — from design and production
to inventory management, delivery and service. Today’s
manufacturing jobs are technology jobs, and employees at all
levels must have the wide range of skills required to respond
to the demands of an increasingly complex environment.

· Demographic shifts portend great change ahead. The
“Baby Boom generation” of skilled workers will be retired
within the next 15 to 20 years. Currently, the only source of
new skilled workers is from immigration. The result is a projected
need for 10 million new skilled workers by 2020.

In addition, a long-term manufacturing employment and
skills crisis is developing, one with ominous implications for
the economy and national security. The loss of more than 2
million manufacturing jobs during the recent recession and
anemic recovery masks a looming shortage of highly skilled,
technically competent employees who can fully exploit the
potential of new technologies and support increased product

A study of workforce issues in
manufacturing was conducted
by the National Association
of Manufacturers at the onset
of the recent recession and
published in its The Skills
Gap: Manufacturers Confront
Persistent Skills Shortages in
an Uncertain Economy report.
The study revealed that more
than 80 percent of the surveyed

manufacturers reported a
“moderate to serious” shortage of qualified job applicants —
even though manufacturing was suffering serious layoffs. In
sum, what manufacturing is facing is not a lack of employees,
but a shortfall of highly qualified employees with specific educational
backgrounds and skills.

aMeriCan youTh are
“Turned off” By Modern

To uncover the reasons behind the talent shortfall and identify
why fewer young people appear to be entering careers in
this sector, the National Association of Manufacturers, The
Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte & Touche recently
conducted two major research studies.The findings reveal a
troubling picture. Among a geographically, ethnically and
socioeconomically diverse set of respondents — ranging
from students in middle-school through college, parents and
teachers to policy analysts, public officials, union leaders
and manufacturing employees and executives — the
sector’s image was found to be heavily loaded with negative
connotations and universally tied to an old stereotype of the
“assembly line,” as well as perceived to be in a state of decline.

When asked to describe the images associated with a career
in manufacturing, student respondents offered phrases such as
“serving a life sentence,” being “on a chain gang” or “slave
to the line,” or even being a “robot.” Even more telling, most
adult respondents said that people “just have no idea” of
manufacturing’s contribution to the American economy.

The research also explored what today’s young people
are looking for in their careers, how they make career
choices and how well today’s educational programs support
successful preparation for careers in manufacturing. With near
unanimity, respondents across the country saw manufacturing
opportunities to be in stark conflict with the characteristics they

12 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

desire in their careers — and as a result,
they do not plan to pursue careers in

our eduCaTion
sysTeM is a Weak

The research also emphatically showed
that the United States’ educational
system exacerbates the negative
perception of manufacturing, because
it is largely out of step with the career
opportunities emerging for young people
in today’s economy, including those in
manufacturing. The United States sends
more than two-thirds of its high-school
graduates to college, but half of them
drop out. The educational system fails to
engage these students and help them enter
alternative post-secondary programs. For
those who do graduate, one-third fail to
find employment requiring a four-year
degree. Meanwhile, many well-paid and
rapidly increasing manufacturing jobs
remain unfilled, including those requiring
two-and four-year technical degrees or
short-term skill certificates.

The Good neWs

The reality of manufacturing is vastly
different from its image. Today’s
manufacturing company is a major
source of high-tech innovation,
wealth creation and exciting, varied
careers. Manufacturing contributes
more than one-quarter of the nation’s
total economic output. It grew at an
annual rate of 4.6 percent in the 1990s,
compared to the economy-wide average
of 3.6 percent. In fact, every $1 million
in manufacturing sales supports eight
jobs in manufacturing and six in other,
allied sectors. Manufacturing’s varied
jobs and careers averaged $54,000
in total compensation in 2000 —
20 percent higher than the average

compensation for all American workers

— while 83.7 percent of manufacturing
employees receive health benefits from
their employers, more than any other
sector except government.
The ChallenGe

To remain strong and continue to thrive
in a highly competitive environment,

U.S. manufacturing must surmount many
challenges. High on that list is a need to
attract a new generation of manufacturing
employees prepared for 21st-century
jobs. Our research results were clear:
Manufacturing is severely challenged by
an old, negative image; an education and
training system that does not understand
or promote careers in manufacturing; and
public policies that are not supportive of
a robust manufacturing sector.
Unless the industry finds a compelling
way to communicate a positive image
and address education and training
issues effectively, manufacturing could
experience a shift from merely having
a talent shortage to facing a serious
labor crisis. This could foreshadow a
significant decrease in manufacturing’s
competitiveness and accelerate the
movement of American productive
capacity and well-paid manufacturing
jobs overseas. These events could deliver
a decisive blow to an already fragile
economy and even undermine national

Manufacturing industries must quickly
address these problems. Other industries
and sectors such as health care are organizing
to address similar skills issues.
Manufacturing must do likewise. To
this end, the National Association of
Manufacturers (NAM) has committed
“to make manufacturing careers a
preferred career option by the end of
this decade” through an integrated
awareness, career-planning
and public education
campaign. The NAM also
will energetically advocate
for education, training,
taxation, regulation, trade
and monetary policies that
will enable manufacturing
to maintain its position at
the core of a productive U.S.

The urgent goal is to
energize and focus the
sector’s many resources to

solve its common problem. To that end,
the NAM has issued four challenges:

To the President of the United
States: Declare U.S. manufacturing a
national priority.

To the United States Congress:

Establish “National Manufacturing
Day” to recognize this priority.

To manufacturers in the United
States: Open your plants and facilities
to young people, teachers and parents
on National Manufacturing Day.

To educators in the United
States: Bring your students and
guidance counselors to a modern
manufacturing facility on National
Manufacturing Day.

U.S. manufacturing can emerge from
this period of transition stronger
and better equipped to compete
on a global basis and maintain its
core contributions to the American
economy. The NAM invites all
interested parties to join in this effort.

In addition to the services and advocacy
provided by the National Association
of Manufacturers, thermoforming
companies can find resources for workforce
development and training via grants and
government programs.

The National Institute of Standards and
Technology offers a Manufacturing
Extension Partnership. This program
provides a range of services to enable
manufacturing companies to achieve
measurable results. Visit www.mep.nist.gov
for more information.

For manufacturing companies affected
by competition from imports, the U.S.
Department of Commerce offers Trade
Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAA).
More information can be found at: www.

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 13


Thermoforming 2.0

Processes Used to Make
Thermoforming Sheet

Adolf Illig

Technical Editor’s Note: Regardless of which
thermoforming process is used or the type of polymer
used to form the products, processors must have flat
sheet. The sheet can be rolled on cores in thicknesses
from .005″ to .080″ or supplied flat on skids up to
1/2″ thick or more. Extrusion is the most common
method of producing sheet; however, thermoplastic
resin can be cast, calendered or even injection or
blow molded into sheet for thermoforming. Much
of this article was edited from Adolf Illig’s book
“Thermoforming, A Practical Guide.”

PreParaTion of TherMoPlasTiC
resins, reCyCled ConTenT and

There are essential steps in the production of
thermoplastic forming materials prior to the final process
to make it into sheet. Obviously the base polymer must be
produced by one of the many resin manufacturers.

Additives such as pigments, fillers, lubricants, processing
aids, plasticizers, anti-aging, anti-static and light stabilizing
agents and flame retardants are all blended together into a
cohesive mixture. This process is called compounding. As
recycling of plastics becomes more prevalent, the addition
of quantities of flake (recycled plastic products ground into
small particles) of the same polymer is becoming more
common. Compounding is very important in getting the
desired properties for the thermoformed product.


Thermoforming sheet is most commonly made via
extrusion. Thicknesses from less than .010″ (0.25mm) to
over ½” (15mm) and extrusion lines up to 80″ (2000mm)
wide are common; however, much bigger lines are being
built to accommodate the increasing size of the heavy gauge
thermoforming lines. The extruder heats, mixes, and if
necessary, de-gasses the material to be processed (granulate,
powder blend, polymer resin or regrind). As this mixture
travels through a barrel by way of a screw, it is forced
through a slit die under pressure (Figure 1). The die can
be finely adjusted to provide the right thickness across the
sheet. Subject to sheet specifications, the material is hauled

off and calibrated by way of temperature controlled chill
rolls. The sheet is transported through a cooling section, edge
trimmed and slit into widths specified by the customer.

Figure 1.

Thickness up to .080″ (2mm) can be rolled onto fiber
cores (usually 3″ or 6″ in diameter) for running on rollfed,
thin-gauge thermoforming lines. Thicker gauges must
be guillotined into sheets in a final operation at the end of
the extruder and loaded on pallets. Amorphous materials
are wrapped to reduce the effects of humidity prior to


Where the thermoformed product specifications call for a
barrier or special surface requirement, two or more screws
extruding different materials simultaneously can be used to
combine those materials at the die or shortly after the die.
This is called co-extrusion and is used to produce the more
sophisticated sheet materials for automotive, medical and
other markets.

exTrusion PiTfalls

Thermoformers should be aware of the problems that may
occur in our process as a result of a lack of quality control at
the extrusion process. Strict specifications should be provided
and agreed to by the extruder.

Thickness Tolerances: normal thickness tolerances
allowed by the extruders have typically been +/- 5%
which has been generally acceptable. High volume
runs can and should be extruded at a tighter tolerance

14 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

to improve wall thickness variation in the final part.
This can help to avoid forming difficulties and it can
also mitigate the added cost resulting from the material
being at the high end of the tolerance. Material is
usually purchased by weight and thicker material yields
fewer parts and consequently results in a higher part
material cost. However, new technologies and improved
uniformity have resulted in a “next generation” of
sheet extrusion resulting in +/- 1% tolerances. This
new technology has significant implications for

Melt Temperature Differences: Variation in melt
temperatures caused by irregular extrusion temperatures
can cause significant problems in the forming process.

Orientation: Extruded sheet always has a molecular
orientation which is demonstrated by the shrinkage
of heated sheet in the extrusion machine direction
compared to the transverse direction (across the
machine). These shrinkage factors and orientation
should be specified. It is especially important to know
the orientation of heavy gauge sheet since the extrusion
machine direction is not readily observed as it is in
rolls. Inherent stresses during extrusion causing poor
orientation will result in sag problems and creasing in
the formed part.

Melt-Bead: Too large a melt-bead at the polishing stack
rolls can result in transverse streaks in the sheet.

Die Contamination: This will show imperfections in the

Calender sheeT ProduCTion

Figure 2 shows a calender sheet line which is predominantly

used to produce PVC sheet from .005″ (0.13mm) to .035″

(0.89mm) although polypropylene and ABS sheet production

is also possible. Modern calenders can hold thickness

tolerances to plus or minus 0.002″ (.05mm).

Figure 2.

Essentially, a calender line is a series of highly polished
rolls that take molten material that has been extruded and
kneaded while still hot and squeezes it out to finally become a
rigid film. The irregular globs of material progressively flatten
while being cooled until it exits the last series of rollers at the
specified thickness.

The differences between extrusion and calendering are:

-high quality clear PVC films are easier to produce
by calendering and thickness tolerances can be held
tighter than with extrusion.

-reduced stresses during calendering, resulting in less
sag is an advantage to the thermoformer.

-only single layer materials can be calendered and
generally calendered material is more expensive than
extruded material.

CasT sheeT

Casting (cell cast or continuous cast) is a process used
for producing high quality acrylic (PMMA) and acetate
materials. Acrylic can also be extruded and the thermoformer
will experience quite different forming characteristics
between the two types of processes. Continuous cast acrylic
is softer, can scratch easily and can contain impurities. Cell
cast acrylic can exhibit up to 20% variation in the target
thickness which creates big problems when forming but has
a very high impact resistance and is very clear.

Cell casting is done using the water bath technique.
Acrylic syrup is poured into a mold typically constructed
from two tempered glass sheets separated to produce the
desired thickness of the sheet and sealed with a gasket at
the edge. The mold is submerged in a bath which maintains/
controls a curing temperature and efficiently removes heat
generated in the process when the monomer is converted to

Continuous casting is also a mass production form for
manufacturing acrylic sheet. The process involves the
pouring of partially polymerized acrylic (somewhat less
viscous than syrup) between two highly polished stainless
steel belts. The belts are separated by a space equal to the
thickness of the sheet and the “syrup” is retained by gaskets
at the edge of the belts. The belts move through a series of
cooling and heating units to regulate the curing and are cut
“on the fly” to size at the end of the production line.

oTher ProCesses used To Make sheeT

Small quantities of very high grade thermoforming sheet
are sometimes injection molded. An example is polyurethane
sheet for the thermoforming of artificial heart components.
When it is not possible to co-extrude the two polymers, two
or more layers can be laminated by flame treating or by the
use of adhesives like polyurethane bonding agents.

addiTional TreaTMenTs for
TherMoforMinG sheeT

Texturing is done immediately after the extrusion process.
As the sheet is still warm the surface is embossed with

(continued on next page)

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 15

a heated embossing roll. Surface
engraving produced in too cold a state
regresses again, when the material is
being heated in the thermoforming
machine and it becomes smooth

Sealing layers on a sheet are
external covers usually produced by
co-extrusion while still inside the slit
die or just after discharge of the melt
from the die.

If the thermoform material is to
be printed, heat sealed or painted a
coating can be applied to allow these
other materials to bond properly.
Special pigments are available to
allow printing directly onto some
polymer sheets as is the case with
preprinted PVC or PET packaging.

Flocking is an enhancing process
where fibers are applied to the
material surface using special flocking
adhesive. It provides a soft velvet feel
to the surface which is ideal for retail
packaging. Flocking is available in
several colors. Care must be taken
to keep the flocked side away from
tooling to prevent the transfer of the
fibers to the tool.

Metallizing is done by applying an
aluminum vapor coating onto one side
of the material. PVC, PET, PP and PS
are materials which can be metallized.
Thermoforming of this treated
material can be tricky and usually the
metallized side should not be exposed
to the heat source, consequently the
cycle time is a little longer.

Electroplated sheet known as
a reflector sheet can be applied to
thermoform materials but the shape
of the part must be limited to shallow
draws and large radii. Like the
metallized material, the heat source
must not be adjacent to the coated
side. x

16 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 17


Lead Technical Article

Expect the Unexpected:
Thermoforming Pushes the Boundaries

Technical Editor’s Note: “Thermoforming could be set to challenge
blow molding in the bottle market.” This from Illig, who
introduced their new line in Germany this year. The machine and
tooling demonstrated certainly goes beyond what we normally
consider acceptable draw ratios. The cost savings mentioned here
are surprising to say the least, especially given the heavy starting
gauge and what I expect would be high tooling costs. For me it is
a wait and see situation but I welcome the response to this article
from our North American machine manufacturers.

hermoforming is widely
accepted as a costeffective
way of producing and
manufacturing larger sized plastics
parts and packaging such as food
trays and clamshells but it could
now be set to challenge blow
molding in the 50ml (1.7oz.) to
200ml (6.7 oz.) bottle range.

Until now, blow molding
technology has been the only option
for producing bottles such as those
currently used for nutraceutical and
wellness drinks. The methods used
include extrusion blow molding or
stretch blow molding. In the former,
an extruder presses a continuous
plasticized material stream through
a tube-head, before a tool closes
around the tube and a knife cuts it.
The bottle, which features a seam
in the middle, is formed in the
blow molding tool. In stretch blow
molding, a preform is produced and
then formed into a bottle under high
temperature and pressure forming.
It is a process whereby uniform
sidewall thickness is challenging.

German company Illig
Maschinenbau believes that it
has now transformed the cost
advantages of thermoforming into a
method for deep-forming small

bottles in-line. Launched last August
and introduced at the Interpack
exhibition in Germany during April,
the Bottleformer BF 70 is based
on the company’s FFS lines and
thermoforming machines and was one
and a half years in development.

Reiner Albrecht, sales director of
Illig, explained at the recent European
Thermoforming Conference in Berlin
that the company’s development
was initially based on the forming
methods. “Bottles featuring such
pronounced undercuts (a benefit
in the design of items such as jam
containers and fruit yogurts) can only
be produced with movable tool parts.
In addition, there was a requirement
to find a forming sequence which

Figure 1. New Illig Bottleformer BF70.

would allow a uniform wall thickness
distribution in spite of small
initial area and high depth of draw
(maximum 120mm or 4.7″).”

The thermoformed bottles formed
on the BF 70 are, at first glance,
extremely similar to conventional
bottles However, the thermoformed
bottle weighs only half of the
conventional blow molded bottle,
while remaining in-line with market
demands for stability.


The bottle is thermoformed, as usual,
out of sheet material. By using special

18 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

Figure 2. Rendering of thermoformed bottle options.

tools in combination with a servo
driven pre-stretcher and control of
forming air, it is possible to draw
bottles with a top-load stability
suitable for the market out of a basic
material of only 1.4mm (0.055″). It
can withstand a top load of 90N (20.2
lbs. – force) with just 2mm (0.078″)
deformation, and experiences
deformation of 6mm at a top load
(sidewall) of 7N (1.57 lbs. – force).
During the forming process, plugassists
are critical. The plug material
depends to the shape of the bottle, the
used material, the required depth of
draw, film thickness and the required
material distribution in the bottle. It
can be different for each different

After bottle punching there is a
single-material skeletal which can
be reground and recycled, further
reducing material costs. The
bottles are then sealed with circular
aluminum blanks featuring a slightly
bigger diameter than the opening on
the bottle. However, because of the
outer sealing rim, it is also possible to
use snap-on lids or similar closures.

The bottle can be decorated with a
sleeve and potentially can be done
within the free track between the
forming and punching station. At the
moment it is done after filling.

“According to the design of the
bottle, also a roll-fed label can be
used instead of a sleeve,” explains
Albrecht. “This is cheaper, but
because of the lower shrinkage,
it is not suitable for bottles with

pronounced negative drafts.”
A typical thermoforming bottle
line incorporating the BF 70 could
produce 20 bottles per cycle and 25
cycles per minute, which is equivalent
to 30,000 cups per hour. This is
more than adequate to compete with
existing blowing lines, according
to Wolfgang Riess, sales manager
FFS-Lines, at Illig. “30,000 bottles
of 200ml (6.7 oz.) is the required
standard output of the mid-sized
filling and sealing machines. Most of
the dairies are using it.”

Meanwhile, Single-blow PET bottles,
made from pre-forms, are mainly
used in the beverage industry for
500ml bottles and above. Does this
mean that Illig’s thermoformed
bottles will centre on the use of

“At the moment we do not have
PP or PET bottles in this market
segment up to 200ml (6.7 oz.),
but we are preparing to be able to
use these materials,” says Riess.
“We have already formed PP in
a multilayer bottle, such as a PP/
EVOH/PP structure, which will be
used for beverages that are sensitive
to light and oxygen. PET bottles
are for larger volumes and there is
no demand for small bottles thus
far. But we have made trials with
PET with reliable success although
the forming process needs further

The forming machine uses what
the company refers to as the ‘open

mould’ process. Here, normal
sheets coming from roll stock up to
2mm (0.078″) thick (depending on
the bottle) are heated and formed
in several steps: contact heating;
formation in the forming station
and punching the formed bottles
out of the web in a separate punching
station. For form, fill seal lines
the bottles are discharged and
transferred with the BO TRANS
(bottle transfer system) to the
filling and sealing machines. The
transfer system was built by Maier

Punching is performed on the
system using a kind of steel rule
cutting (at a punching force of 30T)
in a separate station. “The open
mould process describes the kind of
de-forming we use to get the bottles
out of the mould. Two halves of
the lower part of the forming tool
‘open’ in the feed direction and
release the formed part.” Although
it is not detailed by Illig, the trim
tooling must quite sophisticated
given the bottle contour which
overhangs the trim line.

So, what about the cost differential
of thermoforming bottles? Does
it retain the traditional costeffectiveness
of this forming
process? According to Albrecht,
it does: “The weight difference
can be up to 4g (0.14 oz.) for
a thermoformed bottle when
compared with a blow molded one,
especially a shaped bottle. Without
a sleeve, a blow molded drinking
bottle could cost €0.028 ($0.043)
whereas a deep drawn bottle could
cost €0.008 ($0.012).”

In fact, 4.5g (0.16 oz.) is the
starting weight for a standard
200ml thermoformed bottle and
this rises to 6-7g (0.2 – 0.247 oz.)
for a high resistant, multilayer or
thicker version.

(continued on next page)

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 19

Figure 3. Detail of new tooling technology used in Illig BP70.

20 Thermoforming QUArTerLY


Those familiar with the
thermoforming sector might
remember a launch in 2002 by
machine maker Erca-Formseal
of France that bears striking
similarities to those bottles
produced by Illig.
The company’s EFB 200 prototype
machine could produce 150ml to
1L thermoformed bottles called La
Bouteille. This system, however,
disappeared without a trace no
sooner had it been launched.

Erca-Formseal’s process, which
was based on pressure forming
due to the company’s expertise in
form-fill-seal (FFS) technology,
started with a disc and involved
the production of zero wastagescrap.
According to several
industry sources, the reason La
Bouteille failed was that nobody
other than Erca-Formseal could
make such discs economically and
so the expensive raw material, in
conjunction with the same handling
efforts and logistic costs as in
the case of prefabricated bottles,
meant that the process wasn’t costeffective
enough, especially as the
output wasn’t high enough.

According to Hubert Kittelmann,
president of Germany-based
Marbach Tool and Die

Manufacturing, thermoforming is
more reliable than pressure forming
in terms of temperature and heat
consistency. Thermoforming also
makes it possible for multilayer bottle
forming through a wall in a dairy.

“It is less complicated than blowing
bottles and the scrap can be reground
in the cycle,” he says. “On paper it
looks like a good challenge for blow
molders but is it sufficiently better
for dairies to want to replace blow
molding with thermoforming?”

“Plastics materials such as PE and
PS and others on rolls are available
worldwide, so you do not require a
specific supplier,” explains Illig’s
Riess. “Furthermore, the scrap
material is raw material, meaning
that it is clean, not contaminated,
and can go back into the process
immediately.” According to several
material suppliers, the following
calculation could be made by the
customer: if he pays €1.52/kg ($2.34)
for PS film, he gets €1.10/kg ($1.68)
refund for the granulated material if
he returns it to the supplier. Only on
the basis of this and other cost savings
in terms of handling, logistics, energy,
and space for additional sorting and
cleaning machines, can we calculate
the bottle on a price of €0.019 ($0.02)
per piece. This includes energy costs,
labor, capital investment and material.

Illig got a patent for the forming
process itself and the rest is state-ofthe-
art in thermoforming.


One of the primary barriers to entry
for this technology will come from
convincing those companies with
blow molding equipment already
installed. But Illig says it has several
trials operating and has interest
even from the pharmaceutical and
cosmetics industries.

The big selling point for the
thermoforming of bottles is the cost.
Bottle weight savings are impressive
but the process also uses less pressure
(only 6-bar) than blowing and the
energy consumption (approximately
50KVA) and even the cooling water
(at 0.8m3/hr.) are cheaper. It is also
cleaner because users can form with
sterile air.

“We hope we can manage to take a
lot of market share away from blown
bottles in the dairy sector,” says

As for in-mould labeling (IML),
Riess answers the question of whether
it can be applied to thermoformed
bottles with the kind of response that
echoes the company’s stance with this
new technology: “Let me say it with
an advertising phrase — expect the
unexpected.” x

This article first appeared in the June
2008 issue of Plastics in Packaging
and has been edited for publication
in Thermoforming Quarterly. It
is reprinted here with the kind
permission of Sayers Publishing, UK.
The editors would also like to thank
and acknowledge the contribution
of Illig Maschinenbau GmbH as
the primary source of technical
information provided herein.

need help
with your

technical school
or college

f 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

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 21

Roger Kipp

Council Communications

The spring council meeting was held
in Milwaukee on May 4, 2008 followed
by ANTEC. The following are highlights
of the council meeting and committee
meetings I attended while representing
the Thermoforming Division.

Executive Directors Report

An agreement with Wiley Publishing
for Plastics Engineering magazine
has been concluded. Wiley will
manage publication while SPE
will maintain responsibility for the
technical content. Ad sales to date
have been strong and tracking well
to budget.

SPE and SPI are in final negotiations
on a contract to hold ANTEC at
NPE 2009. Both organizations are
extremely pleased with the potential
mutual positive value of this alliance.

Membership continues to be a
concern as we enter a slow down in
economic activity.

Conferencing revenues are moving
along to plan; however, seminar
programs are a little behind plan.
Seminars are more time intensive
and expensive to attend then
conferences resulting in a general
slowdown in attendance the first half
of the year.

SPE is continuing with a complete
re-design project for the website that
is nearing completion.

Financial Update

Treasurer Ken Braney provided an
update summarizing the 2007 year-end
audit as well as results so far for 2008.
On the positive side, ANTEC had already
met budgeted income expectation by

Overall there are material increases
in revenues for advertising, online
presentations and seminars. Membership
revenues are down slightly compared to
the same period last year. On balance,
the trends to date have been better than
expected given the current economic

It is still too early in the year to tell
precisely what the overall down economy

and other factors will mean for SPE’s
finances, but to date, the indicators are
optimistic that SPE will fare better than
last year.

SPE Foundation Update

Gail Bristol reported on the financial
health of the SPE Foundation. The
SPE Foundation awarded $120,000 in
scholarships to 32 students in 2007. The
Foundation expects to exceed that amount
in 2008. New scholarships for the coming
year include the Western Plastics Pioneers
Scholarship, which will be available to
students attending school in Arizona,
California, Oregon, or Washington, and
the Detroit Section Legacy Scholarship,
which will be a general scholarship
within the Foundation.

The Thermoset Division, which
already had a memorial scholarship, has
added a second scholarship in honor of
Jim Cunningham (a former Councilor
for Piedmont Coastal). Both Thermoset
Division scholarships are in the amount
of $1,500 each. The Thermoplastic
Materials and Foams Division has
chosen to increase the amount of their
scholarship to $2,500 this year.

Plans for the merger of The SPE
Foundation and SPE continue on
schedule. At their ANTEC meeting,
the Foundation Executive Committee
reviewed and approved an Asset Transfer
Agreement, which outlines the terms
and conditions related to the transfer
and delivery to SPE of the Foundation’s
assets, properties, rights, contracts
and claims, and SPE’s acceptance of
those obligations. The SPE Executive
Committee will review this document at
their June meeting.

Bylaws & Policies

There were three first readings of
Bylaw Amendments:

Bylaw 7.4.3 – enabling the
election of SPE Officers at a
meeting other than the first
meeting of a calendar year
Bylaw 14.7.11 – to include the
structure of The SPE Foundation
in the SPE bylaws
Bylaw 17.6 – procedures for
temporarily suspending a bylaw
Four Bylaw Amendments were
approved by Council:

7.3.4, 14.7.4, 14.7.5, and 14.7.6
-all related to the removal
of the SPE International
Committee as a standing
committee of SPE

Policy 014 regarding the process of
establishing a Division of SPE was

The full text of these Bylaws and the
Policy can be found on the SPE Council
meeting extranet.

Incoming President William O’Connell
introduced his Executive Committee.
New Executive Committee Vice
Presidents are: Brian Grady from the
University of Oklahoma, Austin Reid
from DuPont, Jon Ratzlaff from Chevron
Phillips Chemical, and Scott Owens, from
Chemtrusion. James Griffing is the 20082009
Secretary and Barbara Arnold-Feret
is the 2008-2009 Treasurer.

In addition to council meetings
I attended the Division committee,
Foundation committee, Strategic
Growth Committee and Chaired the
Communications Committee on behalf of
the Thermoforming Division.
The Divisions Committee

Goal to develop one new SIG
or Division annually.
Develop a section collaboration
Maintain best practice
documentation for Divisions
with Divisions providing
best practice procedure to the
I suggested that Divisions could
collaborate with Sections to
present a Mini-Tech (one day
event) with Divisions providing
Technical Program and
Sections providing promotion.
This could be done at multiple
Sections geographically. This
should be discussed for interest
and further feedback to the
Division Committee.
The Strategic Growth Committee is a
new Committee that picks up where
the International Committee left off.
It was felt that the Society has been
successful in becoming International.
The International Society should
now focus on strategic International

While membership in the
Society has been stable, just
short of 20,000 members, the
North American membership
22 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

Thermoforming QUARTERLY 23
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.Weatherable and easy to fabricate
. Excellent gloss control – from flat matte to
ultra high gloss
. Chemical- , scratch- and UV-resistant
. Available in metallic, clear or any color
Phone: 215.419.7982
Fax: 215.419.5512
Acrylic Capstock and Film
Capstock solutions for thermoformed sheet.
Altuglas® and Solarkote® are registered trademarks
belonging to Arkema.
© 2005 Arkema Inc. All rights reserved.
decline has been offset by
growth in Europe, India, China,
and Australia – New Zealand.
o The topic of an Australian
Thermoforming Division
development effort
communicated by Art Buckel
resulted in a separate meeting
attended by Ken Braney,
Kitty Beijer, Vijay Boolani,
Jon Ratzlaff, Lex Edmond,
and me. It was agreed that
there would be further
evaluation both in India and
Australia for consideration of
a Thermoforming Technical
Conference likely in 2010.
Assignments were made
and the group will report
back to the Strategic Growth
Committee. There is no
need for the Thermoforming
Division to provide support at
this time.
• The Communications Committee’s
purpose is to oversee SPE’s
Communications Strategically from
an international perspective and
coordinate the communications effort
to assure consistency.
o The focus for membership
growth is:
1. Increase member value
2. Communications
3. Global growth support
o One added value to
communicate to the
membership is that all SPE
members are entitled to 5 free
SPE downloads from Wiley
o There is an ongoing web site
design up grade in process with
Phase 1 up in the third quarter
• The student reception at ANTEC
was attended by about 80 students
and this year the Committee
provided a Casino Night Party. The
event ran from 3:00-6:00 pm. The
Thermoforming Division, Mold
Making and Milwaukee Section were
sponsors of this event. The challenge
put forward by our Division to
other Divisions and Sections to
help finance the Stretch Award
was accepted by the Automotive
Electronics Division and the Kansas
City Section with each providing
contributions to support us in
supporting Stretch.
The next council meeting will be
held October 18th, 2008 in Southbury,
Connecticut. x

6th European Thermoforming Conference 6th European Thermoforming Conference
“Crossing Frontiers – Knowledge: The Key to Your Success”

Maritim Hotel – Berlin, Germany – April 2008

he 6th EuropeanTThermoforming Conference was
an outstanding success. Held at
the Maritim Hotel in Berlin from
April 3-5 2008, 250 delegates
attended from 23 countries. The
high standard of presentations
continued from the 2006
conference. Highlights included
the presentation from Jim
Griffing of Boeing Corporation.
He spoke on the subject of
thermoforming in the aircraft
industry and the safety standards
that are required. This aspect
of the aircraft is vital to ensure
the highest levels of safety and
with the advent of new materials
such as composites, as shown
in the new Dreamliner©. This
new development is a major
step forward as planes’ lighter
weight helps to reduce fuel
costs and in today’s high energy
priced market, it is a major
consideration in the airlines’
overall strategy.

Another presentation that was
well-received was by Reiner
Albrecht of Illig who spoke on
the forming of bottles. His point
of reference was wellness drinks
(bioactive yogurts) and the history
which up to now had been by
manufactured via blow moulding.
He gave examples of how bottles
can now be thermoformed
using new technology. The
thermoformed bottle is only half
the weight of the blow moulded
bottle but it has the stability to
meet the standards set in the

Rik Hillaert of Samsonite
presented the current range being
developed by his company. He

explained that the corporation’s
philosophy had been to move all
production to cheaper parts of
the world to ensure they stayed
competitive in the market place.
However, with the advent of new
material it became obvious that
they could not find the expertise
in lower costs countries to
manufacture their new luggage
range in a difficult but rewarding
new material. Therefore they
invested in the development in
the European plant. Here they
designed the new range of luggage
called “Travel Lite” from a new
polypropylene material called
Curv©. This is a combination of
sheet and polypropylene fibre web

24 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

that makes it very strong and it
has the ability to withstand major
damage. This is vital as luggage
is subject to a great deal of rough
handling during its use. The
forming of the material is also a
challenge as it has restrictions in
the depth of form you can achieve
by standard vacuum methods
and pressure has to be applied to
achieve the perfect shape.

These are just a few of the many
presentations, workshops and
discussions that took place in
Berlin 2008. If you were among
the 250 delegates you can go to
www.e-t-d.org and read all of the
presentations that were made. If
you did not go to the conference,
you missed a great opportunity
to hear excellent speakers on
major topics and to meet all of
your fellow thermoformers in the

One of the new innovations
at this year’s conference was

SOCIETY OF PLASTICS ENGINEERSEuropean Thermoforming Division

Eric Sasselaan 51 ~ BE-2020 Antwerpen ~ BelgiumTel. +32 3 541 77 55 ~ Fax +32 3 541 84 25

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

the commercial presentations.
These were twenty minute
sessions when each company
was allowed to introduce a
new product or service. This
was a very well received group
of presentations. Everyone
was aware that they were
commercial and the information
obtained was welcomed by all
delegates. We at ETD will be
in favour of continuing this
type of presentation at the 2010
conference. x

In Memoriam


lenn George Blackburn passed
away April 13, 2008. He was
born in Freemont, WI on September
28, 1923. Glenn will be deeply missed
by Eunice, his loving wife of 63 years.
Glenn was a World War II Veteran in
the First Calvary Division, U.S. Army.
Glenn was a pioneer in thermoforming
in light-gage packaging and heavy-gage
forming. He got his start at Portage
Plastics in Portage, WI as plant manager.
He had several successful thermoforming
and compression molding companies in
the Winter Haven, FL area since 1966.
Glenn was predeceased by 2 sisters and 1
brother. Glenn has 4 surviving sisters and 5
surviving brothers all living in Wisconsin
and Florida. Glenn and Eunice have three
children: Dennis of Winter Haven, FL;
Wanda Buchanan of Orlando, FL, and
Wendy Booth of Auburndale, FL. Glenn
and Eunice have 9 grandchildren and 27
great- grandchildren.

Some of Glenn Blackburn’s accomplishments:

1. Developed a process for vacuum
packaging and sealing of cartons of
stacked food products.
2. Worked with development of
packaging films for Dow Chemicals
(Saran Wrap), Dow Beckman
(Cellophane), and B.F. Goodrich
3. Developed tooling and procedures for
manufacturing a 5g plastic pail liner
using .060″ HDPE on a four cavity
female mold with plug assist.
4. After other companies failed, Mr.
Blackburn developed tooling and
process to thermoform the 18″ X 18″
X 32″ McDonald’s waste receptacle
using a female mold.
5. Developed a method for impregnating
anti-static solution onto HDPE
extruded sheet prior to vacuum
forming. This material was used to
form several million trays for Johnson
& Johnson and surpassed the required
static decay factors.
6. Mr. Blackburn developed several
thermoforming companies: Portage
Plastics, Haines Industries, Winter
Haven Plastics, Artec Plastics, Rebel
Plastics, Blackburn Industries and
Progress Plastics.

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 25

2008 Thermoforming Division Scholarship Recipients

Marcus Gardner

Edward Segan Memorial
Scholarship ($7,500)

Marcus is a junior at Grand
Rapids Community College where
he is working on an Associates
Degree in Plastics Technology.

After working for 12 years as a
thermoforming set-up technician,
Marcus realized that it was difficult
to advance without a formal
education and chose to return to
school to seek a degree in Plastics
Technology. He and his wife, a
public school teacher, felt that going
back to school was his best option
to further his career – and a great
example for their two children.
After obtaining his Associates
Degree next year, Marcus plans to
transfer to Ferris State University
to obtain his B.S. in Plastics

Marcus worked as a
thermoforming technician for
Leisure Life LTD and Display Pack,
Inc., both in Grand Rapids, MI. x

katie Lieg

John Griep Memorial
Scholarship ($7,500)

Katie is a graduate student in
Mechanical Engineering at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison.
She is a member of SPE, ASME, and
SAE, and was an active member of
the Wisconsin Hybrid Baja SAE team
while an undergraduate student.

Katie’s focus in Mechanical
Engineering has been in the area
of polymeric fluids. She worked as
an undergraduate researcher for the
Multiphase Flow Visualization and
Analysis Laboratory on campus,
working on small engine carburetors.
That experience led to a co-op at
Mercury Marine, where all of the
Mercury outboard boat engines are
produced. Her work there in the
propulsion integration group included
designing engine components for new

According to her senior thesis
professor, Katie decided that the
mechanics of thermoforming has been
sorely neglected, so she identified,
set up and solved the central problem
in her field. Her paper on that work,
Thermoforming Troughs, was
presented at the 2008 ANTEC, and
has been submitted for possible
inclusion in SPE’s premier journal,
Polymer Engineering & Science.


Timothy McMaster

PTI Extruders /Director Select
Scholarship ($3,000)

Tim is a senior at Pittsburg State
University working on his B.S. in
Plastics Engineering Technology. He
was a Thermoforming Scholarship
recipient last year. The continued
support of this scholarship will help
ease the burden of supporting a
family (wife and two children) and
getting a degree.

Tim works at a custom fiberglass
shop that manufactures corrosion
resistant air handling equipment. Last
spring, his employer mentioned to a
customer that Tim had been awarded
the John Griep Memorial Scholarship.
This prompted the customer, who
was trying to fabricate the product
from fiberglass, to consider using
thermoformed ABS instead. “Having
received the scholarship gave my
company and me enough credibility
to be chosen as the tool and pattern
fabricator for this customer, and
resulted in a tool-building job for our
company for years to come,” said

A USMC veteran who served
in the first Gulf War, Tim hopes to
go on to graduate school and one
day realize his dream of owning
his own successful thermoforming
manufacturing business. x

26 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

Jared Spaniol

Thermoforming Memorial
Scholarship ($7,500)

Jared is a senior at Penn State –
Erie (The Behrend College) studying
for his B.S. in Plastics Engineering
Technology. After serving for four
years in the U.S. Air Force, including
tours to Korea and Germany, Jared
returned home to pursue a degree in
plastics engineering at PSE.

Jared’s senior research project
entails the development of a tool to
test the thermoformability of plastics
materials. His research will focus on
what properties make one sheet more
thermoformable than another. The
properties that will undergo testing
are the ability to be deep drawn,
webbing propensity, and maximum
draw ratio. The tool developed
will hopefully then be used to
distinguish between easily-formable
materials and materials that resist

After graduation from PS-E, Jared
hopes to go to graduate school at
Lehigh University or the University
of Massachusetts – Lowell. A handson
person, he wants to be involved in
many stages of a product, including
development, design, processing and
production. x

ISO 9001:2000
Thermoforming QUArTerLY 27

GPEC 2009

Plastics: The
Wonderful World of
Sustainability and

February 25-27, 2009

Disney’s Coronado
Springs Resort

Orlando, Florida USA

***NEW ThiS yEAR***

GPEC® 2009 is being held
“back-to-back” with the
Plastics Recycling 2009
(Tuesday and Wednesday)
at the same location.

GPEC® 2009 kicks off with
the Connections Reception on
Wednesday evening with the
balance of GPEC® 2009 on
Thursday and Friday.

For Up To Date information:



28 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 29

The Greening of Lean Manufacturing


Thermoforming and Sustainability

Jeff Geiman, VP Operations, McClarin Plastics
Mary Anne Piccirillo, North Star Marketing

Merging green ideals

with lean principles can have an

impact far beyond raw materials,

water and renewable energy. Forging

sustainable relationships within

a supply chain, along with the

conservation of established

partnerships, can produce a positive

impact on a bottom line as well. One

result of this marriage of theory

and practice is a cooperative lean

certification session for employees,

customers and suppliers in the

thermoforming industry.

According to a study commissioned
by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, suppliers in lean supply
chains which deliver a component
in the right quantity at the right time
share the benefits of reduced cost and
waste reduction as well as a higher
quality part. Furthermore, James

P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones and
Daniel Roos report in their book, The
Machine that Changed the World,
that many companies can only “lean”
their operation by 25-30% if suppliers
and customer firms are not similarly
“Each segment of the supply chain
must understand the others’ needs.
One kink in the chain can throw
off the entire process causing waste
and expense as well as excessive
use of energy and raw materials,”
said Roger Kipp, vice president
of marketing and engineering for

McClarin Plastics in Hanover, PA.
“This will bring everyone involved
in a related supply chain together to
learn how their performance affects
others. The positive bottom line impact
from the resulting relationships and
understanding could be huge.”

McClarin Plastics formally adopted
lean manufacturing methodology in
2000 and has continually realized green
benefits, in the form of space allocation,
waste reduction, energy conservation
and increased cash flow.

Lean facility management has
produced some of the most impressive
results. This is due in part to the Lean
Continuous Flow Work Cell concept
wherein the complete production of a
component occurs. This has resulted in
30,000 square feet of warehouse space
freed and reallocated as production
space because raw materials are
delivered just-in-time directly to the
work cell. This has reduced the need
to expand or build a new facility,
thereby conserving land and resources.
Additional resources include reduced
man-hours and energy that would have
been needed to transport the component
from one station to another.

The U.S. EPA study also found that
consistent product quality is a basic
aspect of competitiveness, which
affects cost and customer loyalty.
When all members of a supply chain
are operating under the same lean
guidelines, the end product presented
to the buyer is of a higher quality with
timelier delivery and in some instances,
lower costs. When the suppliers are not
operating as a team, product defects
escalate and costs compound due to
added time, labor and space for rework
and repair, material waste and disposal.
This impacts both the environmental

and fiscal bottom line as recurring
defects and delivery delays can mean
the loss of lucrative contracts and a
more substantial eco-footprint.

McClarin Plastics, for one, has seen
increased product quality and expects
to see even greater quality once their
entire supply chain is practicing lean.
This translates to reduced waste from
defects, overspray and scrap being sent
to landfills.

Energy is another area where lean
manufacturing has produced green
benefits. By leveling production
activity to meet customer demand,
companies can lower spikes in energy
demand. In addition, the manufacturers
can manage machinery starts and stops
around non-energy spike times.

“We are anxious to share what we’ve
learned about eco-responsibility
through using lean principles. Our hope
is to get everyone in a supply chain
operating on the same page so they
too can realize the benefits,” continued
Kipp. “We’ve lowered overhead and
increased cash flow which we’ve reinvested
back into the company.”

The cooperative lean certification
session is the first of its kind in
Pennsylvania and has multiple
goals, including contributing to ecofriendly
initiatives by reducing raw
material consumption, energy and
inventory. However, the main goal is
to encourage the use of lean principles
by all segments of a supply chain.
This will reduce waste, human effort,
manufacturing space and time which
in turn will reduce supplier turnover
and the costs – fiscal and human –
associated with locating and training
new suppliers. x

30 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

Keeping It Simple

Tim Ritter, Universal Protective Packaging, Inc.

ustainability is a broad,
encompassing 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 optimizing
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.

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.

Using post-consumer-recycled
plastic. Plenty of post-consumerrecycled
(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.

Using bio-polymers and lowimpact
hybrid materials. Many
advances have been made in a
variety of alternative “plastics”
for thermoforming like the cornbased
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 compostable, or even

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. x

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 31

The Thermoforming Quarterly is sponsoring a digital photo
contest to highlight one or more aspects of the thermoforming
industry. One winner will be chosen to receive a new Canon
digital camera (value $250). The winning submission will also
be featured in the following quarter’s issue.
•Wearelookingforstrikingdigitalphotosthatfeaturesomeaspectofthermoforming: the process, tooling, machinery or parts.
•Allphotographsshouldaccuratelyreflectthesubjectmatterandthescene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond
• Entriesshouldbesubmittedwiththehighestgraphicqualityinmind.
JPEG format is preferred with resolution of 300 dpi.
• Entriesmustincludeabriefdescriptionofthephotoincludingphotographer name, company name and address.
• Imageswillbejudgedonoriginality,technicalexcellence,composition,
overall impact and artistic merit.
• ThejudgeswillbeapanelofeditorsandSPEboardmembers.
for each
will be
in each
for the
contest is
The Thermoforming Quarterly is sponsoring a digital photo
contest to highlight one or more aspects of the thermoforming
industry. One winner will be chosen to receive a new Canon
digital camera (value $250). The winning submission will also
be featured in the following quarter’s issue.
•Wearelookingforstrikingdigitalphotosthatfeaturesomeaspectofthermoforming: the process, tooling, machinery or parts.
•Allphotographsshouldaccuratelyreflectthesubjectmatterandthescene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond
• Entriesshouldbesubmittedwiththehighestgraphicqualityinmind.
JPEG format is preferred with resolution of 300 dpi.
• Entriesmustincludeabriefdescriptionofthephotoincludingphotographer name, company name and address.
• Imageswillbejudgedonoriginality,technicalexcellence,composition,
overall impact and artistic merit.
• ThejudgeswillbeapanelofeditorsandSPEboardmembers.
for each
will be
in each
for the
contest is
32 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

Visit us on the Web


Thermoforming QUArTerLY 33


September 20 – 23, 2008

Once again this year we are excited to welcome all thermoforming businesses to our
prestigious competition. The SPE Thermoforming Division is proud to showcase the
advances and innovations in thermoforming design and applications.

All submissions must be final thermoformed components produced from
production tooling.
All images and descriptions must be e-mailed to the Parts Competition
Chairman two (2) weeks prior to the conference. Images to be in JPEG format
and not to exceed 1MB.
The description should follow the criteria as stated on the entry form. The
company name and contact information may only be stated at the bottom of
the description.
The representative who is present during the Technical Review must be
affiliated with the design, tooling or production of the component and the
submitting company.
The judging committee reserves the right to re-categorize a submitted product
and merge categories that do not have at least six (6) entries.
a. No electrical power hookups are permitted.
b. All parts must be production units and not “one-off” samples.
All shipments must be identified on the outside of box as “Parts Competition.”
Submitters and individual category winners may receive publicity in trade
journals or other publications. Therefore, submission of entry constitutes
agreement for publicity and guarantees that necessary approvals have been
received from the submitter or other interested parties.
Thermoforming QUArTerLY

Submit by Email Submit by Email
Thermoforming QUArTerLY 35

36 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 37


An Innovator and Visionary Helping to Expand an Industry

Roger C. Kipp is Vice
President of Marketing &
Engineering at McClarin
Plastics, Inc., located
in Hanover, PA. His
contributions to the plastics
industry include hands-on
development of processes
and procedures, furthering
education initiatives, and
developing successful
business models.

oger C. Kipp’s passion,
contributions and innovations
for the plastics industry began in
1967 during his first job out of
college as the assistant plant manager
of a small non-ferrous foundry in
Cincinnati, OH. During this time, he
saw an opportunity to become a onestop
source for plastic process tooling
by combining pattern making with
foundry skills. In 1968, he developed
the first cast to form an aluminum
injection mold for a major Cincinnati
toy manufacturer. This venture was
soon expanded to include tooling for
heavy gauge sheet thermoforming
and rotational molding.

From 1967 to 1983 Kipp partnered
with his father and brother to grow
their pattern and foundry business in
Cincinnati. As Operations Manager
and Treasurer, he focused on business
development with expansion of a
permanent mold division and creation
of the plastics tooling division.

In 1983, Kipp spun off the plastics
tooling division from the family

For over 25 years, Kipp devoted
his attention to the construction
of aluminum tooling, developing
innovative processes which improved
heat transfer, created new techniques
for forming undercuts, part ejection,
molding inserts and improving overall
cast tooling quality.

As the industry evolved, so did
Kipp’s focus. After many years of
working with captive forming and
molding operations, he developed
an interest in developing new plastic
components, an interest that extended
beyond tooling. Kipp’s knowledge of
the values and limitations of metals,
along with tooling engineering
expertise, provided a technical
advantage to allow him to expand into
large part thermoforming applications
and markets.

In 1987, Kipp directed the start-up
of a vacuum forming and rotational
molding facility in Sidney, OH.
While he continued to oversee
tooling construction, this position
was Kipp’s first foray into the sales
and marketing aspects of the industry.
He subsequently developed millions
of dollars of new applications by
introducing plastics innovation
to various industries, including
waste management, agricultural
and construction equipment, sound
systems, air handling, and playground

In 1994, Kipp joined McClarin
Plastics in Hanover, Pennsylvania
as Vice President of Marketing &
Engineering. In this position, he has
made it a priority to be involved in
strategic and functional initiatives
to further the company as well as to
promote the plastics industry through
affiliation with various professional

Kipp has been a member of
the Society of Plastics Engineers’
Thermoforming Division Board
since 1992. During his tenure on the
Board, he has served as Conference
Chairman (1996), Conference
Treasurer, Division Treasurer

38 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

and Chairman. As a member of
the Society, he has served as the
Communications Committee Chair
and on the Foundation Executive
Committee. The Society has honored
Kipp with the 2002 Outstanding
Achievement Award and a Lifetime
Achievement Award in 2003.

With an interest toward the future
of the plastics industry, Kipp has
always had an affinity for education.
He is Associate Professor teaching
manufacturing processes part time
at his alma mater, Miami University
in Oxford, OH. Since then, he
has assisted in the development of
numerous industry-wide educational
programs as well as a comprehensive
in-house program at McClarin
Plastics. The McClarin program
offers its 200 employees about 40
classes that cover such topics as
blueprint reading, lean certification,
metrology and economics.

Kipp is also instrumental in
supporting McClarin’s aggressive
programs focused on local high
school students. These programs,
which include job fairs, internships
and hands-on projects are designed
to spark interest in the industry and
expose students to opportunities in
the field of plastics manufacturing
and engineering.

Kipp serves as a member of the
Advisory Board of the Plastics
Manufacturing Center at the
Pennsylvania College of Technology,
an affiliate of Penn State University.
Through them, he is active with the
Pennsylvania Plastics Initiative.

He and his wife Sandy now reside
in Hanover, PA. They have three
children and five grandchildren.
Mr. Kipp is an alumnus of Miami
University and is active with their
Alumni Recruiter Organization. x

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 39

Our mission is
to facilitate the
advancement of
through education,
promotion and

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
Fax: 706/295-4276
email: gmathis224@aol.com



40 Thermoforming QUArTerLY


“Infrared Temperature Measurement Applications” – Jimmy Earle, Raytek
“Accelerated Package Development & Testing” – Hossam Metwally, Ansys
“Real Time Shop Floor Data Collection” – Brian Lynch, Dunsirn Industries

“Thermoforming Tooling” – Martin Haex, Bosch-Sprang
“The Latest in Thermoforming Equipment” – Bill Kent, Brown Machine

“A Brief History of Sheet Co-Extrusion” – Frank Nissel, Welex
“Achieving Optimum Production Results Through Sophisticated Control Systems” – Dana Hanson & Tom Limbrunner, PTi

“Thermoforming of Polypropylene – The Effect of Stabilization on Regrind and Part Performance”
Ronald Becker & Lyondell Basell
“Bio Materials” – Paul Uphaus, Primex Plastics
“Expanding Your Portfolio with PLA Materials” – Nicole Whiteman, Natureworks


“Engineering Resins – Options and Opportunitites for Extrusion Market” – Roger Petit, Sabic Innovative Plastics


“The Next Generation of TPOs” – Todd Hogan, Dow Chemical

“TPO Innovation in Design” – Brad Rickle, Premier Materials

“Designing Parts Using Bayblend (PC/ABS)” – Prakash Vizzeswarapu, Bayer Material Science
“Improved Rigid TPO Sheet Products for Large Part Forming Applications”
Michael Mahan & Steve Campbell, Spartech Plastics
“It’s a Game of Inches” – Bob Marshall, ZMD

“Thermoformable CFR Composite Sheet: A Viable Alternative to Metal” – Peter Lindenfelser, Lingol Corporation
“Forming CFR Composite Sheet” – Art Buckel, McConnell Company

“Fluorex Bright Film – The Chrome” – Jeff Bailey, Soliant LLC
“The Latest in TPO & Ionomer: How They Can Help You” – Dennis Smith, Invision
“Next Generation of 5 Axis Trimming & Modeling” – Jim Bullis, Thermwood Corporation
“Robotic Trimming – Improve Your Competitive Advantage” – Paul Schuch, KMT Robotics
“Color Control for Extruded Sheet” – Axel Kronewitter & Larry DeBow, Senoplast


“Halogen Heaters are Your Competitive Advantage” – Michael Roche, Geiss Thermoforming USA


“Novel High Performance PP Products for Thermoforming: Stiffness, Toughness and Clarity”
Tim Pope & Jason Brodil, Dow Chemical
“High Stiffness High Clarity PP” – Tom Gallagher, Sonoco
“The Challenges of Closing the Loop with Thermoformed Plastic Packaging” – Michael Brown, Packaging 2.0

“Providing Value with Thin Gauge Applications” – Jonathan Cage, Spartech Packaging Technologies
“Your Leading Edge – Today’s Weakness May Be Tomorrow’s Competitive Edge” – Mark Zelnick, Zed Industries


“Optimization of Thermoformed Products” – Thomas Stahl, Illig
“PVC and the Environment” – Allen Blakey, The Vinyl Institute
“Dynamics of the PET Market” – Clarissa Schroeder, Invista
“Steel Rule Dies – Are You Building Them Properly?” – Julie Griswold, W.R. Sharples Co.
“Advances in OPS for Thermoforming” – Jeff Pristera, Reynolds Packaging Kama
“PLA & Pin Chains – From Problem to Possibility” – Charles Hildebrand, Kiefel Technologies

*Program is subject to change. Please check our website for updates and announcements: www.thermoformingdivision.com


Become a
Quarterly Sponsor
in 2008!

Do you like the
new look?

Additional sponsorship

opportunities will

include 4-color, full

page, and 1/2 page.


Call or email …

Laura Pichon
Ex-Tech Plastics

Thermoforming Division
Board Meeting Schedule
2008 – 2009

September 17 – 20 – Minneapolis, MN

February 17 – 22, 2009 – Indian Wells, CA

June 18 – 21, 2009 – NPE & ANTEC, Chicago, IL

Board meetings are open to members
of the thermoforming industry.

If you would like to attend as a guest of the board,
please notify Division Secretary, Mike Sirotnak,
at msirotnak@solarproducts.com.

IN 2008!

42 Thermoforming QUArTerLY


Quarterly deadlines for

Copy and sponsorships

final CoPy for
ediTorial aPProval

7-deC Winter 1-Jul summer

15-Mar spring 15-oCT fall

deadline for
ad CoPy

15-deC Winter 15-Jul summer

31-Mar spring 31-oCT fall

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



Thermoforming QUArTerLY 43


2008 – 2010


Brian Ray
Ray Products
1700 Chablis Avenue
Ontario, CA 91761
(909) 390-9906, Ext. 216
Fax (909) 390-9984


Ken Griep
Portage Casting & Mold
2901 Portage Road
Portage, WI 53901
(608) 742-7137
Fax (608) 742-2199


James Alongi
Maac Machinery
590 Tower Blvd.
Carol Stream, IL 60188
(630) 665-1700
Fax (630) 665-7799


Mike Sirotnak
Solar Products
228 Wanaque Avenue
Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442
(973) 248-9370
Fax (973) 835-7856


Roger Kipp
McClarin Plastics
P. O. Box 486, 15 Industrial Drive
Hanover, PA 17331
(717) 637-2241 x4003
Fax (717) 637-4811


Walt Walker
Prent Corporation
P. O. Box 471, 2225 Kennedy Road
Janesville, WI 53547-0471
(608) 754-0276 x4410
Fax (608) 754-2410







44 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

Board of Directors Board of Directors

James Alongi Jim Armor (Chair)
Maac Machinery Armor & Associates
590 Tower Blvd. 16181 Santa Barbara Lane
Carol Stream, IL 60188 Huntington Beach, CA 92649
T: 630.665.1700 T: 714.846.7000
F: 630.665.7799 F: 714.846.7001
jalongi@maacmachinery.com jimarmor@aol.com
Roger Fox Phil Barhouse
The Foxmor Group Spartech Packaging
373 S. Country Farm Road Technologies
Suite 202 100 Creative Way
Wheaton, IL 60187 PO Box 128
T: 630.653.2200 Ripon, WI 54971
F: 630.653.1474 T: 920.748.1119
rfox@foxmor.com F: 920.748.9466
Hal Gilham
Productive Plastics, Inc. Donald Hylton
103 West Park Drive McConnell Company
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08045 646 Holyfield Highway
T: 856.778.4300 Fairburn, GA 30213
F: 856.234.3310 T: 678.772.5008
halg@productiveplastics.com don@thermoforming.com
Bill Kent Bill McConnell
Brown Machine McConnell Company
330 North Ross Street 3030 Sandage Street
Beaverton, MI 48612 PO Box 11512
T: 989.435.7741 Fort Worth, TX 76110
F: 989.435.2821 T: 817.926.8287
bill.kent@brown-machine.com F: 817.926.8298
Don Kruschke (Chair)
Stopol, Inc. Dennis Northrop
31875 Solon Road Avery Dennison Performance Films
Solon, OH 44139 650 W. 67th Avenue
T: 440.498.4000 Schererville, IN 46375
F: 440.498.4001 T: 219.322.5030
donk@stopol.com F: 219.322.2623
Brian Winton
Modern Machinery Laura Pichon
PO Box 423 Ex-Tech Plastics
Beaverton, MI 48612 PO Box 576
T: 989.435.9071 11413 Burlington Road
F: 989.435.3940 Richmond, IL 60071
bwinton@modernmachineinc.com T: 847.829.8124
F: 815.678.4248
Clarissa Schroeder
Invista S.A.R.L
1551 Sha Lane
Spartanburg, SC 29307
T: 864.579.5047
F: 864.579.5288

Art Buckel
McConnell Company
3452 Bayonne Drive
San Diego, CA 92109

T: 858.273.9620
F: 858.273.6837
Lola Carere
1600 Cross Point Way
Suite D
Duluth, GA 30097

T: 678.957.3220
F: 678.475.1747
Haydn Forward
Specialty Manufacturing Co.
6790 Nancy Ridge Road
San Diego, CA 92121

T: 858.450.1591
F: 858.450.0400
Richard Freeman
Freetech Plastics
2211 Warm Springs Court
Fremont, CA 94539

T: 510.651.9996
F: 510.651.9917
Ken Griep
Portage Casting & Mold
2901 Portage Road
Portage, WI 53901

T: 608.742.7137
F: 608.742.2199
Steve Hasselbach
CMI Plastics
222 Pepsi Way
Ayden, NC 28416

T: 252.746.2171
F: 252.746.2172
Bret Joslyn
Joslyn Mfg. Co., Inc.
9400 Valley View Road
Macedonia, OH 44056

T: 330.467.8111
F: 330.467.6574
Stephen Murrill

Profile Plastics

65 S. Waukegan
Lake Bluff, IL 60044

T: 847.604.5100 x29
F: 847.604.8030
Joe Peters
Universal Plastics
75 Whiting Farms Road
Holyoke, MA 01040

T: 413.592.4791
F: 413.592.6876
Robert G. Porsche (Chair)
General Plastics
2609 West Mill Road
Milwaukee, WI 53209

T: 414.351.1000
F: 414.351.1284
Walt Speck
Speck Plastics, Inc.
PO Box 421
Nazareth, PA 18064

T: 610.759.1807
F: 610.759.3916
Jay Waddell
Plastics Concepts & Innovations
1127 Queensborough Road
Suite 102
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

T: 843.971.7833
F: 843.216.6151
Thermoforming QUArTerLY 45

Signed Up At Press Time


AET / Advanced Extruder

Technologies 426
Advanced Extrusion, Inc. 429
Advanced Plastics Consultants LLC 215
Advanced Ventures in Technology (AVT) 218

*Allen Extruders LLC 316
American Tool & Engineering, Inc. 103
Amros Industries 117
Apple Steel Rule Die 125
Arkema Inc. 408
Azimuth Custom Extrusions, LLC 232
B & F Plastics 115
Boltaron Performance Products 223
Bosch Sprang B.V. 225

*Brown Machine LLC 306
*Castek Aluminum 305

CMS North America, Inc. 430
CMT Materials, Inc. 435
Clinton Aluminum & Stainless Steel 119
Color Master, Inc. 433
Davis-Standard LLC 107
Diversified Machine Systems, Inc. 246

*Ex Tech Plastics, Inc. 309
Frimo, Inc. 204
Futurex Industries 113

*Geiss Thermoforming USA, Inc. 240
GN Plastics Ltd. 231
Hanser Publications 431
HSH Interplan USA 410
Hop Industries 216
Illig Maschinenbau GmbH 129
Integrated Packaging Film 412
Invision, Inc. 222

*Invista SARL 325
*Kiefel Technologies 304

KJ Plastics 230

*Kleerdex Company 318
Klockner Pentaplast 101
KMT Robotic Solutions 540

L.L. Brown, Inc. 228
Lenzkes Clamping Tools, Inc. 434
Lyondell Basell Advanced Polyolefins 217
*Maac Machinery 332
*Modern Machinery of Beaverton, Inc. 324


Mold-Tech 220
Monark Equipment Technologies 420

*New Hampshire Plastics 313
Nicos Polymer Group 416
Octal 422
Onsrud Cutter LP 131
Pennsylvania College of Technology 402
Plasti Vac, Inc. 235
Plastics Distributor & Fabricating
Magazine 400
Plastic News 109
Plastimach Corporation 227

*Portage Casting & Mold 327
Premier Material Concepts 206
Protherm Tool 221

*PTI – Processing Technologies, Inc. 301
*Raytek Corporation 322
*Reynolds Packaging KAMA, Inc. 320

RTP Company 202
Sabic Innovative Plastics 205
Scope Machinery 432

*Senoplast USA 315
Select Plastics 127
Sheffield Plastics, Inc. 428
Solar Products, Inc. 207
Southtech Plastics 121
SPE Decorating & Assembly Division 404

*Spartech Plastics 201
*Stopol, Inc. 331

The Dow Chemical Company 135
Thermoforming Division Hall of Fame 311
Thermoformer Parts Suppliers 224

*Thermwood Corporation 340

Thyssen Krupp Materials, NA 212

*Tooling Technology LLC 312
Topas Advanced Polymers, Inc. 133
Visit Milwaukee 2009 321
Walton Plastics, Inc. 123

W.R. Sharples Co., Inc. 213
WECO International, Inc. 236
Welex, Inc. 414
Wisconsin Engraving Company 111
Zed Industries 200
46 Thermoforming QUArTerLYSEPTEMBER 20 – 23, 2008 • MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA

Thermoforming QUArTerLY 47

Sponsor Index These sponsors enable us to publish Thermoforming Quarterly
Sponsor Index These sponsors enable us to publish Thermoforming Quarterly
n Alcoa …………………………….. 8
n Allen……………………………. 27
n Advanced Ventures in

Technology ………………… 27
n American Catalytic

Technologies ……………… 29
n Arkema / Altuglas……………. 23
n American Thermoforming

Machinery ………………….. 29
n Brown Machine……………….. 40
n CMS………………………………. 6
n CMT Materials ………………… 42
n Edward D. Segen…………….. 23
n Fox Mor Group ……………….. 27
n Future Mold …………………… 29
n GN Plastics ……………………. 29
n Invision, Inc. …………………. 11
n Kiefel …………………………… 31
n Kleerdex……………………….. 10
n KMT Robotic Solutions………. 48
n Maac Machinery………………. 43
n McClarin Plastics……………… 29
n Modern Machinery …………… 29
n Monark…………………………. 40
n MTI……………………………….. 6
n NPE2009 ………………………. 37
n Octal…………. Inside Back Cover
n Onsrud Cutter ………………… 28
n PCI ……………………………… 29
n PlastiVan ………………………. 17
n PMC…………………………21, 43
n Portage Casting & Mold……….. 6
n Primex Plastics ……………….. 31
n Productive Plastics …………….. 6
n Profile
Corp………….. 27
n Protherm………………………. 21
n PTi………………………………. 10
n Ray Products………………….. 27
n SenCorp……………………23, 47
n Solar Products………………… 48
n Spartech ……………. Back Cover
n Stopol….. Inside Front Cover, 16
n Tempco ………………………….. 6
n Thermwood……………………. 28
n ThyssenKrupp ………………… 36
n Tooling Technology…………… 39
n TPS …………………………….. 39
n Ultra-Metric Tool ……………… 44
n WECO ………………………….. 10
n Xaloy, Inc. …………………….. 39
n Zed Industries………………… 29

48 Thermoforming QUArTerLY

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