Thermoforming Quarterly is a journal published quarterly by the Thermoforming Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers. The magazine is a great way to keep up with industry trends and developments. SPE Thermoforming Division members receive the magazine by mail four times a year. Non-members can access old issues here via PDF file. If you are not an SPE member this is a great reason to join! Become a member today to start receiving this valuable information in your mailbox.

We welcome objective, technical and related articles that provide valuable information to our community of thermoformers, toolmakers, material suppliers and OEMs. Articles are typically 1500-2000 words. We recommend viewing past articles for further guidance. All submissions should be in MS Word, 12-pt Times New Roman.

Artwork, illustrations, photos and graphics should be 300 dpi. We prefer .eps .jpeg and .pdf files

2022 Deadlines for content and artwork: 1st Quarter: February 15; 2nd Quarter: May 16; 3rd Quarter: August 15; 4th Quarter: November 15.
All submissions can be sent to Conor Carlin, Editor, at cpcarlin@gmail.com

Thermoforming Quarterly Sponsorship Sales Contact:
Mark Malloy
Next Step Communications
E: mmalloy@next-step.com
T: 224-234-8275

Second Quarter 2022

Conference Review: European Thermoforming
Vienna, Austria
Conor Carlin, Editor

After twice postponing their flagship event and moving the location from Geneva to Vienna, SPE’s European Thermoforming Division celebrated the return of live programming from March 30 to April 1. With more than 250 delegates attending from 30 countries, it was clear that the thirst for knowledge and networking had not been extinguished over the past two years. While about a dozen U.S. delegates were in attendance, the presence of several multinational companies on the stage suggested that, in theory, information about plastics and packaging can flow across the Atlantic without too much trouble. And though M&A activity might have peaked in the current business cycle, the recent spate of consolidation has created larger companies with assets on both sides of the ocean.

An international project that included a moldmaker from Italy, a sheet supplier from Austria, an OEM from the U.S., and a processor from Mexico illustrated the benefits of early supplier engagement. Sea-Doo, manufacturer of personal watercraft, uses 19 colors in a gel-coat process for the exteriors of its popular recreational models. The project team was charged with replacing the gel coat due to ongoing problems with aesthetics. The material had to have good chemical resistance as it would be exposed to seawater and fuel spillage. Using a new Closed Mold Technology (CMT), the team chose polymethyl methacrylate with an ABS cap layer. The tool was designed with five independent heat zones using 12 thermocouples and four separate vacuum areas to avoid chill marks and ensure accurate material distribution. The mold also contained an articulated plug-assist with interchangeable parts that was adjustable in all directions. After three years, the project delivered weight reduction of 38 kg (83.6 pounds) and a greatly simplified manufacturing process.


Simulation of Thermoforming Process for Truck Roof Fairing Applications
Amol Avhad, Carlos Pereira, Raghavendra Janiwarad, Bhaskar Patham, SABIC
John Perdikoulias, COMPUPLAST Canada

Thermoforming is an efficient, very cost-effective, and widely used process to produce large parts in transportation applications. The long-haul truck roof fairing demonstrates the feasibility of replacing traditional materials with thermoplastics to improve aerodynamics and, in turn, cut a truck’s fuel use. Simulation becomes a powerful means for a large part and complex process to arrive at and optimize process conditions. This, in turn, helps to achieve the desired product quality for a given material. The present study describes the results from the use of thermoforming simulation as a tool for optimizing sheet thickness, sheet temperature, and processing conditions to achieve a desired thickness distribution and minimal weight of a truck fairing part without sacrificing its structural performance.

The overall objective of this work is to develop a robust, validated, and accurate simulation framework for thermoforming process optimization, addressing various aspects listed in the preceding. The specific objective of this study is to explore the capability of simulations in the vacuum thermoforming scenario for an application of long-haul truck roof fairing. This application demonstrates the feasibility of replacing traditional materials with thermoplastics to reduce drag and in turn, cut a truck’s fuel use. We have explored Virtual iterations, employing simulations carried out in a TSIM®, a commercially available simulation software, with three different resins and corresponding process-parameter settings. Using these simulations, we arrive at recommendations for settings of sheet thickness, sheet temperature and processing conditions for achieving parts with optimal material utilization.

Full articles appear in print magazine mailed to members.

2022

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