“Thailand and a number of other Southeast Asian nations have seen substantially more scrap material flow into its ports this year because of China’s disappearance as a downstream destination. Census figures show U.S. exporters shipped 132.8 million pounds of scrap plastic to Thailand in the first four months of 2018, up from 4.6 million pounds shipped during the same period a year earlier.” – Resource Recycling
It is said that Chinese companies have set up factories around Southeast Asia, looking to stay in business by processing materials and shipping pellets back to China. Other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam is onboard with this as well.
This is more disappointing news on the plastic ban spreading like wildfire. The government of Thailand has banned all scrap plastic from entering its ports, amid a major increase in shipments to the country along with other Southeast Asia countries. There is now an indefinite ban effective immediately imports of plastic scrap. Officials will begin inspecting recycling facilities across the countries.
Even the shipping and logistics companies responded swiftly to the Thai government announcement. Maersk, APL, Hapag-Lloyd, MCC Transport and others have announced on June 23 that it would stop accepting shipments of recovered plastic bound for any port in Thailand.
Because of all of this, there has been significant activity with recyclers domestically and now really pushing to add new full turn key recycling systems in place. It’s a race to see who will jump on this bandwagon of zero waste and zero carbon to clean up the environment and in the process capture business opportunities.
Quick update for those that haven’t heard already and if we already didn’t have enough bad news going on with the ban on post-consumer plastics ban into China. Here’s more as China plans to prohibit imports of post-industrial scrap plastic by the end of the year.
The Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment announced that it is set to re-categorize post-industrial PE, PET, PS, PVC and other scrap plastic as materials banned from import, according to The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.
Post-industrial scrap plastics, including production scraps, off-cuts and regrind, were not named in the ban on post-consumer plastic that went into effect this year. Post-industrial loads, however, are subject to the sharp 0.5 percent contamination limits that went into effect March 1.
Chinese officials previously alluded to the country’s plans for further phased-in material import restrictions. The new announcement likely signals that the volume of scrap plastic shipped into China, which has dropped off substantially this year since the post-consumer ban took effect, will further decrease in 2019.
The market turbulence caused by China’s prohibitions over the last year have caused North American recycling stakeholders to scramble to determine the viability of markets in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world.
More focus has also been put on trying to quickly develop greater capacity to use recovered material in domestic applications. So which path are you going to take?
Don Smith a fixture in the Plastics Industry for nearly 40 years has transitioned from singular Barrel sales, to Screw, Barrel, Valve sales, as well as repair services with Santa Fe Machine Works, Inc.
Fontana, California 5/1/2018 Santa Fe Machine Works today announced that Don Smith has been named as Sales Executive/Product Development Manager. Don will work with his long established industry contacts to sell them Screws, Barrels, Valves & a multitude of Repair services offered by Santa Fe Machine Works. Don will work closely with SFM Management to develop new products & services that will help Santa Fe Machine deliver its Customers the most robust product offering in the Industry.
“We are obviously very excited to bring Don Smith into Management with Santa Fe Machine Works. For decades we have enjoyed the level of service he gave us with Wexco & he is already a natural fit to our team.” Scott Kelly CFO, Santa Fe Machine
Don Smith will remain in Virginia with his wife Beth, whom he has been married to for 28 years. From his location, Don will be able to focus his energy on developing new relationships with Extrusion/Injection OEM’s and Processers as well as adding enhanced service levels to our existing Customers around the world. Having worked his way from the Production floor, up to Management with Wexco Corp. his knowledge of the Manufacturing process & the balance between it and Sales will make him an asset to both departments within Santa Fe Machine. His expert understanding of the Barrel Market will allow Santa Fe to increase its market share in the Industry. “When I was told that Don had been hired by Santa Fe, I instantly knew he was with the right company, who will respect his knowledge & ability to take them into a new expansive group of customers.” Fred Mellberg, Japan Steel Works Inc. (JSW.)
Don will be in Santa Fe Machine Works’ booth #W116 at ”NPE2018:The Plastics Show” in Orlando, Florida May 7-11, 2018. He is very eager to meet face to face with many of his friends in the industry & introduce them to the “concierge” style of service & dedication to its customers Santa Fe has offered for over 95 years. Don looks forward to an exciting time of discovering opportunities for Santa Fe Machine to capitalize on new areas of Market Share & deepening existing relationships with Processers & OEM’s alike.
Thermal Care’s second generation of advanced pump system PLCs can expand to control up to 15 pumps and 8 cooling towers, including VFDs and up to 3 process zones, each with up to 4 fluid circuits. Easy to navigate with its standard color touch screen, all the information you need to run your process is available at your fingertips for quick access and management of parameters including pumps and alarms. An added benefit allows you to customize the names of all devices for easy identification. Multiple user safeties, warnings, and alarms, and pump and fan running hours are displayed along with the ability to change lead fans or pumps. If you are looking for peace of mind, the pump system controller is CONNEX 4.0 ready and can provide secure detailed system status information via a remote mobile device or computer with an internet connection. When used in conjunction with Thermal Care s extensive line of heat transfer equipment, the most the most energy efficient, operationally intuitive, and productive systems can be provided.
DIFFERENTIAL PRESSURE SCREEN
DIVERTING VALVE SCREEN
Thermal Care continuously improves and innovates their products to be the best process cooling equipment systems in the industry.
If you have any questions regarding top entry robots, please contact any of the Hirate America team members to provide an automation solution tailored to your requirements.
In any industry, we all know that implementing robots result in labor savings so the equipment gives you a great return on investment. You can extract parts as fast as possible, stack parts, palletize parts, insert metal parts for over-molding applications, cut gates from the parts and insert decorative labels for in-mold-labeling applications. The only limitation is our imagination and the cycle time(also known as TACT time) it has before the next part is ready to be extracted from the mold.
Top entry robots have been out in the market for many decades. Originally they were all pneumatic air cylinder robots. Through the years electric servo motor costs have come down and many robot manufacturers have adopted servo motors for the best balance between cost, speed and accuracy. Currently many top entry robots have the accuracy of 0.1mm which is more than sufficient in extracting parts from molds.
We will discuss the 5 most important features in selecting a good top entry robot for your application.
1.) Improvement in Part Quality and Insurance Against Mold Damage
Without a robot, most injection molders drop parts underneath the mold. With many parts, this introduces the possibility of cosmetic defects and a chance for the parts to collect contamination through dirty part collection bins and grease from tie bars. To avoid this, many molders choose to utilize a top entry robot to extract parts directly out of the mold during ejection.
Have you ever had a part hang on the mold and the mold closes and damages the part and sometimes even your mold? Make sure with your robot manufacturer that the robot can use part extraction confirmation via vacuum pressure when using suction cups or proximity or optical sensors when utilizing grippers. When using the robot part confirmation feature, you will no longer have to worry about damaging your mold and shipping out crushed parts. Basically, it’s your insurance policy to avoiding damaged parts and mold damage.
Make sure that the robot manufacturer provides at least 1 vacuum generator circuit and 1 mechanical
gripper circuit so you can utilize suction cups on your End-of-Arm-Tool also known as EOAT which is the robot’s customized hand to extract your parts and runners. Always remember it’s easier and more economical to add features at the factory that is building your robot than to add it at a later date on the field.
2.) Robust Construction for Maximum Payload
Many robot manufacturers cut costs by offering their customers a unit that has a lower maximum payload. This means the robot usually has lower capacity servo motors and the Finite Element Analysis is based off of the lower maximum payload. If in the future you utilize a EOAT that is either at the limit or over the limit, the robot will have to run much slower since the robot arm will vibrate and shake since it wasn’t designed to handle heavy payload EOATs.
As a rule of thumb, EOAT’s with grippers usually weigh more than EOATs with suction cups. It is best to always think about the possible future applications that you may want to run with the robot when selecting a robot with a low payload.
Another fact is look for a robot that utilizes rack and pinion mechanisms instead of belts. Belts used for robots is called an iron rubber belt and there are steel wires inside the rubber but with all types of belts they expand over time and the tension needs to be adjusted periodically. Also belts will always tear and will require replacement. Just ask yourself why we need to change the timing belts and serpentine belts on our cars but we never need to change the rack and pinion steering. Imagine if the steering on our cars were using belts. That would not be very safe.
Some customers accidentally use corrosive cleaning solutions on the robots and we have seen the rubber belts deteriorate prematurely and tear so always consult with the robot manufacturer what type of cleaning solution to use.
Also if you are looking to utilize the robots for a medical application, belts produce either a black or white dust so in a clean room application you will need to clean the robot periodically around the belt pulleys.
3.) Maximum Speed for your Application
It is very important to achieve the fastest cycle time so you make more parts consistently. Usually a robot manufacturer has the Economic Budget-type robot, a High Speed robot and an Ultra High Speed robot. This is usually dictated by the customer and their cycle times.
If the cycle time ranges above 15 seconds and the extraction time can be a little slower and you should select the Economic Budget-type robot.
If the cycle time ranges below 12 to 15 seconds and you want to extract the parts decently fast, then you should select the High Speed robot.
If the cycle time ranges below 12 seconds down to 4 seconds, now your extraction time even cutting down 0.1 or 0.2 seconds becomes critical so you should select the Ultra High Speed robot. Based on the vertical distance that the robot needs to travel, and the EOAT weight, typical full extraction times are in the range of 0.5 to 1.5 seconds. This depends on how deep the part is, size of molding machine, extraction method and other variables. Some robot manufacturers have robots that can successfully take out parts from the mold in 0.19 seconds.
When running a robot fast with a heavy payload EOAT, some robots shake and deflect since their vertical arm is designed flimsy. We see many robots running at their top speed shaking and dropping parts which defeats the purpose of having a consistent cycle time 24/7. Remember to select the most robust and over engineered robot.
Also remember speed isn’t everything if it isn’t reliable and expensive to fix. Again we see many robots that are fast for the first couple months to a year but we see customers with belt issues, pulley issues and cracking vertical arms time to time. Some of these fixes requires a technician to visit your facility to bring the unit back to factory specifications. To avoid these problems, remember to look for quality construction and reliable mechanisms. Our customers report that the robots we specified for them lasting over 25 years while others manufacturer’s robot’s main components failed within 10 years and cost much more to maintain to continue a 24/7 production schedule.
4.) Good Track Record of Long Term Reliability and Low Maintenance Costs
When selecting a robot, ask for other customer references and talk to their customers. Ask how many years their oldest robot has been running and what their maintenance costs are. A well built full servo robot should easily last 20 years with minimal maintenance of greasing the linear guides and drive components.
Some of our customers are using their robots from 25 years ago with minimal maintenance issues. Again the emphasis on a well built robot is very important since some robots are only engineered to last 5 to 10 years. Sometimes there is a significant difference in component quality and that reflects in the price of the robot so remember price of the robot should never be the deciding factor of selecting a quality robot.
We also hear some customers reporting to us that they spend over $10,000 a year for maintaining their $25,000 robots so they end up purchasing new robots after 10 years. This should not be the case if you select a quality robot.
5.) Flexibility and Ease of Use
When selecting a robot you need to keep in mind to have a good balance between flexibility and ease of use. Usually the operators and technicians that use the robots on a day-to-day basis are not college graduates with an engineering degree. The robot controller should be simple enough for a high school graduate to operate with ease. Go over the controller with the robot manufacturer to see if it is easy to use for your application. You shouldn’t need an engineer or factory technician to teach the robot for every new mold that comes into your facility.
Some robot manufacturers give too much flexibility in their robots and that turns into complexity and safety concerns. If the robot can be taught and programmed with no limits there is a high likelihood that there will be an accident due to user error. For example you shouldn’t be able to flip the EOAT inside the mold or anywhere lower than the position where the robot is at the highest position. There should be interlocks and safeties in place where the robot cannot be taught incorrectly.
In some applications the rules can be broken but for normal operation of the robot it is best to keep it simple and safe. If the robot crashes into the mold you will encounter possible mold and end-of-arm-tool damage. Ultimately this results in unexpected loss in production which is an expensive price to pay.
Don’t let this happen to you. Select a robot manufacturer that focuses on a controller that has simplicity and emphasizes on safety.
With any product on the market. Not all top entry robots are manufactured to the same standard. Large or small we can help determine the best robot for you.
Having an extremely well engineering and reliable machinery for the plastics industry is a must these days and Hirate America partners with Sailor Automation, a Japanese based company (one of the most well-known respected in the industry) for high end solution and Yudo-Suns, a Korean based company for middle of the road solution.
If you have any questions regarding top entry robots, please contact any of the Hirate America team members to provide an automation solution tailored to your requirements.
At the 2018 Plastec West show held at the Anaheim Convention Center, Hirate America, Inc. introduced the new Motan Luxor E A and Luxor EM A compact dryer with integrated conveying. This dryer is suitable for press-side drying of plastic resins for injection molding machines. Motan offers three sizes of drying bins – 60 liter, 100 liter and 150 liter.
Both the Luxor E A and Luxor EM A dryers with optional ETA plus energy saving technology are specifically designed to supply consistently low dew-point air to one drying bin, while reducing energy consumption. The Luxor E A dryer is designed for use with existing conveying systems or hopper loaders. Whereas the Luxor EM A offers a machine dedicated solution with integrated dry air conveying for up to two processing machines and the drying bin. As stated above there are three sizes with drying bin capacities of 60, 100 and 150 liters.
The LUXORnet controls utilize modern, flexible BUS-technology. As standard, the color touch control manages the dry air generator, one drying bin and with the EM version, material conveying to one drying bin and two processing machines.
The integration of dry air conveying, line purging and material proportioning provides maximum flexibility and productivity.
The METRO G system loaders are used to convey the plastic granulate quickly and cleanly to the processing machine or drying bin. Material is delivered exactly when needed, keeping machines running and avoiding costly downtime. Material wastage is eliminated and the work-space is kept clean and safe.
As an option electro-polished stainless steel METROMIX proportioning valve is attached to a METRO G material loader. You can easily adjust the percentage and number of material layers per conveying cycle at the dryer control. A large transparent access panel gives you easy access for cleaning.
For easy setup, pre-configured material feed line sets are available for one or two machines. The option of stainless steel vacuum and conveying pipework at the back of the drying bin, enables a simple and effective connection to the processing machines.
All Motan LUXORBINs are made of stainless steel and are completely insulated including the diffuser cone. The bins are mounted on solid frames and have a control box mounted at the front of the bin for optimum accessibility. The long-life solid state relays guarantee precise and reliable temperature control that does not damage thermally-sensitive materials.
The larger 100 and 150 liter drying bins are equipped with especially large clean-out doors fitted with a sight glass and easy-to-open quick release handles. They fit the shape of the bin in order to optimize material flow and simplify cleaning. In addition, they have a split hinged lid for easy access from above.
Perfect for moderate distance conveying applications, nothing beats the simplicity and reliability of a side-channel vacuum blower. The compact design allows the pump to be installed under the drying bin.
Dry air conveying is essential for hygroscopic materials. Conveying to the processing machine is carried out in a closed loop using dry, warm air. This maintains material temperature and eliminates re-absorption of moisture. As an option the material feed lines can be purged after every conveying cycle.
The cyclone dust filter offers you efficient filtering for small to medium throughput conveying. The cyclone separates the dust and a transparent dust collection bin with quick release clips makes for the quick and easy removal of fines.
The LUXORnet EM control offers user-friendly operation via a color graphic display with touch screen. The control incorporates comprehensive functions for operation and process control, recipe management, reporting for quality assurance, as well as enhanced service functions and trend charts. ETA plus airflow control with temperature adaptation is available as an option.
The LUXORnet control utilizes modern, flexible BUS technology. As standard, the control manages the dry air generator, one drying bin, as well as up to three material loaders.
LUXORnet technology stands out due to its modern, Ethernet-based open network architecture enabling you to connect LUXOR EM A dryers with a central WEBpanel this allows you to control all functions remotely and provides an overview of the entire production.
ETA plus technology
Optional ETA plus technology stands for innovative and energy-efficient drying technology which takes two individual factors into consideration. 1.) The process air-flow control adapts automatically the mass flow of air to the amount of material being dried as well as to seasonal and time-of-day related fluctuations. 2.) Once the mass air-flow has been reduced to its minimum value, the drying temperature adapts automatically to the amount of material being dried. This guarantees very gentle drying, especially when there is a large drop in material throughput rates.
Altogether, the combination of air flow control and temperature reduction offers the highest possible energy savings. Compared with conventional drying systems, energy savings of up to 64% are possible with ETA plus technology. Both functions can be either enabled or disabled dependent on your process requirements.
Having an extremely well engineering and reliable machinery for the plastics industry is a must these days and Hirate America partners with Motan, a German based company (one of the most well-known respected in the industry).
Please contact us if you have any projects you’d like to discuss with us.
Hirate America, Inc. displayed the LS Mtron All Electric 120 ton WIZ-E Injection Molding Machine at the 2018 Plastec West at the Anaheim Convention Center. The machine is manufactured in South Korea by LS Mtron which is the 15th largest company in South Korea and targets injection molders looking for high quality and long term reliability with good performance and economical price.
The machine ran a Dauntless Industries 1 cavity polypropylene frisbee mold.
The machine comes standard with many features like double center press moving platen, T-slots in platens, dual air blow offs, ceramic heater bands, bimetallic screw and barrel, robot SPI or Euromap interface and auxiliary power ports.
LS Mtron improved on tie bar distance and extended daylight after listening to the US customers requests. Tie bar distance is extended on the horizontal 7% to 17% and vertical 2% to 15% compared to the previous model. Daylight is extended 3 to 20% compared to the previous model.
The machine features the new “Center Press” type moving platen to provide high stiffness to prevent platen bending which is always debated with toggle machines. This design provides equal clamping force across the platen when molding.
Also compared to the previous model the injection volume was increased 13% to 27% throughout the line.
The machine features simultaneous actions by separate control of all of the servo motors. This can reduce cycle time by opening the mold while charging and recovering and you can fire the ejectors while the mold is still opening and injection during pressurization.
As an option for machines 18 to 400 tons high speed injection is possible at 500mm per second by applying a strong and quick response AC servo motor.
The injection unit utilizes the double shaft nozzle touch structure for a stable nozzle touch and the forward and backward speed was increased 2.8 times compared to previous models. The new design improves platen parallelism, prevents resin leakage and machine lifespan is increased.
LS Mtron has service technicians across North America and offers local parts and technical support.
If you have a project that you would like to discuss, feel free to contact us below to schedule a free consultation.
Standard fixed speed compressors on chillers use a hot gas bypass valve that bypasses hot discharge refrigerant gas back into the compressor to simulate 100% load. This keeps the compressor running at full speed at all times regardless of the actual load. As an example, this means that if you have a 10 TON chiller and have 10 machines that each require 1 TON of chilling, or 2 machines that require 5 TONs each, you will be running your chiller at 100% capacity, regardless of whether you have 8 of your 10 machines running (80% load) or 1 of your 2 machines running (50%) load. With this example, the chiller will be costing you a fixed amount on your energy bill regardless of how many of your machines are running.
Thermal Care introduced the first portable chillers with a variable speed compressor on their 10 TON and 20 TON portable chillers. It allows the compressor to reduce the actual output from 100% down to 30% by reducing the speed of the compressor while utilizing hot gas bypass to bring the load from 30% all the way down to 0% without shutting off the compressor. As shown in the graph below, the energy savings often result in less than a 1 year return on investment.
With all this fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) on the China ban of plastic scrap materials, this topic continues to hit the headlines in the plastic recycling world. China doesn’t want to continue taking in everyone’s waste. They are taking measures to clean up their environment and would like everyone else in the world to partake in being providers of clean recycling materials. They recently stated a “0.5% contamination threshold for imports”. The we shouldn’t be taking the easy solution road of putting waste into landfills as eventually there won’t be anymore land to fill with trash! In term, we should be promoting recycling to the fullest and take care of the planet we live on and reduce waste.
The China ban FUD of plastic scrap materials has lead to a boom in plastic recycling opportunities here in California. We have been getting more inquiries about plastic recycling technology solutions and businesses are trying to capitalize on this opportunity domestically.
Do you want to jump on the opportunity bandwagon or cheer on on the sidelines and pass up huge demands and opportunities along with making our world a better place live for our future children?
Most of you are aware of the whole China ban on imports of certain plastic recyclables after 2017. The Chinese government is making the changes in order to improve its environment, including air quality and pollution. The Chinese government still has not clarified specifics of what plastics will be banned and what will be accepted.
There’s so much uncertainty and chaos in this market and many recyclers are uncertain of what their company’s future will hold. The uncertainty on whether materials could make it into China created massive market instability. Many plastic manufacturing companies are having trouble finding buyers for their plastic scrap and are forced to paying recyclers to haul their scrap away.
One of our customers sent containers full of plastic scrap material only to be turned away back to the US and were told that they can only take in plastics that were repelletized.
This in turn causes a domino effect to plastic manufacturing. If the recyclers are no longer taking plastic scrap material then the manufacturing companies are not stuck holding the ball.
One customer spends over $100,000 USD to get rid of their scarp.
There is a now a big initiatives for companies to seek a solution to this issue rather than sitting around waiting for the import ban to be lifted.
What if these plastic manufacturing companies could turn this scrap into reusable pellets that can be put back into your process?
Hirate America has a solution to provided full turn key recycling systems.
We partner with Lindner Resource for wash lines and shredders that will clean and shred the plastic down to prepare the material for repelletization