SPE Library

The SPE Library contains thousands of papers, presentations, journal briefs and recorded webinars from the best minds in the Plastics Industry. Spanning almost two decades, this collection of published research and development work in polymer science and plastics technology is a wealth of knowledge and information for anyone involved in plastics.

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Product Design and Development

Agile Formulation of Recycled Polymers
Dr. Mark Sullivan and Hannah Melia, December 2023

Polymer recyclates have a variation in properties that can affect the end properties of recycled polymers. In this session, Dr. Mark Sullivan and Hannah Melia of Citrine Informatics will present a case study to show how AI can be used to rapidly reformulate recycled polymers to maximize the use of recyclates while consistently meeting end customer requirements. Learn from Citrine's experience from more than 10 years working in machine learning for materials and chemicals development.

Real-Time Process Optimization With In-Mold Sensors and Machine Learning
Dr. Alexander Chaloupka, May 2023

Plastic manufacturing can be unpredictable. Deviations in material batches, moisture content, machine calibration, among other variables, lead to issues in manufacturing quality and final part properties. This webinar will introduce how dielectric analysis (DEA) sensors be used to directly measure material behavior in-mold. New technology has been developed to combine dielectric analysis with machine learning and material models, allowing for dynamic adjustments to machine settings, removing uncertainty from your process, and optimizing cycle times. The material covered will include:

  • Fundamentals of dielectric analysis and applications for plastic processing
  • How dielectric analysis and machine learning can be combined for dynamic process optimization
  • Case studies demonstrating how dielectric analysis is being used in industries ranging from automotive composites to electronic encapsulation

Turnkey Solution For 3D Metal Printed Conformally Cooled Injection Mold Inserts
Zakary Smith, June 2022

Background: In Spring of 2020, Instaversal was contracted to test our newly developed conformal cooling technology, CoolTool™, against existing production benchmarks for a plastic injection molded Pipe Bracket Adapter. The Product Innovator was going through a period of elevated demand where the current cycle time of the existing injection mold tool prohibited them from meeting their demand. When cooling cycles were sped up this led to higher scrap rates due to sink marks. This left the Product Innovator with two options: delay delivery of the product to their top customer with the risk of losing the sale and potentially losing the customer or to invest in additional injection mold tools to double production capacity. To meet the customer’s demand, 100,000 parts needed to be produced in a 60-day time period. This request created conflict with the contract manufacturer. They were being asked to absorb the cost of additional molds to meet the timing or run full 24-hour (Monday-Friday) shifts over the 60-day period which would create losses in revenue by eliminating other clients’ scheduled jobs.

Designing for Six Sigma (DFSS) - A Systematic Approach to Robust Plastic Part Design
Vikram Bhargava, May 2021

Designing for Six Sigma (DFSS) - A Systematic Approach to Robust Plastic Part Design To design and manufacture today's complex plastic components, product designers are under tremendous pressure to produce robust designs at a minimum cost and in the fastest possible time. Leading author David Wright wrote in his book titled “Failure of Plastics and Rubber Products” that design issues account for almost 20% of product failures. The fact is that many errors that manifest themselves as material, tooling or processing can also be attributed to design issues. Conventional plastic flow simulation does not necessarily help diagnose and avoid common design issues. Decisions made at the design stage impacts manufacturing quality, product cost, and delivery lead times. Taking a proactive approach by including Six Sigma philosophy upfront into the early design stage can help develop high quality, profitable products eventually bringing sustained value to customers and markets. The Paper will discuss the Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) philosophy and best practices and tools for its incorporation into new plastic product development. This will include: • Understanding the DFSS concept and popular methodologies such as DMAIC and DMADV • Learning how to use DFSS Methodology in early part of plastic product design lifecycle • Applying DFSS techniques and available simulation and DFM tools for successful implementation

Analysis of the State of the Art of Technical Drawings of Plastic Molded Parts Regarding Tolerances
Anja Falke | Friedrich-Alexander | Martin Bohn | Tim A. Osswald, May 2021

The plastic-specific material properties are often not taken into account in the specification of technical drawings of injection molded parts. As a result, tolerance requirements are specified, that are too tight and sometimes even impossible to manufacture, which result in high production expenses. To avoid this, it is necessary to coordinate the functionally required accuracies of plastic components with the technical possibilities available for injection molding production.
In this paper a systematic analysis of drawings from practice is used, to show the current state of the art regarding geometric product specification and tolerance assignment of plastic molded parts. In addition to the quantification of the number of specified features, the unambiguousness of the product specification is assessed. Beyond that, the degree of accuracy of the tolerance requirements is quantified and the manufacturing feasibility is checked in accordance with ISO 20457 in order to then determine the resulting production expense that is necessary to achieve the required tolerances. It is proven that for almost a fifth of the plastic parts tolerance requirements are specified that are not feasible to be produced in the injection molding process. Additionally, it is found that all drawings examined do contain ambiguously specified features, that do not allow for an unambiguous verification.

Integration of Polycarbonate Thermoplastic in LED Lighting
Nicolas J. Sunderland | Jim Lorenzo, May 2021

Thermally conductive (TC) polycarbonate was utilized as aluminum metal replacement in LED lighting luminaires, along with transparent, diffusion, and reflective polycarbonate thermoplastics in order to describe a light weight, design-friendly, cost efficient part. To assess suitability of the TC polycarbonate, the part was subjected to thermal testing. Results showed very similar thermal characteristics as aluminum.

The Most Frequent Design Flaw That Leads to Part Failure
Paul J. Gramann, Ph.D., P.E., May 2021

The topic presented in this paper is not new. There are numerous reasons why sharp transitions should not be present in a plastic part. However, the number of failures that are occurring at sharp transitions is still very common. In most cases, they can easily be avoided by simply removing metal from the mold to make a smooth transition. This paper will review where most of these transitions are being found, and why they are common in critical parts. A tensile testing study was performed to better understand the effect of geometric transitions. Two cases studies are given showing why the sharp corners can significantly reduce the lifetime of a plastic part.

Influence of Processing Route on the Properties of Polyolefin Blends
Christoph Burgstaller, April 2021

One of the streams from plastics waste collection is a mixed polyolefin stream, which cannot be separated completely with reasonable effort at the current technological state.  The aim of this work was to investigate the influence of the processing route, realized by different plastic processing machines, on the properties of selected polyolefin blends, made from different PP and PE grades as well as compatibilizing additives, to mimic the mixed polyolefins found in post-consumer waste.  We found, that the processing route influences the properties in regard to the shear brought into the materials – only dry-blended and injection molded blends yield lower properties than the ones which were prepared by the other processing machines. This is more pronounced when compatibilizers were added. These results show that several processing machines can be used to establish such blends, which is an important finding for mixed polyolefin stream recycling, as there not only a good mixture in the blend needs to be established, but also the processing machine has to be stable and unsusceptible to foreign materials in the stream.

Styrenic Block Copolymers for Enabling Improved Performance of Post-Consumer Resins
Amit Desai | Yuliya Streen, April 2021

Improving the reusability of plastic parts, increasing the usage of post-consumer resin (PCR), and converting mixed PCR streams into high value resins are three key challenges facing the plastic recycling industry. To address these challenges, CirKular+‚Ñ¢ products were developed by Kraton Polymers to enable plastics upcycling and circular economy solutions. These products enable multi-resin compatibilization and performance enhancement of PCR resins across a wide range of applications. By leveraging the versatile chemistry of styrenic block copolymers, polymeric additives have been developed that benefit plastic recycling in multiple ways, such as improvement in properties of recycled resins and blends of virgin and recycled resins, and compatibilization of mixed PCR resin streams. In addition, these polymeric additives provide the performance enhancement at low loading levels, which in turn leads to an excellent balance of properties and low formulation cost. In this paper, several application-specific test results and case studies will demonstrate the value of these polymeric additives.

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Brown, H. L. and Jones, D. H. 2016, May.
"Insert title of paper here in quotes,"
ANTEC 2016 - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA May 23-25, 2016. [On-line].
Society of Plastics Engineers
Available: www.4spe.org.

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