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More show than tell: Static displays for exhibitors are out - partnerships are in


I can remember years ago, nearly two decades now since I've been covering NPE trade shows, when moldmaking companies would exhibit at NPE: it was pretty boring. They'd set up their booth - usually a 10'x10' - hang some pictures of molds on the back wall, and fill a glass case with plastic parts representative of the types of components that come from the molds they build.

A few mold companies would actually bring a mold and set it up in the open position in the booth, and while impressive you could never tell much by just looking at them. These "static displays" didn't have much to offer. A number mold companies finally stopped attending NPE as exhibitors because it just didn't seem to bring the rewards they'd hoped.

Moldmakers aren't the only type of company that needs more PIZAZZ at a trade show. Mold component suppliers have it worse than the moldmakers. At least molds can be set up and admired by the passing crowds. But how do you really show off a hot runner system? Most machinery and equipment needs to be doing whatever it is that it does best. It's taken awhile but moldmakers have finally figured out that they need the machinery suppliers - as badly as the machinery suppliers need the moldmakers and other machinery suppliers.

There are many mold manufacturers involved at this year's NPE, and you can see some incredible technology by visiting the various machinery suppliers' booths including injection machinery, thermoforming machinery, and automation equipment. Combining the talents and technology innovations of mold manufacturers, mold component suppliers, processing machinery and automation has the makings of some exciting stuff!

Inside these molds that are running in machinery suppliers' booths are some fantastic new technologies, such as new hot runner technology that can help processors knock seconds off the cycle time. Static displays for molds are pretty much a thing of the past, and NPE is the ideal place to showcase a mold's - and a moldmaker's - best attributes. "Show" has finally replaced "Tell" in the world of trade shows.

Rick Finnie, President of M.R. Mold & Engineering, specialists in liquid silicone rubber (LSR) molds, will hit the trade show floor big-time once again with three LSR molds: one in Alba's booth (#1170) running in a Babyplast; another in the Boy Machinery booth (#2819); and a third in the Maplan's booth (#7571) running with a Kistler pressure transducer.

Many partnerships have been formed as companies have worked together for most of last year preparing complete molding manufacturing systems to showcase what everyone does best. The results of the efforts of six companies can be seen at CBW Automation's booth (#3169) where a Milacron molding machine will be running a 16-cavity mold built by Tech Mold containing a Melt-Cube hot runner system from Mold-Masters, for IML technology with labels from Inland Label, molding material from PolyOne and of course the IML automation system from CBW. Whew!

There is also a stack mold built by StackTeck Systems Ltd. running lids for a major housewares company in a 500-ton Milacron at Milacron's booth (#2803), complete with Telescoping Side-Entry robotics, again from CBW.

If you want to see something novel in cube technology, head over to the KraussMaffei booth (#1503) and be amazed by new Total Integrated Manufacturing (TIM) 2x4 stack mold from Zahoransky Formenbau GmbH where push-pull plugs will be molded on a 200-ton, two-color injection molding machine.

T/Mould (Tandem Mould) will demonstrate its tandem mold technology in a 200-ton Niigata (#548), helping Niigata showcase its newest all-electric MD-W6000 series, which runs two separate material profiles for the same mold molding two parts.

A micro mold from Mold-Craft Inc. will be featured in the new Sodick Plustech LP20EH2 Micro Molding series press (booth #363), with a 12-mm diameter plunger. The funnel tip, molded of PEEK, has a minimum thin wall section of 0.008-inch designed and built by Mold Craft, and incorporates the patented MeltFilpper technology from Beaumont Technologies.

Haidlmair GmbH will be running a mold in a molding machine at Booth #2843, home to Wittmann Battenfeld. This high-performance mold produces a stackable folding box with all five components of the box (600 x 400 x 193 mm), including base plate, and four side walls, shot in a "family mold."

Haidlmair's stackable folding box mold will run in a WittmannBattenfeld machine at NPE 2012.

Running actual molds in molding machines complete with automation equipment pays off, not only for the machinery and equipment manufacturers but for the moldmakers as well.

So get your exhibit-floor planner out, and make it a point to visit all these fascinating machinery and equipment booths and be ready to be amazed! You won't see this much speed unless you go to Daytona, which is not too far from Orlando. But you probably won't find your next business venture there.

Clare Goldsberry

Related Exhibition:
NPE 2012
The International Plastics Showcase
4/1/2012 - 4/5/2012
Venue: Orange County Convention Center, Orlando FL, United States

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