Plastics’ life-enhancing properties highlighted by award winners
The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has honoured plastic products that meet the ultimate test of value by in some way making lives better at the ANTEC 2016 plastics technical conference.
The annual ANTEC is plastics technical conference and SPE’s largest event. A panel of judges selected the winners of the 3rd annual Plastics for Life Global Parts Competition from among a wide range of parts that had already won in competitions at previous SPE events during the past year.
In addition, a People’s Choice award was presented to the part that received the greatest number of votes from ANTEC attendees. The award categories and winners are:
The grand prize was awarded to Plastitel for its vacuum thermoformed TPU pods serving as the support surface of the Isolibrium patient bed from Stryker Corp.
The pods are the main support surface of the IsoLibrium bed, facilitating patient mobility and ensuring regular movement. This aids in the function of vital organs, reduce bed sores, and improve circulation. Two major challenges were ensuring a minimum thickness on every individual pod and accurately measuring them.
The ‘Sustaining life’ award was given to Delphi Automotiven for an overmoulded polyamide heated tip fuel injector for Honda Motor Company. An electrical heater within the injector is energised by the vehicle controller, rapidly heating the ethanol fuel and thereby dramatically improving vaporisation and reducing emissions.
By making possible reduced fuelling during engine warm-up, these injectors also offer reduced emissions on ethanol and gasoline applications. Total hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions were reduced by 40 – 70 percent.
The ‘Protecting life’ award was given to Promogroup for its plastic/metal hybrid floor rocker reinforcement for the 2015 Fiat Chrysler Jeep Renegade. This honeycomb reinforcement was designed for high-energy, high-speed side impact crashes. The use of this solution reduces the component weight by 45 percent versus the steel solution, or 1 kg/vehicle, with the added benefit of a 10 percent cost reduction.
This new technology sets a precedent for similar applications across the body structure, including 30-40 percent mass reduction from each reinforcement, performance comparable to high strength steel, and ease of assembly.
The ‘Quality of life’ award was given to Sonoco Plastics for its 39 ml blow moulded VariBlend dual dispensing bottle. The VariBlend dispenser sits atop a two-compartment bottle. A new design locks securely to ensure the package will travel without leaking and the product will maintain its integrity. Consumers can select different formula strengths by turning the dial on the dispenser, satisfying their demand for product personalisation and freshness. Six positions exist, or brand owners can set fixed ratios.
It was designed for products that come in multiple strengths, require ingredient segregation, offer shade/ colour selection, or need mixing and blending. Submitted by toolmaker FGH Systems.
Productive Plastics won the award for ‘Improving life’ because of its nine pressure formed parts for covers for an MRI medical scanning device. It uses cast and machined moulds to ensure no shrink tolerance and CNC linear tolerances for moulded in dimensions. All parts utilised pushers to pre-stretch materials and using Sekisui’s Kydex T sheet made it possible to maintain the required wall thickness and consistency over multiple runs.
The parts include undercuts and are formed in mating parts to better line up for fit. The assembly allows for the parts to fit a separate metal frame that is assembled at the staging location. This custom hardware reduced the amount of tools required to install and service, and reduced the total time required for installation and service.
The People’s Choice award was awarded to SureCan for its blow moulded gasoline can. The 2.2 and 5.0 gallon can makes it possible to direct how and where fuel is dispensed, with a rotating nozzle, thumb trigger, and hand support grips at the bottom. The thumb safety trigger securely seals the vent on top of the can. The thumb button assembly is made up of two main parts, the thumb button itself and the safety trigger. The vent does not open or release any air unless the safety trigger is pulled straight back and then depressed with the main thumb button. On average the SureCan releases fuel at a rate of about 2 gallons per minute.