Plastics for Life™ – innovative & useful
IN 2019, plastic products that meet the ultimate test of value by making our lives better in some way were honoured by the Society of Plastics Engineers SPE in the USA.
A panel of judges selected the winners of the 6th annual Plastics for Life™ Global Parts Competition from among a wide range of parts that had already won in competitions at previous SPE events.
The award categories and winners are:
GRAND PRIZE: 2019 Sierra LD Thick Light Bar
This application incorporates a new high transparency LED2245 PC used in a thick light bar to allow a sculptured ice appearance that meets a legal daytime running lamp function in an automotive headlamp. The novel light-pipe design incorporates non-standard multi-shot thick moulding, tooling and process to provide unique styling and function. This part required the development of a proprietary multi-shot moulding process to produce a low stress PC thick light bar with high clarity and minimal material shrink and warpage. Due to the large complex shape of the part, the tooling required a modified surface and special ejection design to properly eject the thick light bar.
To meet the colour and optical clarity required by the product design, the resin was manufactured in a different process method than standard PC to provide very high optical clarity in extremely thick cross-sections. This new PC material from Covestro provided crystal colour development to reduce yellowness in typical thick PC parts in the un-lit state. Enhanced CAE tools were required for the complex part and tooling design.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Brewcraft’s Genesis 6 Gallon Carboy Fermenter
This product was designed to replace glass carboys, which can break when dropped producing sharp glass and lost product and have narrow necks making it hard to clean. Natural HDPE allows the product to be seen through plastic for graduation readings that are clearly legible and embossed in both standard and metric volumes
The integrated needle blown handles provide strength and rigidity through a unique pinch-off design for carrying full carboy while not compromising a comfortable grip. The wide neck opening is ideal during the use of brewing equipment and to aid in cleaning.
The inside of the carboy is smooth and free of any voids or crevasses which could house bacteria, especially where the handles meet the carboy, which also allows for cleaning after the brewing process is completed. The chamfered base is designed to allow the carboy to tilt at an angle to siphon the last bits of product out of the container.
IMPROVING LIFE: ThermaPANEL
ThermaPANEL is a highly efficient modular hydronic heat exchange system used for radiant heating and cooling applications. The patented turbulent flow channel design transfer 250% more energy than traditional heat exchange systems with laminar flow properties. Panels are formed and tested to hold pressure up to 50 PSI at temperatures of up to 63°C. Individual panels are interconnected using plastic pipe in a secondary process that fusion welds the panels together using extruded PE-RT pipe. The fusion welding process reduces the amount of mechanical unions or joints needed during system installation, reducing both labour and materials cost for contractors and the opportunity for mechanical joints to fail. Each ThermaPANEL unit is individually insulated in a secondary process using EPS of varying density, depending on the load requirements of the application. ThermaPANEL systems are used in a variety of applications, from comfort radiant heating and cooling to snow and ice melting for egress for ground and pedestal mounted paver hardscapes.
ThermaPANEL is the only modular heat exchange system designed specifically to radiantly heat or cool pedestal mounted pavers. Pedestal paver systems are quickly becoming the most popular construction method for creating amenity and utility spaces on flat roofs. These systems are used in all types of construction from residential units to commercial and industrial buildings. ThermaPANEL also replaces tubing systems for ground mounted pavers, providing highly efficient heat transfer for locations with high snow loads or intense sun exposure. Every component of ThermaPANEL is recyclable or reusable and is made 100% in the USA.
PROTECTING LIFE: Integrated Tyre Carrier, Rear Camera & Brake Light Assembly on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler
This hybrid composite technology uses magnesium injection moulding for higher structural strength with reduced weight and polymer overmoulding for improved impact and corrosion resistance. A 60% weight savings is achieved compared to metal stamping and a 20% weight savings is achieved compared to die casting processing methods. A cost savings of 20% is achieved with an improved load rating from 38kg to 52kg. The new design eliminates the need for a steel bracket for an indirect cost savings. The system makes is easier for consumer to remove and install a spare tyre and contributes to a reduction in noise transmission and improved impact resistance due to the polymer/mg composite system.
QUALITY OF LIFE: Pickup Truck
This is a lightweight and portable cargo organization system for the bed of a pickup truck. The product installs/un-installs in the bed of your truck in minutes, without the need for any tools, creating a temporary and secure ‘trunk’. It completely folds together and stores behind the seats when not wanted or needed. It weighs less than 14kg and is water resistant.
Unique, patent-pending features were adapted across the whole product to minimize additional components and reduce labour costs. Design features include:
- Integral snap-on single moulded-in hinge between back to side panels
- Integral twist-on combined with snap-detents multi hinges between both back panels
- Integral twist-on multi hinges housing metal tubing structure through both top panels
- The part design is engineered with exact cavity tooling to mould either side panel and either back panel. (i.e. the tooling configuration replaces left and right parts with a universal part.)
- Moulded in strap pocket (side panel), accessory pockets (side panel), snap-lock latches (top panel) and designed detent for the strut (back panel) to minimize metal hardware, additional components, labor costs and recycling waste.
SUSTAINING LIFE: Simply Orange Bottle in Clear EBM PET
The Simply Orange Juice bottle is designed from the high performance PolyclearTM EBM PET 5507 and weighs just 89 oz. It is manufactured by Indorama Ventures with the collaboration with Coca-Cola and CKS Packaging.
There is a significant reduction of the overall weight from the previous container made of PETG. It is 100% recyclable compared to the non-recyclable PETG. The bottle is high gloss, meeting and exceeding OEM requirements for clarity and gloss. It also has high impact resistance, meeting and exceeding OEM requirements for drop impact.