Dedicated follower of plastic

Technical advice, an interactive design centre, ancillaries suppliers stands and all the latest developments add up to a compelling package, says Colin Carter.


Anyone working within plastics design and manufacturing really has to visit the Plastics Design and Moulding (PDM) 2006 exhibition and conference at the Telford International Centre, Shropshire, from 26-28 September.


The event is the only one in the UK this year dedicated to plastics processing, and over 200 exhibitors will make sure that visitors catch up with the latest products and technologies.


Before they get into the main exhibition hall there is an opportunity for designers to find solutions to real-life problems in ‘Ask the Consultant’ sessions. Experts from the Plastics Consultancy Network will answer initial technical and materials questions and suggest how to get the best from their time at the show.


This feature was very successful at PDM 2005. Robin Kent from the Plastics Consultancy Network said: ‘At last year’s show, designers and others were coming along with product drawings asking how they should make their design.


‘We want to give people the first glance of what is on offer from the plastics industry at PDM 2006. We are there to help – and it’s free,’ he added.


Designers using plastics are well catered for at the show. The Design Resource Centre, an interactive area highlighting new plastic materials, returns for a second consecutive year, while a new Design Consultants Showcase offers a platform for visitors to meet design consultants and discuss specific projects and ideas.


Last year’s Design Resource Centre feature went down very well. According to Belinda Mason, Interior/Colour and Trim Designer at the Land Rover plant in Gaydon: ‘It was an inspirational display with wonderful “touchy feely” samples and superb company and source information. I have gone back time and time again to the information I collected from the centre.’ Leading UK design consultants at the show include DCA, Kinneir Dufort, Brightworks, Ecoflo Systems, Hymid and 3DI Consulting.


Machine manufacturers are also well represented, with Billion, Demag, Engel, Fanuc Roboshot, Haitian, Husky, Krauss-Maffei, MCP, Netstal, STV/Babyplast and Toshiba all showing injection moulding machines so visitors can see the latest models all in one place. Materials and ancillaries suppliers such as Motan, Summit Systems, Piovan, Albis, Labotek, STV (representing materials handling equipment specialists Shini), Conair, Jenco and InteliCare (representing New Omap in the UK) will also be exhibiting – reinforcing the event’s reputation as a ‘one-stop shop’ for all the industry’s requirements.


Ancillary services covered will include the latest developments in materials handling equipment and machinery associated with moulding operations, including temperature controllers, automation systems, granulators, instrumentation, software plus printing and decorating equipment.


Polymer producers will also be in attendance in force. companies such as Bayer MaterialScience, Victrex, PolyOne, DuPont, Solvay Advanced Polymers, EMS-Grivory and Kraiburg will be showing their product ranges. In addition, polymer compounders and distributors will be well represented by companies such as Albis, Distrupol, Plastribution, Ashland, Matrix Polymers, Micropol, Polymers Direct, PTS, RTP and Ultrapolymers.


The strong attendance by OEMs and design groups at last year’s event is proving a compelling reason to attend. John Ellis of Bayer MaterialScience said: ‘The main driver for us is to increase our penetration in the OEM sector and among designers. We think PDM is a good vehicle to achieve that and a good place to meet people.’


Victrex is keen to extend awareness of the full potential of its PEEK materials and views PDM 2006 as the event to achieve this. David Adkin, Victrex UK market developer, said: ‘Victrex is exhibiting because it embraces design-to-manufacture. We believe we have to target designers with our products.’


Mouldmakers including Sprint Tool and Die, Algram, Associated Toolmakers, Barkley Plastics, DMS Plastics, Formaplex, Hi-Tech, Inpress Plastics, ITI Kirkby, Kebo, 3D Lasertec and Marfortec Tools will be at the show.


Also exhibiting will be MNB Mould Services, Mould & Matic, Petford Tools, Protomold, Protool Manufacturing, PTP Group/Fenton Precision Engineering, Superite, Taiwan Mold Tool Co, Tritec, Waldon-Soehner Group and WH Smith Sons (Tools) will also be showing their wares.


A wide range of allied products and services, including suppliers of mould materials and components, design software, surface treatment for tools and rapid product development services will also be in attendance.


Consultants such as IMSM, which is promoting ISO27001 (formerly ISO/IEC17799) as part of the suite of international standards which helps businesses work more efficiently, and demonstrate that they are performing to an international standard) complete the offering.


The show is also backed by industry bodies the British Plastics Federation (BPF) alongside the Gauge and Tool Makers’ Association (GTMA). This year’s show is also being endorsed by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE).


There are many new products and innovations on show.


Conair will be showing its range of ancillary equipment, including loaders, dryers, robots, chiller and conveyors as well as Rapid granulators, which Conair sells and supports in the UK and Ireland.


Progressive Components – which recently purchased the assets of Roehr Tool Corporation, an international leader in collapsible core technology, and is now distributing Roehr products – will be showing its C-Cores RTC & GZ Series, which it claims are the latest in pre-engineered collapsible core technology.


MTec Services will be showing Syscon-PlantStar’s new enhancements to QuickShot, an entry-level production monitoring/scheduling system for plastic injection molding machines as well as the latest PANORAMA ‘X.20’ release of the PlantStar MES.


Elsewhere, the DuPont stand has been designed to represent a ‘3D map allowing designers to make new connections by cross-referencing applications with material properties.’


Kraiburg will be launching a series of high-temperature performance TPE-V compounds that open up new uses for TPEs in higher temperature applications, such as in the automotive industries. Expansions to the existing THERMOLAST K series of hydrogenated styrene block copolymers (HSBC) compounds will also be featured.

All this, plus a conference programme outlining technological developments and pointing the way to improved business practices in polymer processing, and you have a compelling package for anyone involved in plastics.