Terry Woldorf, Managing Director for CMT Materials, said:
“We continue to see strong growth for copolymer and thermoplastic plug materials as the global plastics packaging market continues to evolve and grow throughout the world.”
Data-driven studies on the economic impact of plug material selection show that consistency and repeatability can be achieved in thermoforming, according to CMT. In particular, Hytac plug assists play a key role by helping processors manage wall thickness variation, reduce starting gauge, and improve cycle times.
Woldorf noted that the increased growth is largely focused in food packaging applications in Europe and Asia, with material shifts away from PS to PP and new, multilayer films.
“These more complex polymers require more sophisticated plug assists beyond our traditional customer favorites. In some cases, there is a requirement for higher friction, in others it’s easier release, and in still others it is for our new thermoplastic syntactic that offers two times the toughness of B1X and a new cellular structure that yields a smoother surface for an unbreakable plug that doesn’t scratch soft plastics.”
The main driving trends are growing popularity in ready-to-eat meals, changing consumer habits, and growing disposable income in emerging Asian economies. North American processors also show continued growth in sectors such as large bakery items, tamper-evident clamshells, and medical device packages.
“The pace of product and package design is speeding up, with custom formers moving from prototype to production sometimes in less than four weeks.”
At the K show, the company will feature Hytac XTL plug assist which was developed to offer an improved surface quality after machining when compared to the company’s Hytac B1X. It is the industry’s first and only material to combine the machined surface quality of an epoxy syntactic with the durability and dust-free machining of thermoplastic syntactic foam. This is particularly important when working with sticky or transparent plastics due to the challenge of polishing thermoplastic syntactic materials. A significant side benefit of the formulation is increased toughness, allowing for very fine plug details.
Hytac XTL’s excellent surface characteristics optimize material distribution with most plastics. The plug assist material also offers low thermal conductivity, low coefficient of thermal expansion, and is highly effective where edge definition and detail are required. Hytac XTL is recommended for use with PP, PET, PE, APET, CPET, HIPS, OPS, PETG, PLA, PS, PVC, and RPET.
CMT Materials will also feature Hytac C1R, a copolymer plug assist formulated with a friction enhancer to carry plastic deep into a cavity or specialty detail. C1R is easily machined and polished to a mirror-like finish for scratch-free forming. This new copolymer plug assist has been optimized for both the machine shop and the thermoforming process.
Hytac C1R also provides three to four times the toughness of epoxy-based syntactic foam, superb machinability, superior edge definition and detail, low thermal conductivity, and excellent material distribution.
Hytac C1R is recommended for use with APET, CPET, HIPS, PETG, PLA, PP, PVC, and RPET.
Hytac syntactic foam is used by the majority of toolmakers and thermoforming processors around the world. Thin-gauge thermoformed parts such as drinking cups, coffee capsules, fruit trays, barrier trays, horticultural parts, and many more are formed with plug-assisted pre-stretching. Hytac plugs are designed with specific material properties to optimize plastic parts and provide low thermal conductivity, low specific heat, and low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE). CMT offers a full range of materials allowing designers and operators to create high-quality plugs for a variety of polymers and their required geometries.
Companies: CMT Materials