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AcciDENTAL Masterpiece – New Product Inventions as Art

New Product Inventions as Art Blow molded Plastic Teeth

At SPI Industry molding facilities we are fascinated with the creativity and ingenuity of new product inventions.  Product developers create new designs of existing products as well as completely new products that are designed to make life easier, more efficient, safer, or more attractive for everyone. We see all new product inventions as art!

Recently, we received the most unique new plastic molding product request yet. SPI Injection Molding and SPI Blow Molding have produced a full gamut of new product inventions from plastic game pieces, plastic home decorations, plastic parts for appliances, molded parts for healthcare, and many more but this new plastic product concept was a first.  It wasn’t too unusual when the SPI Injection plant in South Bend, Indiana received a request to produce a large plastic tooth. What was unusual was the story behind the tooth.

plastic blow molded teethNew Product Inventions as Art Installations

The over 3000 molded plastic teeth were needed to create a toothquake! The toothquake was represented in the form of a 23’ x 26’ wide waterfall from the second story windows of an old Victorian that is home to the dental office of Dr. Demray. The tooth quake, we learned, was a result of the seismic activity that arose from the relocation of everybody’s favorite childhood messenger, the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy was staying at Dr. Demray’s offices temporarily while her new warehouse was being constructed. As each night passed, the increase in children’s teeth could no longer be contained and caused a toothquake Friday, June 17, 2016.

Dr. Demray was the most obvious choice when the Tooth Fairy was in need of temporary living quarters. Throughout his over 40 year career Dr. Demray’s mission has been to educate kids about good oral care. Demray’s commitment to share the message of bone preservation and dental care to children is also demonstrated in his cast of characters such as Betsy Floss and Miss Ginger Vitis. These characters participate in parades and school presentations sharing the importance of good oral care for kids. Ever seeking new ways to bring dental care education to the forefront, Dr. Demray decided an art installation of thousands of teeth in a cascading waterfall from his second story offices would be impactful. As a long time Art & Acts supporter, Dr. Demray planned the art exhibit reveal for the opening day of the 2016 Northville Arts & Acts celebration.

When the concept was conceived Dr. Demray and his staff hoped the teeth would be made in the United States. When Dr. Demray’s staff contacted SPI Industries they called SPI Injection Molding plant in South Bend, Indiana. After a short discussion it was determined SPI Blow Molding plant in Coloma, Michigan would be the best approach for the production and molding of the plastic teeth.

SPI Blow Molding understood the teeth would be used to help educate kids on the importance of dental care. The SPI team quickly learned their efforts would also be paramount in the relocation of the Tooth Fairy to Northville, Michigan. This was no ordinary plastic tooth to be used in dental displays or for training for the dental industry!

Fulfillment of the order in time for the Arts & Acts Celebration in Northville set to begin June 17, 2016 was a fun and rewarding experience for the SPI Industry team.

Do you have new product inventions, art installations or even a new twist on an old product that needs attention to detail and experienced engineers to construct? Give SPI Injection or SPI Blow Molding a call today. We’d love to sink our teeth into it.

Read more about how Dr. Demray’s future plans for the teeth to benefit dental care awareness in future blogs.

Benefits of Thermoplastic Elastomers for Injection Molded Goods

Benefits of Thermoplastic Elastomers

Also referred to as thermoplastic rubber, thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) have become increasingly popular for a wide spectrum of products and applications. Below we cover some of the benefits of Thermoplastic Elastomers and how they have changed the look and feel of many products on the market today.

Consider household and personal care items you have purchased recently. Hand held goods for personal and industrial use such as tools, utensils and toys, that are manufactured with TPEs have soft, smooth handles that make gripping much more comfortable.

From toothbrushes, to spatulas, to screwdrivers and new rubber ducks, many new products are manufactured with this long lasting plastic and durable rubber combination. The tactile feel of thermoplastic elastomers is just one of the popular benefits to end users.

The speed and the ease of processing for plastic injection molding and plastic blow molding also makes it a popular choice for manufacturers and molders. Thermoplastic elastomers can be used in countless extrusion and injection molded applications. When compared to traditional resins, thermoplastic elastomers can be molded in shorter cycles to allow for quick turn round of molded goods.

TPE is also a solution for products that need to perform in a variety of temperatures including plastic products that will be exposed to the outdoors.

ADVANTAGES and BENEFITS OF THERMOPLASTIC ELASTOMERS INCLUDE:

  • Processing ease and speed
  • Design flexibility
  • Lower fabrication and production costs
  • Lower energy consumption
  • Resistance to solvent and abrasion
  • Resistance to weathering
  • Improved product performance
  • Shorter cycle time
  • Lower part costs per finished piece
  • Broader range in product density
  • Product consistency
  • Environmentally Friendly – recyclable scrap
  • Resistance to heat and cold
  • Can be injection molded, blow molded and thermoformed

These benefits of TPEs are just some of the reasons SPI Blow Molding and SPI Injection Molding recommend thermoplastic elastomers for a wide range of products and part design applications customers bring to us. Molding custom plastic parts with top grade TPEs that can save time and money as well as stand up to seasonal climate change is important to our customers.

Do you have a product or part that could benefit by incorporating thermoplastic elastomers? Give us a call today. SPI Injection Molding and SPI Blow Molding experts will consult with you and your team to determine if thermoplastic elastomers could save you time and money on your next part design project.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Kostrate® and Polycarbonate

Advantages of Kostrate plastic for food containers

When you’re producing a product that will store or transfer food and beverages, knowing the disadvantages and advantages of Kostrate® and clear polycarbonate can help you make an informed decision.

Advantages of Kostrate® and Clear Polycarbonate for Injection and Blow Molding:

  • Mold Release
  • Lubricated
  • Dimensional Stability
  • Impact Resistance
  • Processability
  • Heat Resistance
  • Viscosity

Advantages of Kostrate® and Clear Polycarbonate for Plastic Product Specification:

  • Solvent adhesive and hot air plastic welds can be used
  • Strength at varying temperature.
  • Visually clear
  • Heat strength
  • Flame Retardant
  • RoHS Compliant
  • Low / Free BPA

A Few Polycarbonate Uses Include:

Appliance components, bottles, electronic applications, food applications, lighting fixtures, medical devices, outdoor applications, packaging, sporting goods, tools, wire and cable applications, writing instruments. Because of its low BPA and reduced concern of toxicity, clear polycarbonate is used in many food and beverage containers and packaging.

Some Uses for Kostrate® Include:

Uses for Kostrate® are all of the above with an even higher demand for food packaging, beverage bottles and food storage products. Kostrate® is also used for housewares, paper, soap dispensers, office products and more. It is also becoming a popular choice for infant and toddler toys made entirely of plastic and those that have plastic components. Toy designers and developers appreciate the safety and security the BPA free plastic offers, especially for toys that may find their way into children’s mouths.

Disadvantages of Kostrate®:

  • Minor odor (which can be addressed during processing)
  • Heat distortion temperature
  • Scratching
  • Lower Rockwell Hardness

Disadvantages of Clear Polycarbonate:

  • Can be subject to stress cracking
  • High processing temperatures required
  • Degrades upon extended residence time in processing equipment
  • Only fair chemical resistance is only fair
  • Aromatic sensitivity
  • Yellowing over time

There are many plastic resin options available when injection or blow molding manufactured parts. The considerations vary depending on the end use of your product. For the highest success, research the properties of each plastic, the expense, life span, heat capabilities, and strength before you hit the injection molding or blow molding manufacturing phase.

Give us a call today to discuss best options for your custom product. SPI Injection Molding located in Indiana and SPI Blow Molding in Michigan provide engineering and molding services throughout the mid-west. Our mold and production experts understand the advantages of Kostrate® for food safe products and the advantages and disadvantages of many other plastic resins best suited for specific products and their use.

BPA Free Kostrate or Polycarbonate for Plastic Bottles and Containers?

BPA free Kostrate or polycarbonate BPA free low BPA for food storage

BPA free Kostrate or polycarbonate (PC) for packages and containers?  Polycarbonate has become a standard in the plastics molding industry. For many years it couldn’t be beat for home and kitchen applications that involved direct contact with food and beverages. Clear polycarbonate’s inherent shatter-resistance, lightweight, and optical clarity are advantageous for any product that will be shipped and displayed for purchase. Combine those qualities with heat resistance and low BPA, it became a popular choice for tableware, refillable bottles, and reusable food containers that can be stored in the refrigerator and heated in a microwave. Now with BPA free Kostrate sharing similar characteristics, manufacturers have even more options when it comes to food safety.

Examples of clear polycarbonate packages and containers:

  • Reusable 5-gallon water bottles
  • Baby bottles
  • Bulk food containers
  • Tableware such as plates and cups
  • Food storage containers for storage and microwave heating

Clear polycarbonate is also popular in the construction industry. Because it is lightweight and transparent it is often used as a glass replacement. Available for purchase in corrugated or smooth panels, clear polycarbonate is used in greenhouses, as enclosures and as roofing material. A popular brand that has become synonymous with clear polycarbonate is Lexan®. Panels can be cut to size and are available at many big box hardware stores.  If transparency is not desired polycarbonate plastic is available in a variety of colors too with as many or more applications.

Since 2003 the new plastic in town is Kostrate®. For blow molding and injection molding purposes the requests we receive most these days are for clear, BPA free plastics for food storage and containment. Bottles and packages of all shapes and sizes are created as well as office products, hardware products, healthcare and cosmetics packaging to toys, outdoor products, digital media and computer components and devices. For the food industry Kostrate® is most desirous for its safe BPA free status. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a key building block of polycarbonate plastic, and although studies show very low migration of BPA from polycarbonate, Kostrate® BPA free status makes Kostrate® the safer choice for items that have direct contact with food or any product or substance that may be ingested.

BPA free Kostrate or polycarbonate packages and containers for food products and packaging?

Many researchers have studied the potential for trace levels of BPA to migrate from polycarbonate into food and beverages. Under typical use, studies show that the potential migration of BPA into food is extremely low. In these studies, the level found is more than 4000 times lower than the maximum acceptable or “reference” dose for BPA of 0.05 milligrams per kilogram body weight per day established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Essentially, an average adult consumer would need to ingest about 1300 pounds of food and beverage that is in contact with polycarbonate every day for an entire lifetime to exceed the level of BPA that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set as safe.

These studies were conducted by government agencies in the US, Europe and Japan, as well as studies conducted by academic researchers and by industry professionals. However, other studies are cited that claim polycarbonate transfers more BPA than the aforementioned studies claim. Because of this there are a number of states seeking to ban the use of PC in some food packaging and beverage containers, including California. In these states a polycarbonate ban would be placed on baby bottles and beverage containers for kids three and younger and possibly other plastic containers, toys, etc. that come in contact with children of certain ages.

So, should you choose BPA free Kostrate or polycarbonate for your product? If BPA free is critical for the safety of your product we would recommend Kostrate® to you. If  you’re looking for product with heavy strength and it’s important but not critical to consumer safety, you may find polycarbonate suitable. If you are manufacturing a product that requires high impact strength PC wins against Kostrate in a wide temperature range roughly from below 0 to 300 F for PC and Kostrate is below 0 to 180 F.

If you have a product that requires a transparent, strong, but lightweight, plastic component or package give SPI a call today. We specialize in blow molding and injection molding of clear polycarbonate for use in many plastic products and product packaging. If you have food or beverages requiring transparent plastic packaging we have experience in both our blow molding and injection molding facilities for colored and clear Kostrate® packages and containers for food and most any other product you are producing to take to market. Give us a call today to determine which plastic will be the best choice for you product.

References:

http://www.bisphenol-a.org/human/polyplastics.html

USA EPA

Preparation of Premarket Submissions for Food Contact Substances Chemistry Recommendations

http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/ucm081818.htm

Clear Polycarbonate and Kostrate® for Injection and Blow Molded Parts

Difference between Acrylic, Clear Polycarbonate and Kostrate® for Injection and Blow Molded Parts

Clear polycarbonate and Kostrate are the most requested plastic solution SPI is receiving from customers right now. With exceptional transparency and high impact strength in low and high temperatures there are many products that benefit from the visual clear grades and heat strength each offers.

Classified as: Generic ABS+PC, polycarbonate (PC) is a group of thermoplastic polymers with chemical structures that contain carbonate groups. Polycarbonate is also valued for their low flammability and clear polycarbonate has replaced glass in many applications. Clear polycarbonate’s is lighter than glass and offers a similar level of transparency.

The unique properties of strength and clarity of clear polycarbonate lends itself to unique applications such as bulletproof windows, eyewear/ eye lenses that are break resistant, signage, digital storage media such as dvds, cds. Although yellowing can be a concern with clear polycarbonate adding a uv-stabilizer to the resin when it gets processed will minimize the discoloration.

As we delve deeper into the uses of colorized or clear polycarbonate and Kostrate®, another popular trait is the low BPA and BPA free ratings. Polycarbonates, including clear polycarbonate, have a very low BPA rating while Kostrate® is a BPA free plastic. Both are often used in food products from food packaging to kitchen utensils because they are safe and considered food grade quality. Search our other blog posts for more information on BPA safe clear plastic and it’s usage.

Comparisons of Acrylic, Clear Polycarbonate and Kostrate®

A highly desirable clear plastic similar in transparency to clear polycarbonate and Kostrate® is acrylic. Acrylic is known as a brittle clear category and polycarbonate is in the engineered plastics category. Kostrate® is a terpolymer, considered to be the gap filler between brittle clear plastics and engineered clears. As additional transparent plastic options, acrylic is an inexpensive and versatile material that can also be utilized for many applications to replace glass and other transparent material. Kostrate® is the only one of these three transparent plastics that is 100% BPA Free. The list of differences between clear polycarbonate and Kostrate® plus acrylic are not necessarily advantages or disadvantages between the three plastic substances. What makes one better than the other is relative to the end use product.

All three clear plastics are stronger and lighter than untempered glass, acrylic is 4 to 8 times stronger than glass and Kostrate® and polycarbonate is around 200 times stronger. Because of its impact resistance, using Kostrate® or clear polycarbonates to replace glass is preferred to acrylic in many cases due to acrylic’s susceptibility to cracking.

Other differences can be factors as well such as acrylic’s shiny appearance. In addition, clear polycarbonate and Kostrate® although more impact resistant, are easier to scratch than acrylic. None of these plastics are good choices for items that will be used on a stove. Polycarbonate is good for use to about 250 degrees F, Kostrate® can become distorted as such high temperatures and acrylic is only good to about 175 degrees F. Kostrate® is more durable with less chance of shattering than both polycarbonate and acrylic, plus offers the BPA free characteristic. All of these plastic options can be colorized also if transparency is not desired.

Be sure to review future blogs on clear polycarbonate and Kostrate® pros and cons.

Please give us a call if you are not clear what plastic choice will be best for your injection molded or blow molded part or product. Our experienced engineers have decades of knowledge in the field and keep current on plastic news and trends.

What’s the Difference Between Thermoset Polymer and Thermoplastic?

 choosing between thermoset polymer and thermoplasticWhen you’re trying to choose the best kind of plastic for your new plastic mold you’re going to discover there are dozens of options to choose from. The plastics research phase can be quite confusing and overwhelming. The plastic you end up choosing for your new mold will depend upon the ways in which you’ll be using your plastic product or plastic component. The plastic material choice will also depend on the goals of your new mold. Without these details ironed out it’ll be much more difficult to decide which plastic and plastic process is best suited for your needs.

Two commonly used types of plastic include a thermoset polymer and thermoplastic. A lot of people confuse these two types of plastic due to name similarities. Below we highlight the crucial differences between these plastic types, as well as the style of final molds you can expect from using either thermoset Polymer and thermoplastic.

What Is A Thermoset Polymer?

A thermoset polymer is a type of polymer that sets, and cannot be changed, once it’s heated or cured. This kind of plastic cannot revert back to its original form after it’s been set. It also can’t be softened or changed. Essentially, you’re stuck with the final product once it’s been heated. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial you iron out every single detail with your mock-up and model, before you move onto mass production.

These kinds of molds are primarily used in automobile manufacturing, as they can be incredibly durable. They’re also used in certain inks, coatings, and adhesives.

What Is It Commonly Used For?

The most common form of a thermoset polymer is an automobile tire or a large truck tire. However, there are other common applications, which you’ll find below:

• Mattresses
• Cushions
• Home insulation
• Boat hulls
• Bathroom materials, like tubs and shower stalls
• Engine and helicopter blades
• Glues and adhesives
• Plywood
• Electronic coating
• Circuit boards and switches

As you can see this type of plastic has a very wide range of uses.

What Is A Thermoplastic?

A thermoplastic is a relatively weaker plastic that can soften when exposed to high heat, and can even be reverted back to its original form. Once this kind of plastic is heated it can be shaped by different molding processes, including, pressing, blow molding and injection molding, and pressing. A thermoplastic can be likened to an ice cube. It holds its shape once frozen but will melt and can assume many forms once it’s heated. This kind of plastic is very versatile and has a wide range of uses.

What Is It Commonly Used For?

Often, this kind of plastic is used in food packaging, as these kinds of plastics can be re-used and changed to fit many different needs. Some of the most common uses include, soft drink bottles and milk jugs, but there are other common uses, which we highlight below:

• Packaging film and wrap
Milk jugs and water bottles
• Housing wrap
• Car bumpers
• Carpet fibers
• Microwavable and storage containers
• Home siding
• Interior car panels
• Electrical cable covers

Choosing Between Thermoset Polymer and Thermoplastic

When choosing between thermoset polymer and thermoplastic, remember that thermoplastics are more pliable and can be re-used, but thermoset polymers are very rigid once heated and can’t be re-formed or molded once set.

If you’re looking for a plastic molding firm to help you conceptualize and produce your new plastic mold, then we hope you consider SPI industries. We’ve helped to produce a large variety of plastic molds across a diverse number of industries. If you have an idea for a plastic product or component that you want to bring to life, reach out to our team today.

Get Your Invention To Market: Start With A Strong Prototype

Get Your Invention To Market: Start With A Strong Prototype

Before you begin shopping around your new idea there’s some groundwork you’ll need to take care of first. Having an idea is easy; it’s the steps that come after that are the most difficult. 

A strong prototype will give you many tangible and intangible benefits that will speed up market adoption, and give your invention a chance to thrive. Below we highlight several reasons why you’ll want to start with a strong prototype for your new idea.

1. Having A Tangible Product Gives You Confidence

When you have a spectacular idea for an invention it can be tempting to spend all of your time creating product mockups and refining the initial design. This step is very important, but you’ll never make progress towards your goal if you never create something tangible.

A plastic prototype, even if it is flawed will give you confidence that you’re moving forward with your creation. Once you have the initial prototype you can work with it to truly polish and improve your design.

2. It Allows You To Refine Your Product First

During your first product run-through you’re always going to have kinks to work out. Or, you may need to add or remove certain features. By creating a plastic prototype you’ll be able to refine the design of your product into a workable prototype. You might also start with one type of plastic and molding process, and then decide that another type of plastic will make your product more durable. The range of function and processing methods as well as type of plastics available can be overwhelming to new product inventors.

This allows you to avoid any product mishaps that might occur without proper prototyping. The only way to truly create a plastic product that exceeds your expectations is by starting with an initial prototype and innovating from that point.

3. Can Experiment With Production and Distribution Methods

When taking your design to market chances are you’re going to need to scale. This means you’ll need to have your production and distribution methods ironed out.

By starting with a strong prototype you can smooth out the plastic production process, and any methods of distribution to reach your customers or your suppliers ahead of time.

4. A Strong Protoype Strengthens Your Investment Potential

When you’re approaching potential investors about your product it’s one thing to tell them about it. It’s an entirely different experience altogether when you show them. Graphics, plans, and descriptions can only go so far. By creating a working plastic prototype you enable an investor to truly experience what it’s like to use your product. 

At SPI we can help make inventors dreams a reality.

With our state of the art plastic production and molding facility we can cater to your every need. Our team of engineers has decades of experience producing plastic prototypes across a wide array of fields. If you’re interested in bringing your idea to life, then reach out to our team here, or give us a call at (269) 849-3200.

BPA-Free-Molding-Phthalate-Free-and-PVC-Free-Plastic Products

BPA-Free Molding, Phthalate-Free, and PVC-Free Products

BPA-Free-Molding-Phthalate-Free-and-PVC-Free-Products
There are so many choices when it comes to the type of plastic required for the job, and molding process that will best suit the end result. One of the latest and largest trends is the shift towards BPA-Free molding, and Phthalate-Free and PVC-Free products. At SPI Industries we believe it’s important to stay on top of the latest processes and healthy plastics to truly offer our customers the best service possible.

Below we dive into the reasons you may want to consider BPA-Free Molding, and Phthalate-Free, PVC-Free products for your next product mold.

Why Choose BPA-Free Molding?

Chances are you’ve seen a product labeled “BPA free” when you’ve gone to the store to buy a water bottle, or any type of food container. Studies have shown that BPA bottles have been known to leech BPA into the bottles when exposed to extreme temperatures. With the increase in studies that have shown the potential health risks of BPA, more consumers are now looking for a BPA-free option.

This is where BPA-Free Molding comes into play. This style of molding process will ensure your products are free from BPA. Although, the FDA hasn’t officially labeled BPA as being harmful for consumer use, a lot of companies are already switching their plastic products to BPA-free. Especially, if they produce children’s goods, or food related containers.

Plastic products produced using BPA-Free molding will be free of PVC, phthalate, and BPA.

Best Uses For This Style Of Mold And Plastic

Most plastics that are free from these chemicals are commonly found in products that come into human contact, or are used in food processing. For instance, a lot of children’s toys and baby food containers are produced using this style of molding.

A lot of food containers, water bottles, milk jugs, plastic cups, and bath toys are commonly produced using BPA-free molding as well.

When you’re trying to consider whether or not to use BPA-free molding for your next set of plastic products it’s important to think about how your products will be used now and into the future. If your plastic products will come into frequent contact with humans through physical contact, or will be used to house food-related products, then staying ahead of the consumer preference curve could be very beneficial for your business.

SPI’s Experience With This Type Of Plastic

At SPI our focus is on providing our customers with the molding processes and types of plastics they require for their business to succeed. Since conscious consumer trends point towards BPA-Free molding and the resulting plastics as the way of the future, it’s important for forward-thinking companies to be able to add this to their product lines.

Our processing capabilities and years of experience enable us to ensure your plastic mold meets all of your required specifications the first time through. A lot of facilities may have the right equipment, but without years of experience working with different types of molding processes, the results will be less than desirable.

If you’re a business owner who needs a new line of BPA-Free, Phthalate-Free, or PVC free plastic products, get in touch with our team of professionals today.

Blow molded, Rotationally molded, or Injection molded? How to make a Good Duck

Blow molded, Rotationally molded, or Injection molded? How to make a Good Duck

Which came first, designing the mold or designing the rubber duck? In the case of The Good Duck the bigger question was which process, blow molding, rotational molding, or injection molding, will result in the best rubber duck ever?

injection molded novelty items

Following through on a crazy idea, Craig Wolfe premiered Betty Boop Duck in 1997, and his company, CelebriDucks was born. Originally invented in the USA, this American icon had long since been outsourced over seas. CelebriDucks returned the art of rubber duck manufacturing back to the United States.

From NBA players, to Mr T, and KISS’s Gene Simmons, CelebriDucks are collectible rubber ducks fashioned after some of the greatest icons of film, music, athletics, and history. CelebriDucks was voted the top fan give-away by ESPN in sports stadiums all over the country.

Not easily satisfied, inventor and CelebriDucks founder Craig Wolfe, had to take the product to a higher level. His most recent invention, The Good Duck, is known as the safest rubber duck on the planet.

As most parents know, the first thing babies do when they grasp an object is to put it in their mouth. The Good Duck is made of medical and food grade materials that are soft and safe for teething children. FDA approved, PVC, Phthalate, lead and BPA free, The Good Duck is 100% Made in the USA, and it floats!

With all great ideas comes research and development. Knowing he wanted a safe, soft, rubber duck that floated, Wolfe knew BPA free and PVC free was the way to go. Hence, his tour of blow molding and injection molding plants throughout the United States. As he bounced from factory to factory researching processes and materials he noted SPI Blow Molding in Coloma, Michigan was already using a soft material that could work. Safety and softness was key for the cute duck.

SPI Industries won the development of the Good Duck

Wolfe explained the determining factor for choosing SPI Industries and SPI Blow Molding was the expertise of the people compared to other plastic manufacturing facilities in the mid-west.  SPI had the experience with reach and development to support The Good Duck project.

Still, that’s only part of the story. The softness of the material, the product safety, and the desire for ducks of different color took much trial and error. Choosing the correct material, one that would remain very soft and hold design detail into molds is challenging. Fine tuning CAD designs, re-molding, sculpting, testing and refinement of molds was time consuming and expensive.

Should a Good Duck be blow molded, rotationally molded, or injection molded?

The Good Duck design was originally planned to be injection molded. Once Wolfe started working with SPI Industries, owned James Doster, advised him on a different direction. With injection molding the Good Duck would be in two pieces. The two pieces would need to be glued together. SPI engineers explained, “The plastic needed for the injection molding method would be too hard and would require welding.” Because a true rubber duck needs to float, it needed to be hollow. Blow molding it as one piece and sealing in the bottom was the solution.

The next challenge was determining wall thickness. The soft material they wanted to use with the characteristics that make the Good Duck safe and chewable doesn’t flow like normal resins. Getting the wall thickness exact took some time.

“SPI Companies do more than just manufacturer, they’re trail blazers. They’re making a difference in every way they can, creating jobs and producing innovative products with cutting edge technology.”

For the Good Duck to be completely safe, color needed to be molded right in the product. Adding color was a another challenge because colorant adds weight and effects the floating capability. Consistent balance was critical and very intricate. “Not easy technology, but SPI came up with a formula that is top of its grade with an age grading of 0 and up and thus completely safe for ALL ages!” reported Wolfe.

SPI also provided a great supplier for packaging services for The Good Duck. American gift boxes are usually very expensive and drive up price point. SPI staff helped to locate a gift box manufacturer right here in the United States, keeping cost in line and also ensuring The Good Duck is 100% Made in America.

Future plans are in place to expand The Good Duck line because it is so unique. Communities who hold annual duck races as fundraisers can now use American made ducks! The Good Duck may also be employed as a promotional piece with custom embossing or silk screening of logos.

Wolfe says. “What’s good for you and the planet is the right thing to do. The Good Duck should be done and we should be making it in America. We now have a niche as we’re the only ones making them here and The Good Duck cannot be duplicated anywhere. It’s a cute little duck!”

Wolfe insists on getting the best product out there and The Good Duck will come out of the gate very strong with the highest level of product safety. Watch for the blue, yellow, and pink Good Ducks on the shelves of your favorite stores as early as December, 2015. If you just can’t wait, you can pre-order Good Ducks on the website http://CelebriDucks..com, call 415-456-3452 or email info@CelebriDucks.com

Benefits of Creating a Plastic Prototype for Production Molding

Benefits of Creating a Plastic Prototype for Production Molding
When you consider creating a new part that is to be made of plastic and the tooling cost is considerable, it is most desirable to test the functionality of the part prior to actually building the tool. Creating a plastic prototype can help determine if the part will function as designed. Modifications to a tool can not only be costly but degrade its overall performance and longevity.

The CAD Systems of today, such as Solid Works, which is what we use at SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries provide a great deal of power to make changes to a part quickly as well as draw all related interacting parts to test the stack up interference fit required in a final assembly. Solid Modeling on the computer has replaced the need for some part prototyping of the past. None the less, there are several current approaches to making a prototype of the product that remain relevant today.

Plastic Mold Modeling:

Historically the only approach was to have a model made by a professional model builder.  The prototype may have been constructed of wood, plastic or metal depending on the size and function of the test needed to be performed on the prototype to prove its size and function.  Many parts today still require a fully functioning prototype model to get exact data from which a mold can be built.  It is a small price to pay for a good prototype part to avoid or at least reduce the iterations of design changes often required while designing and developing new parts and new products.

Rapid Prototyping:

Modern technology, such as Plastic Part Printing, has made prototyping not only less expensive but extremely quick to completion.  In today’s fast paced manufacturing arena the quicker a product can move from the sales planning stage to the manufacturing floor the better.  The life span of a consumer product has become incredibly short, thereby increasing, the pressure to develop new products even faster.  An example of how SPI Blow Molding recently used Rapid Prototype Printing to solve a problem for one of our customers, The Best Bins, was the development of a Portion Control Cylinder which was to be retrofitted into a current bulk food container dispensing unit.  Our engineering department drew the new portion control cylinder using Solid Works.  The drawing was then sent to the Rapid Prototype Entity, where it was produced.

The Plastic Printer, working similar to laying down ink, uses heated plastic resin instead of ink.  The printer then makes repeated passes just as it would if printing on a piece of paper, only it continues to make passes laying down a thin film of plastic resin with each pass.  Each pass prints a slightly different geometry, thus changing the shape of the plastic that is being printed. Each pass also moves up slightly preparing for the next pass.  This process is repeated hundreds and hundreds of times, until a completed part has been produced.  The part can be hollow or in nearly any shape, making it a perfect process to prototype parts for both Injection Molding and Blow Molding, which is what we do here at SPI.

Blow molded plastic bin dispenserThe Prototype Portion Control Cylinder was then tested for the amount of product it would allow to move though the dispensing unit on The Best Bins Bulk Food Container.  The amount was not what we wanted.  Four versions of the prototype part later we were all pleased with the outcome. At that point we were ready to build a new tool.

The amount of time and money saved by being able to rapid prototype this part was significant to our customer.  Without this testing capability we would have been forced to rebuild a mold cavity multiple times, which is both expensive and destructive to the integrity of the new tool.

It should be noted this approach is best used to determine size and fit, not strength and toughness.  Material characteristics will be very different in the prototype than in the final molded version.

Pull Ahead Cavities:

Another approach to prototyping is the concept of pulling forward a cavity in a multiple cavity tool.  If the project is for medium to small plastic parts, then it is very common to use a tool in production containing several cavities of the same part.  In this case it is sometimes wise to build one cavity and use that cavity to product prototype parts.  If changes are required, modifications can be made to that cavity only, allowing all subsequent cavities to be constructed to the newly proven geometry; resulting from the testing on the prototype (pull ahead) cavity.  This is also the prototyping choice where many parts are required for testing and the test challenges the strength and toughness characteristics.

Pull-Ahead-Cavity-plastic-liquid-dispenserSPI Industries used this technique in developing a new plastic collar for Monsanto’s 1 gallon Pump n’ Go “Round-Up” dispenser.  The new tool was to be 4 cavities.  SPI used Mold Flow Software to assist with the tool design.  It was then determined a Pull Ahead Cavity was the right way to go so extensive testing could be done before completion of the other three cavities. We did discover additional changes to be made and thus preserved the strength and durability of the final three cavities.

Reap benefits of creating a plastic prototype for production molding. SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries injection molding specialize in custom solutions and mold design. SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries injection molding specialize in custom solutions. Bring us your plastic parts and plastic product manufacturing challenges and let us get to work creating solutions.