This informative blog allows plastics professionals to discuss plastics training and technology. Brought to you by Routsis Training: the plastic industry's premiere training provider.

Improving the Strength of Ribbon

Increasing the rate of production is an easy way to increase the linear strength of an extrudate.


We are blending 3 different types of PE as well as adding rubber to produce a decorative ribbon. Should we also add a grade of PP to increase the product strength?

My Response:

Blending more materials would only weaken the material. When you blend different grades of semi-crystalline polymers, you will decrease the overall strength of the polymer. This occurs because the different grades will actually hinder the semi-crystallinity of the primary material. If you increase the amount of the primary material in your blend, you will likely increase the strength of your final extrudate.

More strength would also come from faster production as you will increase the orientation in your extrudate.



Routsis Training Releases New Online Courses on Automation & Robotics for Scientific Molders

Routsis Training announces the release of its new online training courses on Automation and Robotics for Scientific Molding.

Productivity, efficiency and labor savings are all justified benefits that a company of any size can experience when using the appropriate robotics and automation. The two new, full-length training programs produced by Routsis Training will provide participants with a solid understanding of the options and capabilities associated with the different types of automation and robotics available to plastics manufacturers.

Participants will be presented with critical safety and guarding considerations as well as how end-of-arm tooling can be used to streamline production within a cell. Robot configurations are covered in detail and include; sprue pickers, top-entry, side-entry and articulating robots.

“Take-out robots and automation are critical components of scientific molding to ensure process repeatability and product consistency.” says Andy Routsis, President of Routsis Training.

The new online courses, and all existing Routsis Training courses, are cross-platform and can be played using any web browser and on any tablet or smartphone.

How is Clamp Tonnage Adjusted?

There are two types of systems used to generate tonnage, Hydraulic Cylinders and Toggle Linkage Systems. Many toggle systems used hydraulic cylinders to actuate them, but the actual tonnage is applied through the mechanical advantage of the linkage system.


How is clamp tonnage adjusted?

My Response:

On a toggle clamp, the tonnage is generated by the mechanical linkages and the
stretch of the tie bar. The movement of the rear platen (die height) adjusts
the clamp tonnage on this machine.

On a cylinder clamp, there is no toggle, just one or more hydraulic cylinders
holding the mold closed. The adjustment of the hydraulic pressure adjusts clamp
tonnage on this machine.

Additional Comments:

On a cylinder clamp, the tonnage is determined by a direct relationship between the hydraulic pressure and the clamp tonnage. ie. Max pressure = Max tonnage.

On a toggle clamp, the tonnage is determined by an indirect measurement of the tie bar stretch using a strain gauge on one or more tie bars. ie. Max strain = Max tonnage.

How is Toggle Clamp Tonnage Measured?

With toggle clamps, the only way to measure tonnage is to measure the strain (stretch) of the tie bar.


How do you measure the tonnage on a toggle molding machine:

My Answer:

With toggle clamps, the only way to measure tonnage is to measure
the strain (stretch) of the tie bar. Using the strain measurement of the tie
bar, the force on the tie bar can be calculated if the tie bar material is
known. If that is multiplied by the number of tie bars, the tonnage is

Most newer molding machines use a strain gauge mounted on or in
the tie bar. The best measurement can be obtained using an ultrasonic
measurement through the tie bar to determine the exact amount of stretch in
each tie bar. This equipment is expensive, but there are many machine
evaluation consultants you can hire to do this.

Short Shots to Correct Flash

The first step in troubleshooting flash is to determine whether it is a filling problem or a packing problem.


I have a part with flash. It ran many times in the past without flash, but recently we have been using a new machine and it is often creating flash. We have tried many adjustments including packing pressure, clamp tonnage, transfer pressure, etc.


The first step in troubleshooting flash is to turn off packing and determine if you have flash during first stage injection. This will tell you immediately whether the problem is occurring during 1st stage injection or second stage packing. Ultimately, this will focus your attention very quickly.

Additional Thoughts:

In many cases, you see technicians adjust parameters such as packing pressure and clamp tonnage when the problem occurs during injection. The problem with this approach is that the technicians almost never return the clamp tonnage or packing pressure to their original settings when they ultimately fix the flash. As a result, the plant gets lots of other defects such as shorts, sinks, and burns afterwards.