Spring 2015 Travels: Nordmeccanica (Long Island), Malaysia (Part 3)

Grand Opening

Nordmeccanica is making several interesting announcements at its Grand Opening ceremony in Hauppauge, New York on June 2, 2015.  At the event at their USA headquarters on Long Island, A demonstration of laminating various PET substrates, including patterned metallized PET to 5 micron (0.0002") aluminum foil, free of common defect, such as wrinkles, crazing, and CO2 bubbles, which can be problematic for converters at high speeds.  It seems that Nordmeccanica has already conquered these manufacturing challenges, but I am very interested in seeing the patterned metallized PET film (as opposed to patterned de-metallization of metallized PET film).

RSVP for the Hauppauge grand opening and technical conference ASAP at 631-242-9898 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Malaysia—Part 3

I was in Malaysia again to conduct training a various blown film manufacturers as well as a PVC pipe manufacturer in April 2015.  Based on all my time there, I can say that there is hope for American converters.  While we may not be able to compete direct based only on cost, American efficiency and quality are certainly second to none in the world.  This is heartening to me.  While some Asian manufacturers have modern Western equipment, either from the USA or Europe, many do not, and those that do not are much less efficient, have higher waste and regrind, and lower quality products than those that do. 

There are a unique set of circumstances too complicated and lengthy to discuss here as to why products are less expensive from Asian converters, so suffice it to say it it more than low labor costs.  What I can say though is that it is very, very rare for a plastics production facility in Malaysia to have even one engineer on location.  This is an unthinkable situation in the USA and Europe.

The issues I see most often in parts of Asia are issues that are unknown in the USA, as they have been solved 20-30 years ago through the use of competent engineering staffs and quality equipment suppliers.  For example, melt fracture and orange peel is common in blown film products in many countries in Asia.  This of course is a simple issue of shear stress either at coextruded layer interfaces or at the die exit, with temperature, output, or tooling (die gap) being the solution to the issues.  Allowing the condition to continue allows quality issues such as poor optics or "splitty" film to be shipped to the customer.  These are issues not common in the USA anymore, in fact I would go as far as to say they do not exist, because once observed, they would be corrected immediately.

On the PVC pipe side, the lack of understanding of process variables such melt temperature on product quality is prevalent.  Training seminars I give normally turn into consulting and problem solving sessions, and with simple speed or temperature adjustments, problems such as surface finish or "gelation" are resolved in a matter of minutes. 

Perhaps these issues are due to the retirement of experienced personnel, or lack of engineering staff, or lack of training.  In any case, the widespread lack of understanding of the extrusion process in many parts of Asia gives American companies the ability to compete globally. And though it is my job to train those requesting my assistance, I am comforted in knowing that American companies are among the best in the world in terms of quality, productivity, efficiency and low waste.

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