2020 in review: A Battenfeld injection press gets a long-overdue retirement

Nov. 9, 2020
A New York processor enjoys being carbon-neutral all the way to the bank, a selfless response to COVID-19 and a new product for keeping plant air safe are among the most interesting stories this year.

There were plenty of memorable stories and products in the pages of Plastics Machinery Magazine in 2020.  Before moving on to 2021, it is worth remembering a few of the most interesting, as selected by PMM editors and writers. 

We are highlighting a few stories each week between now and the end of the year. 

Iron Horse Award 

The strategy some companies use for replacing injection molding machines is to run a machine until it dies, then replace it with a new one. That did not work for an all-electric Battenfeld press built in 1956 in that ran in a Florida plant until 2018. And it was still mostly in working order when it was retired, according to the owner.

Battenfeld, which was acquired by Wittmann Group in 2008, manufactured the 60-ton press which Southern Plastics & Rubber Co. in Ormond Beach, Fla.bought in 1970 as a used machine. After it was finally taken out of service, Ray Komarathe current owner of the company, donated it to Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. 

The press has been refurbished and is on display at Wittmann Battenfeld’s Torrington, Conn., headquarters. 

The machine ran ABS pipefittings for years, Komara said. It also ran a lot of HDPE athletic equipment such as football shoulder pads. 

www.plasticsmachinerymagazine.com/21155422; www.plasticsmachinerymagazine.com/21156933 

Going green saves lots of green for processor 

A 19-year history of investing in alternative energy sources has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility costs for Harbec Inc. The Ontario, N.Y., processors plant has been carbon neutral since 2013. 

Harbec first invested in a combined cooling, heat and power system (CCHP) that runs off natural gas. Later, the company added wind turbines. It is planning to installsolar panels on the roof of a new additionHarbec now operates considerably fewer desiccant dryers than before the CCHP system provided air conditioning and humidity control for the plant.

Harbec also follows water-neutral practices.  


Selfless response to the COVID-19 pandemic 

When manufacturers worldwide struggled to produce enough personal protective equipment, extrusion machinery OEM Reifenhäuser quickly converted its pilot line to make film for PPE used in hospital coveralls. Later, it converted two of its meltblown test lines to produce nonwoven material for face masks. 

The material for hospital coveralls is mix of PP and PE. 

The lines, located at Reifenhäuser’s headquarters campus in Troisdorf, Germany, are normally used for R&D and customer trials.  


New product clears the air 

The ScrubX system from Novatec captures and sanitizes airborne dust and plastic particulates that might have been exposed to airborne pathogens. Each unit provides 200 cubic feet per minute of airflow, controlling dust in up to 3,000 square feet of space. The built-in control system provides remote monitoring of filter status, particulate levels and other conditions. Mobile and stationary versions are available.   


Read more memorable stories from 2020 at www.plasticsmachinerymagazine.com/21160771/.