2018 ARMO Conference Hamburgby Susan Gibson, JSJ Productions, Inc.

by Susan Gibson, JSJ Productions, Inc.

The ARMO (Alliance Rotational Moulding Organisations) International Conference 2018 took place September 16-18 at the Universität Hamburg – Hamburg, Germany. The conference drew 562 attendees representing 49 different countries, resulting in the highest attendance ever for an ARMO European conference. More than 50 companies participated in the ARMO Exhibition. In addition, there were many unique rotomolded products on display as well as live working equipment on the exhibits floor including an AMS 5-axis Robomould machine.

“We are pleased to have achieved a record attendance for an ARMO meeting in Europe and positive feedback from the attendees,” said Conference Chair Oliver Wandres. “I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude on behalf of the ARM-CE (hosting organization) to all of the sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, and attendees for making this conference an overwhelming success,” he added.

The official conference welcome and kickoff took place in the Exhibits hall. Featuring local food trucks, a harbor boat tour, and a Gala Dinner in the historic Hamburg warehouse district, the conference provided an abundance of networking events. On the evening of the Gala Dinner, attendees enjoyed passing by Hamburg’s large harbor cranes and seeing the impressive concert hall, Elphilharmonie. Special treats for the evening included a barista with various coffee specialties and a gin highball bar for trying a wide range of gins. A variety of entertainment led to plenty of excitement, dancing, and fun throughout the evening.

The conference theme “Function Meets Design” was descriptive of the ARMO 2018 Conference as it underscored rotomolded products from Central Europe, which could be described as very complex and technical, according to Wandres. “By matching a good design with product performance, we are able to see the absolute best the industry has to offer. This was fully demonstrated with the outstanding rotomolded products on display,” he said.

Pre-conference workshops were presented by: Dr. Gareth McDowell, 493K Limited, on process control in rotomolding through a unique perspective utilizing RotoRocket; Mark Kearns and Mark McCourt, Queen’s University, Belfast (QUB), on the idea of future-proofing rotomolding demonstrating how fresh ideas, innovative products, and processes help to create a competitive advantage and promote growth; and Geert Vaes, Total Petrochemicals, and Vincent Bouwman, 4Realism, on the basics of FEA, the mathematics behind the method, input required for the simulation, and output obtained from the actual analysis.

Many important topics were covered stimulating ideas for the industry of the future. Martin Coles, Matrix Polymers, talked about growing the Roto industry, its realities, challenges, and opportunities. Mark Kearns, Queens University, Belfast, talked about rotomolding innovation – its process and development. Dr. Gareth McDowell, 493K Ltd, talked about how Polyethylene is the backbone of the process, however, it can also serve to invite low investment entry to the industry and effect the output of poor-quality products. Martin Spencer, Unique Roto, talked about how function meets design regarding health and safety. Eric Maziers, Total Petrochemicals, gave an insightful look at “Rotomolding Industry 4.0” – the industry of the future. Paul Nugent, consultant, offered a global picture of the rotomolding industry including the latest trends and developments around the world.

From a topic-specific perspective, many important aspects of the industry and process and its development were covered: materials, processing equipment, flame retardants, simulation, multi-layer molding, design aspects, tooling, training, testing, and much more. Alexander Datzinger and Michael Eloo, Maag Automatik GMBH and Gala Kunstoff-und Kautschuk-Maschinen GMBH, talked about the production and processing requirements for powders and micro-pellets for rotomolding. Carla Martins, Universidad of Minho, talked about research evaluating the use of polyethylene mixed with different types of cork granulates. Dr. Eberhard Kroth, Rotevolution, covered a revolutionary to the individualization of the rotation process. Dr. Carlos Caro, HD Kunstoffe, covered the basics and special issues for flame retardants for rotomolding applications including an internal analysis of current products available in the market. Christain Kehrberg, IPT, talked about new ways for the practical simulation of rotomolded parts. Geert Vaes, Total Petrochemicals, talked about unlimited multi-layer possibilities in rotational molding. Rory Jones, LaPlastecnica, presented his different take regarding Polyethylene crystal structure. Ronny Ervik, ARM Nordic, talked about industrial design as inspired by the Vikings and shared how a young rotational molding company from Norway discovered early on that they needed a design theme for their products. Johan Potargent, AMS, discussed rotational molding to a world class quality by manufacturing multi-layer products.

Peter Mackrell, Matrix Polymers, presented a new material for high temperatures and lighter weight moldings. Dr. Konstantia Asteriadou, Lysis Technologies Ltd, talked about integrated graphics and coating application methods into rotational molding process design. Adam Webb, Association Rotational Molders, discussed ARM’s focus on operator training in 2018 by sharing the highlights from their 8-hour online training. Oliver Wandres, MAUS GmbH, talked about where mold design meets function and provided an objective comparison of available mold types. Mohit Shukla, StAR, talked about water tank molding and India’s rotational molding journey and potential. Professor D. Sachin Waigaonkar, BITS Pilani KK Birla Goa Campus in Goa, India, talked about the importance of creep properties for rotational molding materials using time-temperature Superposition.

Frank Harleman, Modelmakerij Hengelo, talked about the fully automatic rotomolding technology of tomorrow utilizing electric heated and integrated cooling molds that are produced by 3D printing. Toshio Igarashi, Kanazawa University and Roto consultant from Japan, talked about non-destructive detection of microscopic structural changes in Polyethylene during photodegradation with an order to be able to predict the remaining service life and understand the timing for replacement. Angélique Brocatus, A. Schulman, talked about the importance of color and design and which is more important. Dr. Marcus Greger, Kraton Polymers Research, presented a look at TPE-S micropellets for use in rotational molding. Peter Yan, RPC-CPPIA, presented a case study on a rotomolded ceiling lamp and how during the 2017 at the BRICS summit in China. Les Druyf, A. Schulman, talked about how many OEM’s and their molders put their credibility on the line when selling vehicles with plastic diesel tanks if they do not last and perform over an extended period of time. Dr. Andreas Weiss, Chem-Trend, talked about how chemicals have the ultimate goal to change the surface chemistry of the metal surface of a rotomolding tool.

Gaetano Donizetti, Persico, showcased how one customer, over a period of 15 years, has developed and improved their product quality and productivity by working with Persico and their evolving tooling and process technology. Horacio Lobo, Anipac, talked about solving humanity’s basic needs with regard to water, hygiene, and housing through rotomolding. Dr. Nick Henwood, Broadway Colours, presented the results of a study on pigments and weatherability in PE, which was undertaken with the goal of widening the general understanding about pigment fading (a widespread issue due to the vast majority of rotomolded parts destined for outdoor use). Leisa Donlan, ARMA, and Eric Maziers, Rotomoulding Academy, presented a look at a new non-destructive post-production test for rotomolding.

Thomas Mergenhagen, Tramaco, talked about chemical foaming in rotomolding. Gary Lategan, TEMPLOGGER, talked about developing new products using new materials with full process control. Frank Baradel, OMYA, talked about an ambitious initiative in the area of rotational molding, focused on functionalities, differentiation, and optimization – Rotmyacarb.

Bringing an end to the conference presentations, Wayne Wiid, ARMSA, presented the location for the next ARMO 2019 event titled “Methods, Processes & Technology for Industry 4.0”, which is set to take place September 16 – 18, 2019 at the Sun City Resort in Rustenberg, North West, South Africa. The event will be hosted by ARMSA (Association of Rotational Moulders of Southern Africa), and promises to be an event not to be missed! Visit www.armo2019.com for more information.

Incoming ARMO Chair Katia Zoppetti officially closed the conference as she presented awards of appreciation to Martin Spencer, outgoing ARMO Chair, and Oliver Wandres, ARMO Conference Chair, for their outstanding service to the organization. She also recognized the ARMO Board, the ARM-CE Committee, and thanked all involved for making ARMO 2018 a success.

Thank you to all the sponsors for ensuring ARMO 2018 was such a grand success: A. Schulman, Matrix Polymers, RESINEX, Total, SAT, Maus, Modelmaker Hengelo S.V., Persico, Maag, EEC, Poliplast, Ultrapolymers Gerbaldo Polimeri, OREX, MPlast India, Dram Srl, Lysis Technologies, Reinhardt India, HD Kunststoff, HMT Kunststoff Technik, Orenda, Boca Rotational Moulding, and JinHong Mold.

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