SABIC Innovative Plastics has inaugurated its Centre for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI), a state-of-the-art research laboratory, at its local manufacturing facility. The CMI, which was funded with US$700,000 matching funds from the Province of Ontario's Rural Economic Development Program, will work collaboratively with area universities and colleges to expand plastics manufacturing knowledge and expertise. The knowledge network development initiative was supported in cooperation with the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation.
"Eastern Ontario is home to some of Ontario's top research talent," said Wilkinson, Minister of Research and Innovation. "The Centre for Manufacturing Innovation provides an important opportunity for Ontario's top researchers to join manufacturers in Northumberland in pursuit of innovative products and services that can be marketed to the world." "This investment is a part of the McGuinty government's strategy to support research and innovation that will build on regional strengths to boost Ontario's economy and create the next generation of good-paying jobs for families living in Eastern Ontario, and all across the province," said Rinaldi, Member of Provincial Parliament. "Our partnership with the Province of Ontario is dedicated to developing better applied management processes in the plastics industry," said Van Laren, Cobourg site leader. "Collaborative research in applied plastics technology will help set new standards for manufacturing innovation and attract talent and investment to this region."
The CMI will be available to students and faculty from institutions such as the University of Waterloo, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), and others who are pursuing plastics research and manufacturing projects. Staff members from the Cobourg facility will oversee and assist the academic researchers. Two projects are already underway. One new project focuses on colour reproducibility. Dr. Mike Szarka and Dr. Ghaus Rizvi from the UOIT are working to increase the percentage of successful colour matching on the first pass through the extruder, as well as minimize the need for subsequent colour adjustments, with the goal of reducing cycle times.The other key project, headed by Dr. Costas Tzoganakis of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo, is studying X-based control to determine whether physical characteristics such as melt flow and impact strength can be determined from monitoring extruder characteristics.
Research areas include online precision colour monitoring and control, online materials characterization, and productivity improvements. The ultimate goals of the centre are driving economic development through manufacturing excellence, and establishing best practices for the plastics industry. Specialized equipment in the CMI includes an Equitech Online Colour Meter, which monitors colour of the melt inside the extruder; a Dynisco VS1000 Online Rheometer for experimentation with online melt flow measurements; and a 26 mm nine-barrel Coperion extruder with side stuffer and two feeders. The lab also features donated equipment from SABIC Innovative Plastics, including a mould machine for colour chips, a Macbeth Colour Eye 7000, a colour booth, a Tinius Olsen MP600 Melt Indexer, a Thermo Instruments Nicolet FTIR Impact 410, and an impact tester. The manufacturing facility near Cobourg specializes in fast turnarounds of small, custom-colour batches of different SABIC Innovative Plastics materials, including Lexan*, Cycoloy*, Cycolac*, Xenoy*, and Valox* resins. Rapid fulfillment and delivery are available for locations worldwide.