Rotational moulding has grown increasingly popular worldwide as designers seek a simple and cheap way to manufacture new products, from pressure vessels to the latest playground toys. Custom rotomoulders are establishing themselves with designers as reliable manufacturers of new products. Applied Market Information has just completed a review of rotomoulders in Europe and Jon Nash will be describing the results at a new conference on Rotomoulding, to be held 2-4 November at the Fira Palace Hotel in Barcelona, Spain. The famous artist Gaudi created some amazing buildings in Barcelona and would have appreciated rotomoulding to fabricate his latest designer items.
There are some excellent new ideas for rotomoulded products coming into the marketplace. Italian designers have developed several new products, from the roof of an outdoor kiosk by the CETMA Consortium to fantastic baths and basins from WET. India is a key growth market for rotational moulding, and experts include Fixopan Machines, who assist with new designs by manufacturing moulds for increasingly complex shapes. Mould release then becomes even more critical - Chem-Trend Deutschland specialises in this area.
Polymer suppliers are very tuned in to the needs of the rotational moulding industry and have carried out their own research programmes to provide new materials, tested for different applications. For example, there have been developments in biodiesel-resistant polymers for fuel tanks and UV-resistant, potable water quality polyethylene for outdoor water storage. Meanwhile, machinery manufacturers have made every larger ovens and improved automation.
In terms of materials, LyondellBasell is bringing new polyethylene grades into the market with improved impact performance and environmental stress crack resistance, and Nottingham Trent University has examined creep in rotomoulded products, while the Petrochemical Company of Iran has studied thermal stability. Crosslinking can improve PE performance - Akzo Nobel Polymer Chemicals has new additives to effect this. Matrix Polymers has a new high impact polypropylene, which delivers good impact without compromising stiffness and high temperature resistance. Professor Abderrahim Maazouz has worked on a method to produce bilayers of PP/polyamide during the moulding process.
At the same time, customers want more for less money and the pressure is on moulders to reduce production costs, for example by improving energy management and getting new projects right first time by good mould design. 493K is studying cost reduction and SAT of France has technology to reduce energy consumption. Pallman Maschinenfabrik has new pulverizers to cut the costs of making rotomoulding powder.
Tanks are a key rotomoulded product and there are constant developments. Impact Laboratories has just completed a study on rotolining an aluminium tank. ICO Europe is introducing a new tank grade of polyethylene to Europe that is established in Australia. Dr Richard Carter of Water Aid has worked on several projects using tanks for rainwater harvesting in Sub-Saharan Africa, looking at factors such as production and transport costs. Professor Joao Silva of ISEP has published several studies on producing pressure vessels using a rotomoulded liner and composite exterior.
The industry has been growing worldwide for several decades, largely due to the promotional efforts of the trade associations. There are manufacturing centres of excellence across the globe from Cape Town to Canada. Ningbo Jiangbei Roto Mould is a custom rotomoulder based in China and will be describing their experience at the conference.
Rotomoulding 2009 provides a unique opportunity in Europe this year to meet with the wide range of professionals who work in the global rotomoulding industry. More details can be seen on the conference web site at: