About three years ago, I moderated two focus groups of Design News readers in Cleveland. I was impressed with how eager the group as a whole was to learn more about plastics technology, particularly online. I sensed that fewer than six or so of the 30 participants seemed to have some real in-depth technical knowledge on plastics.
How do you find the right plastic for the job? What's the best way to conduct continuous-use thermal testing? Weather testing? How involved should a design engineer become in mold design? How can you tell if an injection molder can really live up to its claims? What can you expect from a molder on part repeatability?
All are tough questions, and there are no easy answers. While polymer chemistry has not advanced much in the last 20 years, there are many thousands of new grades as compounders continue to fine-tune complicated chemistries.
One way to get the straight scoop is to read this blog. And it's not very often I recommend alternatives, but today I will.
Our UBM Canon sister Website, Plasticstoday.com, is holding its first-ever virtual conference for the plastics industry, Continuous Improvement in Injection Molding. Although the target audience is injection molders, I recommend checking in. Many events will be of interest to design engineers, including mold design and tooling technology specialists. You may also want to check out some of the processing-oriented sessions -- on new developments in cleanroom molding, for example.
The virtual event will take place on September 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT. The event is free, and you can register here.
"If you're designing parts, it's important that you understand how the processing takes place," Matt Defosse, the editorial director of PlasticsToday.com, told me.
In a press release, Jason Brown, PlasticsToday business leader and vice president of Digital Media for UBM Canon Publishing, said this will be "the first PlasticsToday virtual event as part of the PlasticsToday.com digital product portfolio."
The UBM Canon plastics group took the bold all-digital plunge earlier this year when a decision was made to fold print products Modern Plastics Worldwide and Injection Molding Magazine. Modern Plastics, where I worked in the 1990s, was long the global flagship of plastics magazines, with a history dating back to the 1920s.
At the virtual conference, attendees will be able to interact directly with industry experts and peers, download information, and view presentations directly from their desktops. There will be a variety of presentations, panel discussions, and chat sessions. Sounds like it's worth checking out!