Conor Carlin

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Conor Carlin 
Sales & Marketing Manager, CMT Materials, Inc.


Tools for Ingeo Users: Optimizing for Industry Success 

Managing Wall Thickness Distribution in Thermoformed Parts

Controlling wall thickness variation in thermoforming is a function of experience, art and science. As thermoformers develop new products and seek to improve part performance, understanding the variables that go into material distribution is critical. The interaction between the plug and the polymer sheet has been studied for many years, but the economic impact of material selection has received less attention. Thin-gauge thermoformed parts such as drinking cups, coffee capsules, fruit trays, barrier trays, horticultural parts and many more are formed with plug-assisted pre-stretching. HYTAC syntactic foam plugs are designed with specific material properties to optimize plastic parts: low thermal conductivity, low specific heat and low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE). The results are improved material distribution, enhanced clarity, reduced starting gauge and faster cycle times. Repeated testing shows that syntactic foam plug assists provide consistent and repeatable parts with fewer rejects than commodity-grade solid polymers such as nylon and POM (acetal). Uniform material distribution leads to a lower starting sheet gauge which translates to higher yields in thermoforming production. A small investment in high-quality plug assists results in significant material and energy savings.

About Conor Carlin

Conor Carlin is the Sales & Marketing Manager for CMT Materials, a company specializing in lightweight composite materials for applications in plastics and packaging. He began his career with Sencorp, Inc., a leading manufacturer of thermoforming equipment. Carlin was on the SPE Thermoforming Division board for 8 years and was recently elected as Vice President, Marketing & Communications of the SPE Executive Board. He is also the managing editor of SPE publications "Thermoforming Quarterly", "Sustainability Division Digest", and has written for industry press in Europe, North America and Asia. His 3 children can now identify thermoformed vs. injection molded parts.


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