How to get a clear routed edge finish on acrylic. ZThis is usually an application for displays, awards, and advertising specialties where the edge of the product is exposed.
Products that have been featured in past editions of the show were highlighted on the AWFS Fair website, and companies interested in aligning with the effort could sign on. Clearly AWFS hit a trend, as nearly 80 companies joining the initiative during the show - from 3M to Whiteside Machine Company.
Stiles hosted live machinery demos for plastics including the Weeke ABP 155, a CNC-controlled diamond edge polishing machine for acrylic components, a Kuper KNF 300 V-Grooving machine and a Euracryl V-2 diamond acrylic chamfer machine.
To communicate through its dealers to the millwork and cabinetry markets, "We train their specification reps and they can introduce it to the architectural design community." King Plastics has also moved into the componentry market, fabricating doors made from plastic.
"We learned there are cabinet shops that don’t have the equipment to do a raised panel door, so we decided to get into that market at the beginning of this year. So if they are making an outdoor kitchen cabinet.” For woodworkers processing plastic for the first time, Fabbri says King's motto - "It works like wood" - still requires some education.
“There are the feed rates and speed rates that are a little different than wood. And woodworkers want to know how to get the swirl marks out during CNC operations," says Fabbri. "We experiment, and we have been able to tack some of that information on to machine manufacturers . . . we even provided machinery companies with plastic materials for to work at the AWFS show."
Biesse is among the CNC machinery companies increasing the focus on plastics. Lance George, named Plastics Division Manager for
Biesse America. "Innovative techniques in the development of plastics and composites have created new applications and opportunities in the aerospace, automotive, medical, packaging, display and sign markets, to name a few," says George. To address the needs of these markets, Biesse has created the Advanced Materials Division.
"Commercial and residential is what we have targeted," says George. "There big push is in the plastics industry and that’s why I am on the board so I can educate them on other materials.”
Giving plastics a very high profile at the show was Stiles Machinery, which along with AWFS co-hosted the owners of TANKED, a reality television show about a Las Vegas millwork shop that builds large aquariums and displays made of acrylic - and sometimes mounted on wood cabinetry.
Stiles also brought along equipment for plastics fabrication - such as a cutter and a polisher that machine materials without marring, and which can restore the clear see-through quality as required.
"Overall response at AWFS was pretty positive," says James Swanson, Stiles' product specialist. "The AWFS Plastics Initiative is important because at a lot of plastics industry trade shows, plastics material manufacturers don’t see get to see machines under power run their materials." Swanson says the ability to see plastics being machined drew an additional crowd. "Acrylic is becoming a very popular as an esthetic medium within a traditional customer or cabinet shop or furniture manufacturer," Swanson says.
Swanson says that at AWFS he saw woodworkers moving into plastics; as well as fabricators who were exclusively plastics manufacturers, and that’s all they did, the latter "people we would not have typically attracted in the past."
Visitors to the show were were learning how to adapt CNCs and other machines so they can go from wood to plastics to acrylic and aluminum.
"It’s the tooling, how you secure the work piece, and how fast you push the tool through the material," Swanson says.
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