The Plastics Processing and Testing Laboratories at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI house a wide array of equipment. The Plastics Laboratories are available on a contract basis.
Plastics processing capabilities includes 1 ¼" and 2" diameter extrusion lines complete with down-line equipment for profile, rod, pelletizing, wire coating, and blown film extrusion. Much of the equipment is digitally instrumented.
Other primary processes include injection molding, compression molding, thermoforming and various casting and lamination processes.
The lab also has mold temperature controllers and granulators as well as drying and loading equipment to serve the processing lines.
Secondary processing equipment includes ultrasonic welding, hot stamping, and other packaging and decorating techniques.
The Plastics Testing Lab houses equipment for tensile, compressive, and flexural testing; Izod charpy and falling dart impact testing; temperature deflection and Vicat softening; melt index; and equipment for UV exposure, color measurement by photospectrometry, birefringence analysis and fatigue testing.
The test method are supported by sample production and conditioning equipment suitable for injection molding, extrusion and sheet products. The plasics training lab is complemented by FTIR, DSA, TGA, TSM and SEM.
Production and testing facilities are also supported by plastic part and design capabilities with special emphasis in flow analysis. WMU has a complete installation of Moldflow software, including both flow and cooling analysis packages. The staff has developed expertise in use of these analysis tools for compression molding, thermoforming and extrusion tooling.
These combined capabilities have fostered research in child-resistant packaging, thermoplastic engine components, polymer composite vehicle design and construction, and plastics recycling, specifically in commingled thermoplastics.
More information is available from laboratory director Dr. Paul Engelmann at (269)-276-3350.