Pulp molders share advances, shortcomings

At its first seminar since its establishment, the Molded Pulp Environmental Packaging Assn. (Mequon, WI) met early last month to discuss new technologies and to hear from some of its customers, the packagers.

Led by Joseph Grygny, MPEPA executive director, the seminar covered process developments and applications at Apple Computer, General Motors and Lexmark, a computer products manufacturer. Approximately 50 members and guests, including representatives from Iceland, Australia and several European countries, attended what Grygny called the group's first- year "celebration." Two users of molded pulp packaging, Leslie Lindsay, a senior packaging engineer with Bose Corp., and Lexmark's packaging engineer, Dennis Traynor, explained in detail the benefits their companies received through the use of molded pulp. However, they also identified areas that need more work. Both cited the need for producers to find ways to make samples quicker and cheaper. They called for more research into cushioning values of the material, too. Developing a part is quite unlike working with expanded polystyrene, Traynor says. With molded pulp, "you kind of sneak up on the finished product" by first making, then modifying the tooling.

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