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Pentel’s sticky problem solved – via the internet

pentel silicon rubber mouldingsPentel, one of the world’s leading manufacturer of writing instruments and inventor of roller ball technology, contacted the Poeton website from its headquarters in California USA to try to solve a very sticky problem, one that was slowing production of small silicon rubber mouldings that fit into the barrels of a number of its pens.

As part of the curing process for these tiny components, vibration is used to keep them apart and move them up the ramp of a circular feeder bowl. However, due to friction induced by the bowl’s surface, the components were binding together and not moving freely.

With the Internet now providing easy access to seemingly limitless information, Pentel’s engineers used the world-wide-web to search for global solutions to their local problem. One of the sites they visited was

Poeton’s Trevor Amos takes up the story - “Following the initial enquiry, we were supplied with technical information and photographs. Because we couldn’t replicate the process environment, we agreed to send a selection of recommended Apticote coatings on sample plates for Pentel engineers to evaluate using slide tests.”

The results produced a winner – Apticote 810 SP/SS – a recently developed non-stick, polymer composite coating that is already providing solutions to some very sticky problems in print, packaging, labelling and tobacco processes.

Pentel engineers were sufficiently impressed to ship one of the feeder bowls over from California to be coated, and when that proved successful in the actual process environment, they shipped over another. Now, before new feeder bowls are fitted to the process, they are sent to the UK for coating.

Problem solved for Pentel! And their engineers didn’t even have to leave the office!

24 April 2010

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