While work on the first issue of 2022 is well underway, we paused to see which Plastics Decorating articles from 2021 caught the eyes of our readers. The following stories were the top reads from 2021 for visitors to the website.

1. Fiber Laser Marking on Nylon (Polyamide) Plastics

The demand for high-contrast laser marking on nylon (polyamide) plastic products is rapidly increasing due to its wide range of industrial applications. Functional and decorative markings include alphanumeric identification, data matrix/QR vision codes, diagrams and micro-structures.

2. Understanding Cleanrooms and Their Successful Use in Plastics Decoration

Contamination in its various forms often is the largest contributor to yield loss in plastic decoration. This is especially true with decorated plastic that has highly reflective surfaces. Given the impact on yields and the bottom line, it would make sense to use every technology available to reduce contamination-related losses. One obvious, but often misunderstood, method is placing the decorating process in a cleanroom.

3. Automation for Plastics Decorating Processes

The integration of automation and robotics into manufacturing facilities and shop floors has been underway for some time. While some processes have been slow to automate, there is little doubt that automation is becoming more commonplace thanks to benefits including increased productivity and reduced waste. For the plastics decorating industry, automation has continued making strides in many areas as the technology grows and evolves to better accommodate certain processes.

4. Utilizing CO2 Technology for Surface Decontamination

When it comes to plastic parts, manufacturers and decorators strive to produce the highest quality products. As a result, when it comes to processes such as painting and coating, making sure all parts are free from contaminants that could diminish the final product is essential. Plastics Decorating recently sat down with Dr. Nelson Sorbo of Cool Clean Technologies to discuss the most efficient ways to clean plastic surfaces, as well as the latest technologies for surface decontamination.

5. Sustainability and Decorated Plastics Packaging

Sustainability has been a trend for American consumers since the 1970s when the magazine Mother Earth News began publication, and when composting and Birkenstocks caught on in the US. Fifty years later, sustainability and recycling in consumer goods manufacturing and packaging are big and only getting bigger in the United States and across the globe.