Twin-Sheet Thermoforming

ATI Strikes Twin-Sheet Thermoforming Gold

Innovative Qubica AMF Pin Setter Production

Thermoforming Quarterly
By Bill Bregar, Senior Staff Reporter

SCHAUMBURG, IL. — Heavy-duty equipment used to arrange and re-set bowling pins netted three awards for Associated Thermoforming Inc. in the parts competition at the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Conference.  In addition, ATI, which is based in Berthoud, CO  won in the pressure formed category, for a cover for a medical smoke removal system.

Stephen Zamprelli, parts competition chairman, said 25 parts were entered, including one from India. “We had some great products out there,” said Zamprelli, vice president of product development for Formed Plastics Inc. in Carle Place, NY. Judges were Roger Kipp of Roger C. Kipp Sr. & Associates, and Ian Strachan of ToolVu.

ATI molds the thermoformed bowling pin resetter parts for QubicaAMF, the bowling products supplier,  to replace metal with plastic.  According to A.J. Stoneburner, estimator and sales engineer at Associated Thermoforming, ATI and the customer worked together for seven years to develop the pin elevator.  First, the elevator collects the pins and orients them. The mechanism then deposits the pins on the Durabin, the other thermoformed part with cavities designed to hold the pins.

In addition, development of the Durabin took one year, he said.  Of note is the fact that each one of the 10 cavities for the pins has a different wall thickness in unique areas, since the pin-setting device deposits each pin into place at a different angle and specific impact zone.  Importantly, ATI used computer-aided design, with detailed information from the customer, to design the part and individual plug assists.

PVC Chain Drive Track Important Addition

By using a PVC track for the chain drive that moves the pins up through the elevator apparatus, QubicaAMF has consequently improved the working lifetime of the chain, said Paul Gleason, PTI process engineer. Also, Stoneburner said the new mechanism enabled a better-looking, space-saving design in plastic. And finally, “The big thing by moving to that chain drive, they were able to make an oblong shape instead of a circle,” he said.


The bowling pin equipment won the heavy-gauge vacuum forming award, the twin-sheet award, as well as the People’s Choice Award, voted on by conference attendees.

The conference in Schaumburg also included a dinner to honor Award winners.  For the second year, the SPE Thermoforming Division held a student awards competition. First prize, and a $1,000 award, went to Jerrold Ancheta of San Jose State University for a vacuum formed trans-radial prosthesis. Madeline Freding of the University of Wisconsin Stout picked up the $500 second place price for her product, called Re-Form.

Pressure-formed: 2014 Gold Winner

ATI officials stayed on the podium to grab the pressure-formed gold award as well.  This award was for a housing used in a smoke evacuator in medical electro-surgical procedures. The part demands a very severe draw ratio to get the plastic all way down to the bottom. ATI achieves that using a negative mold with many undercuts, especially a very deep one in the rear. The key to the success of this part is the automated lifter core pulls around the perimeter.  Also, ATI incorporated a core-pull on the back section of the mold.  Additionally, ATI uses a pneumatically articulated plug assist to achieve the needed uniform wall thickness into the rear section.  Also of note is the material chosen by ATI.  They used a fire-retardant Kydex-T.

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