Thermoforming Revolutionizes Bowling Alley Technology
Berthoud, Colorado – March 9th, 2012 – Associated Thermoforming Inc. (ATI), a 34-year leader in the thermoforming industry united with QubicaAMF to create a revolutionary alternative for the bowling industry. This innovative new system places pins more accurately, reduces jams and slashes maintenance costs. The Technical Twin-sheet process was used to engineer this product. The parts are manufactured exclusively at ATI. The new system is called the Xli Edge Pinspotter System.
ATI is known for creating innovative and game-changing thermoforming solutions for Fortune 500 companies. These companies include GE Healthcare, Hoshizaki Lancer and Siemens, to name just a few. ATI brings creative solutions to a variety of industries, including medical, mass transit, industrial, food and beverage, recreation and leisure, and more.
The technology used in production of the pinspotter system is cutting-edge and was brought to the table by ATI. For QubicaAMF, one of the dominant manufacturers of bowling equipment. Development of the Qubica Xli Edge Pinspotter system was an ambitious undertaking. The goal was to create a system for the bowling pins that was sturdier, quieter, and less damaging to the pins than traditional steel systems, and much more reliable. Due to these product improvements there were fewer mechanical delays and related downtime, hence a far more cost-effective solution to their customer, bowling lane owners.
“We were excited to join forces with QubicaAMF, a true leader in the recreation and leisure industry,” said John Nix, President and General Manager of ATI. The manufacturing of the Qubica Xli Edge Pinspotter System required ATI’s cutting edge Technical Twin-sheet thermoforming and 5-axis CNC trimming. “This part is as functional dimensionally as any we’ve ever made. It is the epitome of what I call ‘Technical Twin Sheet’,'” said Nix. “The parts were difficult because of the twin-sheet geometry and the low-hot-strength TPO material. In addition, CNC trimming is complicated because of mold shrink. However, we welcomed the challenge, especially with a partner like QubicaAMF”
Due to some of these challenges, production of the Pinspotter System required modifications to the part design. In fact, some of the modifications included altering the molds. Mold modifications are quite cost prohibitive, and sometimes just not possible in manufacturing processes such as injection molding. Thus, the choice to use twin sheet thermoforming made modifications doable, faster, and less expensive than alternate methods of manufacturing. ATI’s molds are one-sided and made of aluminum, making them easier to modify. Whereas molds used with injection molding have two sides and are made of steel, rendering them virtually impossible to rework.
ATI was the perfect thermoforming manufacturer for this project because it required highly specialized expertise in dealing with exacting tolerances and challenging materials in the Twin-sheet process. This expertise is so unique that many thermoforming manufacturers could not meet the requirements to even complete production of this product. QubicaAMF released the revolutionary product in January of 2012. This project was under development for five years.
About Associated Thermoforming Inc.
Established in 1977, we are in our 40th year of making exceptional plastic parts. Our plant is based in Berthoud, CO, about 40 minutes north of Denver. As an industry leader in the heavy-gauge thermoforming process, we provide solutions for innovative industries. Most importantly, we specialize in technically challenging plastics solutions. Additionally, as a full service thermoform house, our services include vacuum forming, pressure forming and twin sheet thermoforming. And to complete the process, we provide CNC trimming, full secondaries and in-house tooling. Our manufacturing facility includes more than 70,000 square feet of space and houses tooling, forming, trimming and assembly equipment.
We at ATI set the standard for quality in the industry for process control, yielding parts consistently to exacting tolerances. Moreover, we continue to “push the envelope” of the thermoforming process. By developing novel process variations, we are able to create customer solutions. We tool and manufacture structural and decorative parts for many industries. These industries include medical, automotive, recreation, food/beverage, and computer and data storage. In addition to creating innovative thermoforming solutions, we provide counseling on materials selection. For more information on how we can help you develop an award winning part, visit www.ATI-forms.com.
QubicaAMF is the joining of two industry giants, AMF Bowling Products, a U.S. firm known for its invention of the automatic pinspotter; and Italian Qubica Worldwide, whose supremacy in scoring and management software brought the world BES, the first and only comprehensive Bowler Entertainment System.
This merger in 2005 created one of the largest and most respected companies in the bowling and amusement businesses, with global headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, and European headquarters in Bologna, Italy.