In an era when business owners regard environmental issues and reducing the impact of global warming as key visions for business operations, innovation is an important tool for creating products that meet both efficiency and environmental demands. For example, developing ways to reduce the amount of plastic resin used in the manufacturing of products while still maintaining durability is an important challenge for the industry. To this end, SCGC has been working directly with customers who use plastic resin on research and development via a customer-centric process through workshops at the i2P (Ideas to Products) Center.
From Past Obstacles to Future Innovations
The innovation process is rife with obstacles, from the product development period, which can take an average of 1-2 years depending on complexity, desired properties of the plastic pellets and the availability of suitable manufacturing technologies, the difficulty of designing plastic resin with properties that answer to the user’s needs, and, most importantly, applicability on a commercial scale. Another important obstacle that cannot be overlooked is the difference between testing conducted by innovators versus real users, who may use different testing standards or equipment. This results in the need for frequent field testing, which may slow down the production process.
These obstacles add to the challenges that SCGC must overcome in order to maximize the efficiency of innovation development. To this end, SCGC seeks to increase operational efficiencies through the use of digital technology and the expertise of the Application Development Center (ADC) teams to help design the properties of plastic resins and molding processes for various products as well as run test simulations using a database of various past product developments, which serves as an important powerhouse to accelerate the development of new innovations.
A Centralized Database for Every Need
The experience of collaborating with customers in various industries with different needs is an advantage in terms data collection. As such, SCGC has a centralized database with at least 40,000 sets of data, which are used for simulations in order to develop plastic resins to meet the needs of customers as well as the standards set by SCGC. The simulations consist of the following:
(1) Digital twin simulation of the production process for designing the structure and properties of plastic resins, which can simulate the actual production process in order to predict the structural properties of plastic resins.
(2) Processing simulation using computer-aided engineering (CAE) to obtain important parameters in product forming.
(3) Simulation to test various mechanical properties based on previous molding simulations, such as applying weight to a product for a specified time using finite element analysis (FEA) to test its durability.
SCGC GREEN POLYMER™ – S411B A Digital Technology Success Story
‘S411B’ is a high-quality resin under SCGC GREEN POLYMER™ which is suitable for the production of small blown bottles, capable of reducing polymer use by 8-12% while maintaining the same properties. Digital technology is behind the success of this innovation, a joint effort between brand owners and SCGC, from the process of designing the properties of plastic pellets to forming and testing. Not only did the use of digital technology yield plastic pellets with the desired functional properties, but it enabled the plastic prototype to be completed in 50% less time and addresses environmental concerns in a quantifiable way through reduced resin consumption, which lessens carbon dioxide emissions in the production process by 0.24 ton CO2/ton of resin – equivalent to planting 44 eucalyptus trees. Simulations are also applied to the manufacturing process to set goals for plant control and reduce waste during trial runs.
In addition, digital technology has helped ensure work safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the use of computer-aided engineering (CAE) and finite element analysis (FEA) to simulate product forming and testing in order to reduce the need for field testing by the customer, thus allowing operations to continue safely and without interruption.
The march of innovation encourages everyone to keep pace in order to harness the advantages of technology to maximize benefits, efficiency, and effectiveness. In much the same way, SCGC continues to strive for the continuous development of innovations and solutions that adhere the principles of good governance for customers, society, and the environment.