A frozen drink faceplate injection molded by Blackwell Plastics of Houston, Texas, has captured the attention of designers because of its thickness – 46 millimeters or 1.81 inches at its thickest point – and superb clarity and intricate detail of the design.
“The faceplate is the one part of the machine that the consumer interacts with as the product is being dispensed,” says Jeff Applegate, president of Blackwell Plastics. “We wanted the design of the part to draw attention to the product and make the interactive experience easy and entertaining.” The viewing area of the faceplate needed to be maximized to create a magnification effect through the lens of the product. Additionally, “the material must be water clear at a thickness that magnifies the product and retains the mechanical and chemical properties required in the application,” Applegate explained.
“The [thickness] limits are based on the equipment and processing,” explains Jason Mann, a project engineer for Blackwell Plastics. “To form a thick part, you need to inject a lot of material. The size of the machine and components limit the amount of material. Time is another limitation because as you increase the part thickness, the cycle time increases.” A variety of materials were evaluated an Eastman Tritan™ copolyester met all Blackwell’s requirements including: excellent clarity; superior chemical resistance; ability to withstand multiple cleaning cycles at 106 degrees Fahrenheit without haze; and good impact resistance.