CMT Materials: Essential & Sustainable



In March of 2020, the Coronavirus Pandemic hit the U.S. and changed life as we knew it. Face masks, social distancing, curbside pick-up, and food delivery became the new normal. As businesses were forced to close while Shelter-in-Place orders were issued, CMT remained open and operating above our average production level.

Why? Because we were classified as an “Essential Business”. But what makes CMT Materials “essential”? Read more

CMT Materials to Showcase HYTAC® Syntactic Foam Plug-Assist Materials at K 2019 Exhibition

CMT Materials, the leading provider of plug-assist materials for the thermoforming industry, will showcase its range of HYTAC® syntactic foams at the upcoming K 2019 exhibition, which runs Oct. 16-23, in Düsseldorf, Germany. In Hall 3/G83, CMT Materials will highlight the latest innovative plug-assist materials – HYTAC C1R and HYTAC XTL – which have recently enjoyed strong market acceptance.

“We continue to see strong growth for copolymer and thermoplastic plug materials as the global plastics packaging market continues to evolve and grow throughout the world,” said Terry Woldorf, Managing Director for CMT Materials.

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CMT Hires International Sales Manager in Response to Market Demand


April 8, 2013 – Attleboro, MA

CMT Materials announced today that Conor Carlin has joined the firm as International Sales Manager. “I am looking forward to working with the team at CMT, a company that is deservedly recognized as a leader in its field.” Carlin, who worked for a decade in thermoforming machinery sales in the US and Europe, returns to plastics after completing an MBA program at Babson College in Wellesley, MA where he focused on entrepreneurship and sustainability. “With increasing demand for plastic packaging around the world, the production benefits provided by HYTAC® Syntactic Plug Assist Foams have resulted in increased time and resource requests from CMT. Conor will help us grow in those areas where we are seeing increased demand for our materials,” said Terrence Woldorf, General Manager at CMT. Carlin is the Editor of Thermoforming Quarterly, a Technical Journal of the Society of Plastics Engineers.

CMT Hires Int’l Sales Manager

CMT Materials, Inc. Awarded Grant for Continuous Improvement Program

Attleboro, MA – April 16, 2013

CMT Materials, Inc. Awarded Grant for Continuous Improvement Program

CMT Materials, Inc. has been awarded a grant to implement a Continuous Improvement through Lean Manufacturing program.  The funds support training over a two-year period in an ongoing effort to improve products, services and processes.

The firm, which designs and develops specialized syntactic foam materials for use in plastics and oceanographic industries, will focus on creating a work environment where all employees strive for perfection by removing successive layers of waste, reducing of lead times and costs, and improving efficiency, productivity and quality.  “Along with immediate benefits to today’s production, this program will allow us to continue our steady growth through the effective use of existing resources. It will also enable us to welcome new employees into a culture of personal and professional excellence,” says Terrence Woldorf, General Manager.

The project is funded by a Workforce Training Fund grant through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.  The grant program is administered by the Commonwealth Corporation.  For more information on the program, visit

CMT Receives Grant for Continuous Improvement Program

CMT Materials, Inc. To Expand in Europe with New Facility in Netherlands


CMT Materials, Inc. To Expand in Europe with New Facility in Netherlands

May 14, 2013 – Attleboro, MA

CMT Materials, Inc. will open a new location in The Netherlands this year. The new facility will include full inventory, sales and customer service personnel, and cut-to-size services.  “By setting up a physical presence that is centrally located in Europe, we will be better able to serve our European customer base,” says Terrence Woldorf, General Manager. “We recognize that our customers need quick turnaround times for many new thermoforming projects. This new location will allow users to get our HYTAC® products within 2-3 days.”

The new facility will provide same-day shipping within Europe, reducing lead times and shipping costs. The full inventory of HYTAC® syntactic foam products will be available in all sizes of rods and sheets. The company expects to begin shipping orders directly from the new facility on September 1. Details will be sent directly to customers over the summer.

About CMT Materials

CMT Materials is the acknowledged leader in the design and development of syntactic foams for use as plug-assist materials. The innovative HYTAC® family of products has been designed specifically for the thermoforming industry.  Plug assist technology allows plastics processors to reduce starting gauge, reduce cycle times and improve material distribution. CMT Materials will be promoting its new line of XTL thermoplastic syntactic foam at several major tradeshows this year including Chinaplas in May, SPE Thermoforming Conference in September and K in October. For more information, visit

Field Notes: National Hands-On Heavy Gauge Thermoforming Workshop

by Kathleen Boivin, Sr. Materials Engineer, CMT Materials

Last week, CMT participated in the 4th annual National Hands-On Heavy Gauge Thermoforming Workshop at Pennsylvania College of Technology (Penn College) in Williamsport, PA.  CMT has participated in this workshop since its inception.  The first year, we attended the workshop as participants.  The last three years, we have supported the workshop with presentations on syntactic foam plug assist materials.

Penn College is a national leader in applied technology and prides itself on degrees that work.  It is only one of five institutions in the country that provide an accredited plastics engineering technology program.  The workshop was sponsored by the college’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center (PIRC) and drew participants from six different companies in NY, MA, and PA.  The participants included machine operators, technicians, engineers, and purchasing managers.

Like the college, the workshop focused on hands-on learning by combining technical presentations with numerous labs.  The workshop was coordinated by Christopher Gagliano, Program Manager of the Thermoforming Center of Excellence (part of the PIRC) at Penn College.  Thermoforming expert, Jay Waddell of Plastic Concepts & Innovations, was the workshop leader.  Jay presented key information on heating the sheet, controlling vacuum, optimizing mold cooling and trouble-shooting.  Numerous guest speakers supported the workshop with presentations on their areas of expertise:

Roger Kipp of SPE: “Tooling Performance: The Little Things Mean a Lot”

Eric Short of PMC:  “Choosing the Right Material for the Job”

Dr. Joseph LeBlanc of Penn College:  “Heating & Cooling the Sheet”

Kathleen Boivin of CMT Materials:  “Optimizing the Cut Sheet Thermoforming Process with Syntactic Foam”

Sam Hacman of uVu Technologies – ToolVu: “Thermoforming Quality Control and Process Monitoring”

Bill Noderer of Raytek: “Explanation of Thermal Imaging Scanner Use & Benefits”

Our presentation focused on the fact that syntactic foam can be used anywhere that chilling of the sheet is an issue.  Often, heavy gauge formers do not use full-size syntactic foam plugs due to low volumes.  However, syntactic foam can be used as localized pushers, as mold inserts, on the clamp frame, and for prototype/low volume tooling.  Compared to other common assist materials such as wood and felt, syntactic foam offers the benefits of no bond lines, improved durability, minimal mark off, improved material distribution and part cost reduction (through down-gauging).

Participants acquired hands-on learning with labs in thermoforming, physical property testing, and extrusion.  In addition, a demonstration of CMT’s HYVAC vacuum fixture material was provided.

In the thermoforming lab, participants marked the sheet with gridlines so that they could visually see the material distribution.  They got to adjust machine parameters and see first-hand the impact of those changes.  The extrusion lab allowed participants to run the extruder, thread up the line and understand how hard it is to make good sheet.  The testing lab gave participants a better understanding of why sheet physical properties are important.  They got to see the effect of temperature on properties by testing the impact resistance of both room temperature and “frozen” sheet.

During the HYVAC demonstration, the benefit of being able to make a trim fixture quickly without machining was discussed.  The participants were given tips on fixture design and instructed on how to work with the material.  The participants got to work first-hand with the material and make several fixtures.

The participants enjoyed the workshop and found the information extremely valuable.  They especially appreciated the fact that about half of the workshop time was spent in the labs.  Penn College will be hosting the National Hands-On Thin Gauge Workshop on June 25 through 27.  Industry expert, Mark Strachan, of Global Thermoforming Technologies, will lead the workshop.

Field Notes: National Hands-On Thin Gauge Thermoforming Workshop

By Terry Woldorf, General Manager, CMT Materials

“Highly interactive.”   “Informative.”  “Surprising.”  “Great combination of lab, lecture and science and fun.”  These are just a sampling of comments overheard at the 4th annual National Hands-On Thin Gauge Thermoforming Workshop.

CMT Materials, Inc. again was invited to present in the lectures and participate in the lab.  The three day course equally balances classroom instruction time with hands-on lab time. The workshop covers a wide range of planned topics but also intentionally allows for flexibility to cover unplanned topics raised by participants.

The workshop takes place each year at Penn College of Technology campus in Williamsport, PA and is part of their Workforce Development and Continuing Education program in the Plastics Innovation and Resource Center (PIRC).  Attendees from as far away as Wisconsin, Florida, Texas and Michigan mixed with others from nearby states to fill the roster to its cutoff capacity of 30 people.  Keeping the group small ensures instructors and guest speakers are able to interact and fully explore topics, effects as well as the inevitable surprises from process-related matters in the extrusion, thermoforming or testing labs.

Hosted by Chris Gagliano, PIRC Program Manager –Thermoforming, and instructed by Mark Strachan, President of uVu Technologies, lectures included:

Dr. Kirk Cantor (Penn College):                   “Raw Material & Sheet Extrusion for Thermoforming”

Mark Strachan (uVu Technologies):          “Fundamentals of Thermoforming, Advanced Thermoforming Techniques, Trimming and Stacking”

Robert Wandelt (uVu Technologies):        “Thermoforming Quality Control and Process Monitoring”

Julie Griswold (WR Sharples Co.):              “Structural Design Considerations When Building Steel Rule Trim Dies”

Terry Woldorf (CMT Materials):                  “Plug-assist Material Selection, Geometry, Processing Methods and ROI Calculations”

Robert Borse (Angle Tool Works):                “Tool Design”

Dr. Joseph LeBlanc (Penn College):             “The Physics of Heating and Cooling the Sheet”

Bill Norderer (Raytek):                                     “Thermal Imaging Tools and Techniques”

These topics combined with multiple break-out group lab sessions where participants ran equipment, tested new and old procedures, interacted with each other, students and full-time PIRC employees. Participants generally tried to prove/disprove a wide variety of theories and traditional “best-practice” approaches to the thermoforming process.

If you missed out on this year’s event, be sure to contact the school to sign up next year.

How Syntactic Foam Plug Assists Improve Your ROI

Understanding the interaction and balance among plastic sheet, plug material choice, plug design, mold design, plug speed, vacuum, form air and numerous other factors often separates true artists from lucky amateurs.  At CMT, we like to talk about the interplay of all of these factors as the plug meets the plastic: the point where the action is most immediate in the thermoforming process.

While there is often no single choice to be made, making the “best” choice reduces machining costs, improves material distribution, enhances clarity, reduces plastic residue sticking to the plug and maximizes plug life.  Introducing science to the process allows even unlucky amateurs to become thermoforming artists.

Many machine operators know the stress of trying to meet production goals while maintaining quality standards. Running large machinery with precise tooling means that you’re in charge of some serious operational assets. You don’t always have the time to stop and appreciate how ROI is calculated or what you can do to improve it. However, stopping to think about the role that the plug plays in your process can save some serious time while you’re reflecting on machinery, tooling and material.

The following comments came from a thermoformer who participated in one of the recent workshops where CMT was invited to speak. We think it provides excellent insight into the daily challenges faced by operators and how a small change can have an outsized impact.

“I took what was learned in your class concerning material flow over the plug assist and applied that to the design of our mold. I started with 1/8” offset from the cavity, applied blends in strategic areas based upon my new understanding, and had the tool maker polish the HYTAC FLX plugs to a 1500 grit. These three things together resulted in a wall thickness that was more than double what we had seen in the part’s troubled areas.  

I’ve only been involved with this project for a relatively short time (8 months or so), however, I know that over the years (several years, in fact) at least two engineers and a host of operators and tooling people have all tried their hand at carving assist plugs, adding on to the mold length, and various other forms of ‘black art’ in the attempt to thicken up those troublesome thin walls. In short, the training we received from you proved that there is more of a science to thermoforming than most people recognize.”

CMT will be co-leading a thin-gauge thermoforming seminar at the upcoming SPE Thermoforming Conference in Atlanta, GA on September 9-12. Titled, “Mythcrushers”, we set out to separate myths from facts in thermoforming. We’re looking forward to an interactive and dynamic conversation.

CMT Europe Opens for Business

By Conor Carlin, International Sales Manager

On August 1, CMT Europe officially opened for business! With a full inventory of HYTAC® plug-assist materials, cut-to-size services and 2 full time employees, the new operation opened the doors and began shipping orders immediately.  At the same time, I put several thousand kilometers on the (very small) car with our new sales engineer, Luc Hoefnagels. We visited thermoformers and toolmakers in multiple countries to talk about the new operation and also to discuss technical matters.

During one visit to a large thermoformer, we spent some time with the CNC operators to talk about machining FLX material. They had recently made some plugs for a new mold and we were discussing the finer points of cutting. I showed them a ½” solid carbide, 2-flute cutting tool to illustrate the high-helix geometry that works best with syntactic foam. When using a tool specifically designed to cut syntactic foam, the intent is to take as large a chip as possible as quickly as possible, eliminating heat buildup or surface marring while controlling any chance of chip-out.

The operator asked if he could try it in his machine to re-cut a similar piece of material and compare the finish to the plug he had just made. After swapping out the end mill, he dialed in the program, increasing the speed to match the new tool geometry, and began to cut another small block of FLX. When complete, we all gathered around to compare the surface finish. Though we didn’t have a profilometer to measure the precise surface profile, there was enough of an improvement for the operator to ask if he could keep our tool! (We gladly provided it to him.)

This encounter, and many similar conversations, only proves what we at CMT have seen in tool shops and thermoforming plants around the world: knowing how to machine HYTAC® materials leads to faster throughput, better plug performance, longer tool life and happier machine operators.


2013 SPE Thermoforming Conference Preview

The 21st annual Thermoforming Conference in Atlanta is just around the corner. On Monday, September 9, CMT will participate in an exciting new workshop titled, “Mythcrushers: Separating Black Art from Science”.


Anyone who works in thermoforming will be familiar with the term “black art”. The “Mythcrushers” workshop is designed to examine thermoforming processes and, by the end of the session, allow the participants and attendees to decide whether thermoforming is a science or still a black art. CMT has long been involved in both academic and industry studies to apply rigorous testing to those elements of thermoforming where the plug assist is involved, but the nature of the process means that we are always looking at multiple variables.

There are many dynamics affecting the different types of materials used for plug assist.  During the workshop, CMT will discuss why it is important to understand the interplay of the plug material, plug geometry, tool design and sheet temperature, and not just to look at each element in isolation. While the choice of plug assist material directly impacts the plug life, machinability and ease of processing, it is also directly tied to material distribution, cycle time, start-up time and process cost.

We’ll be in booth #623 at the show. Stop by and say hello!