CMT Europe B.V. Begins Shipping HYTAC®


CMT Materials, Inc. Begins Shipping HYTAC® Materials from Dutch Facility

September 3, 2013 – Attleboro, MA and Sprang-Capelle, The Netherlands

CMT Europe BV, designated as a new facility for CMT Materials, Inc., is now open for business and fulfilling orders. The new facility provides customer service and technical support plus same-day shipping within Europe, reducing lead times and transactional costs. CMT customers in Europe will benefit from greatly reduced shipping costs, transactions in Euro and local inventory with duties already paid.

“Improved customer service, faster response times, overall cost savings – I am very pleased with the new set-up, especially since K is just around the corner,” says Conor Carlin, International Sales Manager from CMT Materials, Inc. “Thermoformers and toolmakers have access to the full inventory of HYTAC® syntactic foam products. We’ve had very positive feedback from customers who appreciate the new European presence as well as custom-cut services.”

CMT Europe has 2 full-time employees including a sales engineer and a logistics manager. HYTAC® product manufacturing remains at the US headquarters in Attleboro, Massachusetts to ensure product consistency and quality control.

For more details, contact or +31 416 369 094.

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, SPE Thermoforming Conference in September and K in October. For more information, visit

CMT Field Notes: 2013 SPE Thermoforming Conference – Part 1

The 2013 Thermoforming Conference has just ended in Atlanta, GA. While the final numbers are still being tallied, judging from the traffic at CMT’s booth, we would suggest that it was another successful event. In fact, we have so much good stuff to share that we’re going to split it into 2 separate blog posts.

Our GM, Terry Woldorf, played a leading role in Monday’s roll-fed thermoforming seminar dubbed, “Mythcrushers: Separating Black Art from Science”. The goal of the seminar was to bring a new level of scientific understanding to the thermoforming process. Dr. Joseph LeBlanc of Penn College presented information on heating and cooling the plastic sheet and mold, drawing from his knowledge as an aerospace engineer. Ian Strachan discussed the many factors that have led to a perception of thermoforming as a “Black Art” while Mark Strachan of uVu Technologies summed it all up with details relative to tooling and techniques to connect the science to the process.

CMT’s perspective on thermoforming is all about the plug assist materials, but we know that our HYTAC materials do not operate in a vacuum (they operate with vacuum, but that’s a bad joke). Because of the multiple variables involved, we stress that processors should appreciate the interplay of sheet temperature, tool design, friction and associated plug choices such as material and geometry.

Beyond the equations and hard science, however, we have seen how best practices can be standardized to give processors the ability to ramp up more efficiently without as much trial and error. As shown in our machining guidelines, we spent 12 months working with toolmakers and suppliers to develop these metrics. Based on the questions posed to Terry after his presentation, it is clear that many people still want guidance on how to mill, polish and clean HYTAC® plugs. Here is an abbreviated version of the Q + A session:

Q: Is centered turning the only way to make plugs from rods? 

A: No, many people use centerless turning machines or even milling machines with cut pieces of rod. Our online turning and/or machining guides contain complete details for the best types of tools, feed and speeds and depths of cut for all types of equipment and sizes of material.

Q: What material do you use for turning?

A: As with milling, solid carbide inserts with positive rake provide the best results.

Q: Should we mill HYTAC materials dry?

A: Yes. Generally speaking, coolant doesn’t really help. In the case of the thermoplastic materials (B1X, XTL), the coolant will actually roughen and destroy the surface as it is machined. Many times, people run their feed rates too slowly or use dull cutting tools so they see overheating and use coolant.  The use of sharp carbide tools and proper feed rates will result in a tool operating near room temperature. Following these steps will provide the best plug surface results.

Q: What’s the best way to clean the plug?

A: Isopropyl alcohol (pure, not those diluted with water) is typically a good option. A light touch with a very fine scuff pad generally works well.

In the next post, we’ll write about the many heavy-gauge projects we discussed where syntactic foam can provide a competitive edge. In the meantime, check out this post on using HYTAC® as a mold material.

CMT Materials Gears Up for K 2013

In just two weeks, the tri-annual K Fair will kick off in Dusseldorf. The venerable global plastics trade show is now its 60th year and we’re sure that the halls of the massive Messe will be crammed full of international visitors. Beyond business meetings in the multi-level booths from polymer giants and plastics multinationals, attendees will be treating themselves to the hearty German fare being served up. Schweinhaxen, anyone?

Given the correspondence in recent weeks, it’s clear that tool designers, processors and machinists from all over the world will be congregating at our booth in Hall 3, Stand B52. We’re planning on serving up plenty of information, tips and guidelines on HYTAC® syntactic foam with an emphasis on new XTL thermoplastic syntactic. We’ll be there with our distribution partners from Europe and Asia to display cutting tools and share best practices from around the world. Here’s a short version of our dance card:

HYTAC® XTL: The Next Generation Thermoplastic Syntactic.  This mauve colored material was developed to improve our popular HYTAC®-B1X line by creating a thermoplastic that was both easy to machine and polish.  HYTAC®-XTL also surpasses B1X in toughness while offering the lowest thermal conductivity and lowest thermal expansion of any thermoplastic syntactic foam.  Developed in 2012 and commercialized in 2013, it is quickly growing in popularity as the “do-it-all” syntactic plug material.  The easily polished surface is ideal for use with transparent plastics and easy sheet release while surviving the most demanding applications.

HYTAC® plug material is being used in multiple show tools for all the major OEMs including IlligKiefelGablerOMGGNWM and it will also be on display for several key thermoform tooling companies including BoschSprangMarbachTermostampiMould & Matic and Techno Tool A/S

So if you’re going to Dusseldorf, be sure to visit us in Hall 3, Stand B52. And if you can’t make it, be sure to check back with us to read our report of the show.

K 2013 Comes to a Close

After a solid 8 days at the Messe Dusseldorf, the CMT team is heading home. The K Fair is a truly global event and with stacks of business cards from thermoformers and toolmakers all over the world, the prospects for syntactic foam plug assists are looking bright.

Many conversations began with, “What is the best material for PET / PP?” With HYTAC plugs in almost every major thermoforming booth, users could see for themselves the benefits of different plug properties and geometries. Whether it was XTL in the Bosch-Sprang booth or B1X in the Illig booth, PET cups were cyrstal clear. GN and Kiefel ran with FLX and FLXT plugs for PP and PET cookie trays and drink cups.

What is also clear is that HYTAC translates quite easily into many languages! German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Mandarin… our booth was filled with international visitors, partners, distributors and thermoforming experts looking to learn more about XTL, the newest and toughest syntactic foam on the market.

K is a fantastic event, but after this trip, we’re glad it’s only once every 3 years. Tschuss!


How to Cut and Polish HYTAC® Syntactic Foam

The K show taught us a few things about the newest developments in thermoforming machinery and tooling. The application of information technology to the thermoforming process, for example, was one interesting trend that echoes what we see in many other industries where “big data” is the order of the day. Having the ability to meter and monitor data from various sensors, gauges and scanners can help operators dial-in the process to minimize waste and optimize start-up. The ToolVu system and the Illig “Intelligent Control” system were two examples on display. We’re also working to create new parameters related to plug speeds, temperatures and positions that can be fed into these new systems.

For all the advances in technology, however, it was interesting to see how certain fundamentals are not always well-understood. We spent plenty of time talking about how to machine and polish plugs to get the best part possible. From showing people the high-helix geometry of our solid carbide cutting tools to calculating feed rates, it is clear that practical information goes a long way.

Remember that feed rate = spindle speed (RPM) x chip load x # flutes. Too low a feed rate will generate excess heat and reduce tool life. Too high a feed rate will cause poor surface finish or part movement during machining. Proper settings will result in a tool operating at or near room temperature. 

What we have developed in our machining guides needs to be passed along to machine operators and those technicians working most closely with tools and plugs. Small changes can make a big difference in both plug surface and final part clarity. Let us know how we can help.


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