By Cameron Chai
LightManufacturing, a producer of plastic products, has discovered a novel method to utilize solar energy for molding affordable and sustainable plastic products.
About 3.6 billion lbs of plastic is rotomolded per year to manufacture industrial and consumer products including toys, boats, road barriers and water tanks. Indeed, big natural gas heated ovens, and costly and huge equipments are required for rotomolding. Further, over 2 billion lbs of greenhouse gases are emitted through this method. In addition, about 30% of expenditure is spent for heating the ovens.
However, the solar rotomolding (SRM) systems from LightManufacturing utilize the solar energy to produce the same products, which are relatively inexpensive, at zero carbon emissions as well. In this novel patent-pending method, specifically modeled sun-tracking mirrors, heliostats, focus on sunlight with inexpensive molding armatures. In addition, the transport expenses can be reduced by establishing small SRM units near the customer place. Furthermore, the SRM systems function totally "off-grid" without the requirement of fuel or outside electricity.
The system can also mold sustainable bio-plastics and recycled plastic similar to oil-based plastics. Further, the company also plans to use solar thermal-powered technology for other large-scale production methods including agricultural use, blow molding, injection molding and much more.
Moreover, the company has also created a novel inexpensive heliostat to be used instead of costly glass mirrors resembling a drum head. It is anticipated that the products will be available for shipment from August 2012.