Sophisticated styling, clean lines and "freshened colors" are designed to give the space-saving Combo Ice Maker/Refrigerators from U-Line Corporation (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) a competitive edge. But aesthetics and practicality don't end with the exterior. Several U-Line Combo models are also enhanced by a larger ice bucket and door-mounted bottle retainers injection molded in water-clear, durable Eastar™ copolyester supplied by Eastman Chemical Company, Performance Plastics. "We examined a wide array of materials," said Bill Reed, U-Line vice president. "The Eastar™ copolyester was the only candidate that was both water-clear and as durable as we needed."
The generous proportions and exceptional clarity are the most obvious features of the new ice buckets. The medium bucket, for example, measures 8.25 in. (0.210 m) deep, 14.25 in. (0.362 m) long, and 7.5 in. (0.191 m) wide, large enough to support the high output ice cube maker (up to 22 lbs. per day) and provide adequate storage (13 lbs. of ice). Another design enhancement: vertical lines on the front face of the bucket are created during the molding process from etched portions of the mold.
Less immediately apparent are the complex wall tapers of the bucket designed to facilitate part ejection from the mold and maintaining of perpendicular walls. The visualization of the complex shear heating patterns created by the differing wall tapers was possible using the exclusive GLYPH system from Kodak. The GLYPH system simultaneously displayed and animated five components of the injection-molding analysis. This system was used to optimize the part and tooling design as well as the processing conditions of the bucket. The ultimate benefit to U-Line: clear, tough, low weight parts that can be produced efficiently.
Ice buckets and other components were injection molded for U-Line Corporation by Production Plastics (Saukville, Wisconsin).