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Feature Stories

Isn't It Ironic

To many, plastic means fake. Yet one Texas Company is becoming famous for its lifelike forms.

 by Karen M. Koenig
Editor-in-Chief

Cliffhanger...Saving Private Ryan. Who can forget the opening minutes of the latter movie as bodies of young soldiers are maimed and destroyed. Or the young woman in Cliffhanger, who loses her grip on Sylvester Stallone and goes plunging down into the canyon gully.

It certainly wasn't real. But it was plastic.

For those people who think something made from plastic will automatically look fake, Gatesville, TX-based Medical Plastics Laboratory can prove them wrong. In addition to specializing in realistic, anatomically accurate skeletal models, the company has also carved a niche for itself in manufacturing lifelike mannequins. While they are used more often than not in medical training, the company has developed a sideline business in supplying movie makers with lifelike bodies to maim and kill. (See story beginning on page 15.)

Part of that realism from the fact that the company does live casts for its "manikins." The manikins are rotationally molded from a soft plastic, giving them a lifelike "feel."

"This is an artistic process," says Danny Smith, MPL's vice president of R&D and a medical artist. "It must be aesthetically pleasing."

Mark the date: PM&F's Conference 2000

Learning the ins and outs of manufacturing aesthetically pleasing products is just one of the topics to be discussed at PM&F's second conference, to be held Oct. 18-20 in Chicago.

Last year's attendees gave the conference high marks with regards to the comprehensive seminar content and the quality of exhibitor displays. We hope to better that achievement with a technology-packed program focusing on:

• Material selection guidelines

• Thermoforming tips and techniques

• Routing and trimming requirements, including fixturing and software needs

• Laser applications

• Sawing technologies

• Cutting tool requirements

• Bonding and welding guidelines and applications

Plus, case studies from fabricators in high production and custom environments.

For more information about the conference, please contact either myself (847/634-4366 &emdash; direct) or the Industrial Division Conference Office (888/903-9663).

I hope to see you there.

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Plastics Machining & Fabricating
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