Michael Misco, Sr. Technical Service Engineer, Shell Polymers

Polymer Profile 2x4: Michael Misco Senior Technical Service Engineer | Blow Molding

Our 2x4 series shares two fun facts and four expert tips from the people who are helping us to create an unrivaled customer experience.

By Shell Polymers on Feb 28, 2020

Michael Misco
Michael Misco

With the opening of its new polyethylene plant in Monaca, USA, Shell Polymers has been hiring a team of industry experts, aka Polymer Pioneers and Polymer Pros, who have a proven track record in polyethylene. In this “2x4”, Technical Service Engineer Mike Misco reveals two personal facts and his top four technical blow molding tips. 

Plus, he shares his involvement in setting up the application hall, which will house state-of-the-art technology that enables our Polymer Pioneers to work hand-in-hand with customers and provide the technical solutions they need.

What are your daily duties as a technical service engineer?

I am heavily involved in finding out what our customers would need from us before we start up. That’s why I help choose the right grade slate to support their current applications while keeping future market trends in mind.

Another daily duty is making sure our application hall is set up to enhance customer relationships by helping them solve problems and identify opportunities. Prior to joining Shell Polymers, I spent several years on the converter end of the industry. With this experience, I have supported several customer resin qualifications, and possess the ability to provide specific process improvement initiatives.

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How do you strive to create an unrivaled customer experience in your role at Shell Polymers? 

We want our customers to be at the center of everything we do. To demonstrate this, our business has created a space unlike any other in the industry that will hold multiple pieces of new, industrial-sized machinery across five different markets and processes. We understand the challenges associated with shutting down a production line for a trial, so we want our customers to have the luxury of utilizing this space and equipment to avoid downtime.

For example, if a customer wants to test new head tooling to help with light-weighting initiatives, but can’t sacrifice production line time, we will encourage them to use the machinery in the application hall for initial testing.

“Our business has created a space unlike any other in the industry.”

What sets Shell Polymers apart from other suppliers?

We have a fantastic opportunity to show our customers that the small details can make a big difference. For example, we can use our application hall to show that running cooler is not always better! Using a material’s recommended heat profile is critical to how the material behaves and how it will process. Running a cooler heat profile generates more stresses in the polymer that can translate into processing inconsistencies and mechanical failures.

What activities do you participate in outside work?

When I was growing up, I was heavily involved in motocross. However, a few injuries and other reasons mean I’ve had to hang up my boots. In addition, since high school, I’ve been a big exercise enthusiast, primarily weightlifting.

How did you get involved in these hobbies?

My dad raced motocross competitively at a high level. Growing up on a farm meant he could build a motocross track in the pasture. It was a common weeknight and weekend occurrence to have many friends over to ride. My family has always been involved in exercising and keeping an overall healthy lifestyle, so being interested in this came naturally.

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Mike’s Top Four Blow Molding Tips

  • Not all resins are drop-in.

    “Drop-in resin” is a term loosely thrown around in the industry, but one that is often misrepresented. When converting from one resin grade to another in blow molding, processing adjustments will often be necessary.

  • Make sure your heating is consistent.

    Blow molding is very sensitive to temperature fluctuations or inaccurate heating control. When there are such issues, the process is often adjusted to counteract them, which results in an overall smaller process window and the possibility of lower efficiency.

  • Size your head tooling appropriately.

    Head tooling that is properly sized for the intended application is paramount to achieving repeatable applications. Running head tooling that is too small means that the process must rely more on pre-blow to achieve proper a parison size and is more susceptible to inconsistencies. Routine mold maintenance is critical for high-quality products. A worn cavity surface finish will hinder proper venting and result in an inadequate product surface appearance or finish.

  • Have a healthy air control system.

    This is crucial in blow molding, as it enables repeatable pre-blow and blow pressures, which translate to repeatable end-product quality.