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News

A growing number of injection molding machine suppliers

DTI Globalwatch : 19 October, 2006  (Technical Article)
They can demonstrate their ability to provide custom-built manufacturing cells to a captive and, hopefully, captivated audience. Open house events also are used in a more traditional way, to celebrate the opening of a new facility. All generally showcase working equipment displays and informative technical presentations.
And they usually feature some terrific dining experiences and recreational activities. Multimolding, thin-wall molding, fluid-assist, QMC, MIM, IML . . . you name it, all the killer apps were on show this spring and summer, plus the latest machinery systems suppliers have to offer. And did we mention how great the food was? Here’s a review of what was on show at five of these open house events in Europe and in North America.

In Malterdingen, Ferromatik Milacron sought to prove once and for all that all-electric presses are anything but specialty niche gizmos. It demonstrated its all-electric Elektra evolution machines (33 to 198 tons, 300 to 1800 kN) molding just about anything you can imagine.

Its Elektra evolutions also were featured in its multimolding displays. And one even made it into Ferromatik’s demonstrations of high-speed packaging technologies. Its latest, user-friendly Mosaic machine controller also was in the spotlight. Company sources estimate that more than 600 people from 26 countries attended.

A 121-ton Elektra evolution 110-300 ran 7.9g LDPE tubes with thin, .1-mm walls in a 16-cavity mold belonging to Rexam PLC in 6-second cycles. Parallel cycle-phase functionalities sped things up. A magnetic platen for QMC from Hilma made changeovers for smaller runs a snap.

Using portable cleanroom technology from Alpha Ionstatex GmbH, a 55-ton Elektra evolution 50-120 molded 4.7g polystyrene biological testing parts, demonstrating the supplier’s ability to supply fully configured, oil-free, medical molding cells.

Ferromatik partnered with TiK-Technologie in Kunststoff GmbH, a process engineering firm, and with Maximator GmbH to demonstrate water injection molding on an Elektra evolution 50-120 (55 tons). Smooth-skinned water pipes were run in a 30% glass-filled nylon 66 from Rhodia.

With the help of a robot, hopper loader, parts conveyor, and granulator from Wittmann, a twin-barreled, 170-ton Elektra evolution 155-2F multimolded 42.8g automotive drainage channels in PP and TPE in 25 seconds. A 33-ton Elektra evolution 30-55 equipped with a Mosaic controller precision molded 22g pure iron cone nuts in 20-second cycles. Molding green parts with precision is key to a successful finish in the MIM process. The eight-cavity mold was from MIM molder Schunk Sintermetalltechnik.

An 82.5-ton Elektra evolution 75-2F built for Braun molded a switch for its Silk-épil ladies’ shaver from two nylon components in a 4x4-cavity turntable mold. Codeveloped with Braun, the system increases output by 20% and provides 70% less dimensional variation.

Using the company’s Monosandwich multimolding process, an auxiliary extruder fed PP regrind into the main injection unit of a 385-ton K-Tec 350 MSW press fed with virgin PP, producing automotive covers. Milacron sources say Monosandwich molding can save up to 30% of your material costs. All cell auxiliaries were Wittmann’s.

An 880-ton Maxima 800 MSW-2F press molded roof spoilers with glass-filled PP cores and first-class unfilled-PP skins. The cell’s material handling system was a Colortronic. Part handling was from Trio Technology Mechanical Engineering GmbH.

A twin-barreled 121-ton K-Tec 110-2F equipped with a “pulse-tempering” hot runner controller and artificial vision QC system from Weider GmbH International ran PC/ABS mobile phone covers in a 1x1-cavity mold at 6-second cycles, half the time it took to run them in a 2x2 tool.

A proprietary injection press? That’s just what the K-Tec 2F Playmobil Edition is. It was designed and built just for toymaker Geobra Brandstätter (for an initial report on this company, see August 2002 IMM, www.immnet.com/articles?article=1955). Equipped with two injection units, it multimolded little 14.4g Playmobil hedgehogs with PP bodies and TPE fur in a 2x2-cavity mold. Ferromatik’s twin-barreled 275-ton K-Tec 250 DETW ran a twin-cube stack mold from Foboha and inmold-assembled PP containers in 6-second cycles, just as it did at K 2004. Each cube has 16 cavities. The hot runner was from PMS Controls.

In a 64-cavity mold from Crown Obrist AG, a 385-ton K-Tec 350 S ran PP caps in 7.5-second cycles at injection speeds of more than 1.1 m/sec thanks to its accumulator-juiced hydraulics.

In single-cavity tooling, a twin-platen, 550-ton Maxima 500P equipped with a high-performance 25:1 L/D screw and replete with Wittmann auxiliaries ran 19-liter buckets, a 780g shot weight, at around 16-second cycles.

A compact, 30-ton Maxima 275-1540 ran SAN salad bowls in 29-second cycles. It was equipped with the company’s Character Identification Report & Quality software, which ensures parameters are right on track, shot to shot.

On the other end of the scale, a 1430-ton Maxima 1300, Milacron’s newest size Maxima, molded Class A PC/ABS Mercedes-Benz spoilers in 65-second cycles. The Maxima’s central-acting clamping cylinder reportedly helped to yield Class A part quality by uniformly distributing clamp force.

Also, Milacron now offers all-electric retrofit injection units. Available either in vertical or horizontal models, each has an independent, centralized lubrication system. All come equipped with user-friendly touch-screen controllers.
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