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External gas assisted moulding saves 15% energy

Rapra Technology Limited : 04 October, 2004  (New Product)
A programme of energy consumption trials has concluded that significant savings of up to 15% in energy consumption are possible using external gas assisted moulding instead of standard moulding.
A programme of energy consumption trials has concluded that significant savings of up to 15% in energy consumption are possible using external gas assisted moulding instead of standard moulding. The study also found that significant cycle time and part weight savings are achieveable from both internal and external gas-assisted moulding.

The research work was undertaken by independent consultants at Bradford University working at Cinpres Gas Injection (CGI) Middlewich. The production basis consisted of a Sandretto 3000kN locking force moulding machine Series 7) together with a Cheetah control box housing tool, producing a 'frisbee' mould from high impact polystyrene.

In addition to the energy savings noted during the gas injection trials, Bradford University concluded that 'the savings generated by cycle time reduction and part weight reduction may outweigh the savings made by the energy consumption reduction.' The Bradford consultants also noted that the clamp tonnage forces when using gas-assisted moulding could generate energy savings but that the energy savings for toggle-lock moulding machines was likely to be small.

Moulding machines using the direct lock system were more likely to save more energy. Faraday Plastics Director Richard Simpson said: 'Faraday Plastics is delighted to be helping to map out factual data of this kind - in order that moulders in the industry may be able to make informed and reliable choices about cost effective moulding options. Low energy processing is a key part of the Faraday Plastics mission and these findings in relation to gas injection technology will help in creating a more effective processing sector of the future.'

Terry Pearson of CGI (Cinpres Gas Injection) said: 'Certainly our experience with many customers confirms that by using gas assisted moulding, internal and external, in mould pressures are reduced by up to 50%. Therefore power consumption must be reduced in many cases when the size of moulding machine (lock force) is reduced. The reduction in weight of plastic processed by up to 40% in thick section moudings must also produce a pro-rata heating cost saving.'

Pearson added: 'We are very encouraged by the contributions being made by Faraday and Bradford in bringing this increasingly important aspect of injection moulding to the notice of a hard pressed industry.'

Bradford University is an academic affiliate of the Faraday Plastics partnership, as are most recognised polymer-based University departments in the UK. Dame Prof Julia Higgins, Chemical Engineering, Imperial College, and EPSRC Chair, and Prof Tom McLeish, Director of the Polymer Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) at Leeds have recently become Faraday plastics affiliates.

Richard Simpson, Faraday Plastics Director, said that UK Universities have a clear mission to bring their polmeric know-how and scientific skills into the marketplace of industrial and commercial communities. Both parties can only benefit from contact and interaction with each other. 'We in the UK have world class resources in both research and commercial exploitation. Our role at Faraday Plastics is to enhance both activities by bringing them closer together.'

Simpson urges other leading UK academics to apply to join the FP affiliate scheme, which is currently free of charge.

Benefits for academe include:
* Collaboration with companies to form research teams.
* Support in the preparation of research bids.
* Help in identifying funding sources.
* Opportunities to exploit research outputs.

The purpose of the Faraday Plastics affiliate scheme is to link both industry and academe in meeting the critical technological challenges of the plastics sector.
Benefits in the new nano-technology-based polymers, low-energy processing techniques, and environmental polymers are now being shared through the Faraday Plastics network.
Faraday Plastics will publish an edited version of the study and its finding on its web site.
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