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New Time- and Money-Saving Tools for Plastics Processors

This roundup of recent product announcements includes an affordable, handheld laser cleaner for injection molds, an easy-to-adjust stroke regulator for hot runners that helps prevent surface defects, and a newly designed die-splitting cart for extruders.

Norbert Sparrow

July 30, 2021

6 Min Read
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Image: iQoncept/Adobe Stock

‘Swiss knife’ of laser cleaning takes a shine to tooling

Germany’s 4Jet Group has introduced a handheld laser for cleaning tooling and molds, among other applications. Compared with conventional cleaning methods, such as dry-ice blasting or grinding, the dry process works quietly and dust-free, and it does not use any chemicals.

The system features a compact design and low overall weight, and intuitive operation via a touchscreen.

The 4Jet Group claims that the cost of the laser-based system compares favorably with professional blasting or dry ice systems. It is largely maintenance-free and does not require any consumables, adds the company. 

The system’s energy efficiency and low CO2 footprint may qualify the user for government rebates if it replaces energy-intensive processes.

4Jet also offers handheld laser systems for high-speed cleaning, as well as fully automatic laser systems for stationary use.

Earlier this month, 4Jet opened an office in Atlanta, which will ultimately serve as the company headquarters for North America and Mexico. A laser cleaning demonstration center is planned for the site.

Stroke regulator for hydraulic valve gate systems prevents surface defects

A Mechanical Stroke Regulator (MSR) developed by Oerlikon HRSflow for hydraulic-driven valve gate systems is designed to facilitate individually presetting the opening positions of pins in hot runner systems. Via an adjustment screw, the user specifies the individual oil volume, which the valve gate system then uses to bring the needles into the prescribed positions. In this way, the pressure drop for each nozzle can be set independently, and pressure distribution during the packaging phase can be controlled. 

The new MSR can be supplied ready to install on all of the company's existing hydraulic cylinder series equipped with electro-valves. Installation only takes around 10 minutes and can be done without dismantling the mold. Modifications to the existing hot runner cutout are not required.

First users confirm the new MSR’s capability of balancing melt flow in cascade molding and, thus, avoiding surface defects. Numerous trials have also demonstrated its successful use in family molds, according to Oerlikon HRSflow. 

Cart design facilitates extrusion die maintenance

A new die splitting cart designed by Processing Technologies International LLC (PTi) brings flexibility, ease of use, and operator safety to extrusion die maintenance and upkeep operations. The uCams cart is available in three configurations for the cleaning, inspection, or repair of single-, dual-, or triple-manifold dies. The heavy-duty frame construction on casters provides mobility and accessibility, so that maintenance can be performed in an environment and at a height that is safe and convenient for the operator.   

The uCams die splitting cart accommodates die widths between 1,000 and 2,000 mm (39 and 79 in.) by means of adjustable trunnion supports. This versatility is a tremendous benefit for plastic processors working with varied die widths, as it eliminates the need for multiple width-specific carts or trunnions, said PTi. 

A single hand-wheel mechanism allows one person to perform the die splitting procedure. Upon manual rotation of the wheel, and within a matter of seconds, the die is separated into respective components which are then capable of turning 360 degrees for full access to the die surfaces. 

An onboard tool box further enhances workflow efficiency by having all the necessary equipment and tools readily available.

Carousel systems significantly simplify product sampling during the production process, and the Multisize Sample Carousel developed by Dinnissen takes it a step further by enabling samples of different sizes to be taken in an automated process. Processors can also determine the order and frequency of the sample size.

The Multisize Sample Carousel collects up to 20 samples in different shapes without operator intervention. The carousel can be seamlessly integrated into new and existing lines, keeping downtime to a minimum, and Dinnissen technicians will work with customers to design an efficient sampling process tailored to their specific situations.

The systems are designed for easy access to enable fast and thorough cleaning, which is especially important to ensure compliance with food safety and product quality requirements.

Upgraded flame treater for bottle production reduces energy costs

An upgraded flame treater for automated bottle manufacturing systems from Proco Machinery features several enhancements, including automatic self-ignition controls that ignite and control the flame only when required. This results in major energy savings that directly lower operating costs, according to the company. 

The system is equipped with built-in safety features, including electronic sensors that monitor the flow of containers in and out of the flaming area. In the event of a jam, the flame automatically stops and an alarm sounds to alert an operator. 

The combustion system has been engineered to provide maximum flame control and efficiency, providing optimum surface quality for decorating or labeling applications.  

Models are available to handle containers as large as 45-gallon drums. Burners can be adjusted in height and width. Angular adjustments can be made for irregular or tapered containers. 

Proco offers a two-burner model for rectangular containers that flame treats two sides of the bottle and a four-burner system for the treatment of round bottles. The four-burner unit comes with a built-in container-turning mechanism so that bottles are fully treated on all sides.  

The standard model is supplied with a stainless-steel conveyor with adjustable guide rails and a variable speed motor. Unit height can be easily adjusted via a hand wheel. The burner assemblies, combustion control, and conveyor are all mounted on a common support structure so they all move together when the height is adjusted, avoiding stretching or pinching of pipes or wires. 

Dust-free discharging of bulk solid materials

A new Mobile Bulk Bag Discharger with Mobile Flexible Screw Conveyor from Flexicon allows dust-free discharging of bulk solid materials and conveying to downstream process equipment or storage vessels. Mounted on locking casters, the Bulk-Out BFF series discharger has four adjustable extension posts to accommodate bulk bags sized 36 to 84 in. (914 to 2,134 mm) in height. The removable bag-lifting frame with Z-Clip strap holders allows bulk bags to be attached at ground level, then forklifted into receiving cups on the discharger frame. A Spout-Lock clamp ring atop a pneumatically actuated telescoping tube secures the clean side of the bag spout to the clean side of the equipment. Continuous downward tension is applied to the bag as it empties and elongates, promoting flow and evacuation.

Flow-Flexer bag activators raise and lower opposite bottom sides of the bag at timed intervals into a steep V shape, and top-mounted Pop-Top extension devices elongate the entire bag, promoting total discharge with no manual intervention. 

The discharge housing of the mobile flexible screw conveyor is supported by a mast affixed to the mobile discharger frame, allowing the transfer of free- and non-free-flowing bulk materials to multiple destinations.

The flexible screw is the only moving part contacting materials. It is driven by an electric motor beyond the point at which material is discharged, preventing material contact with seals.

The system is available in carbon steel with durable industrial coating and stainless steel material contact surfaces, or in all-stainless steel finished to industrial, food, dairy, or pharmaceutical standards.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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