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First Wittmann Battenfeld MicroPower molding system running in UK

While attendees crowded around the new-generation Wittmann Battenfeld MicroPower molding production system at the K 2010 show last October, the RKT Centre for Polymer, Micro and Nano Technology (Bradford, UK) was finalizing its purchase of the first one to be delivered. It's running now and, coupled with computer/Internet technology, is opening new vistas for the Centre's clients.

PlasticsToday Staff

March 21, 2011

2 Min Read
First Wittmann Battenfeld MicroPower molding system running in UK

While attendees crowded around the new-generation Wittmann Battenfeld MicroPower molding production system at the K 2010 show last October, the RKT Centre for Polymer, Micro and Nano Technology (Bradford, UK) was finalizing its purchase of the first one to be delivered. It's running now and, coupled with computer/Internet technology, is opening new vistas for the Centre's clients.

The Centre already had one each of three generations of the Battenfeld Microsystem that preceded the MicroPower prior to Battenfeld's acquisition by the Wittmann Group (Vienna, Austria). Ben Whiteside, the Centre's manager, says, "Delivery and installation have gone well and we shall shortly be conducting a new batch of micromolding experiments on the machine and hiring our facilities out to clients. The new MicroPower has quickly become our primary research machine and the queue of projects and experiments is lengthening."

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Bought at K 2010, the first production model of Wittmann Battenfeld's new-generation MicroPower micromolding system is running at the RKT Centre for Polymer, Micro and Nano Technology in Bradford, UK.

Whiteside notes that the Centre is investing time and energy in connecting its new MicroPower to computing power and the Internet. "Everything that we do with our new machine will be more easily captured using Ethernet-based state of the art data acquisition and measurement systems. These exacting data records will provide a substantial key to determining and predicting in-mold behavior for many materials, including nano-composites."

The resulting data will make full traceability of the molding process available to users via the Internet, from material storage to final quality inspection. "It's perhaps an exaggeration to suggest that our micromolding research could be hooked into a cloud computing model", says Whiteside, "but we won't be far off it. Our principal user markets are in medical and healthcare - and our international clients in these areas will value the real time access to the results of their micromolding research work via the Internet."

The new Wittmann Battenfeld MicroPower system will play a key part in the Centre's development of UK innovations and industrial projects and in broadening its scope to a fully European outreach. The intent is to consolidate the Centre's micro-manufacturing position within the next three years, both for blue-sky micromolding research and also the number and scale of industrial and commercial projects.

Whiteside says, "Micromolding actually shows us how little we know about the real conditions as regards heat flow during molding, which are dependent on actual mold surface temperature, pressure effects and the structure of the mold surface. To date, the convention—for lack of data or empirical research—has assumed a constant thermal contact resistance in these matters. This is clearly not the case." —PlasticsToday Staff

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