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Ford Motor Co.’s Saarlouis, Germany production plant has been running a 4000-tonne KraussMaffei MX 4000-24500 injection molding machine since September, using the massive press to mold bumpers for its Focus, Focus ST, C-Max, and Kuga models. The machine is part of a complete cell that features a Kuka KR 210 L100 K robot, with a 3900-mm reach and 100-kg payload, as well as a two-belt conveyor that stages the fascia for 30 minutes of post-mold cooling.

Tony Deligio

November 23, 2009

2 Min Read
Ford installs 4000-tonne KraussMaffei machine for fascia molding

Ford Motor Co.’s Saarlouis, Germany production plant has been running a 4000-tonne KraussMaffei MX 4000-24500 injection molding machine since September, using the massive press to mold bumpers for its Focus, Focus ST, C-Max, and Kuga models. The machine is part of a complete cell that features a Kuka KR 210 L100 K robot, with a 3900-mm reach and 100-kg payload, as well as a two-belt conveyor that stages the fascia for 30 minutes of post-mold cooling.

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This KraussMaffei MX 4000-24500 injection molding machine was installed in September at Ford Motor Co.’s Saarlouis, Germany plant to mold bumper fascia.

According to KM, the machine, which is Ford’s largest in all of Germany, measures nearly 14-ft tall with a 57-by-17-ft footprint, and a total weight of 287 tons, if you include its control cabinet. Maximum daylight is 173.2 inches, with a shot weight of nearly 27 lb (425 ounces) in polystyrene and 20 lb (332 ounces) in polyethylene. Delivered by truck, machine installation took approximately six weeks, with Ford having to extend an existing hall to accommodate the behemoth. The automaker also had to fortify the floor the machine would reside on, adding a new 80-cm deep base.
 
KM has a fair amount of experience installing larger machines, with company representatives estimating it has around 70 machines of more than 4000 tonnes clamp force installed globally, with the largest being a 5400-tonne press.

Bucking a trend by many automakers to move away from vertical integration, Ford’s Rainer Hoefner, divisional manager for the paint shop and plastics production, said in a release that after crunching numbers the automaker decided that adding a machine added up. “Regular benchmarking shows that running our own injection molding operation in Saarlouis brings clear efficiency gains,” Hoefner said. “This was the basis for our decision to invest in a big-tonnage machine to add to our machine park.” The Saarlouis body and assembly plant opened in 1970, covers 3.1 million ft2, and employs over 6000. —Tony Deligio

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