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Haier, a global manufacturer in cold appliances, is proving its success with the addition of a second 16-fixture foaming and polymerization line for China refrigerators, featuring the innovative Vacuum Assisted Injection (V.A.I.) method from Cannon S.p.A. in Italy. The second line was installed at Haier's Qingdao, China, facility reinforcing the commercial success of this innovative technology that was first launched in September 2011.

Clare Goldsberry

July 29, 2014

2 Min Read
Cannon installs second, energy-efficient vacuum assisted injection foaming system for Haier

Haier, a global manufacturer in cold appliances, is proving its success with the addition of a second 16-fixture foaming and polymerization line for China refrigerators, featuring the innovative Vacuum Assisted Injection (V.A.I.) method from Cannon S.p.A. in Italy. The second line was installed at Haier's Qingdao, China, facility reinforcing the commercial success of this innovative technology that was first launched in September 2011.

The V.A.I. technology works by applying vacuum into the complex mold cavity where a domestic refrigerator is filled with rigid polyurethane. The V.A.I. technology then facilitates the expansion of the foam into the refrigerator cabinet. Some of the benefits of this technology include increased productivity per foaming station due to the use of highly-reactive formulations that provide a faster de-molding time. A curing cycle of around 180 seconds is now the standard for a side-by-side model with very thick walls, using the appropriate PU chemical formulation developed by Dow Chemical for this technology.

PR201406-4HAIERSecondVAIPlant-Plant.JPGThe V.A.I. technology also offers optimized distribution of foam throughout the whole cabinet; optimum insulation performance, and optimum flow of expanding foam in the cabinet cavity, according to Cannon's information.

A collaborative effort with Dow allowed for the joint development of Pascal Technology, an innovative solution that opens "new frontiers" for the production of refrigerators. The PU chemistry developed by Dow for this technology reduces the foam thermal conductivity to a new reference level and allows for a significantly shorter polymerization time, said Cannon.

The first industrial plant working with the Cannon V.A.I. technology, delivered to Haier Chongqing, China, plant, has been producing their Class A refrigerators since 2011. The second Haier Plant using the V.A.I. technology is producing their high-end side-by-side wider refrigerator models in Haier's Yellow Island, Qingdao, factory since February 2014.

The systems consist of two Cannon A-System metering units connected to four Cannon SR24 mixing heads, which precisely feed the amount of foam required by each cabinet. Cannon developed a specific polymerization jig for this technology in which the refrigerator cabinet is maintained under a controlled level of vacuum during the full foam injection phase. A centralized vacuum station provides the negative pressure in each mold at a very constant level for the time of the chemicals' injection and of the foam's expansion.

Sixteen curing jigs, aligned in two 8-fixture rows provide an output capacity of four foamed cabinets per minute. The patented Pascal technology is a solution that allows for the production of refrigerators featuring cost-effective eco-design and superior energy saving performances.

Cannon specializes in the development and manufacture of thermoforming systems for industrial applications; polyurethane and reactive polymer technology, and thermal insulative technology. 

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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