A Wittmann inmold labeling (IML) system inserted labels and removed parts from an all-electric, 220-ton Arburg injection molding machine at the Plastec West, speeding the cell to a 2.5-second cycle.
These thin-wall, inmold-labeled packages molded at Plastec West served the dual purpose of showing off Arburg’s injection molding capabilities and its new Irvine, CA tech center.
A confluence of factors, including the rising importance of medical to injection molding in North America; 2008 being an “off year” without an NPE or K; and a chance to reach the California market, came together in Anaheim, CA to boost Plastec West, especially among injection molding machinery manufacturers.
Held Jan. 29-31 at the Anaheim Convention Center and sponsored by MPW’s parent company, Canon Communications LLC, Plastec West, which in recent years had lost floor space to collocated events like Medical Design & Manufacturing, reclaimed floor space and old exhibitors, especially among the aforementioned press makers, with companies like Netstal (NÃ¤fels, Switzerland) reappearing after lengthy absences.
Michael Sansoucy, Netstal’s U.S. national sales manager, told MPW the Swiss firm decided to come back to Anaheim after a five-year absence, bringing with it the company’s all-electric Elion. At the show, the 1750-kN press, which is the largest in the line in terms of clamp force and shot capacity, molded polypropylene (PP) syringe barrels from a 48-cavity tool in a 7.5-second cycle.
Sumitomo Plastics Machinery LLC (Norcross, GA), the U.S. arm of the Japanese giant, is a regular at Plastec, but it used the first major show of 2008 to officially launch a liquid-silicone-rubber (LSR) injection system. Jim Mitchell, Sumitomo’s VP of sales for the U.S., told MPW that the company has sold LSR-equipped machines in the past, with approximately 20 in operation in North America, but now Sumitomo will offer LSR in a standard line based on the company’s SE-DU Series of direct-drive, all-electric machines. “In North America, people tend to gravitate towards new, evolving technologies,” Mitchell said, adding that “thermoplastics are suffering a little bit.”
At the show, the 83-ton machine molded a 1.1g, two-duck-bill LSR medical valve in a runnerless 2-cavity valve-gated tool from Kingson Mold & Machine (Brea, CA). Fluid Automation (Wixom, MI) supplied the meter-mix dispensing system and shutoff nozzle. Sumitomo’s booth also featured a 110-ton all-electric SE100DU direct drive molding Basell PP into 0.359g pipettes from a 64-cavity Cavaform International hot runner tool in a 10-second cycle.
Austria’s Engel, which announced at the show it would cease manufacturing at its Guelph, ON site, was focused on technology at the show, running two machines in its booth, including a new LSR machine for micromolding. Based on a Engel Victory 80/30 tiebarless machine, the press produced four LSR umbrella valves from a 0.5g shot. The flashless tool from Roembke Mfg. & Design (Ossian, IN) featured a runnerless, open-gated cold-deck design, according to Greg Roembke. A six-axis robot removed the valves, weighed them, and then took them to a camera for measurement.
Arburg’s Friederich Kanz, who heads up North America for the German firm, was on hand, and will return to California in less than a month’s time, joined by Arburg ownership, to open the company’s new tech center in Irvine, CA. “We want to demonstrate how important the U.S. is to Arburg,” Kanz said, “particularly the western U.S.” At the show, Arburg featured an inmold labeling system from Wittmann creating thin-wall packaging on an all-electric 220-ton machine running a two-cavity tool in a 2.5-second cycle. The IML system will be shipped to the tech center and join a 350-ton machine, as well as a vertical press. In time, the facility will feature six machines, with plans to add LSR and multicomponent molding.
Negri Bossi also featured a Wittmann IML system, and according to Liam Burns, general manager for the U.S. subsidiary, the all-electric 120-ton machine at the show is the first fully electric press to be displayed with Spirex’s Twinshot technology. That coinjection system, where a barrel is retrofitted to allow encapsulation of scrap material, typically requires higher torque. Burns said the Negri Bossi machine handled the technology, which molded Frisbees at the show, without modification.
Haitian subsidiary Zhafir brought a 67-ton all-electric Venus VE 600-120H across the Pacific to Anaheim. Glenn Frohring, VP of sales and marketing, told MPW that the machines, which are made in China, have completed approval for global distribution, with North American sales “in the pipeline.” Frohring said the company has already placed Mars hybrid units in the U.S. The 67-ton all-electric Venus is joined by a 258-ton version.
These companies were not alone in bringing and running injection molding machines in Anaheim, joined by Toyo, Nissei, JSW, and Husky. Milacron left machines behind, but not news, with Marketing Director Bob Strickley telling MPW that Milacron now has a new size in its Maxima two-platen hydraulic series and new sales in its Servtek injection end-product business.