(Updated) Product Watch: Hot runners for automotive lighting, and presses old and new

In this issue of Product Watch, our look at products and machinery of use to plastics processors, we focus on Synventive's new line of hot runner systems specifically designed for automotive lighting applications, and a move by processing machinery manufacturer Wabash into sales of used and reconditioned presses.

Synventive hot runner for car lamps
Synventive's customer, a mold maker, bought two systems to mold a head lamp cover for a major European auto maker. One system runs Lexan LS1-grade PC, the other Makrolon 2447. Each mold/HR system is a 2-shot system.

The automotive industry's injection molders have long been very important for Synventive, based in Peabody, MA. Now the company has introduced a line of hot runner systems for automotive lighting such as the lenses used on the front and rear exterior of vehicles. 

These new valve gate systems feature threaded (screwed-in) nozzles (Synventive's 12E/16E/22E models, depending on the application) with pneumatic cylinders. Threaded nozzles eliminate the need for support/center rings at the nozzle head area, says Synventive, therefore preventing any heat release where the melt changes direction from runner to nozzle.

For rear light lenses with 3D surfaces and multiple colors (often clear and red), Synventive offers direct gating onto the lens surface, which is normally molded from PMMA.  For front light lenses, which are typically molded from polycarbonate, Synventive offers the cold-runner solution and also direct gating options.

On a recent front light lens production application, the supplier provided a hot runner that gated directly onto the clear PC lens at a non-visible part section. This eliminated the need to remove and dispose of the cold runner, helping the molder to save on resin and process costs. In addition, for this application, Synventive provided a hot runner system for molding the black PC lens housing.

The hot runner systems are provided pre-wired.

Bill Rousseau, Synventive's chief engineer, noted in an interview that there's been an active transition from PC/ABS to high-temperature PC or polyetherimide. "Our systems are specifically designed for that," Rousseau said. "Designing a tip for resins like that is ideal for cosmetics, and permits a good transition from the hot side of the tip without imparting too much heat to the tool itself. Another difference, we use threaded nozzles." Advantages include a guaranteed alignment between the nozzle bore the manifold, and a more uniform thermal profile. "We can do this on multi-shot systems, and that's one of the real advantages," Rousseau added.

Leo Devellian, business development manager for Synventive, said in an interview that the company's European group "took the lead in developing this" technology for the automotive industry. "In North America we're just introducing it and there will be a global release for these hot runner systems," he added. "We are the leading hot runner supplier in the automotive market and lighting is a niche market that is very attractive to us. We think our technology lends itself very well to these 2-shot and 3-shot - and even some 4-shot - applications."

In other plastics processing equipment news, Wabash MPI (Wabash, IN), a manufacturer of standard and custom presses, now also is offering used and reconditioned presses.  Processors can see all available presses at the Wabash MPI website.  Automotive lens

For customers with old presses who want to upgrade, Wabash will offer a trade-in on certain models. A buy-back program for used presses is also available. In addition, Wabash offers a reconditioning service. 

Wabash presses see use in many applications, including composite molding, compression molding, transfer molding, vacuum molding, compaction, plus testing and R&D applications.



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