It has been a very good year for Wittmann Battenfeld (Vienna, Austria), CEO Michael Wittmann told reporters during a press conference at Fakuma on Tuesday, acknowledging a modicum of surprise at the positive outcome. "It was not the year of correction that I originally anticipated," he said, adding that business appears to be maintaining that course going into 2016. Taking into consideration "the bookings and backlog, 2015 is effectively over for us," said Wittmann, noting that the company will record an increase of more than 11% over 2014. Ever cautious, Wittmann did not want to prognosticate about 2016, other than to say that the beginning of the year is looking strong. But, he added, "I just can't tell you what might happen next year. There are too many variables," starting with how the Volkswagen situation plays out, he said.
Although many companies exhibiting at Fakuma are keeping their powder dry, so to speak, and waiting for next year's K show to launch a full-scale offensive, Wittmann Battenfeld has always made an effort to introduce technologies at Fakuma, said Wittmann, and this year is no different. The company featured several new pieces of equipment on the show floor, with medical applications among the highlights.
The new EcoPower 110 Medical producing a polypropylene tray for contact lenses on the Fakuma show floor was first installed at the company's plant in Kottingbrunn, Austria, where it ran the machine in an ISO Class 6 cleanroom for qualification purposes and to produce good manufacturing practices documentation. The cleanroom installation allows customers to carry out production tests for tooling acceptance at the Kottingbrunn facility under real-world conditions, said the company.
The EcoPower medical package includes a water cooling system, nickel-plated clamping plates, food-grade lubricants and a cleanroom-compatible paint finish.
The interior mold space comes equipped with smooth surfaces, stainless-steel covers and covered guide rails. Outgoing air is evacuated via pneumatic valves and conduits outside the cleanroom area.
At Fakuma, the EcoPower system is equipped with a parts-reject separator and an encapsulated cleanroom conveyor belt from Max Petek Reinraumtechnik mounted below the clamping unit. The parts fall freely onto the encapsulated cleanroom conveyor belt and are subsequently transported to a laminar flow workstation.
Wittman Battenfeld is also showcasing a MicroPower 15/10 machine producing a micro-catheter made of PEEK. The device weighs approximately 20 mg and is produced with a single-cavity mold supplied by Austrian moldmaker Ernst Wittner GmbH. The ISO Class 6 cleanroom production cell on display is equipped with a rotary disk, parts removal handling device and quality inspection imaging system. The parts are injected, inspected and deposited inside the cleanroom area.
The international plastics trade fair Fakuma runs through Oct. 17 in Friedrichshafen, Germany.