's MuCell microcellular foam molding technology at its York, PA Technology Center. The duo 1000-ton machine's MuCell molding package was provided by partner Trexel, and the molding cell will be available for mold trials starting April 1. The tiny air pockets created within parts by the technology can help molders address unpredictable differential shrinkage, which can lead to sink marks and warpage. In addition to dimensional quality improvements, Engel and Trexel say MuCell results in reduced in-mold stress and the elimination of stress cracking. From a process standpoint, MuCell reduces clamp force and material requirements, leading to lower costs, reduced part weight, and speedier cycles.
On the same day Engel announced the addition of MuCell to its tech center, Trexel released news that Zotefoams plc (Croydon, UK) has implemented MuCell microcellular foaming on a new tandem 3.5-by-4.5-inch extrusion line that creates sheet foams up to 52 inches wide. Starting out with low-density polyethylene (LDPE), Zotefoams plans to extend the technology to polypropylene (PP) and nylon (PA), as it commercializes its microZOTE thin foam product. Zotefoams and Trexel have worked together since 2008, when they launched MuCell Extrusion LLC to commercialize and further develop microcellular foam-based extrusion technology. In addition to being an investor in MuCell Extrusion, Zotefoams has licensed the technology to make foams for a number of polymers. The extruder says the technology is particularly well suited for seals and tapes where the microcellular foam allows surface-to-surface conformance with excellent skin quality and gauge control. It is also relevant for thermoforming applications where top load and impact properties are critical, since microcellular foaming allows maximum weight reduction and retention of impact and surface qualities in packaging applications like dairy containers and yogurt cups. —[email protected]