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How to spell ‘new technology worth a long look’? You need only one letter: K

In the plastics industry lexicon, the entry after the letter “K” could fill a book all by itself. It’s the place processors go to see the best in new machinery and equipment. It’s the place they go to learn what’s cooking in the R&D labs of the materials suppliers. It’s the event they attend to meet old friends, make new ones, and maybe even strike a business deal. It’s Düsseldorf, it’s K 2010, and it’s bound to be a great show.

In the plastics industry lexicon, the entry after the letter “K” could fill a book all by itself. It’s the place processors go to see the best in new machinery and equipment. It’s the place they go to learn what’s cooking in the R&D labs of the materials suppliers. It’s the event they attend to meet old friends, make new ones, and maybe even strike a business deal. It’s Düsseldorf, it’s K 2010, and it’s bound to be a great show. Continuing on our preview in the September issue, here is more of the injection molding technology to be presented during the show. Subscribe to our K Advisor newsletter at plasticstoday.com/newsletters to receive more updates on the show and the technology there.


New controls make operators smile; high-end hybrid, and more
The stand of injection molding machine manufacturer Arburg has not moved an inch from its established 13A13 placement, but the company has made definite strides in the past years. Among novelties being brought to the big show is the company’s newest version of its Selogica control system featuring completely new operator guidance.

For its new Selogica Assistant, Arburg has dedicated a separate part of its stand to show a system that goes beyond machine sequences into full production systems, encompassing all peripherals, including six-axis robotics and their programming. Menu-guided “teaching” functions are provided for the entire mold sequence to guide the operators during setup. Taking only five logical steps to create an entire cycle sequence, the Selogica Assistant allows very fast setup and does not require the operator to be familiar with every detail of the control system.

Also on display is the new Allrounder 920 H, offering hybrid high performance by way of a newly designed servoelectric toggle-clamping unit. The machine, with 500 tonnes of clamp force, adds a high-performance hybrid to the top end of the company’s Hidrive Series. The machine at K has a size 4600 hydraulic injection unit and features adaptive hydraulic accumulator technology. It will demo a packaging application in a mold that includes collapsing cores and multiple demolding slides.

At K 2007 the company’s highlight was a cell molding and assembling complete functional LED light strips, and a similar high-end application seems certain to grab great attention at this show. This time it will be molding of a rotation angle encoder—three components with inserted magnetic sensors—assembled within the machine system, which also includes magnetizing the molded magnet. The new Selogica system ensures the three injection units and the robotic system are all integrated into a smooth, single process. Arburg, Stand 13A13

Twenty presses, market focus, ?cool applications
Its own stand will house 11 of the machines, and nine partner firms throughout the fairgrounds will ensure visitors have plenty of opportunities to see an Engel machine.

For automotive molders, the Austrian manufacturer will be processing a molded polyamide steering column reinforced with organic sheet, rather than the traditional steel or aluminum, made in a three-robot manufacturing cell centered on an Engel duo 2050/500 pico. Organic sheet is a specialty of Bond Laminates, which embeds a thin fabric of glass or carbon fibers into a thermoplastic matrix. Another automotive application will include one of Engel’s e-motion 280 T units, running the company’s “clearmelt” process to back-inject a wood-look film with a thermoplastic carrier, and then cover the part with a transparent PUR layer.

In the telectronics area, a brand-new fully electric Engel e-insert 310V/100 is molding polyamide sensor housings with metal inserts in a four-cavity mold, and the company will have two new packaging systems in operation. For cap and closure molders, the company will run a 96-cavity mold from Swiss moldmaker Schöttli on one of its fully electric e-cap presses, with cycles promised to be sub-3 seconds. Processors of thin-walled packaging and those interested in IML can see an e-motion press molding tubes plus PP caps in a four-cavity mold using a rotary cube, and a second moving unit on the moving platen. The first cycle molds the tubes; the second cycle makes the caps, with inmold labeling included.

The company also will have lines running medical and technical applications. Engel, Stand 15B42

Prevent scratches and keep track of energy consumption
German processing machine manufacturer KraussMaffei partnered with acrylic (PMMA) supplier Evonik Röhm to develop a one-shot series production method for components with scratch- and chemical-proof coatings, replacing up to 14 steps with only one for coated injection molded parts processing. Called CoverForm, the process (as we’ve previously reported) involves the injection molding of a PMMA part where a functional layer in thickness of 10-100 µm is applied in the mold immediately following injection.

CoverForm is a single inmold production process, ending with demolding and quality inspection. Both companies see application areas centering on automotive parts, household appliances, and mobile phones. Evonik developed a special material pairing a Plexiglas CF compound for the substrate with a solvent-free, acrylate-based, two-component reactive system for the coating. KraussMaffei, which is running a cell with the process at its booth, optimized its small-volume metering unit to dispense the liquid reactive system into the cavity of the mold, which is mounted on a CX 200-750 hybrid injection molding machine.
Meanwhile, the new Energy Analysis Tool (EAT) from KraussMaffei enables processors to determine how much power their injection molding presses are using, without a time lag. The monitoring module is installed in the switch cabinet of the press; once the software is activated, the module is ready to operate. The unit collects data on the specific energy requirements of mold opening and closing, plasticating, injection and holding pressure, as well as barrel heating. This enables an operator to trace the effect of changing machine settings on energy consumption. KraussMaffei, Stand 15C24; Evonik, Stand 6B28

Hybrid machines replacing ?hydraulic line
Two new injection presses from Swiss machine builder Netstal, Elion 2200 and 2800 Hybrid, are set to take over as workhorses for large-sized injection molding as the company plans to gradually phase out its well-established SynErgy line of hydraulic units. The two new hybrid units offer electrically driven mold closing, hybrid injection units with electrical metering drives, energy-optimized drive modules, and more flexible programmable controls, says company CEO Bernhard Merki.

Each machine offers users the choice of size 1000, 2000, and 2900 injection units, each with multiple screw diameter choices. Netstal says the two new Elions outclass the current best solutions for thin-wall, high-precision molding by needing as little as half the energy, offering cycles less than 2 seconds (dry cycle is 1.3 and 1.4 seconds, respectively), doubling output per floor space, and lowering investment by as much as 30% for a given amount of yearly output.

During K 2010 an Elion 2800 hybrid with Ilsemann automation will run a six-cavity Glaroform flowerpot mold on a sub-2-second cycle, and an Elion 2200 will process closures in a 64-cavity Corvaglia mold on a 2.1-second cycle. They offer clamping force of, respectively, 2200 and 2800 kN and have opening strokes of 608 and 657 mm. The company claims that the repeatability of these two units is 10 times better than existing hydraulic injection molding equipment on the market.

Netstal’s stand also will include a PET-Line Plastform 2000 system molding PET preforms in a 60-cavity Hofstetter tool, an Elion 1750 with Waldorf automation making a medicine closure in a 96-cavity Schöttli mold, and a demonstration of the new Netstal Remote Service. Elion machines will also be in operation on the stands of Glaroform, Ilsemann, and Hekuma. Netstal, Stand 15D24

Haitian adding new machines
Haitian, the world’s largest manufacturer of injection molding machinery based on number of machines made annually, has its sights set even higher, according to CTO Helmar Franz. “Our goal remains to be the largest injection molding machine manufacturer in number of machines made and sales . . . we think we’re number three or four in sales now. We predict we’ll be number one in the next three years,” said Franz at a pre-K press event.

How does it hope to get there? New machines at the K will shed some light on that. The show will be the official launch pad for Haitian’s new Mercury series of all-electric machines, which will be available with clamp forces ranging from 300-5000 kN. These will be made at the company’s headquarters in Ningbo as well as in its facility in Germany.

Also introduced at the show will be the Mars Eco range of presses, a machine for standard applications that will be priced about 50% below comparable European-made machines, said Franz. On top of the success in the company’s home market, he said the company’s machines also are proving themselves in processing facilities around the globe. Haitian, Stand 15A41

Cool line for hot IT technology
Injection molding machine maker Billion will be demonstrating molding of SD data storage cards at K 2010. A 2+2-cavity mold from Polar-Form (Lahr, Germany) will be running on a 50-ton Billion Select H80-50 machine, the smallest in a line of all-electric presses that tops out at 400 tons. An 18-mm screw feeds the polycarbonate and a closed mold cooling system enables 8-second cycles. The compact (296-by-246-by-316-mm) mold allows mounting on smaller injection machines.

When in production at Polar-Form, an inline assembly unit joins the upper and lower shells of the SD card, explaining the 2+2 configuration. The mold design also separates the sprue from the parts during holding time. The mold and the conveyor under the toggle operate in a clean environment, and the cell also may be fitted with a laminar flow box for certification to ISO Class 6 cleanliness. Billion, Stand 15B24

Husky to enter all-electric market at K with preform and medical machines
Long associated with fully hydraulic, and more recently, hybrid hydraulic and electric technology for injection molding machines, Husky Injection Molding Systems will unveil two new all-electric injection molding systems at the K, with one targeting PET preform molders and the other for medical applications.

In the case of the PET system, John Galt, Husky’s president and CEO, said that his company has applied its beverage packaging experience to develop a small, efficient, and low-maintenance all-electric press that is purpose-built for PET preform manufacturing, adding, “This system will more effectively meet the needs of customers in emerging markets and low-volume or custom producers in more mature economies.”

The H-PET AE system is intended to complement Husky’s market-leading PET preform product line, the HyPET, which is based on its hybrid Hylectric platform, saying it will offer a high level of quality and performance, but in a smaller size. The machine will run Husky’s Polaris PC-based controls.

Also at K, Husky will premiere the H-MED AE (all-electric), which it’s calling a new medical injection molding system. The company had long fought the perception that because of the possibility of particulate contamination, hybrid and hydraulic presses weren’t suited for the cleanroom molding of medical applications. It presented studies on the matter, and like other machine makers, altered presses intended for cleanroom use to minimize the opportunity for contamination. Now, the company has entered the all-electric ring.

“H-MED AE is a completely integrated, cleanroom-compatible, all-electric system that will offer the speed, quality, and control demanded by medical customers,” Galt said, “as well as the precision and repeatability they need.” Here, too, Husky stressed that the H-MED AE will offer the same level of quality and high performance as hybrid predecessors from the Canadian firm, but in a smaller size. It will also run Polaris Controls. Husky, Stand 13A59

Do touch the inmold labels
They’re not just a pretty face on a package; label supplier Kurz Group offers films for inmold decoration that couple visual and tactile appeal. Using such labels could eliminate the need for texturing of the mold surface. The company notes that demand for tactile, structured surfaces on auto interior components is increasing, usually combined with metallic designs.

At the K, the company is showing a patented surface finish with a structural depth around 20 µm, which is deep enough to be noticeably tangible as well as visually apparent. Beyond automotive and also at the stand will be several solutions for decorating electronic mobile devices, notebook computers being one product for which Kurz has developed a range of pigmented, metalized, and metallic surface designs. Available in a variety of colors and tones, these finishes can have a glossy, matte, or supermatte finish.

Kurz also has developed NCVM (nonconductive vacuum-metalized) film that will not shield a mobile phone or notebook antennas. Kurz predicts demand for these is only going to increase due to the trend towards mass customization—a trend molders can meet with shorter runs and these films, switching one design for the next, without the need for mold texturing. Kurz, Stand 5A19

Electric to hydraulic and ?everything in between
Negri Bossi’s lineup for the K show includes new additions to an already-broad injection machine offering, some of them synergizing technology from parent company Sacmi, especially with concern to automation. The newest product line is the company’s all-electric machine series, which is being called “Full injection.” Performance features include injection speed to 230 mm/sec, an innovative belt transmission, and a touch-screen control with algorithmic calculation for precision movement.
One production cell in the Negri Bossi display is based on a VH 1500 machine from its BiPower range and includes a shelf-mounted robot from Gaiotto Automation, another Sacmi Group company. The BiPower Series has a two-platen clamp featuring locking systems on the tiebars and pistons on the moving platen for tonnage. Negri Bossi says its new VSE hydraulic injection machine series on display will save 15%-45% of the energy used by traditional hydraulic designs, yet improve performance by about 20% with features such as closed-loop control of the pressure and delivery rate of the variable cylinder pump, and a quick-change plasticating unit that can be substituted in a matter of minutes.

Even the Janus series of hybrid machines, which NB calls the top of its range, has a new modular concept that allows flexible setup for a specific application. The 330-ton Janus running a furniture component at the K will include an NB Flash robot handling unloading and palletizing. Negri Bossi, Stand 15B22

Power for your process
Injection molding machine maker Wittmann Battenfeld has adopted the name “Power” across its product lines: EcoPower for its all-electric machines, MicroPower for its micromolding systems, and MacroPower for its large machines. Yes, Wittmann Battenfeld is again making large presses.
 
A common feature of all the machines is the Unilog B6 control system, which offers full control not only of the molding machines but also of all integrated peripheral equipment. This runs under Windows XP, which facilitates integrating the machines in Internet-based service support systems. The MicroPower units are available with clamp force of 5 or 15 tons and are based on a full-electric modular machine system featuring a two-step injection unit, a screw for plastication, and a plunger for injection. Shot volumes range from 0.05-3 cm3.

During K, a MicroPower 15/3 fitted out as a complete production cell will produce a micro plug in a two-cavity mold on a 3.8-second cycle, move it via a Wittmann robot to a camera inspection system integrated into the machine control, and then separate the parts by cavity and stack them in a stacking module.

FlexSafe allows a robot’s working areas to be defined, and ACD automatically activates for speeds below 250 mm/sec. The ACD function offers an adjustable torque moment control for horizontal motions, and it is permanently activated in the background and instantaneously recognizes any torque increase on motors.

The R8 control’s SmartRemoval screen will also be available on the W827 and W837 side-entry robots. SmartRemoval uses mold open to gauge initial acceleration of the robot into the tool. Once the complete mold-open position is reached, the robot accelerates without delay to its maximum velocity. Independent of the machine, SmartRemoval can cut removal time by up to 15%.

MacroPower marks the company’s return to larger machines, and a 1000-ton model will be on Wittmann Battenfeld’s stand at K 2010. The system is modular in design to meet a variety of application configurations, with key features being short footprint, speed, precision, and cleanliness. Wittmann Battenfeld, Stand 16D22

Thin walls in focus, plus color ?gradation technology
Coinjection equipment supplier Kortec Inc. will display new shapes and styles of high-barrier, thin-wall, multilayer food containers at K 2010, and also will display its multilayer color gradation technology (MCGT) for the first time at K. This technology allows for molded-in-color aesthetics to be added to clear PET bottles.

The company introduced its new multilayer molding technology in 2009. “We have continued to develop our thin-wall multilayer packaging technology,” says Russell Bennett, Kortec VP sales and marketing. Kortec says interest in the technology is high, including from brand owners producing waters, sparkling beverages, and liquors.

These bottles can be produced with or without a barrier layer, according to Bennett. The multilayer bottles are produced of three layers of plastic: inner and outer layers of clear PET with a colored barrier layer of EVOH or other material. “The colored layer can be adjusted for color intensity depending on the application,” he says. Kortec Inc., Stand 13D59

Innovation ? la carte on the menu
That’s what is being promised at the stand of Ferromatik Milacron. The house specialty is the new F-Series, with a modular design that allows it to be configured for any taste, with buyers selecting the features they need. In total, there are three machines on the menu for the K show.

For starters, there’s the F 160. Starting in 2011, the F-Series will gradually replace the existing Ferromatik Milacron series, including the all-electric (Elektra), hydraulic (K-Tec), and hybrid (Vitesse) machines. Once the product launch is complete, the F-Series will be available in 10 clamping force sizes from 500-6500 kN, aimed at the packaging, consumer goods, and medical technology industries. The “F” stands for Ferromatik.

Modular construction of the F-Series means molders can combine individual modules and also have a choice of electric or hydraulic drives, and can choose to mix and match for each machine axis. At the show, Ferromatik Milacron will run an F 160 (clamping force 1600 kN) processing polypropylene packaging on a two-cavity mold from Italian moldmaker Incos in a cycle time of 6 seconds.

Also new at the K is the Ferromatik Milacron robot FMR 8-5 Advanced, which will remove and stack the parts. Sweden’s Wemo is making these for the injection molding machinery company. Controls for the robot are fully integrated with the Mosaic machine controls. The new robots are available in six sizes, with basic and advanced versions.

Ferromatik also will have a Vitesse 300 running as part of a complete production cell. The 3000-kN press will mold labeled rectangular lids with a 4+4-cavity stack mold in a cycle time of 5 seconds. For a new twist on IML, in one parting line in the stack mold four PP lids labeled with PP labels from Belgium label supplier Verstraete will be produced. In the second parting line, four lids with paper labels from Engelhardt will be molded.

A third press in operation, an Elektron 75, illustrates the company’s global reach. The machine is based on the technologies used in the established all-electric Elektra Series from Ferromatik Milacron in Malterdingen, Germany. Its Indian affiliate contributed to the engineering of the new machine, and assembly for it is done by Milacron China.

The Elektron is now available through Ferromatik Milacron as an “economy model” in eight clamping force sizes from 500-3300 kN. Machines are shipped directly from Milacron China to customers. The one at the K will produce PP business card cases in a 12-second cycle using a mold and hot runner from DME. Of special note is the Quick Strip ejection, with part ejection automatic with the mold opening, without requiring the machine ejector. Ferromatik Milacron, Stand 15C06 [email protected]

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