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Injection molding: Arburg, Trexel team up for MuCell offering

In an agreement between German injection molding machine manufacturer Arburg and Trexel, the licenser of the MuCell process, Arburg's customers now can purchase a turnkey injection molding system including the MuCell processing hardware directly from the molding machine maker, without the need to acquire a separate license or pay extra license fees.

Trexel executed a similar reselling agreement with plastics processing machinery manufacturer KraussMaffei last year. According to Trexel (Woburn, MA), the reseller agreement has helped accelerate the use of the technology by plastics processors, especially among ones serving the automotive, packaging, electronics and appliance industries.

Under terms of the new agreement, Trexel will provide Arburg with supercritical foam (SCF) gas dosing hardware for those customers who opt to have a MuCell-enabled press. The rights to use Trexel's patent portfolio are automatically transferred with purchase of MuCell hardware; this applies to all Trexel hardware purchases, regardless if bought through Arburg or directly from Trexel. "Arburg was an early adopter of the MuCell process, and our company has been a Trexel licensee since 2001," said Herbert Kraibühler, managing director technology & engineering at Trexel. "Arburg offers a strong applications engineering group, and we're used to bringing technology solutions to our customers. Our global sales organization will promote and sell turnkey MuCell injection molding systems."

In the past, as a regular licensee of the technology, Arburg was licensed to provide its customers with a MuCell-enabled machine and the right to grant sublicenses to their customers. However, the molder/ end user had to purchase a Series II or III SCF gas dosing system from Trexel, and to then coordinate installation of this.

MuCell is a process developed at MIT whereby supercritical nitrogen or carbon dioxide is injected into the plasticizing unit of an injection molding machine to create a microcellular material structure in the end product. The process, says Trexel, helps a processor to form plastic parts with significantly enhanced dimensional stability, lower weight/less material and reduced cycle time

Last month Trexel sold its 70% stake in MuCell Extrusion to the owner of the other 30%, foamed sheet processor Zotefoams. As a result, the processor now owns the rights to use the process in foamed extrusion applications.

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