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Injection molding maintains presence at Plastec

Injection molding and the medical market, particularly in North America, remain linked in many important ways as recently evidenced by the presence key machinery suppliers at the Plastec portion of Canon Communications' collocated California shows (Feb. 9-11; Anaheim). Although less machinery suppliers made the trip to southern California, and not all those that did brought machines with them, a number of suppliers still turned out to support geographic and end markets seen as key to the industry's future in the states.

Negri Bossi's booth at the front of the hall featured a V85-300 Canbio press. The hydraulic machine features smart pump technology and has the versatility to run everything from "Ultem [Sabic's polyetherimide] through PVC", according to Bill Duff, Negri Bossi U.S.A.'s (New Castle, DE) national sales manager. At the show, the machine was molding a polypropylene medical component in a four-cavity mold from Cashmere Molding (Woodinville, WA). Duff said the machine was sold to ARC Plastics (Norwalk, CA) prior to the show, and after its time on the convention floor would be headed to the customer.

Removing parts from the machine was a conveyor from Axmann Conveying Inc. (Jeffersonville, IN), the U.S. division of the German business that is working to expand its sales in the U.S., with Plastec marking its first plastics show.

Down the aisle from Negri Bossi, was Sumitomo Demag, sharing a booth space with several other suppliers. The company ran an all-electric, SE75DU7. Initially introduced at NPE last summer, the 75-tonne (99 U.S. ton) press molded running a ½ c3 insulin syringe made from PP. The parts were formed in a 16-cavity mold from Cavaform International, with a hot runner system from Mold-Masters. Completed in a cycle time of less than 10 seconds, the parts were extracted by Yushin YA2 robot.

Engel chose to run a liquid silicone rubber (LSR) component at the show, bringing a 55-ton all-electric eMax to the show. The company molded a small suction cup in a four cavity mold from M.R. Mold & Engineering, with a cold-deck valve-gate set up for flash-free parts. The mold features vacuum to remove air from the cavities, since the flow properties of LSR precludes vents, with an air blow system used to help push the parts from the cavity. Steve Broadbent, Engel's LSR project engineer, told PlasticsToday that the eMax at the show was able to run with only a 12-mm screw, with Engel's all-electric design able to maintain the same refill/switch down positions.

A 2KM North America (Parry Sound, ON) metering unit supplied the A and B components of the LSR to the machine. New with this particular design was the fact that it too was all electric, making it particularly attractive for medical molders. According to 2KM's Richard McMurray, the meter has a volume counter that controls the shot size and stores data for quality control purposes.

Nissei America Inc. (Anaheim) brought a RC2 Series hybrid machine to its hometown show. The machine also ran a PP pipette, using a 32-cavity mold from Tanner. Stressing energy efficiency, the machine line's servopumps only fire when needed. Hitosha Yoda, Nissei America's president as of January told PlasticsToday that slower business in other industries had increased the company's exposure in medical. This machine also featured a Yushin robot. The RC2 Series, which was originally launched at last NPE, uses its ecovac shut down for what it says is a 14% faster takeout.

Milacron didn't have a machine at Plastec, but it did bring news, announcing an expansion of its Magna line with the Magna Toggle (MTH) compact hydraulic systems. Offered with a "significant reduction" in base price, according to Scott Merrill, Milacron VP of sales, the range extends from 35 to 400 tons. The line has a monotoggle version from 35-90 tons, with a 10-pin double-toggle configuration for presses from 125-400 tons. The MTH utilizes an electronically-controlled variable volume pump, with only two manifolds for the injection unit and clamp. The servomotor can vary from 0-3000 rpms in both directions, while the induction motor only goes to 1750 rpms.

One other machine did make it to Anaheim, although it took up table space versus floorspace. Alba Enterprises, exclusive U.S. distributor of the table-top BabyPlast injection molding machines, brought one of the diminutive units to the show. Available in horizontal configuration, as well as vertical alignment for insert molding, the machines can mold precision parts from 0.01-15g. 

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