Clamping force booster enables processors to employ smaller injection machines for larger parts

Plastic processors with idle capacity on their smaller injection press and sufficient daylight to mount larger molds may find a device dubbed Ironjaw a useful tool for maximizing machine utilization and revenue. The device has pedigree in that one of the two co-founders of Ironjaw is Alex Guichard, who is also the founder and CEO of the well-known RocTool start-up, specializing in heating & cooling systems for plastic injection tools. The Founder & CEO of Ironjaw is Bruno Machet, who has extensive experience in industry (plastic injection, tooling) and management, and has worked over 17 years in the automotive industry.

Ironjaw devices run off the injection machine’s hydraulics and in the most basic iteration, two units are fitted to either side of the injection tool at the vertical parting lines. When the injection tool closes, two external “cores” are actuated to physically clamp across each parting line and secure the tool, thereby boosting available clamping force. Zero cycle time is lost during this clamping processes as the Ironjaw cores can be deactivated during the melt cooling phase.

Ironjaw clamping force boost devices offer processors the option of using smaller machines for larger jobs.

Pricing starts at 15.500 ($19,000) for an S (small) kit of two devices and Ironjaw reports return on investment (ROI) of 3–12 months with an average of six months. “We were able to quantify this average gain based on the results of the first converters to use our technology. With a return on investment in less than 6 months, an average gain of €10,000 per month and per injection machine gives our customers a real competitive edge,” explains Ruben Costa, Ironjaw’s Industrial Manager.

“For example, if a converter uses a 160-ton injection machine instead of a 320-ton machine to produce the same part with the same mold, the hourly rate is considerably reduced,” explains Rui Miranda, Business Development Manager at Ironjaw. One particular customer in fact employed two medium-size Ironjaw kits on a 160-tonne press, in doing so doubling clamping force to 320 tonnes and enjoying a payback of four months.

Ironjaw has to date been outfitted on injection machines from 100 to 6000 tonnes in clamping force, with up to four kits used per mold. Another processor, this time with an 1800-tonne press, utilized four large Ironjaw units and benefited from a payback of 11 months through a 28% boost in clamping force to 2300 tonnes.

The savings achieved can vary according to the injection machine equipment, its energy cost, its level of automation, and the number of hours the machine is used. For example, if a converter saves €25/hour thanks to Ironjaw and uses the machine for 400 hours per month, a saving of €10,000 per month and per machine can be achieved. If the machine is used for 600 hours a month, the saving is €15,000 per month. Additional benefits of employing Ironjaw according to the company are reduce or no flash, lower maintenance requirements, less factory space required, and the option of using lower cost resins of higher viscosity.

Ironjaw technology boosts clamp tonnage by up to +60% depending on the configuration. It is compatible with all brands and types of plastic injection machine and with all plastics, including recycled materials. “Our customers often come to us looking for an alternative to buying a bigger plastic injection machine after gaining a new contract. They quickly realize that Ironjaw technology enables them to reduce production costs for all parts and all machines. When used on all of their machines, it has a significant impact on investments and operating costs,” concludes Bruno Machet, Founder & CEO of Ironjaw.

Ironjaw operates a European Demo Center at  Bourget-Du-Lac, France; with the closest international airports being Lyon and Geneva (Switzerland). The next scheduled demo days are 17–18 January, 14–15 February, and| 21–22 March 2018.

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