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Engel to showcase variety of injection molding machines at Chinaplas 2013

Engel plans to display its new all-electric e-mac injection molding machine during Chinaplas 2013 (May 20-23; Guangzhou, China).

PlasticsToday Staff

April 3, 2013

5 Min Read
Engel to showcase variety of injection molding machines at Chinaplas 2013

Engel plans to display its new all-electric e-mac injection molding machine during Chinaplas 2013 (May 20-23; Guangzhou, China).

"The demand for compact, all-electric injection molding machines for components which need to have very precise dimensions is increasing," said Gero Willmeroth, head of sales and service at Engel Machinery in Shanghai. "The Engel e-mac helps us to meet these requirements in the best possible way." 

During the four days of the fair, an Engel e-mac 50/50 will produce holders for semiconductor chips made of polyetherimide, an application that poses an extremely tough challenge in terms of the injection molding machine's precision, according to Engel. The holders measure 26 by 23 mm, with a wall thickness of just 0.65 mm and the mesh structure with an inner edge length of 0.42 mm. Despite these exacting requirements and the hard-to-handle raw material, the Engel e-mac achieves a cycle time of just 19 seconds in this application, the company said.

With an acceleration of over 20 m/s², Engel says the injection axis of the e-mac is now the world's fastest of its kind. Additionally, the synchronous movements of the drive axes ensure fast cycle times.

Due to a compact footprint, the Engel e-mac can save shop floor space. From injecting and metering to mold and ejector movements, all drives in the Engel e-mac are servo-electric. They are operated by a modern axis system solution involving a stabilized intermediate circuit. The braking energy is recovered and fed back into the grid.

The Engel e-mac series has four machine sizes with clamping forces of 50, 75, 100 and 180 tonnes. Equipped with the proven CC 200 control unit, the Engel e-mac offers complete modularity and automation technology integration capability.

"The new machine series sees Engel reinforce its position as an all-round talent in the field of all-electric injection molding technology," the company said. "While the tried-and-trusted Engel e-motion machines have established themselves in medical technology and in fast running applications in the packaging industry, the Engel e-mac is an extremely economical alternative for applications in technical molding and the electronics industry."

Packaging exhibition area

An Engel e-motion 440/160 T will highlight Engel's packaging exhibition area at Chinaplas 2013. The all-electric injection molding machine will produce thin-wall margarine tubs in a 2-cavity mould. Due to integrated in-mold labeling, the unit costs are very low, asready-to-fill food packaging with high quality decorations is manufactured in a single step. The project partner for IML Automation is Campetella from Montecassiano, Italy.

"All-electric Engel e-motion injection molding machines are increasingly being deployed in high-performance applications in the packaging industry," Willmeroth said. "The consistent ongoing development of this model series is what makes this possible."

The latest generation of Engel e motion injection molding machines achieves cycle times of under 3 seconds and injection speeds of more than 500 mm per second.

Cockpit without buttons and switches

Engel is presenting what the company calls a particularly innovative form of foil back injection in its automotive exhibition section. Visitors to the fair can take a seat in the automobile cockpit of the future and experience how vehicles will be even easier to use than smartphones by simple touch, feel and interact controls (Engel showcased this technology at NPE2012)

"Thanks to capacitive sensors, we are already producing functional electronic elements with a totally closed, robust surface that do not need buttons or switches," Willmeroth said. "This trend provides for more ease of use of the application, giving the product designers a greater degree of freedom, and substantially reduces manufacturing costs thanks to the high degree of process integration."

Engel is demonstrating what this can look like in practical terms with the production of a center console in a highly-integrated and automated production cell on an Engel duo 2050/350 pico injection molding machine - equipped with ecodrive servohydraulics and a swivel plate. While a preformed capacitive foil is back injected with PC/ABS on one side of the mold, the basic component is coated with polyurethane on the other to protect the surface and give it a premium appearance.

Two Engel viper 20 and Engel viper 40 type linear robots will take care of the component and part handling. Starting with capacitive foils and plastic pellets, ready-for-use controls for the vehicle interior are thus produced in a single step, while traditional methods would involve individually injecting and then assembling several different components.

The technology, which Engel is marketing under the name of Sensitive Surface in cooperation with its system partners, is based, among other things, on the Engel clearmelt process, and the touchskin technology by plastic electronic in Linz, Austria. Other partners involved in this project are Hennecke in Sankt Augustin,Germany (polyurethane processing), Schöfer in Schwertberg, Austria (moldmaking) and Magna  Exterior & Interior Systems in Munich, Germany (application).

The Sensitive Surface Technology is not just targeting the automotive industry, inquiries have been received from the household appliances and medical technology industries, as well. 

Elastomer processing

Engel will demonstrating its competency in elastomer processing during Chinaplas 2013 by manufacturing dummies for babies in liquid silicone on an Engel victory 500/110 tech injection molding machine. 

"Fully-automated and post-processing-free - these are the most important specifications for producing mass products from elastomer materials," Willmeroth said. "This is why high-end production lines are increasingly being deployed in China for these applications."

To accommodate the production cell perfectly to match the product, volume and materials, Engel draws on its wide spectrum of hydraulic, hybrid and all-electric injection molding machines, as well as injection units, feeders and metering pumps specially developed for elastomer processing.

In many cases, tie-bar-less Engel victory injection molding machines offer benefits in LSR applications. The plate stiffness ensures superior mold support, thus reducing burr formation and improving the product quality. The Engel victory machine on show at Chinaplas uses cold runner technology. The 8-cavity mold was provided by Engel partner Elmet.

The Engel victory 110 tech injection molding machine was built at the Engel production facility for small-to-medium-sized machines in South Korea, which will be starting up production at its expanded production hall shortly before Chinaplas 2013.

The production capacity has been almost doubled from 650 to more than 1100 machines per year. It was just last year that Engel also substantially extended its large-scale machine plant in Shanghai. Both investments help to do justice to growth on domestic markets and increasing demand from South-East Asia.

"Thanks to decentralized production in Asia, we can assure our customers of short lead times and the accommodation of the injection molding machines and turnkey solutions to the specific requirements on site," Willmeroth said.

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