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Injection molds truly are amazing machines. Every time you think you’ve seen it all, something new comes along and we’re amazed again. Boucherie, a Belgium-based manufacturer of machinery for brush manufacturing and injection molds for consumer, medical and engineering products, recently introduced a completely new multi-component mold: Flexi-Cube.

Clare Goldsberry

May 2, 2013

3 Min Read
Flexi-Cube: new concept for high-volume, high-tech mold commercialized

Injection molds truly are amazing machines. Every time you think you’ve seen it all, something new comes along and we’re amazed again. Boucherie, a Belgium-based manufacturer of machinery for brush manufacturing and injection molds for consumer, medical and engineering products, recently introduced a completely new multi-component mold: Flexi-Cube.
   
The first mold of this type, developed for one of Boucherie’s (www.boucherie.com) customers to produce a three-component handle, was delivered to the customer. The 24 x 4-cavity Flexi-Cube mold is a five-station mold:

  • Station 1: 24 cavities for the injection of the first material

  • Station 2: cooling

  • Station 3: 24 cavities for the injection of the second component

  • Station 4: 24 cavities for the injection of the third component

  • Station 5: outside the mold for product ejection or removal during an active molding cycle


Although the three-component handle has a relatively large wall thickness, the Flexi-Cube mold achieves an overall cycle time of 15 seconds.

Boucherie_9-7-12_40162.jpg

The core of the mold is a stack design with a central stationary cube (an oval shape when looked at from the top) which contains a solid track around the base of the core. The cavity "stations" are linked by a transport system that travels around the cube on a track on which holders are moved by means of servo motors, allowing the holders to travel different distances.

That means that the number of stations, their individual positions, and their function can be selected as needed, resulting in maximum mold layout flexibility. This gives the customer the flexibility of moving the part in whatever position that makes sense and provides very fast transfer times.   
   
Versions for four or more components can be built with or without intermediate cooling stations between injection stations where required, or with one or more ejection stations or positions where pre-made structures can be insert-molded. Because the technology is flexible, various configurations can be designed including simple, two-component molding with maximum cavitation in a stack configuration, or combined with other functions.
   
Simple applications include two-component molding, with maximum cavitation in a stack configuration, or combined with any of the functions described above.
   
Because the central cube is stationary, the interface with the injection molding machine can be kept simple. It is comparable to a conventional stack mold in this respect. The stationary central cube also allows for an ample supply of cooling water, compressed air, electric, etc. without the need for delicate rotating couplings.
   
The valve gate hot runner system comes standard with a hydro-mechanical activation system for the valve pins, a system Boucherie has been using for in the molds it builds for over 15 years. Additionally, all necessary motion controls for the servo motors are designed and programmed in-house by Boucherie specialists and come in a separate control box with the mold as one, fully integrated package.

Boucherie, founded in 1928, specializes in multi-component molds, and currently has approximately 500 of its high-volume multi-component molds running at OEMs around the world. The company calls itself “a leader in toothbrush production cells” and developed the first toothbrush production line in 1978.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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