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K 2010 Preview: Injection molding, molds & tooling

Time to prepare for the industry’s largest trade show, K 2010, which starts late next month in Dьsseldorf, Germany. For the scoop on how to get there, where to stay, and more, visit our K Channel online at k.plasticstoday.com.

MPW Staff

September 9, 2010

14 Min Read
K 2010 Preview: Injection molding, molds & tooling

For the scoop on some of the new equipment that will debut at the show, read on. The selections represent just a few of the developments, but give you a taste of what you can look forward to seeing there. Our October issue will be devoted to the show and the novelties awaiting you, including all of the new materials and additives, even more injection molding and extrusion equipment, blowmolding and thermoforming lines, and much more.

Don’t like to wait? Subscribe to our K Advisor e-newsletter at plasticstoday.com/newsletters to get weekly updates. No matter what you do, be prepared to make the most of this once-every-three-year event. It remains the single most technology-intensive event in our industry.

Injection molding
With new hybrid, aiming high 
in packaging market
Injection molding machine manufacturer Sumitomo (SHI) Demag is bringing its newest machine type, dubbed the El-Exis SP. On the surface little has changed from the company’s established El-Exis models, but peer inside the control and you’ll find some interesting new tools. That is according to Andreas Schramm, GM for application technology at the company, which is based in Schwaig, Germany. In 2008 Japan’s Sumitomo acquired the German firm Demag, and this new range is a direct result of close work between engineers at both companies, said Christian Renners, Schramm’s colleague and GM for sales.

During a customer event earlier this summer, and then during a pre-K event for the trade press, one of the first machines from the new range, a 300-kN version, was running a 72-cavity mold from Austria’s KTW for HDPE water bottle closures. Processors at the K show will see the press running the same application there; output is above 100,000 closures/hr.

The manufacturer has offered hybrid machines for some years, with hydraulics used to power the injection side of the press. This new SP (speed and performance) range will be offered with machines sized between 150 and 750 tonnes clamp force. What is new on this range? Schramm told MPW that the most significant changes all are focused on letting molders set the acceleration higher while also ensuring improved mold stability—or maybe more accurately, finding the correct balance between acceleration and mold braking.

For the user, the ability to set these variables comes on p. 10 of the machine’s control; this page is reserved for the mold on all of the company’s machines. For the SP range, the page has additional input choices for a user to set acceleration and for mold braking, based on the application. For an inmold-labeled part, for instance, acceleration must be high but mold braking likely is more critical. A thin-walled yogurt cup to be labeled or printed after molding could be run at higher acceleration rates.

During the event for the trade press, Sumitomo Demag officials made clear that they believe much of the future demand from the injection molding machine market will be for all-electric machines, but Schramm says hybrid machines still prove the best option for high-speed, thin-walled applications. All-electric presses have trouble molding parts with length/wall thickness ratios above 150, he explained, whereas the SP presses are able to successfully mold parts on which this ratio exceeds 300 and even up to 500. Sumitomo Demag, Stand 15D22

Flexibility to the fore with new 
aXos control unit
Making its debut at K 2010 is a twin-screen control unit, called aXos, from injection molding machine manufacturer Netstal. The upper screen includes a membrane keyboard for manual operation to show status, axis positions, and user-specific markings while the lower screen’s main innovations include a free programmable sequence editor so a processor can build his own customized process sequence and will not have to rely on Netstal engineers to create a program specifically for his molding operation. It also includes an auxiliary control definition page.

“Today our machines have a fixed sequence that can be influenced with a parameter set of more than 15,000 parameters,” says Patrick Blessing, head of R&D at the company. “With aXos, our customers are free to program any sequence their process requires without limitation. Any inconsistencies in the program will be highlighted before activation.” Below both screens is a foldable keyboard, including trackball manipulator.

The lower screen provides icon-driven information about production and a message bar to enter parameters. This control will be standard on the company’s new hybrid Elion 2200 (220 tonnes clamp force) and 2800 presses, which will be ready for delivery some time in the first quarter of next year. Blessing says down the road the company plans to offer the control as a retrofit on its Elion and Evos machines already in the market. Netstal, Stand 15D24

Magnetic clamping to 
speed mold changes
Hilma-Roemheld GmbH will showcase its latest developments in magnetic clamping technology for rapid mold changing at K 2010. Among other things, the company will present four new models of magnetic clamping plates suitable for different temperatures, special systems for vertical presses, and a new control system.

Hilma has extended its range of products to include special elements for the processing of plastics at low temperatures and using vertical presses. Four new magnetic clamping plates are designed for working temperatures of up to 80°C, 120°C, 180°C, or 230°C. Users can select the one appropriate to their application and to the requirements of the materials processed.

The system designed for vertical molding presses is awaiting approval by the TUV, and will be shown for the first time at K 2010. Hilma’s electromagnetic clamping elements help molders to change even nonstandardized injection molds rapidly, it says.

Hilma has also revised the control system for its magnetic clamping plates in accordance with new regulations designed to minimize any risk. Hilma-Roemheld GmbH, Stand 11B78

New modules enhance control 
over process variables
Injection molding process control systems expert RJG Inc.’s eDart System has three software modules. These allow processors to use in-cavity pressure and temperature sensors to see what’s happening in the mold, discover which parameters are essential for product quality, and automatically divert rejected parts. But the company has recognized that it is not practical to put cavity pressure sensors into every mold all at once.

The next best thing is to monitor a machine and material and make corrections in a systematic way, which it says now can be done with the eDart conx software module. It provides users the ability to view machine conditions and verify that a process is running to the established setup and is repeatable.

In addition, the eDart apex gives users all the features of the conx and flx in one system, and reduces scrap and processing time. All eDarts (whether flx, conx, or apex software) will show up on a system overview screen. This screen indicates each machine’s status and how much it has deviated from the process that should be running. Once a process “template” is established, the eDart sends a record of any deviations in machine speeds and pressures from that template to the overview. A quick scan through the overview screen notifies the user of any processes that aren’t being run to their established setup. RJG Inc., Stand 10D29

Clamping systems make for 
quick changeovers
Magnetic clamping systems—both hydraulic and mechanical such as magnetic clamping—have become popular for quick mold changeovers, and exhibitor EAS has several new products to make these systems more user friendly and flexible for many types of injection molds.

EAS has focused on its magnetic clamping systems since taking over the magnetic clamping division for injection molding machines from Walker-Braillon in 2005. In December 2008 EAS opened its own magnetic systems manufacturing plant in Wujiang, China. For the K show the company is unveiling the EAS-y-MAG line, available for molding machines with 50, 70, 100, 150, and 200 tons clamping force. The sizes and patterns are compatible with both European and U.S. standards. The EAS-y-MAG system is based on the company’s Pressmag SP 100 system, using square magnetic poles of 47 by 47 mm.

EAS has also developed magnetic clamping systems for high-temperature applications. Called the Pressmag SP 150 line, it uses a different alloy of permanent magnets to increase the maximum working temperature to 150°C.

For injection molding machines with an opening force above 400 tons, EAS has its Long Pole magnetic clamping system, the Pressmag HP. This system uses rectangular poles instead of square poles. The advantage of this concept is the ability of the magnetic poles to convey the full magnetic flux, creating a higher holding force compared to square pole systems, explains the company.

For hydraulic clamping systems, EAS has a new clamp line for machines with T-slotted platens. The clamps can be moved in the T-slots either manually or by pneumatic cylinders. The clamp is without position sensors, but the company notes that the clamp function can be monitored by checking the hydraulic pressure. EAS Europe BV, Stand 10D42

Molds & tooling
New products help you mold faster and better
Hasco, a supplier of injection moldmaking equipment, offers toolmakers a means to manufacture injection molds more quickly, while being more economical and with reliable service. The company’s established prehardened steel Toolox33 is now available as an undrilled P-plate, as a finished cavity plate in K-20 quality, or as K-252 with finish machining allowances in the system drillings.
Demolding parts is made easier with Hasco’s wide range of latch locking units, two-stage ejectors, transmission elements, and collapsible cores. The new ejector set cover Z1216 protects the ejector set against dust and foreign particles, reducing downtimes during production.

The company also offers a range of cooling elements to dissipate heat from a mold’s cavity to optimize cycle times. The product line starts with a wide range of hoses and connections, through spiral cores and diverting elements. The company also has added two new control units to its hot runner systems range. Hasco, Stand 1A23

Wear-resistant coatings 
for feedscrews
Extreme Coatings, a service of Surface Engineering & Alloy Company Inc. of St. Petersburg, FL, offers tungsten carbide coatings to improve the wear resistance of plasticating feedscrews, parallel and conical twin feedscrews, and continuous mixing rotors. During the K show the company will provide visitors an opportunity to see samples of tungsten and chromium carbide coatings, as well as exhibits that explain how carbides provide two to five times longer equipment life.

Curt Kadau, president of Surface Engineering & Alloy, explains that the company’s customers—the feedscrew manufacturers—“were seeking more wear-resistant materials from which to manufacture [plasticating] components. We took an existing idea and perfected it.”

Thermal spray application of hard carbides is the most cost-effective method to improve surface wear characteristics. However, says Kadau, “the difficulties have been coating adhesion, polishing the hard carbide material, and completing the work in a timely manner. We first determined why other coatings failed and corrected those errors, then developed a diamond polishing media to achieve a mirror finish. Lastly, we specialize in coating feedscrews so our work is complete in 10 days or less.”

The company had developed several types of coatings for various applications, including two thicknesses and complete encapsulation of a feedscrew surface. Because not everyone needed this level of protection, the company developed FliteGuard for extrusion screws that allows for coating of just the flight tops, and adds three to five times longer service life at a lesser cost, according to Greg Quinn, the company’s product manager.

For applications that require a metallurgical bond to protect a surface, it developed a fusible grade of coating that allows for a metallurgical bond after coating. The two materials become welded after high-temperature fusing. Extreme Coatings, Stand 13B91-5

Sweet surfaces for automotive, 
other parts
During K 2010, Swiss moldmaker Georg Kaufmann Formenbau AG will highlight the use of its molds for production of molded parts with functional surfaces (e.g. self-luminous, transparent, heatable, soft-touch) and/or with integrated capacitive sensors. Kaufmann has further improved its Duo Lamination process for back injection and back injection-compression molding, as well as designed and built a demonstration mold for a variety of applications.

Additionally, the company will present the adaptation of production solutions, which so far have been limited to the automotive industry, for similar plastics processing applications in other markets, such as furniture, sporting goods, and household appliances. The possibilities of functional surface design will be demonstrated at K 2010 with four surface ambience-related themes: Ambient Sensors, Ambient Touch, Ambient Lighting, and Ambient Surface.

Roger Kaufmann, head of development and sales, says, “Plastic components with functional surfaces and integrated capacitive sensors open up a whole new world of applications—not just in the automotive industry, but far beyond.” Georg Kaufmann, Stand 15C24

High-tech container molds make 
the rounds
Haidlmair, a mold manufacturer specializing in injection molds for packaging crates and housings, will showcase its mold technology in three stands at K 2010. The company stand will display new applications beyond container production, and highlight the benefits of Haidlmair mold systems for containers of all kinds, not just beverage cases or vegetable crates.

The company is working to expand its customer base to include molders of component carriers for household appliances or similar boxes for automotive components, such as auto fenders or door hatches. The company will also demonstrate molds for the production of rotating parts, specifically those with large dimensions.

Additionally, Haidlmair will have molds in production at the stand of Wittmann-Battenfeld (16D22), where a mold for a stackable folding box sized 500 by 400 by 193 mm will be demonstrated. At Arburg (13A13), a molding cell running a Haidlmair tool will process a thin-wall design container with a complex structured surface. The part’s free-form geometry includes undercuts both inside and out. Haidlmair, Stand 12E49-6

DME Europe showcases a broad 
variety of products
DME, via its European subsidiary, will show visitors a wide range of DME products and services, including its new Quick Ship program that the company promises will bring a new standard range of 27 series of mold bases at the lowest price on the market. The Quick Ship standard not only offers the basic mold plates, but also a variety of alternative low-cost plates, including a range of P-plates.

DME–Europe recently became the exclusive distributor for Cumsa, a Spanish producer of technical standard mold components, in Great Britain. Cumsa’s products include slides and ejection and cooling items. Due to their small dimensions, they can easily be changed on the mold.

Additionally, DME now offers four new metric sizes of its Black and Gold top interlocks and six new metric sizes of side interlocks. These interlocks ensure accurate alignment and guidance of the mold halves during mold setup and throughout mold operation. “Black and Gold interlocks provide our customers with a better way to ensure consistent quality parts every time,” says Bob Starr, director of marketing at DME.

DME has also extended its standard hot runner product range. The new Polimax nozzles, for example, are available in different lengths from 50-500 mm for a shot weight of up to 3000g. The new Polifast nozzles for parts up to 50g come with a variety of tips, and the new Policosmetic nozzles are designed for specific applications that require cosmetic appearance such as those for the packaging industry. DME, Stand 01C25

Keeping a lid on closure molds
Mold manufacturer KTW will showcase its molds in three stands at this year’s K show. In addition to its own exhibition stand, KTW will have production molds in the stands of machinery manufacturers Wittmann-Battenfeld and Sumitomo-Demag.

KTW wants to show how it has evolved from an exclusive manufacturer of closure tools into an integrated technology and systems partner. The company provides closure development, including coordination with filling and capping equipment, performance specifications for injection molding systems, application technology consulting services, and the handling of complete turnkey installations. KTW makes molds for processing a wide variety of closures.

KTW recently entered into a partnership with Ritemp Technologies as a way to help its customers increase energy efficiency in production through the development and application of new cooling methods. At K 2010, KTW together with Ritemp will present their alternative cooling process to a wider audience.

At Wittmann-Battenfeld’s stand (16D22), KTW will feature the simultaneous production and assembly of a two-part, multifunctional closure for cooking oil bottles. The closure integrates a pulltab to open the spout, and the spout has an integrated flow retarder, as well as a sealing system. The closure consists of the base, molded of white LDPE, and the associated screw cap made of PP. The mold is a 16-by-16-cavity stack mold with three mold-open heights and two spin-stack modules in combination with a Wittmann Battenfeld molding machine.

At Sumitomo Demag’s stand (15D22), a 72-cavity mold for a PET bottle closure will be running in an El-Exis SP 300/2500 press. The HDPE threaded cap, with tamper ring for noncarbonated mineral water, weighs 1.6g and is formed in a cycle time of 2.6 seconds. KTW, Stand 1A10

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