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The biggest injection molding machine on the show floor at Plastimagen wasn't technically on the show floor. KraussMaffei's 1600-tonne MX 1600-55000, which was molding one half of an 1.2-by-1m (40-by-48-inch) HDPE pallet, was instead housed in a 400-sq-m tent jutting off the side of the Centro Banamex exposition center in Mexico City.

Tony Deligio

October 7, 2011

3 Min Read
KraussMaffei brings heavy metal to Mexico City with 1600-tonne injection molding machine

exposition center in Mexico City. Occupying what would normally be a loading area for the four-day Plastimagen show, the space was transformed by the Münich-based supplier of plastic-processing technology into a mini-exhibition within an exhibition.

The machine was already sold to Mexican molding firm Plásticos Panamericanos SA de CV and was to be delivered by truck 30-km north of Mexico City to that company's plant in Tultitlán. It was to be up and running only eight days after Plastimagen's close-a quick turnaround for the machine and auxiliaries that had arrived from Germany the week prior, with the entire cell and exhibition space built out for the show in only 10 days.

Gas-assist, injection tech reduce required clamp tonnage

Héctor Moreno, director general of KraussMaffei México, believed that the massive press was the largest live-operating injection molding machine ever presented at a Mexican expo and was the second biggest machine his company has run at a show in any country.

In theory, KraussMaffei should have needed a bigger tent to house the size machine that typically molds a part that size, in this case a 11-kg (24-plus lb) pallet. Given the part's surface area, 2000-tonnes of clamping force would normally be required. Moreno said two key technologies allowed KM to apply 20% less clamping force: gas-assist, with a Bauer compressor, and its HPS "high-performance plasticizing" injection unit technology that can accommodate a 32-kg shot size in high-impact polystyrene (HIPS).

The 200-mm (7.8-inch) diameter barrier screw allows high efficiency homogenization of melt, according to KM, saving up to 50% of the color masterbatch needed to color the parts (grey in this case), while reducing energy consumption. Adjacent to the massive machine was a floor-mounted Kuka IR 1500-11000 F /K six-axis robot, which pulled the pallet halves from the machine after they completed their 90-second cycle and placed them on a conveyor.

Total sourcing from power to pellet conveying

KM had to move the machine outside since its weight exceeded the expo center's capacity of 650 tonnes. In addition to a solid footing, the exterior space also gave it room to set up a material silo (Sycsa 20-ton), air compressors (Kaeser), water chiller (EcoChiller), and its own power supply in the form of a 1500-kw generator housed within a 40-ft shipping container. Alongside the machine, in addition to the Kuka robot and Bauer gas-assist technology, sat Koch Technik material handling equipment.

Moreno said the end-to-end sourcing, installation, and operation of the cell is reflective of the holistic approach to projects that it can bring to clients in Mexico, a country that can require such assistance.

"The challenge here in Mexico is service," Moreno said. "You have to plan everything, even your power supply. My challenge is to bring this kind of technology to Mexico. Let them know that they can have the same as the U.S. or Europe." 

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