NPE2018: Moldmakers and machinery builders join forces to highlight innovative applications

  • NPE show floor

    Moldmaking companies have learned that the best way to highlight their expertise is to showcase their molds in molding machinery on display at NPE. While many of them used to bring static displays to show off their capabilities—molds and lots of parts—recent NPE events have seen more and more moldmakers teaming up with machinery manufacturers to show what their molds can do when running in a press or thermoforming machine. Here are some of the really cool molds that you can see in action at NPE2018.

  • Mold Craft

    Moldmaker Mold Craft Inc. (Willernie, MN; booth W4207) has teamed up with Wittmann Battenfeld (Torrington, CT; booth W3742) to showcase the best of both companies’ technologies. Mold Craft’s expertise is in precision micro-mold building with tight tolerances at +/- 0.0001, according to Mold Craft.

    Mold Craft builds micro molds specifically engineered for purpose-built machines manufactured by Wittmann Battenfeld. Both companies strive to meet the rapidly growing demand for small, tight-tolerance medical components. This partnership will be on display at NPE2018, as both companies help their customers combine high-quality micro molds with precision injection molding machines to produce finished parts with some of the tightest tolerances in the industry.

    Mold Craft will be utilizing Wittmann Battenfeld’s new MicroPower 15t molding machine featuring a rotary platen, end-of-arm tooling and robot with camera. 

    Additionally, Mold Craft teamed up with Sodick in booth W782 where Mold Craft’s micro mold will be producing precision 100-micrometer filter screen parts in Sodick’s LP20VRE vertical molding machine with a two-stage plunger system. The mold is a two-cavity, three-plate micro mold with one A side and two B sides featuring 0.004 x 0.004 inch shut offs and 0.002 inch radii making POK parts weighing 0.007 grams.

  • FiberForm

    KraussMaffei (Florence, KY) tapped its moldmaking partner Proper Tooling (Warren, MI) to provide the mold for live demonstrations of KraussMaffei’s FiberForm technology. At NPE2018, it is presenting the debut of a GXW450-2000/1400 multi-component injection molding machine cell featuring swivel plate technology. You can see the demo in booth W403. 

    The  FiberForm process combines thermoforming of organo sheets and injection molding into a single process, resulting in fiber-reinforced plastic components that are lightweight yet extremely strong, used primarily in vehicle manufacturing.

    “This combination can be used to create completely new visual and haptic component features for thermoplastic composites in a single process,” explained Paul Caprio, President and CEO of KraussMaffei. “Thanks to the TPE components, the center armrest produced at NPE has functional and visible parts with surfaces that are extremely soft and visually appealing.”

    Proper Tooling will demonstrate this molding manufacturing cell at its headquarters both before and after NPE2018.

    “Our groundbreaking FiberForm system is second to none when it comes to lightweight production using fiber-reinforced plastic components in large quantities and fast cycle times,” said Caprio. “FiberForm is a high-strength, lightweight metal replacement that we see as a great growth area in automotive.”

  • Molded duck-bill valve

    The use of liquid silicone rubber (LSR) is on the rise in the United States, specifically in the medical technology and automotive industries. Those markets are becoming increasingly interested in the physical and chemical properties of the material. 

    However, the material has an extremely low viscosity, especially with highly transparent silicone, and it requires high precision during injection. KraussMaffei (Florence, KY) will feature the PX 51-55 SilcoSet in booth W403 at NPE2018, running a four-cavity duckbill mold from M.R. Mold & Engineering (Brea, CA) that features a four-drop, valve-gated cold-runner system. The mold will run fully automatic with in-mold slitting done by a robot, manufactured by M.R. Mold. The robot provides a renewable surface for every slit to ensure accuracy. The products being molded are special dosing caps for the medical industry.

    The molding machine’s combination of an electric injection unit and a hydraulic nozzle ensure high precision in every shot. The machine boasts an extremely safe screw-closing behavior, thanks to the spring-loaded return flow valve with a positive fit thanks to the PX clamping unit.

    “The PX series combines the advantages of an all-electric injection molding machine with maximum modularity,” said Paul Caprio, President and CEO of KraussMaffei. “Our customers appreciate the high degree of variety and flexibility, both in configuring the right machine, for example, using our wide range of clamping unit and injection unit combinations, and in production or retrofitting.” 

  • Liberty IBM system

    The Liberty IBM system from R&D/Leverage (St. Lee’s Summit, MO) provides injection blowmolding processors with a faster, safer startup, less labor-intensive operation and a longer mold life. You can learn about this patented tooling at NPE2018 in booth S32079. 

    The new Liberty IBM system is described as a “paradigm shift” in injection blowmolding (IBM) tooling design. That is because of the patented Genesis IBM hot-runner system, which utilizes R&D/Leverage’s thermally insulated nozzles and on-the-fly balancing, eliminating further adjustments after initial mold setup. Patented self-adjusting cavities are perfectly aligned on precision dowels, doing away with mismatched threads and parting lines and gate damage.

    The Liberty IBM tool has a potentially larger process window because of R&D/Leverage’s thermal isolation technology. For the first time, a mold holds heat where required; thermal isolation maintains cool temperatures in the areas where that is needed, said R&D/Leverage.

    Other mold technologies for attendees to see include injection stretch blowmold technology for single-stage PET tooling using the company’s proprietary Genesis manifold along with precision injection molds.

  • StackTeck Systems Ltd.

    StackTeck Systems Ltd. (Brampton, ON, Canada), a global manufacturer of multi-cavity, high-volume production molds for thin-wall packaging, closures, medical parts and mold bases, will showcase its first injection-compression mold in the Ilsemann (Bremen, Germany) booth (W1691).

    Attendees can see a demonstration of a four-cavity, 409 round injection- compression in-mold label (IML) lid with labels from Verstraete. The system also features an Ilsemann IML automation system operating with a 240T Arburg machine.

    The injection-compression lid mold has been built to demonstrate lightweighting potential for a known thin-wall IML lid. Compared with conventional injection molding, the lid panel thickness was reduced from 0.0208 to 0.0130 inches (37% thinner), resulting in a part weight reduction of 6.35 to 4.67 grams (28% lighter). This part weight improvement has been achieved without changing the lid skirt geometry. The mechanical sealing properties of the lid on the container rim remain the same. 

    The injection-compression process allows the molding of flat parts with minimal residual stresses in the part, making it very well suited to molding lightweight lids without inducing warpage in the final molded part.

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