Trexel Inc. (Wilmington, MA), the developer of MuCell microcellular injection molding technology, announced the global introduction of the company’s newly developed T-400 series SCF (Super Critical Fluid) delivery system. This state-of-the-art gas delivery and dosing system is based on Trexel’s patented technology and built to the most stringent industrial standards. The system is specifically designed for large molding applications between 2,500 and 12,500 grams.
The T-400 model offers cost-effective foaming of large injection molded parts and retains performance standards similar to its smaller T-series counterparts. Advantages of the T-400 include primary material savings due to a density reduction; increased opportunity to optimize mold design for significant secondary material savings; reduced clamp tonnage requirement that enables the purchase of smaller, less costly machines; and improved dimensions (particularly with polyolefins) for better tolerances, said Trexel.
The T-400 has been designed to deliver high doses of nitrogen for large parts. The SCF system is capable of delivering 50 grams of nitrogen in a 45-second cycle (0.5% by weight for a 10-kg part weight) and is designed for molding machines with a screw size greater than 90 mm. The system is designed to convert industrial grade nitrogen into a super critical fluid, and precisely doses and injects the super critical fluid into the plasticizing unit of the injection molding machine at a pressure up to 240 bar, creating a lower density microcellular material structure in the molded plastic part.
The T-Series SCF delivery system is designed specifically for the injection molding industry. It produces gas only on demand, minimizing energy consumption and maximizing booster pump life. It features a control system with a 15-in. PC-based graphical touch screen user interface. Set-up parameters require only the shot size and percentage of SCF content. The system calculates dosing requirements and optimizes SCF delivery during screw recovery. The MuCell T-Series SCF delivery system provides reliable and consistent microcellular foaming of injection molded plastic parts.
Brian Bechard, President and CEO of Trexel Inc., told PlasticsToday that the greater ease of use of the T-400 interface allows less advanced process technicians to operate the system. “With the new interface, you just put in the shot rate and the fluid you want to inject, and it recognizes the amount of gas required and automatically makes sure the percentage is right,” Bechard explained. “It’s simpler to set up and run.”
The T-400 is the last in this particular series of Trexel’s delivery systems, and helps the company meet demand for the larger applications of 120-mm screw size and greater. “It’s a big leap over the TR-40, which it is replacing,” Bechard said. “Additionally it runs more energy efficiently and is cleaner, quieter and has a smaller footprint, along with a completely different operating system. Customers will see a lot of advantages to the T-400.”
Overall, market demand is good for Trexel’s MuCell delivery systems. Bechard noted that as part of his “on-boarding at Trexel,” he has visited the company’s injection molding machine partners, which has helped him gauge the market. “On a very high percentage of large injection molding machines, demand is for a Mucell-ready machine,” he stated. “Rather than buying the machine and then deciding to implement the MuCell process, they’re thinking ahead and getting the capability up front, and that’s good news for us. Particularly on large parts, such as instrument panel substrates for automotive, large pallets and transport systems, the [return on investment] is certainly justified . . . the part weight reductions as well as the reduction in clamp tonnage—for example, what used to take a 2000-ton press to mold might only take a 1200-ton press. That is a big factor in the decision to use MuCell.”