KraussMaffei says that it is using the FIP show this year to show French plastics manufacturers how to remain competitive, despite the current economic malaise still blanketing a large part of Europe. Many manufacturers, both in France and elsewhere, are facing pressure on profit margins due to rising raw material and energy prices on the one hand and weak demand for plastic products on the other. This holds particularly true for manufacturers of technical parts and suppliers to the sluggish local automotive industry. However, the demand for plastic packaging has recently dropped, as has the production of semi finished goods and building products.
Production efficiency is key to staying afloat under these conditions. Hence, at the show, the company is highlighting a technology offering "double savings on energy and material costs," according to Jacques Socquet, subsidiary head of KraussMaffei Group in France. At the FIP, an AX 130-750 CellForm featuring an integrated linear robot LRX 50 and equipped with the new MuCell system for producing foamed components will produce an ASA/PC copolymer cover for white goods (such as washing machines) with a shot weight of 127 g in a cycle time of around 37 seconds. By adapting the part design specifically to MuCell, the wall thicknesses and part weight were adjusted in such a way as to achieve material savings of 35 percent with no loss of functionality. Energy consumption is kept to a minimum by the all-electric AX series injection molding machine, which, thanks to its high precision and shot weight constancy, is ideal for the CellForm process because there is no need for an offsetting holding pressure phase.
The machine is equipped with an innovative safety system that guarantees user-friendly and safe handling of the machine. A special feature is that the active functions required for the foaming process, such as back pressure, can also be executed with opened safety gates by means of electric motor drives and in compliance with current safety standards. All parameters in the MuCell process are visualized on the MC6 control system and can be set in a simple and intuitive way.