Precision dosing units for "drip irrigation" systems - known as flat drippers - are in big demand in many parts of the world where irrigation is critical to crop growth. Manner Solutions, a manufacturer of hot runner systems, showcased a 64-cavity mold for these small (approximately 6mm wide x 25 mm long x 2 mm high) molded PE parts at the recent K Show, running 1.8 second cycles.
The complex geometry of the small molded flat drippers places extremely high demands on uniform filling of the mold cavities in ultra short cycles. To meet these demands, Manner developed a 64-cavity mold equipped with Manner's own valve gate hot runner system, which the company called the "fastest mold at K." The mold ran in an Arburg AllRounder 470 A electric injection molding system.
The part geometry alone was crucial for ensuring rapid and reliable ejection of the dosing units. According to Peter Hagen, managing director of Manner USA, the interior of the hollow flat drippers contain ribs and very fine structures - an "internal labyrinth" - to ensure that the water coming from the end of the drip line is the same amount as the water coming from the first dripper in the line.
The quality of the parts is critical because these flat drippers get extruded into the irrigation line itself. The manufacturing technology, along with decades of experience in precision mechanics made it possible to optimize the mold's process capability, part-to-part consistency, compression strength, resistance to wear, and ability to remove molded products from the cavities. The mold's micro finish, for instance, is one of the ways Manner has been able to save valuable cycle time.
The rapid-cycling mold also features a sophisticated conformal cooling system. Direct integration with Manner's own hot runner system with Cylindrical Valve Gate not only ensures impeccable surface quality and minimizes material use, it also maximizes process reliability during 24/7 production runs by way of synchronized opening and closing of the valve pins.
Manner, headquartered in Bahlingen, Germany was acquired by Barnes Group Inc. according to an Oct. 1 announcement for about 275 million euros ($373 million), giving the diversified manufacturer additional offerings in mold-making and hot runner systems.
"We anticipate the global demand for more complex, highly technical injection molding solutions to increase substantially in the future and are eager to add Manner's innovative suite of products and services to Barnes Group's core capabilities," said Barns CEO Patrick Dempsey.