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All-electric newcomers

July 5, 2006

8 Min Read
All-electric newcomers

Netstal demonstrated the utility of its Elion all-electrics for medical molding at NPE 2006.

The scan time on Milacron-Fanuc?s Roboshot S2000i-B Series is 62.5 ms on all axes.

Milacron Powerlines now come equipped with high-capacity, direct-drive injection units.

Wider tiebar spacing is featured in the series of Niigata?s fifth-generation all-electrics.

Enhanced holding pressure performance is a feature of Toshiba?s EC-NII Series.

Toyo?s Si-100III is capable of achieving 1000 mm/sec injection speed.

Demag?s IntElect all-electrics feature water-cooled, high-torque direct drives.

Nissei?s NEX Series machines are engineered to provide improved clamp-force transmission.

Mitsubishi?s newest entry is a 3900-ton, direct-drive electric press.

Injection speeds of 800 mm/sec are possible with Sumitomo?s SE-DU-HP Series.

Arguments over whether or not all-electric injection molding machines are for real-world manufacturing, or just high-tech whiz-bangs for some sort of sci-fi ?factory of the future? are long gone. Quiet, clean, precise, repeatable, and energy-efficient, all-electrics are rapidly becoming the new norm in North American molders? shops and they may soon make molding machines that run on hydraulic oil extinct.

Some 40% of the injection molding machines sold in the U.S. last year were all-electrics, according to Karlheinz Bourdon, president of global plastics machinery operations Milacron (Cincinnati, OH), who adds that from January 2005 to January 2006, 33% of the injection molding machines sold here used servomotors.

Masanobu Sakurai, president of Sumitomo (Norcross, GA) echoes and adds to Bourdon?s statements, saying, ?The overall market for injection molding machinery in North America surpassed a 40-60 split between electric and hydraulic machines in 2005 and is expected to approach a nearly 50-50 split in 2006.?

All-electrics just keep getting better and better, as evidenced by the latest models. Niigata has introduced us to its new and improved fifth-generation all-electric, featuring nozzle touch-force capabilities said to be equivalent to hydraulic presses, for instance. Both Mitsubishi and Ube have blown the doors off the old notion that electric presses are just fine for units up to 300 tons or so. They?re building models now that deliver more than 3000-tons of clamping force.

So what?s the latest state of the technology in all-electric presses available in North America? Let?s all welcome the newest of the newcomers.

Smarter, Faster

Depending on who you talk to, either Fanuc or Nissei started the all-electric revolution by fielding the first servomotored molding machine, so these two suppliers are a great place to start. Milacron Fanuc?s latest Roboshot S2000i-B Series of all-electrics (55-330 tons) is packaged with a number of advanced features to cut setup and cycle times. For example, they provide a 0-300 mm/sec injection acceleration in less than 36 msec for high-precision molding?0-500 mm/sec in under 30 msec with an optional, direct-connect injection unit, and additional space between the bars.

Other features include Fanuc?s latest servo technology, a new moving platen designed to equalize force distribution across the mold face, new injection-pressure load cell, and Fanuc?s latest machine control. The control features a Windows CE-based operating system with a 15-inch color screen and flashcard data storage. The control?s scan time is 62.5 ms on all axes, which is said to be the industry?s fastest.

Nissei has improved the standard injection velocity of its Elject NEX Series (55-180 tons) to 500 mm/sec. Its Elject NEX presses also feature enhanced mold protection capabilities, 100 ms scan time, and durable ballscrews. Automatic, ultra-high-speed clamp-force correction technology also has been added, as has Nissei?s ?Flat Clamp? technology.

Intensive structural analysis reportedly has improved the durability and precision of its NEX Series clamping mechanism. The stationary platen is center supported, and the moving platen is engineered to improve rigidity and clamping force transmission.

Meanwhile, Nissei has introduced its Elject TNS-RE Series?a new line of three-tiebar, all-vertical all-electrics that can be equipped with big rotary tables for supporting big molds. Equipped with the same injection units used on its NEX series of horizontals, Nissei builds them up to 150 tons.Responsive, Repeatable

Sumitomo now offers a number of new and improved all-electric models, including its 242-385-ton, direct-drive, high-speed SE-HS Series. Injection speeds of 300 mm/sec and a velocity response of 25 msec is standard, as is five-stage mold opening and closing speeds of?are you ready?300 mm/sec. SE-HS presses also feature high-force, twin-cylinder, nozzle contact systems and lots of room between the bars.

Among its other new offerings is Sumitomo?s SE7M, an 8-ton direct-drive all-electric for micromolding; its SE-DU-HP Series (55-198 tons), direct-drive machines capable of achieving 800 mm/sec injection speeds; its SED-CI Series (33-220 tons) for multimolding; and its SR-D Series (55-83) of all-electric, rotary-table verticals.

Niigata?s fifth-generation all-electric is called the MD-X Series (55-100 tons). The X could well stand for the company?s new X-Generation control, which features a 55-ms servo-response time, both USB and flashcard data storage ports, and filtered, air-conditioned cabinetry.

Niigata?s compact, but heavyweight, MD-X machines also are engineered to provide extra-long holding pressures without overloading their servos, precise and durable dual-ballscrew injection unit designs, and, as mentioned above, nozzle touch force that?s reportedly equivalent to a hydraulic machine.Also new is Niigata?s all-electric MD-W Series (200 and 385 tons). The ?W? stands for ?wider,? as in wider tiebar spacing?up to 11% wider than older, similarly sized models. It also features wider moldheights?up to 110 mm wider?for running larger molds.

Responsive, Precise

A new series of smaller-tonnage presses (30-280 tons), the MEt II Series, and a new series of larger-tonnage presses (350-650 tons), the ME II Series, are the latest arrivals from Mitsubishi. Both feature the company?s new MAC-VII controller, which sports a large, full-color LCD display and a user-friendly touchpanel.

The injection units on the MEt II?s are said to respond 1.5 times faster than the older MEt models, but Mitsubishi has maintained its field-proven SRC-II metering systems, built to provide consistent metering performance. The larger ME II?s feature direct-drive, high-power injection units with durable ballscrews for precision thinwall molding of technical parts.

Toshiba?s new EC-NII Series mid-range all-electrics feature new high-performance/low-inertia servomotors engineered to be extremely responsive. And the new servomotors also are said to be capable of providing enhanced holding pressure performance, regardless of any sharp load fluctuations.

EC-NII?s also feature Toshiba?s brand-new V30 controllers. Features of the V30 include extended onboard mold setup memory, USB data porting, and integrated remote control of auxiliaries for centralized manufacturing cell command.

JSW?s new J-AD series of small to medium tonnage all-electrics (55-180 tons) are designed to improve platen parallelism. What?s more, they can be equipped with a ballscrew-driven, low-inertia/high-power injection unit servomotor that enables the machines to rocket along at up to 800 mm/sec. Fill-pressure feedback is standard.

Bigger, Better

Equipped with what very well could be the fastest turntables in the business are Toyo/Maruka?s new all-vertical, all-electric ETVR2 models and its new ET-90HR4 four-station rotaries. The turntables rotate 180° in 1 second, just in time to keep up with the high-speed mold opening and closing capabilities of its new machines.

Toyo/Maruka has another idea for customers with a need for speed, though. It?s a special shooter capable of achieving 1000 mm-sec injection speed, the fastest in the all-electric field. Company sources told PM&A that they would have demonstrated it at NPE 2006 on their new, horizontal Si-100III all-electric model, if they could have found a mold in time capable of handling the output it could produce.

We?re not sure yet if they?ll be available in North America, but Meiki has morphed its MU series of direct-drive all-electric presses into more economical toggles. They also feature the company?s new Vitac-alpha 1 machine controller, which grants users one-touch access to the basic control screen from any other screen, 120 setup onboard storage, and USB porting.

As previously reported, Ube stunned the world with its announcement at the IPF 2005 show in Tokyo, Japan that it was extending its new MD-IV series of all-electric toggles, which start at 650 tons, up to 3000 tons. And, as mentioned above, Mitsubishi?s living large, too. It announced that it had developed a 3300-ton all-electric twin-platen designated 3000em-470 at the same show. It can plasticate 2000 lb of material per hour and features a clamping unit engineered to focus clamping force dead-center onto the platen to eliminate flash. Mitsubishi has since come out with a 3900-ton direct-drive electric press reportedly capable of running car bumpers at 30-second cycles.

More Newbies

The following U.S., European, and Asian suppliers (listed in alphabetic order) also provide all-electric injection molding machines to the North American marketplace.

  • Arburg: Allrounder Alldrive Series (55-220 tons)

  • Battenfeld: EM II Series (33-198 tons)

  • Cincinnati Milacron: Powerline Series (220-1125 tons)

  • Demag: IntElect Series (50-350 tons)

  • Engel: E-Motion Series (60.5-308 tons)

  • Ferromatik Milacron: Elektra Series (33-330 tons)

  • Krauss-Maffei: EX Series (50-160 tons)

  • Negri-Bossi: Canbel Series (77-935 tons)

  • Netstal: Elion Series (55-192.5 tons)

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