Sponsored By

High-energy NPE2009 overflows with technology and events

To all who said NPE2009 would be limited by the economy: No offense, you were wrong. Here is just a sample of the technology we knew of by press time. And there is much, much more in Chicago, starting June 22. See you there.

Kate Dixon

June 1, 2009

21 Min Read
High-energy NPE2009 overflows with technology and events

To all who said NPE2009 would be limited by the economy: No offense, you were wrong. Here is just a sample of the technology we knew of by press time. And there is much, much more in Chicago, starting June 22. See you there.

Absolute Haitian's Zhafir Venus all-electricArburg's Allrounder 170S Boy Machines XS SeriesEngel duo picoKraussMaffei AX SeriesSodick Plustech Micro Molding SeriesWittmann Battenfeld Microsystem 50Holliday PigmentsPolyOne

Wittmann Battenfeld Feedmax B Wittmann Battenfeld W710Wittmann Battenfeld MAS2 augerFrigel Ecodry EDKVortex Valves Wye line diverterOptical Gaging Products SmartScope ZipOptical Gaging Products SmartScope Flash 200Extol InfraStakeHerrmann Ultrasonics HiQ

Burger & Brown Engineering SmartlineMold Hotrunner Solutions CV08

Osco shutoff nozzleOsco recessed gate tip

Molding machines and systems

With North American sales of new injection molding machines at their lowest point in decades, many have been thinking we would see very few new machines debuting at NPE2009. Many were wrong. There are new machines—plus upgrades and expansion of existing model lines.

Over and above the sheer numbers of new machines, visitors will be even more intrigued by the scope and specificity of the application technology. The show is rich in its assortment of multimaterial molding, inmold decorating, labeling, assembly, and micromolding.

Though the molding machines on display tend to be application-specific, virtually all the machine suppliers are voicing a few common strategies in response to current market conditions. Energy efficiency and competitiveness are dominant, with sustainability right behind.

And when the machine companies talk competitiveness, they are talking about making molders more competitive. We’ll take a double helping of that, thank you. So here is some, and by no means all, of what the molding machine companies have waiting for you in Chicago.

Absolute Haitian (Booth S50031), the American source for the molding machines of the Chinese Ningbo Haitian Group, says it has a “total focus” on energy-saving machine tech. The American introduction of its Jupiter series of two-platen servo-pump hybrid systems makes the point. A Jupiter-based cell in the Haitian booth will mold a thick-walled laundry basket, and use an energy-savings monitor to show what the company terms significant energy economy during cooling.

Nearby will be another energy-saving machine, this one a departure from the company’s recent American marketing. A 135-ton Zhafir Venus all-electric machine (pictured) will be present on the stand, processing a higher-speed application not specified at press time. The departure is that Haitian Group is bringing a machine from its German affiliate. Zhafir machines are high-performance with advanced controls, not the more general-purpose machines that Absolute Haitian has been emphasizing in the North American market.

During last October’s Fakuma show in Germany, Arburg (Booth S46048) demonstrated its commitment to energy savings with an award to a customer that made exceptional progress in energy efficiency. Friedrich Kanz, head of Arburg’s U.S. operation, says the focus of the company’s 500m2/5400-ft2 NPE exhibit is on the performance of the fully electric Alldrive Series machines, which are energy misers by design, as well as integration of automation to create custom, complex production cells centered on its Selogica control system. The size of the stand, Kanz adds pointedly, emphasizes the U.S. market’s importance to the company.

At the NPE, the application run by a 165-ton Alldrive (Allrounder A) will include an assembly operation, while a nearby 220-ton 570A demonstrates its multimaterial flexibility, combining LSR and thermoplastic using technology from Simtec Silicone Parts LLC and moldmaker Rico. And a third Alldrive, the newest and largest (352 tons) in the series, will be running a packaging application to show off its speed-precision combination. Finally, even though at only 17 tons you might miss it, check out the Allrounder 170S (pictured, opposite) making eight micro gear wheels (0.001g each) in a 9.5-second cycle using a special POM micro-granulate. Takeout is by vacuum using an Arburg Multilift H robot that also sorts by cavity.

Boy Machines (S50054) will be showing that small is beautiful with six different examples of its brand-new XS series of injection machines (pictured), which make their global debut at NPE2009. Each takes only 9 ft2 of floor space. Five of the horizontal 11-tonners will be making parts for a personal-care kit, which will be assembled and given to attendees. The sixth will show off its micro capabilities, molding a tiny gear housing, and using a unique vibratory sprue separator.

Actually, there will be seven XS machines in the Boy stand. The XSV model, with both clamp and injection unit vertical, has a footprint of only 7 ft2, and will be insert molding a nail file. The Boy 90E is making its American debut molding a three-plate/four-cavity cap mold. It features a servo pump drive that reduces energy uptake by around 50%. Actual energy consumption will be shown on a large screen along with real-time access to the Procan Alpha controls that are standard on all the machines in the stand—including the Boy 35A making two-component LSR finger cots in a four-cavity family mold.

Though they are energy efficient, machine supplier Engel (S24000) is emphasizing its all-electric machines as much for their precision and adaptability to a variety of manufacturing configurations as for their miserly use of current. Two e-max and two e-motion machines will be working in the booth, making parts including a two-component (PP and TPE) cell phone holder (110-ton e-motion) and PP medical pipettes (110-ton e-max with an Xaloy nXheat induction-heated barrel to reduce energy even further).

The company will also be introducing its new duo pico two-platen machines (pictured), stating they provide maximum power on a small footprint and consume 25% less energy than competitors, thanks in large part to the ecodrive system. Available from 500-770 tons, the duo pico’s 2.6-second dry cycle time should help sell this system. The largest machine in the booth, a 1000-ton duo, will be showing a new way to cut the weight out of auto and other parts. Stop by and see how MuCell (from Trexel) core-back expansion molding of a prototype door panel not only cuts out the weight, but also yields a fine surface finish and five times the stiffness of the same part without MuCell microfoaming. And it’s not, Engel reminds us, just for auto apps.

Husky (S36009) needs to show more than molding machines in its booth—for example, its extensive line of hot runners—but the two machines it has running, one of which is brand new, are well worth your attention. The 72-cavity preform molding system based on a 300-ton HyPET molding machine will be turning out preforms in sub-6-second cycles. It incorporates Husky’s HPP (High Performance Package), which includes more than a dozen enhancements that extend from the material dryer to the end of the line.

Immediately adjacent stands the brand-new, purpose-designed, 72-cavity HyCAP closure manufacturing system, which will be running on sub-3-second cycles—so don’t blink or you’ll miss it. The HyCAP reflects Husky’s renewed emphasis on its traditional approach to the market: It starts with the part and builds  a system that not only molds it but also fits seamlessly into the molder’s manufacturing environment. To get the full effect of that approach, move to the center of the booth to see the company’s range of systems and tools to manage the entire shop, from machine monitoring to the Pro-Act maintenance program aimed at keeping machine performance consistent over the years.

The title of KraussMaffei’s (S36000) press release describing its NPE2009 exhibit reads, “Injection molding for energy savers,” and the focus is on the new AX series of all-electric molding machines (pictured), which is taking its American bow in Chicago. It’s a lower-priced all-electric than the company’s EX Series, and is aimed at more standard applications. Offered currently in 80-, 100-, and 180-metric-ton models, and scheduled to encompass a 50- to 350-metric-ton range, AX machines combine multiple energy-saving engineering features that the company says add up to 50% and even 60% energy savings over comparable modern hydraulic machines. Example: The moving platen travels on precision roller bearing guides that have up to 80% less friction than a sliding-support design. However, the machines are not only about energy efficiency. Described by KraussMaffei as “super-slim,” AX machines easily can be the heart of automated production cells that cut floor space about 25%. KraussMaffei will supply the automation technology and full integration, too.

The centerpiece of Negri Bossi’s NPE booth (S18014) will be its brand-new hybrid Janus series of molding machines. Direct-drive servo actuators are used for mold clamping and screw rotation, while a variable-delivery, smart-pump hydraulic system powers injection, ejector/core, and carriage functions. The Janus series, which is managed using the company’s now-standard CANbus control technology, will be available in eight sizes from 160-900 metric tons with shot maximums from 3 oz to more than 220 oz.

Negri Bossi says the technology is a combination of the best from its hydraulic designs and its all-electric machines. The Janus machines come with a long list of standards, such as bimetallic barrels, digital proportional valves, magnetostrictive transducers, Bosch hydraulics, Siemens servo motors and drives, and the CANbus interface for peripheral device control and digital wireless communications, including the company’s Amico wireless network for easy remote support and diagnostics.

Sodick Plustech (S29048) makes makes it clear it aims to push the limits of advanced technical molding. At NPE2009, the company will show off its most recent lines: the Micro Molding Series (pictured) and the LSR Sil-Pro Series. As with all of its product lines, the two new series are designed with Sodick’s Exact Dosing and V-Line Processing System, which separates the extrusion plasticating from the injection function that is accomplished with plunger technology. The company has a proprietary linear motor valve that it says gives outstanding acceleration and deceleration, as well as quick and very accurate injection phase switch-over, thanks to response time as fast as 0.2 ms. Clamping is direct (nontoggle) using a servo ballscrew drive that leads to hydraulic clamp tonnage buildup. Machines range from 5-450 tons in horizontal configuration and 20-150 tons in vertical. Multimaterial and multicolor designs are also available.

The Lumina line of structural foam molding systems from Wilmington Machinery (S36054) has been improved by simplifying the nozzle/manifolding system, streamlining the independent nozzle sequencing control, and adding larger platens and electric extruder drives. The machines now offer true independent nozzle control for molding multiple yet totally different parts at the same time.

The Lumina Pallet system will also be on display, a complete solution for molding pallets, and it now takes less floor space than previous models. And if you’ve ever thought you just can’t find the production system for you, talk with Wilmington about its custom proprietary systems. In addition to injection molding, they encompass thermoforming, extrusion, blowmolding, and proprietary hybrid systems that can separate you from your competition.

Wittmann Battenfeld (S42000) will be showing the current generation of its unique, self-contained production system for precise micro parts, the Microsystem 50 (pictured), and talking about the next generation, which will premiere at the Fakuma show in Germany this October. The forthcoming generation will offer two clamping forces, two sizes of injection unit, and additional modules for this highly modular system.

The Microsystem self-contained production cell is for parts weighing less than 100 mg. The company says it offers a processing window four to five times wider than conventional technology, with the added bonus of more stable production, a significant achievement with parts so small. It also offers cycle times shorter by about 50% and energy savings of about two-thirds, compared to conventional injection molding. The end result is parts, microparts that is, with a 30-50% reduction in overall production cost. The show system will mold two POM cogwheels every 4 seconds. Wittmann Battenfeld will also be announcing its new Micro division to be headed by Martin Ganz, who has developed the Microsystem since its inception.


Chem Polymer, a unit of Teknor Apex Co. (N92020), will introduce a new 25% glass-fiber-reinforced nylon 6 compound, an alternative to halogenated flame retardants for use in automotive, residential, and appliance electrical applications. The compound is UL-recognized in the black formulation, and offers a broader range of colorability than brominated and nonhalogenated flame-retardant systems based on red phosphorus.

Holliday Pigments, a div. of Rockwood Holdings Inc. (N6603), a supplier of ultramarine pigments manufactured with 99.5% reduced sulphur dioxide emissions thanks to a special flue gas desulphurization technology, is offering new low-dust and acid-resistant pigments. The food-contact-approved grades of Prestige pigments are dust free and easily dispersed, even under low shear conditions, in low-molecular-weight carrier resins. The new 6117 (Premier XAR) acid-resistant grade uses an inert coating on the surface of the pigment particle to make products like stadium seating both acid resistant and more photo-stable to high-energy solar radiation.

Millad NX8000, a polypropylene clarifying agent on display from Milliken Chemical (S54055), is said to offer a 50% reduction in haze compared with the current industry standard, making it suitable for PP replacing glass or other clear polymers in applications like packaging or food storage. Two complementary products will also be highlighted; Hyperform polyolefin additives improve mechanical properties, processing speed, and aesthetics in packaging, closure, automotive, and media applications, while ClearTint colorants for clarified PP add rich color and provide dramatic effects without impacting transparency.

Adding to the company’s BPA-free options, PolyOne (W113021) will introduce its Edgetek Tritan filled compounds and blends, and showcase its family of bio-related compounds and additives including GLS OnFlex Bio, a bio-based TPE, OnColor Bio IM colorants, and OnCap Bio additives. The new OnColor L liquid colorant systems will also be on display, along with OnForce LFT long-fiber thermoplastics. PolyOne will also show the company’s portfolio of Sustainable Solutions in the Biopolymers section of the Emerging Technologies pavilion in the West Hall.

Among the offerings from Sabic Innovative Plastics (W123011) will be the new LNP composites reinforced with natural fibers, as well as high-strength, long-glass-fiber polypropylene materials. Also featured will be the company’s high-flow Valox resins, which the company says enable greater miniaturization, as well as new high-density polyethylene (HDPE) natural and black precompound resins for pressure pipe, and iQ resins made from upcycled water bottles. In a special theater in the booth, Sabic will also offer a series of half-hour seminars to help customers be more successful, on topics including innovative materials and processing techniques, sustainability, metal replacement, and health care.

Sartomer (W124043) will showcase low-molecular-weight functional additives, unveil the company’s new Plastics Concepts technical digest, and present two technical seminars at NPE. Styrene maleic anhydride (SMA) resins, ionic crosslinkers, and functional polybutadienes will be on display, and free copies of technical digests with notes specifically for plastics modification are available on topics that include coupling agents for wood-plastic composites, augmenting olefins using ionic monomers, and flow modification of polyamides using SMA.

New elastomers from the Teknor Apex Thermoplastic Elastomer Div. (W106028) combine the end-use performance of thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs) with improved surface properties and processability. The new products in the Telcar OBC line are blends of a polyolefin and Dow Chemical Co.’s Infuse olefin block copolymers, and by crosslinking the OBC copolymers, enhanced toughness along with chemical and heat resistance is achieved, plus lower processing temperature requirements for injection molding than conventional TPVs.


A new version of the IDES (W128031) Prospector plastics search engine will be displayed at the show, with new features that help design and process engineers more efficiently research materials and analyze resins for specific design applications. Users also have a green plastics search option to find materials that are biodegradable, derived from renewable resources, or include recycled content.

The latest release of the PlantMaster manufacturing execution system (MES) from BMS-Barco Vision (N87015) adds an available full backup and recovery mode, since the wireless data units can be equipped with an additional storage capacity for local data storage in case of server breakdown or power failure. The overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) production performance reporting standard is also included, and an EnergyMaster module adds real-time monitoring of energy consumption in the plant, with implementation of the system achieving reported energy bill savings of 10-15%.


A complete redesign in the construction of Wittmann Battenfeld Inc.’s (S42000) Feedmax B loader (pictured) mounts the screen as an integral part of the cover, so it can be easily removed from the lid for cleaning. The system can be adapted to fit various tubing diameters with a modular kit, and an optional triple-shielded capacitive level sensor can help to avoid programming and faulty entry of loading times.

For applications limited by a minimum height clearance, robot automation can now be an option with the W710 T and W710 TS pneumatic robots (pictured), which feature a telescopic Y-arm, SA7 microprocessor control, and bright LCD display. Wittmann is also introducing a low-height MAS2 auger that can be used directly under the molding machine, with three rotating and two fixed knives, plus an open rotor to enable air circulation and prevention of warm sprue and part jamming (pictured).

Among the plastic shredders on display at Vecoplan’s stand (S67016) will be horizontal and vertical models, and the company’s energy-saving HiTorc drive, said to reduce power consumption by up to 85%, increase throughput by up to 100%, and stop with the quickest possible reversing action, all without the need for gearboxes, fluid couplings, and belts. Multipurpose vertical U models are designed for processing plastic waste for reclamation and recycling, as well as large reject parts and trim scraps. The shredders in the XL line feature larger rotor diameters and taller feed rams to handle large-dimension waste.

Making its global debut at the Frigel booth (S42020) is the new Ecodry EDK (pictured), replacing the EDG model with a redesigned airflow and increased efficiency of the V-shaped adiabatic chamber for greater overall cooling capacity. The company is also showcasing its advanced microprocessor control and pumping stations, like the Aquagel system, as well as the Turbogel water temperature control unit with a valve to provide automatic free cooling when ambient temperatures are lower than the process setpoint.

Motan (S12025) will display its new Luxor 50 dryer, with twin high-capacity desiccant beds and a single blower producing dry air for both the regeneration and process circuits. The ETA process, available on the Luxor dryers, returns unused heat from the drying bin back to the bin with a heat exchanger, which the company says can reduce drying cost up to 40%, depending on the material grade and consumption. Insensitive to vibrations, the Minicolor G dosing and blending unit has automatic calibration and can be used by small operations and expanded into larger central systems in the future. Also featured at the booth is Motan’s Metrolink automatic coupling station, which can supply up to 15 processing machines with up to 16 material options.

An expanded modular conveyor line will be introduced at NPE by Dynamic Conveyor (S4043), including two boxfilling systems, a tumbler separator, and a low-profile conveyor module. Over/under and inline box fillers ensure fill rate accuracy within 0.3 oz, and can be automated to allow for unattended filling of boxes by cycle count, weight, or weigh count. The tumbler separator uses a rotating cage and interchangeable sleeves with custom holes to allow for parts and runner separation, with the sleeves capable of being changed out in less than a minute. To meet tight space restrictions, a 4-inch Profile Conveyor Module is half the DynaCon standard frame height and is ideal for removing parts from under presses or taking scrap into grinders.

Bunting Magnetics (N64010) has designed a high-temperature, machine-mounted, all-metal separator (MMS) that can mount to an injection molding feedthroat to separate out both ferrous and nonferrous metal contaminants at temperatures up to 300°F. The company is also showing a new DragSlide conveyor, which uses dual chain-driven flights to drag shredded material inside an enclosed conveyor frame. It will fit under a shredder or grinder discharge to convey material up and out.

A new patented Quantum Series 4-way Wye line diverter (pictured) that will be released at NPE by Vortex Valves North America (S2045) is specifically designed to handle dry bulk solids in pneumatic conveying systems with vacuum or positive pressures up to 15 psig. Available in pipes or tubes from 2-6 inches, an advantage over traditional flapper and rotating tunnel-style diverters includes helping to eliminate trouble spots since the Wye line diverter is said to provide superior sealing, fast maintenance, and low installation weight.

Optical Gaging Products (S1037) will show its expanded SmartScope Zip line of multisensory dimensional measurement systems (pictured), which use crisp-imaging zoom optics and an automatically calibrating motorized zoom lens for advanced video measuring without contact. The company’s SmartScope Flash 200 (pictured) has added enhanced video and multisensory measurement capabilities, performing video measurement with features such as a patented LED backlight illumination source, a coaxial surface illuminator, and an LED grid projector for video focus on highly reflective parts.

A smaller-diameter module is offered on the new 20-mm InfraStake module (pictured), introduced at NPE from plastics joining equipment manufacturer Extol (S10045). The company reports that the smaller module is ideal for limited access and tight centerline staking applications, such as PC board-type assembly.

The new stroke feature on the HiQ evolution ultrasonic welding machine (pictured) from Herrmann Ultrasonics (S54031) allows for optimized sonotrode motion to save pneumatic energy and time, since after the weld the sonotrode retracts just far enough for part removal and loading of unwelded parts. Compressed air use is also reduced by up to 80%, and the HiQ has a higher generator output of 1200-6000W, while meeting the safety standards of the EU New Machinery Directive.

New controls in small cases will be on display from RKC Instrument (N67056) with the RB high-performance temperature control series condensed into a case with a depth of 60 mm, and the FB100 high-performance temperature/process control housed in a waterproof, dustproof 74-mm case. The RB control has a new auto-tuning algorithm to calculate optimum PID values, and allows the operator to adjust control response speed without changing the PID value. Three different sampling times can be selected on the FB100, as well as three levels of auto-tuning and control, and parameters can be copied to other controls through the loader port and a PC.

Mold components

Burger & Brown Engineering (N85048) will introduce the Smartline mold carrier and alignment system (pictured), which supports the center of stack molds by using a system of greaseless rollers and tiebar saddles. Each system is custom designed, and maintenance costs are said to decrease with the reduced wear on alignment components.

For balancing stack molds and family molds, the CV08 valve gate control (pictured) from Mold Hotrunner Solutions (S36081) provides time-based control of up to eight pneumatic valve gate circuits. A detachable programming unit simplifies setup, while a handheld CT05 touch-screen display shows each nozzle control zone graphically.

Osco’s (N62021) new machine shutoff nozzle (pictured) positively shuts off the machine nozzle orifice to improve cycle times through quicker recovery, while eliminating drooling caused by backpressure. Also new is a recessed gate tip (pictured) that leaves gate marks below the surface for a cleaner finish. —[email protected] and [email protected]

Sign up for the PlasticsToday NewsFeed newsletter.

You May Also Like