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May 2, 2003

3 Min Read
In Process

In the KM650-5700DF manufacturing cell, pillars are deco-molded, and automatically removed from the mold, trimmed, and folded by robots.

An interior panel for DaimlerChrysler?s SLK is produced in a Decoform process.

Inmold decoration of large automotive parts

A newly patented low-pressure process for joining decorative materials to plastic substrates in the mold is gaining wider acceptance in the automotive community, with Tier One automotive suppliers like Johnson Controls, Faurecia, and Montaplast applying the technology in DaimlerChrysler and Volvo vehicles.

Used for larger parts like instrument panels, door trim, or floor mats, the Decoform process from Krauss-Maffei can be integrated into smaller horizontal presses due to its low-pressure technology. The process works by inserting a decorative material into a mold. After initially closing for the start of injection, the tool opens slightly to the width of the compression gap, allowing the injected material blank to adhere to the decorative material. Pressure from continuous melt flow prevents the decoration from shifting in the mold. Next, the mold closes and the resin is compressed into the contours of the cavity.

Krauss-Maffei says the surface quality achieved by the process is quite good, with no visible gate marks. Shipped as a module, Decoform can be integrated into any Krauss-Maffei C or MC Series press, and since the process uses relatively low injection pressures, decorative materials aren?t harmed and lower-tonnage machines can be used.

According to Krauss-Maffei, Decoform parts are being created for the DaimlerChrysler SLK by Johnson Controls, and Peguform is creating parts for the Crossfire from DaimlerChrysler. A TPO film was molded for the Crossfire on a PPO substrate, and a panel for the SLK was created in one step, replacing a time-consuming strand-deposit process previously used. Other applications using Decoform technology include pillar trim and floor mats with TPE backing. Krauss-Maffei speculates that in the future, molders could create complete door panels with a decorated upper portion and nondecorated frame in a one-shot process where the low-pressure compression would be followed by standard injection. For more information contact Krauss-Maffei Corp. (Florence, KY) at (859) 283-0200 or www.krauss-maffei.de.

Compounder creates flexible process with conveyor line

Helping it meet the ever-changing needs of the specialty compounding business, Dyvex Industries (Carbondale, PA) chose Dynamic Conveyor Corp. (Muskegon, MI) and that company?s DynaCon variable-speed modular conveyor system to create highly flexible production lines. According to Dyvex, it was able to reconfigure the DynaCon system in minutes by adding or removing conveyor modules and rolling the entire system from one end of the plant to the other without significant work stoppages.

Dyvex originally exploited the system?s flexibility in its research and development department, where sample parts are molded from test lots and sent to customers for approval. DynaCon conveyors are situated at presses for automatic part evacuation and at cooling water baths for further automation. Dyvex says many parts have relatively short runs, making the use of more permanent conveyance systems impractical.

Dyvex also uses the conveyor system to transport materials to its in-house cryogenic grinding equipment. Here, low-density materials are sent to the cryogenic system hopper by conveyor instead of by an auger, which could compress materials, or a pneumatic system, which could unnecessarily spread material.

Designed for light- to medium-duty jobs, the DynaCon conveyor line comes with a broad array of interlocking modules and brushless motors for cleanroom molding.

For information contact Dynamic Conveyor Corp. (Muskegon, MI) at (866) 249-2641 or www.dynamicconveyor.com.

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