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October 1, 2001

14 Min Read
K 2001 Preview

Our preview coverage for K 2001, which is to be held in Düsseldorf, Germany Oct. 25 to Nov. 1, began in the September issue of IMM. Here we continue our coverage with more of what to expect.


At 100 tons, Boy's new 90M machine will be the largest machine displayed by the company.

Last month we gave you the basics of K 2001--when and where to go and how to get there. We also highlighted some machinery, materials, auxiliaries, automation, and tooling components that companies plan to exhibit (see September 2001 IMM, pp. 118-133). Here we continue this coverage in order to help you plan your trip more effectively. With 17 halls totaling some 1.6 million sq ft, Messe Düsseldorf is not a place a show attendee should visit without a solid plan of which companies to see and what products to check out. 

On the machinery front, Dr. Boy GmbH (Germany) will introduce two new machines (the Boy 55A and the Boy 90M) with dual platen clamping systems. In this clamping system, the four tiebars also act as piston rods. The triple-layered piston rods pull the movable platen in the direction of the fixed platen in which the clamping cylinder is integrated. Because of this design, automation devices can be attached directly to the clamping unit. The design is said to allow a 30 percent size reduction when compared to traditional three-platen machines of similar clamping force. 

The machines also incorporate a patented pressure multiplier/valve locking device that, combined with generous tiebar and platen spacing, allows for larger molds than are typically acceptable in a similar size machine. 

At K, the Boy 55A, with a clamping force of 60 tons (550 kN), will produce spouts using an eight-cavity hot runner mold. The 90M, which, at 100 tons (900 kN), is the largest machine to be exhibited by Dr. Boy, will produce frisbees made from polypropylene. This machine will also showcase the company's newly enhanced Procan MD control system. 

The Procan system, which will become standard on all Boy M Series machines, has a flat LCD and keyboard. The system can store up to 30 data sets in its electronic memory unit and is designed to regulate all basic processing parameters. 

Demag Ergotech GmbH (Schwaig, Germany) will showcase a variety of machines and molding technologies at K. A new model will be introduced to its Ergotech El-Exis S family. The new 400-ton (3500-kN) model is the largest in the S family, which now has eight models. The El-Exis S Series offers electric drives for plasticating and mold movements combined with hydraulic high-speed injection. Two El-Exis S machines will be on display at Demag's stand. 


The energy-saving, compact hydraulics (above) of Demag's Ergotech El-Exis E are designed to provide three secondary movements. The injection unit of the El-Exis S (below) uses a servodrive for plasticating and injection.


An Ergotech 200/560-840 El-Exis S (225 tons, 2000 kN) will be the center of a production cell molding a mobile phone case (see picture and caption) out of PC/ABS. Cycle time is expected to be as short as 4 seconds. The eight molded parts will be removed at the side of the 4+4 stack mold made by Otto Männer GmbH & Co (Bahlingen, Germany) using material handling equipment from Neureder AG (Oberding-Schwaig, Germany). 

The new 350/800-2300 El-Exis S machine will mold a decorated 10-liter pail using inmold labeling technology. A linear robot supplied by Polymac-Yushin (Ede, Netherlands) will remove the finished pail and feed the label to the mold in one operation. The single-cavity mold comes from Meik Werkzeugfabrik GmbH (Troisdorf, Germany). 

Also being showcased at K is Demag's Ergotech El-Exis E family. A prototype of the El-Exis E was first presented in the summer of 2000. Beginning at K 2001, the line will include five models, ranging from 70 to 225 tons (600 to 2000 kN). This family of machines is designed to offer enhanced energy savings. It offers distributed electric drives for primary machine movements (mold closing, plasticating, injection), while clamping is controlled by an a-c servomotor with a hydrostatic drive to power the toggle clamping mechanism. An electric servodrive operating via a mechanical gear provides rotary plasticating movement through a variable delivery pump. Operation of ejectors, core pullers, and nozzle contacts is controlled by a small hydraulic central power pack. 

Two machines in the El-Exis E family will run at K. A 170-ton (1500-kN) model will produce connector plugs in a four-cavity mold from Stocko Contact GmbH (Wuppertal, Germany). Also being molded are syringe bodies for a medical application. These also are to be produced by a 170-ton machine. A Class 10,000 cleanroom production environment will be maintained through the use of a laminar-flow box placed above the molding space. The 48-cavity mold being used is provided by Schöttli AG (Diessenhofen, Switzerland). 

Demag will also highlight several specialty molding technologies, including its Ergocell microcellular foaming technique. An Ergotech 500 system will be equipped with a modified injection unit to exhibit how microcellular foam structures can be produced in molded parts via this alternative process. Also, multicomponent molds from Gram Technology (Birkerod, Germany) will be displayed for the first time at K. The mold's center plate rotates through 90º to enable three injection units and allow the production of a three-component part. 

Technology is also being developed by Demag to assist molders in the processing of natural-fiber-reinforced plastics and renewable raw materials. Look for more on this at the show. 

Sandretto Industrie SpA (Turin, Italy) will be at K with several new machine models. One new line, which will be known in North America as the NS Series, is designed for maximum energy savings and performance, says the company. The series is currently available in Europe (known as Series Nove S 100) and will be available in North America beginning in November. At K an NS 110 machine will produce a medical component made from ABS using a mold supplied by General Stamp. A Piovan feeder and Crizaf conveyor will complete the exhibit. An NS 180 will produce polypropylene garden edging using a mold supplied by DEM. The machine will be fitted with a Star robot, Piovan feeder, and Crizaf conveyor. 


A high-speed side-entry robot from Hekuma, which is designed for Class 1000 cleanroom applications, will be on display at the Fanuc stand.

Also featured by Sandretto is the latest in its Mach series of high-speed accumulator-assisted machines. The newly refined Mach III 270 will be available in North America in early 2002 and features water-cooled motors and an electric screw drive. This combination is said to offer very low energy consumption levels. The Mach III will mold a thin-wall part. 

Gas-assist technology will be showcased on the company's Series Nine 140 where a Bauer gas-assisted injection system will be used to produce a knife and fork from ABS. 

Currently the largest in its line of Series Nine machines, the 550 has been enhanced and will be equipped with Windsor's PlugXpress add-on injection unit. The unit, which allows a machine to be easily converted to a two-shot system, will be used to mold a multicomponent automotive cooling manifold. The molding cell will also incorporate the use of a gas-assisted coinjection system. 

Inspection, Testing, and Control 
Many machine manufacturers exhibiting at K will also showcase inspection equipment. One of Demag's machines, for instance, will mold a part that will be transferred to an inspection station where a video system will record conformance to crucial dimension criteria. Also, the production of a four-pin connector housing for an automotive application will be monitored by a two-stage optical quality inspection system. The first stage checks the contour of the four connectors, while the second stage checks certain lugs on the inner contour of the connector to ensure proper mating. Contours are compared to that of a master part. 

For manual testing of part thickness, Panametrics will exhibit its new Model 25Multi Plus ultrasonic precision thickness gauge. The gauge can be used to take measurements from just one side of the part. Stored setups allow the measurement of multilayered parts, calculating and displaying up to four separate measurements at once. 

Soon-to-be-released Plastics Insight version 3.0 will be on display at Moldflow's stand. MPI 3.0, otherwise known as Synergy, integrates Moldflow Plastics Insight 2.0 and C-Mold 2000 products into a single family. New features include enhanced CAD interfaces, a new design of experiments manager, expanded materials database, Fusion and 3-D enhancements, results interpretation, and reports. 


Thick-film heating technology from Watlow is designed to eliminate hot and cold spots in hot runner manifolds and nozzles.

Two automation systems will be showcased by Hekuma. The first is a system designed for CD jewel box production. Total cycle time will be 4.5 seconds, though the optimized cycle will target 4 seconds. If accomplished, this would represent a 40 percent speed improvement, down from an original time of 6.8 seconds. The mold, from AWM Switzerland, is a 4+4 stack mold producing four covers and four bases with a full hot runner system. The parts will be produced on a Netstal SynErgy 2400 (240 metric tons). Total cycle time includes 3.9 seconds of dry cycle automation, including .4 second when the mold is open for the robot. 

The second application in the Fanuc booth is for cleanroom production. A high-speed side-entry robot, designed for Class 1000 applications, is capable of working in a 2-second total cycle time. At K, the robot will support the production of pipettes at a cycle time of 5.4 seconds, slower than optimum speed due to the product design and molding parameters. The mold, produced by Tanner Switzerland, is a 32-cavity single-face hot runner tool that will run on an 80-metric-ton Fanuc all-electric machine. Total cycle time includes the .6-second mold open time for robot access. 

In an effort to simplify operation of its part handling devices, Remak (Darmstädter, Germany) is introducing a new control platform at K. This control concept will introduce uniform control across the company's line of sprue pickers and removal robots. 

Remak will also introduce three new robots: a sprue removal device (the RX 5) with a reported removal time of less than .3 second; a three-axis servomotor-driven removal/insertion device (RX 51); and a larger custom-made removal/insertion robot (RF 5T). 


Mobile phone shells with a wall thickness of .7 mm will be produced in a cell with a 5-second cycle time. The demonstration is a joint effort between the Männer Group, Demag Ergotech, and Neureder AG.

And for Molds . . . 
Remak will also present a new line of mold temperature controllers for applications with heating capacities up to 100 kW. For high-heat requirements, oil-based temperature control units for applications up to 220C are available. 

The new unit has a block design that reportedly provides good access for maintenance. In addition to a sensor within the mold, partial temperature control allows such control in selected zones. This design is useful for molds with high cavitation and also for very large tools, says Remak. 

A new line of hot runner temperature control systems is being introduced at K by Gammaflux (Sterling, VA). The new TTC family reportedly incorporates all new software, a smaller overall size, tighter temperature control, and a lower price than the company's previous control systems. Expanded language conversion options make the systems suitable for global use. 

Several TTC models, designed to control from 12 to 256 zones, will be introduced at K. The units are available in a panel-mount system that can be tied directly to the molding machine's control, eliminating the need for a separate hot runner control cabinet. 

Heatlock is hoping to make manifold design easier with its new system. Customers can choose from up to 300 different executions, choosing from I, H, X, and X-X configurations. Six different flow channels (6 to 16 mm) are available. Heights are 36, 46, and 56 mm. All choices are defined with an individual item number and shown in 3-D in the company's CAD library. Once a designer chooses what item to use, he can then specify the spacing between the drops and place the order. All manifolds, which are constructed from P-20 steel, are custom made from standard designs and delivered within three weeks, reports the company. 

Heatlock will also introduce a new line of ceramic insulators for hot runners. Called the Micro Series, the insulators are designed with very tight tolerances and are suitable for high-cavitation tools, says Heatlock. 

The Männer Group will be at K with several new introductions. Among other items, a nozzle heater band with a new type of clamping mechanism will be exhibited by m-form. As mentioned previously, m-mold, a precision moldmaker, will demonstrate a 4+4 stack mold producing mobile phone shells with a wall thickness of .7 mm with a cycle time of less than 5 seconds. A joint study between Demag Ergotech, Neureder AG, and both Männer Group companies (m-form and m-mold), this cell is said to be capable of capacities of up to 50 million thin-wall parts/year. Inmold decoration and labeling will also be highlighted by Männer. 

Hot runner nozzle and manifold heaters introduced at NPE will be shown by Watlow (St. Louis, MO). Both use a new thick-film heating technology that reportedly allows hot runner manufacturers to uniformly apply precisely calibrated heat at temperatures up to 925F (500C). By doing away with hot and cold spots along hot runner manifolds and nozzles, consistency from shot to shot is improved, reports Watlow. 

If you're eager to see Foboha's vertically rotating 4-by-64-cavity block mold, stop by the Ferromatik Milacron stand to see it molding toothpaste tube shoulders. 

Materials and Databases 
Several new grades of nylon will be exhibited by DSM. New technology developments include Akulon Ultraflow, a new high-flow nylon 6; and Stanyl High Flow, an improved-flow version of glass-fiber-reinforced, flame-retardant nylon 4/6. 

New from Eastman are Titan liquid crystal polymers, a range of high-temperature engineering polymers developed specifically for thin-wall applications; and Eastar Bio, a newly developed biodegradable copolyester. 

For those looking for a specific material, Campus 4.5, a plastics database offered by M-Base, has been enhanced and will be showcased at K. New features include information on the chemical resistance of materials, listing of specific properties of TPEs, a new way of defining base polymers that includes an exact description of fillers, and direct links to further information on the Internet. 

A complex part demands a complex tool 


Eleven different demolding directions are required for this complex part.

A t K 2001 attendees will discover molders and moldmakers showing off their wares. Wilden Kunststoff (Wackersdorf, Germany)--part of Wilden AG's international mix of molding, moldmaking, materials development, and automation engineering--is both and has a particularly impressive part and mold to highlight at the show. This cooling water controller housing, developed in association with an automotive manufacturer and the thermostat's producer, combines the cooling water distributor with an integrated thermostat housing. The finished part calls for 11 demolding directions, but in the end, the entire subassembly is fixed in place with a mere six screws. 

Since the thermostat housing contains a control mechanism, it was necessary to use a dimensionally stable and heat-resistant material to avoid even the slightest deflection. To meet these needs, a glass-fiber- and mineral-reinforced polyphenylene sulfide was chosen. 

To say the finished mold, built by Wilden, is complex is an understatement. The cramped conditions typical of an engine compartment demand greatly differing angles for mounting surfaces. In fact, the nine core pullers for the hose end connections and the thermostat housing are each at a different angle to the engine flange, resulting in 11 demolding directions. Still, the hose connections and the connection through-holes require no secondary machining. The only manual action performed in the process is the insertion of the threaded rings into the mold. 




For more on companies that will be exhibiting at K 2001, as well as other show information, go to www.k-online.de or www.mdna.com. 

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