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Three plastics + one filter = new production method for filter modules

Three different resins and a filter come together in one machine at K in a process Engel believes could revolutionize filter system manufacturing in medical initially and fuel systems down the road.

July 24, 2013

2 Min Read
Three plastics + one filter = new production method for filter modules

Three different resins and a filter come together in one machine at K in a process Engel believes could revolutionize filter system manufacturing in medical initially and fuel systems down the road.

At K, a a blood transfusion drip chamber application will be molded on an Engel e-victory 310H/80W/50V 160 combi three-component injection molding machine, utilizing the company’s ecodrive technology and a clean room design. ABS and a TPE component will be injection molded in a single step, while the filter is mounted and joined by a polypropylene overmolding. In conventional systems, two hollow body components are individually injection molded, while the inlay is then fitted and bonded in subsequent process steps.Engel K 2013 Medical

The e-victory utilizes servoelectric drives for all movements of the index plate mold; which Engel says facilitates the synchronous control of mutually independent movements. Engel notes that platen parallelism on its tiebarless injection molding machine ensures mold protection, with platen parallelism automatically adapted to the mold parallelism, as clamping force builds up. Engel notes that platen parallelism is guaranteed, even where molds are heavy, thanks to prestressing by the patented FlexLink system and the support of the C-frame. easix multi-axis robot removes the drip chambers and runs them through inspection for seal tightness.

During the company's pre-K event at its headquarters in Austria, Engel's head of research and development, Georg Steinbichler, noted the smaller footprint (physical space and capital investment) required by the new process.

"Normally you would need three injection molding machines, automation, and then joining," Bichler said. "In the medical market, companies don’t want to use glue, and they don’t want to weld. This can be used in the future instead of other joining technologies."

Needle holders molded from 96-cavity tool
Engel will also feature an automated manufacturing cell for making needle holders for insulin pens at K 2013, partnering with the automation specialist Hekuma and moldmaker Braunform. The needle holders are molded from a 96-cavity mold, the cores of which have a diameter of just 0.3 mm. To counter deformation, the electric injection unit has a direct drive set up. The direct drive also makes highly dynamic injection movements and injection speeds of up to 500 mm/sec possible. A camera-based monitoring system identifies and defects, and thanks to cavity specific handling, reject parts are automatically separated. In addition, the injection mold can carry on producing without worrying about scrap production from the faulty cavity. Engel says the all-electric e-motion 440/220 T achieves cycle times of around five seconds despite the delicate mold cores.

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