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Robot line customized for molding

The RXplastics line of six-axis robots features three models (RX60, RX90, RX130) with load capacities up to 25 kg and a maximum reach at the wrist of 2185 mm. Coordination of robot movements with the molding cycle is aided by Euromap 12-compliant software. Since the RX line is prewired to Euromap 12 standards, the robots are ready as shipped for direct connection to molding machines and safety door systems.

A series of frequently used movements and scenarios comes loaded in the control software. Customizing is done with macros and modules that modify these preset movements to meet more specific parameters. The system?s control employs a graphical user interface that features common molding lingo to aid operator use. The RX line can be used in Class 100 cleanroom environments. High-speed, precision control allows the robots to follow complex trajectories at joint-speed ranges of up to 1125°/sec. The gearbox maneuvering the robot has zero backlash for smooth movements and consistent operation. Insert loading, demolding, inmold decorating, glue laying, powder coating, painting, assembly, inspection, and packaging are among the potential applications.

Staübli Corp., Duncan, SC
(846) 433-1980;

Hexagonal molded-in inserts

A new set of brass inserts is designed for placement in the mold prior to plastic injection. These molded-in inserts have a large hexagonal head on each end, as well as a large, center undercut. The heads are said to provide a high level of bidirectional torque resistance while the undercut is designed to provide high tensile strength for rigorous applications.

The Spirol Series 40 is a through-hole molded-in insert; and the Spirol Series 44 is a blind-end molded-in insert. Neither insert requires specialized insertion tools since they can both be placed directly into the mold prior to injection. These inserts have been designed to simplify orientation and placement. They?re targeted at applications where high torque and pull-out/through resistance are required, or where the molder would prefer to place the insert within the tool prior to molding.

Spirol Intl. Corp., Danielson, CT
(860) 774-8571;

Compounding Extruders

The TEM series of corotating, intermeshing twin-screw extruders has high torque and high screw speed. It comes in 41- to 136-mm models. The increased torque of the redesigned gearbox is said to yield high-quality products at a low resin temperature.

The TEM Series reportedly provides 15 percent higher torque per free volume than similar-sized extruders of different design. The higher torque enables the extruder to produce more horsepower, which in turn creates higher throughput rates. Higher torque also allows greater filling of the screw flights, reducing the overall average shear rate and the final melt temperature.

The high torque per free volume yields a low melt temperature and the ability to run at higher speeds. The higher screw speed increases power input and production rates nearly linearly. Short residence times reduce the product?s heat history.

The TEM Series has unique vent ports and quick-clamp die-head design for reduced contamination and maintenance, while maintaining a smooth flow of material.

Standard TEM Series? barrels are made using a carbide lining (or alternate 10V liners) for wear resistance. The barrel design combined with the use of screws made from wear-resistant steel alloys is said to improve overall endurance of the machine compared to conventional-type models. The different configurations include feed barrels, vent barrels, closed barrels, and side-feed barrels.

NFM/Welding Engineers Inc.
Massillon, OH; (330) 837-3868;

Software updates help improve mold design program?s usability

Two new wizards have been added to the PS-Moldmaker software. The software automates mold design, and the wizards are used for the design of slides and cooling channels. The slide wizard provides an automatic method for the design of slides that are needed when parts incorporate undercuts. The cooling wizard uses the dynamic sectioning command within PowerShape to create one or multiple planes within the mold core or cavity for layout of water channels and other design functions.

An upgrade to the PS-Electrode module allows the user to check the quality of the imported model and adjust the tolerances between the edges of various surfaces so that the final stages of the process will run smoothly. Now it?s also easier for the user to select the burn area in cases where the boundary doesn?t match the existing surface edges. Other additions include the ability to produce a combined electrode to burn two adjacent areas from a single blank, and automatic trimming of the blank to allow the electrode to move as close as possible to the surface of the mold without a collision.

A new version of the PowerInspect software supports inspection of models against STL files. This ability extends the usability of this program to all companies that provide rapid prototyping or manufacturing services.

Delcam Inc., Windsor, ON
(519) 974-8088;

Large mold-mounted hot runner temperature control

A 108-zone hot runner temperature control system is said to demonstrate robustness, scalability, and optimal space utilization. The Altanium 108 is reportedly the industry?s largest mold-mounted hot runner temperature control system. It uses 60 percent less space compared to previous products. The system controls 108 zones on both single-face or stack molds. It?s designed with a rail and latching mechanism, as well as an interface with standardized connectors to transition between the control system and the mold, easing mounting and removal for mold substitutions or service.

A hot runner temperature control system that is mold mounted adds a unique set of requirements. To meet these, the mold-mount design was combined with the latest Altanium hot runner hardware platform. Space on the mold is limited, requiring tight integration and service access for hard-to-reach areas. The mechanical design is also reportedly built to withstand the continuous stress generated by mold movement.

American MSI
Moorpark, CA
(805) 523-9593

Dark-colored stereo-lithography resins

A new series of stereolithography resins reportedly offers users high humidity resistance and toughness. The first in the series is called Raven 7620. It?s a photopolymer for solid-state laser equipment that comes as a clear, amber-colored material and turns dark during the polymerization process. The dark color achieved is especially suitable for both automotive and industrial applications.

Low product viscosity allows for easier cleaning and overall convenience in the build process, and parts made with Raven 7620 can also be used as patterns for investment casting. The series also includes transparent resins and a line with flexibility properties similar to polypropylene and polyethylene.

DSM Somos, New Castle, DE
(302) 326-8100

Static melt blenders yield homogeneous mixes

Static KMB melt blenders support the extrusion of high-quality films, foils, sheets, profiles, and pipes, while reportedly increasing the flexibility of extrusion lines at a low cost. The blenders are compact, have no moving parts, require no maintenance, and are said to offer high mixing efficiency.

During the extrusion process, highly viscous melts develop a laminar flow profile in which flow lines are always parallel to the axis of the flow channel. The mixing elements of the melt blender split the melt flow into part streams, which are moved in a radial direction and recombined. Reportedly, even specially designed screws do not achieve the same mixing performance.

The static-melt blenders are installed just upstream of the die in the flow-melt channel. They typically use four mixing elements, reducing melt-homogeneity problems and temperature variations by a factor of five.

Koch-Glitsch Inc., Wichita, KS
(316) 828-5130

Liquid coloring made easier

Many of the processing difficulties inherent in the use of liquid-color concentrates are reportedly eliminated by a new automated, liquid-color management system. The Pump-in-a-Drum liquid-color system uses a specialized metering system and pump fully enclosed in a drum to deliver color in a completely sealed environment. Siphoning the colorant through sealed tubes, Pump-in-a-Drum also features automatic shutoffs to prevent leakage in and out of the drum. The drum?s lid has a hydraulic quick-connect fitting with an internal shutoff valve that restricts liquid flow when the pump is operating. In addition, the system?s tubes reportedly aren?t susceptible to the wear and tear experienced with peristaltic pumps. Pump-in-a-Drum accommodates two drums and automatically switches over to the full drum once one is emptied. An alarm is also triggered to alert users that one drum is empty. Liquid colorant can cost more per pound than pellet concentrates, but Riverdale says liquid systems offer more value and long-term savings since they carry higher pigment loads and can be used in smaller amounts.

Riverdale Color Mfg. Inc.
Perth Amboy, NJ
(732) 376-9300

Blown film line created for Research and development

The Microblown film line was shown for the first time at Antec 2002 in San Francisco. Its entire mechanical assembly has a footprint of just 30 by 30 inches, and the complete line (with the control panels stacked vertically) adds another 12 inches to the length.

The film line is designed for research, development, and quality control applications. It makes film from about 1 to 18 inches wide. The line reportedly allows the user to test and improve resins, additives, and colorants, and can be used to test for elongation, impact, shine, transparency, and gels. In quality control applications, a user can test viscosity (with the online rheometer), gels, melt strength, pressure, and contamination. Secondary testing of film strength is also possible.

The line uses vertical compounding screw extruders ranging from .25 to 1.25 inches in diameter. To withstand the stress of feeding, melting, mixing, and pumping the screws are driven through the metering section. The metering section?s root diameter is reportedly about 2.4 times as strong as the weak feed-section root diameter.

Randcastle Extrusion Systems
Cedar Grove, NJ
(973) 239-1150

Optical micrometer for small targets

The LS-7010 CCD optical micrometer measures targets as small as .04 mm with an accuracy of ±.5 µm and a repeatability of ±.06 µm. Reportedly half the size of other optical micrometers, the compact LS-7010?s measuring head is only 9 inches long. The measuring range is .04 to 6 mm.

The LS-7010 is designed for use with specialized, precision applications such as catheters and a broad range of small parts and components. One model includes a complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) camera in the receiver head, which images the target area on the target-viewer monitor. The monitor enables users to quickly and accurately position the target in the beam for more precision.

Unlike some laser scanning micro-meter systems, the LS-7010 measuring head uses no motor or rotating-prism mechanism. A high-intensity LED light source and an HL-CCD (high-speed, linear CCD) offer speed and accuracy. The sampling rate of 2400 samples/sec is reportedly two times that of conventional laser scan micrometer systems. With no moving parts, the LS-7010 measuring head generates no heat or vibration.

Keyence Corp. of America
Woodcliff Lake, NJ;
(888) 539-3623