Trexel is expanding its product portfolio to bring new process solutions to the plastics marketplace. At NPE, Trexel will demonstrate the Rapid Heat Cycle Molding (RHCM) process also called the Variotherm process, used in conjunction with Trexel’s MuCell process in a molding demonstration at its booth, #1303. A tackle box will be molded that not only demonstrates the design freedom and weight reduction potential offered by the MuCell process, but also how users can take advantage of the RHCM/MuCell combination to achieve outstanding part surface appearance never before available until now.
The tackle box will be molded on a 250-ton Arburg hydraulic Allrounder 630 S, and will demonstrate the variable wall thicknesses and 1:1 rib structures that are possible through the use of the MuCell process. MuCell also offers designers the potential to reduce weight by 20%-30% in many applications. The tackle box lid will be molded using RHCM in combination with the MuCell process to show the high gloss surface appearance now possible with this process technology combination.
The mold is being built by Proper Group of Warren, MI. Synventive Molding Solutions, a hot runner manufacturer in Peabody, MA, is supplying the company’s new eGate high performance electric valve gate hot runner system for this application.
“There are major opportunities for us to bring this new process combination to a variety of end-use markets,” said Steve Braig, President and CEO of Trexel. “From interior class A parts in automotive to exterior housings for indoor and outdoor appliances, power equipment and applications in many other markets, Trexel can now offer all of the design freedom and weight reduction advantages our customers have come to expect from the MuCell process, combined with the outstanding surface appearance we can achieve with Rapid Heat Cycle Molding.”
Braig told PlasticsToday in an interview that in looking at the injection molding industry there haven’t been many revolutionary iterations over the last 20-30 years. “What we’ve seen have been mostly incremental developments if you look at primary processing equipment and technology,” Braig stated. “MuCell has really changed the dynamic of injection molding. My personal vision of Trexel is to provide molders with a better way to injection mold a part. Our contribution to the industry is to provide technology to lower their costs and be an enabling technology that will allow them to designing and mold parts that cannot be made using conventional molding technology.”
MuCell technology combined with Variotherm’s RHCM, from a cost standpoint, can eliminate the need for painting or clear coating offering significant cost reductions. Braig also wants MuCell technology, to some extent, be an “enabling technology” that allows designers to come up with features on the part that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.
“I truly believe we are at the beginning of deploying MuCell in a wide range of applications,” Braig commented. “I think we’re at the point now where MuCell is finding broad acceptance. However, that said, I’m careful not to take away from our efforts to continue to educate designers about what the technology can do.”
Braig believes that there are other technologies that will complement the MuCell product offering in making a better part, such as Variotherm’s RHCM is doing. “Currently we’re not working on anything else beyond MuCell and RHCM, bringing both processes to our customers in an effective way is our focus,” he stated. “But ultimately we’ll be looking at new technology that will be cost effective and push the envelope of the injection molding process.
“Going back to my original statement that the injection molding industry not seen a lot of revolutionary advances or technologies, if you look around outside plastics processing it’s evident that we’ve got a lot of catching up to do to provide technology to plastic part manufacturers that are more than just incremental improvements, but are truly revolutionary -- ‘game changers.’”