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Plastics Processes Injection Molding: Machinery & Equipment Injection Molding: Technology Advances

Engel clearmelt technology produces automotive cockpit of the future

Engel clearmelt technology produces automotive cockpit of the future

At the Engel booth, visitors to NPE could take a seat in the automotive cockpit without buttons and switches. Instead, as with a smart phone, various control functions can be activated by lightly touching one of the functional elements below a completely enclosed surface. Engel presented the exhibit in cooperation with various system partners. Magna Exterior & Interior Systems in Munich, Germany is supporting the processing technology side of the project.

The vehicle controls are manufactured using Engel’s clearmelt technology and the integration of a capacitive foil using in-mold labeling. Clearmelt uses back-injected foils as a carrier. A sliding table floods the thermoplastic carrier with a thin protective layer of transparent polyurethane.

Unlike in older technology which takes several steps, this process does it all at once.


Sensitive surface technology reduces the cost of producing various functional elements and allows increased design freedom. Engel officials said talks are underway with various OEMs and automotive companies and expect that in four to five years the first vehicles will be equipped with this new type of control.

Also of note on the Engel booth was the e-cap 3440/460 US for the caps and closures market. Designed to achieve maximum output and process stability, the all-electric machine is extremely energy efficient. Cycle time was less than 3 seconds. The caps and closures market has been dominated by energy-intensive accumulator machines, but Engel expects that this will change as low energy all-electrics prove themselves.

Engel Canada Inc. (Waterloo, Ont);; 519-725-8488


Edrive series now available in North America

On show at NPE2012, Arburg’s new fully-electric Edrive series is now available in North America. The Allrounder E machines significantly expand the fully-electric machine range. These machines are primarily designed for the efficient manufacture of standard items, such as technical molded parts, making them the electric alternative to basic hydraulic machines.

This new fully-electric Edrive series comprises a total of four machine sizes, which can each be equipped with a variety of injection units. The spectrum ranges from the Allrounder 370 E with a clamping force of 600 kN (66 tons) and size 170 (3.7 oz) injection unit to the Allrounder 570 E with a clamping force of 2,000 kN (220 tons) and size 800 (15.3 oz) injection unit.

The new electric machines enable economical, cost-effective entry into the world of Arburg electric machines and represent an alternative to basic hydraulic machines.

The Allrounder E machines offer advantages in terms of cycle times thanks to their rapid and simultaneous execution of the most important machine movements and their potential with regard to energy efficiency. With all the fully-electric Arburg machines, the high efficiency of the servo-electric drives and the toggle-type clamping unit ensure extremely energy-efficient operation. Servo motor energy recovery during braking also has a beneficial effect on the machines’ overall energy consumption. Together, these factors combine to reduce energy consumption by up to 50 per cent compared to standard hydraulic machines.

Arburg Inc. (Newington, Conn.);; 860-667-6522

  DCube (Montreal);; 514 272-0500

  Dier International (Unionville, Ont.);; 416-219-0509;


Wittmann Battenfeld’s EcoPower shows versatility

At NPE2012, the functionality of Wittmann Battenfeld’s EcoPower units was demonstrated on two machines from this series with 110 ton clamping force. In a single-cavity mold supplied by Wittner, a front panel for a coffeemaker was manufactured on an EcoPower 110/350 with insider solution, a machine where a Wittmann robot for parts removal, a conveyor belt and peripheral equipment for upstream and downstream processing were integrated in the machine frame. This is a high-gloss visible part made of PC/ABS. The parts were produced by a variothermic process using BFMOLDTM technology. In this technology the entire space below the cavity is used for heating and cooling. This enables extremely even and, above all, quick cooling of the mold area. Therefore, the technology is of interest not only in order to reduce cycle times, but also to prevent warpage and to reduce tension. Moreover, sink marks and joint lines can be prevented with the help of BFMOLD technology, above all on components with a visible surface or parts with a high-gloss surface.

On the second EcoPower, an EcoPower 110/130, a locking device for the foldaway tables on the back of airplane seats was manufactured from ABS in a two-cavity mold within a cycle time of 30 seconds. A Wittmann W821 robot was used to present the metal pin for fastening the lock to a camera, to check its straightness, and subsequently place it into the mold for insert molding. The robot also removed the finished parts, presented them to a second camera to check their length and then deposited them on a conveyor belt.

Wittmann Canada Inc. (Richmond Hill, Ont.);; 866-466-8266

  Ontor Ltd. (Romark Division) (Toronto);; 416-781-5286


Work cells demonstrate multi-market use of EC SX all-electric units

Molders will be able to see how Toshiba’s revolutionary EC SX all-electric injection molding machine can be used for virtually any application, thanks to a variety of different work cells running simultaneously during NPE2012.

Toshiba engineers will use the EC110SX, a 110-ton machine ideal for extremely tight tolerances, to mold medical syringes using Bayer polycarbonate supplied by PolyOne.

With its fast cycling and all-electric operation, the 200-ton EC200SX is ideal for packaging applications. At NPE, the system will be combined with an in-mold labeling system from IMDECOL Ltd. to output thin-walled, two-cavity cheese containers using polypropylene supplied by Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, Inc.  

Two additional work cells molding consumer recreational items will be stationed at the booths of Toshiba’s supplier-partners. They include Wexco, whose barrel will be combined with Toshiba’s 110-ton EC110SX and a secondary vertical injection unit from Mold-Masters to produce two-color poker chips molded from two different polypropylene resins supplied by Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, Inc., with colorant supplied by Colors for Plastics, Inc.  

The most popular work cell may be the live demo at ASACLEAN, where Toshiba’s 55-ton EC55SX will be outputting thousands of plastic flying disks. Enhancing the cell will be a water chiller from Thermo Fisher Scientific and Smartflow water regulator. A second demo at the booth will show how ASACLEAN purging compound prevents contaminants from building up in the barrel.

Toshiba Machine Company Canada (Markham, Ont.); www.toshibamachine.ca905-479-9111


Energy-efficient 170-ton servo unit

Introduced at NPE2012, Milacron’s 170-ton Magna T Servo features hybrid toggle technology that dramatically improves on the energy efficiency of a standa
rd hydraulic system. At NPE, the system will mold coasters with a PTA Plastics 2-cavity mold. The complete system will feature a Milacron conveyor, robot, loader, thermolators and Milacron’s Endura II Control System. It also will incorporate a DME hot runner system, ServTek TCS Heater Bands and VBET feed screw.

The Magna T Servo hybrid, which is available in sizes ranging from 55 to 400 tons, achieves higher energy efficiency than a hydraulic machine by using a variable-speed AC servo motor to drive a fixed-volume gear pump. The machine’s servo motor allows the pump to deliver only the required amount of oil for each stage of the process. The servo motor also can reverse the direction of pumping to reduce pressure, if necessary. If no additional flow is required, the pump will stop.

As a result, the system requires less energy for oil cooling and ejects less heat into the plant, creating cost savings that provide a faster return on investment compared to a conventional hydraulic system.

Because the servo motors are highly dynamic and low in inertia, Magna T Servo machines provide nearly the same control and repeatability as all-electrics, contributing to faster start-ups than with conventional hydraulic machines. Magna T Servo machines also operate nearly as quietly as all-electrics.

Milacron Canada Corp. (Burlington, Ont.);; 905-319-1919


Haitian Mars series provides molders with energy savings

On display at NPE2012, the Haitian Mars series offers attendees a look at why the injection molding machine brand has become one of the best-selling presses worldwide. Since its introduction in 2005, there have been more than 50,000 Mars machines sold all over the globe.

At NPE2012, an MA-3800/2950 “B” (3800kN clamp force or 427 U.S. tons) is running a consumer products mold provided by VM International-American Maid (VMI). The snack tray is molded with polypropylene and is removed and stacked by a SEPRO S-5 multi-axis robot, the latest in advanced automation.

The MA-3800 at NPE is equipped with the large 2950 injection drive to accommodate increased material volume and faster recovery rates. This injection unit size is standard on the larger 528 US ton machine but its availability on the MA-3800 demonstrates the flexibility that HAITIAN is able to provide molders an extensive range of designed injection configurations as a result of its higher sales volume.

Additionally, the Mars at NPE2012 is configured with a proportional valve circuit on the clamp and independent servo motors that allow for parallel functioning of the cores and ejectors during the mold open/close sequence, further reducing cycle time.

Absolute Haitian Corporation (Worcester, Mass.);; 508-459-5372

Shadow Automation Inc. (Uxbridge, Ont.); 416-464-2070

Lutek Plastics Equipment (Dorval, Que.);; 514-421-8963


Two-platen small tonnage machine

Negri Bossi’s new EOS-SE line of ‘Smart Energy’ small tonnage machines, available in five clamp sizes ranging from 55 to 130 tons and with shot capacities from 1 oz. to 10 oz., makes use of a unique two-platen design with long opening stroke and features a twin cylinder injection unit. With this combination, the EOS-SE series offers one of the smallest footprints in the industry along with very large platens and tie bar clearances.

The EOS-SE machines are supplied as standard with a variable frequency driven asynchronous AC electric motor coupled to a digital variable displacement pump. This very responsive combination allows for accurate control of speeds and pressures and a consistent, repeatable process with minimal motor rotation during process idle. The result of this combination is energy consumption that is nearly identical to that expected of an all-electric machine. Other manufacturers typically offer only a fixed displacement/variable speed motor combination, which rely solely upon the acceleration and deceleration of the electric motor for their speed of response.

The Negri Bossi variable volume pump/variable speed motor combination has much faster

response times and smoother transitions. Each of the compact twin-piston injection units is available with three screw diameters and is equipped as standard with bi-metallic barrel and ceramic heater bands. The EOS-SE line is equipped with the new Orion controller which offers optimal management of the molding process in an easy and intuitive format. Many features that are often considered options on other brands are included as standard in the software.

Negri Bossi/Hamilton Plastic Systems (Mississauga, Ont.);; 905-890-0055


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