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Injection molding.

At the show, 'small' will be big--in new presses under 100 tons, compact flat-panel displays, shorter clamps, and miniature hot-runner hardware.

Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of new injection presses, controllers, robots, and hot-runner systems at NPE. How to make sense of it all? If you stand back a bit, several trends become apparent: The range of choice in all-electric presses is expanding fast--new models will be introduced by at least a half-dozen suppliers. If you're looking for large machines, new clamp designs are saving space and increasing energy efficiency. If parting-line or insert molding is your trade, you'll find more of that sort of press at this NPE than at any other U.S. show in recent memory. And if you're molding delicate parts like electronic connectors, several suppliers are introducing a variety of low-pressure mold-filling techniques.

And that's far from all: New control systems continue to get smarter. Several at the show will include "self-learning" capability. In hot runners, new gating systems for very small parts will be among the many introductions. For molding automation, high-speed servo-controlled robots continue to proliferate, but several suppliers will introduce low-cost models as well.

Among the host of newsworthy exhibits and demonstrations, a few may qualify as particularly unusual: Nissei America, Inc., Anaheim, Calif., will show an 88-ton FS80S12ANEV injection press with a vented barrel that reportedly can mold undried PET regrind. It has a special flake feeder housed in the hopper.

Battenfeld of America, West Warwick, R.I., will give the first North American demonstration of the commercial "IPT" injected paint technology that drew a lot of attention at Interplas '93 (see PT, Dec. '93, p. 15). A different sort of in-mold painting technology was shown as long ago as NPE '88, but still has not been commercialized.

In process controls, you'll be able to take a look at the new molding q-c and diagnostic system from Dynisco Instruments, Sharon, Mass., that's based on infrared melt-temperature monitoring in the nozzle (PT, Aug. '93, p. 13).

And a novel "Press Alpha" in-mold degating system will be demonstrated by Sumitomo (SHI Plastics Machinery, Norcross, Ga.) For details, see PT, April '94, p. 54.

MORE CHOICE IN ELECTRICS

A number of suppliers evidently think the time is right for all-electric injection machines. Witness these entries:

* Toyo Machinery of Japan (represented here by Maruka U.S.A. Inc., Lombard, Ill.) will introduce its TU series to the U.S. after five years of use in Japan. Presses will be available in 35, 55, and 90 tons.

* Battenfeld of America, West Warwick, R.I., is showing a new 55-ton, all-servo-electric CDK-SE press with Unilog Tc40 "transputer" control. A prototype was first shown at K'92 in Dusseldorf (PT, Jan. '93, p. 67). Like other CDK machines, it offers a modular choice of components.

* Sumitomo will show off its first servo-electric press. The SE180A (198 tons) will be demonstrated with another first-time introduction to North America: a "Simpac" in-mold labeling system developed jointly by Sumitomo and Yushin. Both were seen at the recent IPF '94 fair in Tokyo (PT, Mar. '94, p. 15) and Simpac was also shown at JP '92 in Osaka (PT, June '92, p. 15).

* Niigata Engineering Co., Elk Grove Village, Ill., will introduce its MD electric series (55, 82 and 110 tons).

* JSW Plastics Machinery, Santa Fe Springs, Calif., will show a 55-ton model J55E-L in a series from 35 to 165 tons.

* There will even be a new 5-ton servo-electric press with 4-g shot capacity--the Merlin E/L from MCP Equipment of England (represented by Tomken Tool & Engineering, Inc., Muncie, Ind.).

* And a 10-ton servo-electric ED10 will be shown by Nissei America, Inc., Anaheim, Calif. (Nissei has offered servo-electric presses in Japan since 1984.)

In addition, Nissei will show a redesigned FE160S36ASE fast-cycling press that uses an inverter-controlled electric motor just for screw rotation. This permits simultaneous plastication and mold opening/closing for faster cycles and energy savings. In addition, this press has controls with SPC monitoring and "molding-parameter support software" that uses CAE to allow "easy optimization of molding parameters," the company says.

VERTICAL PRESSES SPOTLIGHTED

A notable concentration of vertical presses is another distinguishing feature of this show.

* A new supplier of injection machines, AmeriPlas Machinery Corp., Chesterland, Ohio, is introducing the Vortex line of vertical insert molders, which have a QMC option and toggle clamps that require no lubrication.

* Vertical C-frame models of Battenfeld's new "Plus" series of 27.5- and 38.5-ton presses will be shown by Battenfeld of America. These were introduced at Interplas '93 (PT, Dec. '93, p. 17).

* Two new vertical-clamp insert molding machines will be shown by Autojectors, Inc., Albion, Ind. The Bantam V is an 8-ton tabletop unit with vertical clamp and vertical reciprocating-screw injection unit. Special hydraulic fittings and greaseless bearings reportedly provide clean operation. Also new is the 150-ton model HCR-150 with a servo-driven rotary table that can rotate in either direction between two-, three, or four-stations.

* Arburg, Inc., Newington, Conn., will show a new rotary-table press (first seen at K'92) with a vertical clamp and two- or three-station rotary table. The injection unit can be vertical or horizontal with shot capacity up to 5.7 oz.

* A new 50-ton parting-line injection machine will be exhibited by Jaco Manufacturing Co., Berea, Ohio. The Jaco III/V/MAX, with vertical injection unit and horizontal clamp, will be equipped with SCI touchpad controller and Hunkar monitoring system.

* A new 220-ton H-frame vertical press (model VH-3R-220T) with rotary table comes from Multiplas (distributed by New Pacific Machinery, Trenton, Tenn.). It is equipped with a Power Match system that reportedly can cut energy consumption 40-60% compared with fixed-displacement pumps. It also features proportional hydraulics and six steps each of injection speed and pressure. Also new from Multiplas is a 160-ton vertical press for golf-ball manufacturing. It includes shuffle table and eight-cavity mold with two bottom-half molds.

* Presma, an Italian affiliate of American Jet Stream in East Brunswick, N.J., is introducing a 10-station vertical coinjection press (Roto H/P 62/62). It's intended for molding smooth, solid skins on a foamed core of recycled resin.

* Newbury Industries, Inc., Newbury, Ohio, will show off its new "Euro"-style redesign of its V30 vertical presses, which have a light curtain around the rotary table for worker protection. A Euro V200 vertical with new clamp and hydraulics will also be on hand. The company will also display a new vertical 10-ton press.

* Also displayed in the Newbury booth will be air-operated, plunger-type, tabletop vertical injection presses from brand-new Mini-Jector Machinery Corp., Newbury, Ohio, started by Glenn Frohring, former Newbury owner. He'll be showing his new Model 45 semi-automatic 12-ton press with 'V" mold, as well as the fully automatic Model 60 Minimatic 15-ton toggle-clamp unit with vertical injection and horizontal clamp.

* A new "WV" vertical press series for rubber (10 to 450 tons) will be introduced by Wabash MPI, Wabash, Ind. The machines feature "first-in/first-out" injection system for uniform temperature and material plastication.

* A new 30-ton closed-loop vertical press (VRT/30TS) with a book mold will be shown by Illinois Precision, Wheaton, Ill.

* PH Trueblood, Columbus, Ohio, will exhibit its new vertical insert press (PHB75A-5) with shuffle table.

* And a new three-color rotary shoe-sole machine for sport shoes will be shown by Kou Yi Iron Works Co. of Taiwan.

LOW-PRESSURE INJECTION

Several different manifestations of growing interest in low-pressure injection will appear at the show. Some Japanese suppliers use the approach of teaming up pairs of large and small injection cylinders and using regenerative circuits on some cylinders to transfer oil from one side of the piston to the other. By this means, as many as eight different combinations of cylinders and circuits can be selected to give a range of injection performance from high pressure/low speed to low pressure/high speed. Use of controlled low pressure is said to eliminate problems such as warpage, burning, bent pins, overpacking, stresses, and flashing.

Niigata plans to demonstrate this system in molding a 100-pin connector on its new "low-pressure injection machine" in the new "MI" series (Multiple Injection Rate System).

A similar approach is taken by Toyo with its new Multi 8 injection unit, available on 99-220 tons. Both systems were shown at the recent Tokyo fair (PT, April. '94, p. 52). Another variant is the "binary" injection option from Toshiba Machine Co., America, Elk Grove Village, Ill., introduced a year ago at Plastics Fair Philadelphia (PT, July '93, p. 21). Four binary machines of 90 to 950 tons (ISF and ISG series) will be demonstrated.

Engel Canada Inc., Guelph, Ont., will introduce its Textile Melt low-pressure injection-compression molding system (PT, Sept. '93, p. 65) for large-area, large-volume applications. It consists of a special servo-driven, three-axis traversing injection unit that extrudes melt over a fabric insert in the bottom half of a mold. Then it injects the remaining melt at low pressure typical of "rear injecting" textile applications.

Hettinga Equipment, Des Moines, Iowa, a low-pressure injection specialist, will show its "self-clamping" mold that was first introduced at K'92 (PT, Jan. '93, p. 69). The mold eliminates the clamp, tiebars, and platens on conventional injection presses. The stationary half of the mold is mounted on one end of a platform. The other mold half slides back and forth on rails. Hydraulic clamping mechanisms are mounted at the corners of the stationary side. As the edge of the moving half contacts the hydraulic clamping mechanism, locking heads pivot into position to clamp and hold the mold shut. It's said to permit low-pressure molding of large, complex, deep-draw parts such as refrigerator liners, and it cuts the required footprint of the press by half.

A line of low-pressure injection molding machines will also be introduced by Wilmington Machinery, Wilmington, N.C.

NEW CLAMP DESIGNS

Space-saving hydromechanical or fully hydraulic clamp designs with four clamp cylinders mounted on the tiebars are migrating from large machines to smaller and smaller sizes. They're also appearing on a number of models designed specifically for high speed.

* NPE will be the U.S. launch of the first thermoplastic machines to be marketed by Bucher Inc., Buffalo Grove, Ill. (PT, Jan. '93, p. 91). The new fast-cycling SGA presses (118-561 tons), which were introduced at K'92, have four clamping cylinders on the tiebars. The series will be offered in three variations: Medline for medical molding; Cleanline for clean-room situations; and Speedline for applications such as thin-wall parts.

* Compact footprint and open access to the mold area are advantages cited for the four-tiebar clamping system from Hemscheidt of Germany, which has a new sales office in Wixom, Mich. Its 550-ton model 500 H (also shown at K'92) has short tiebars pull back with the moving platen, leaving the mold area clear. The tierods have knurled knobs on the ends that lock into the fixed platen for clamping (PT, Jan. '93, p. 68).

* A four-tiebar clamping system appears on a 44-ton machine designed specifically for CD molding. This K'92 entry from Krauss-Maffei Corp., Florence, Ky., has a lot of other unusual features, including ability to mold a CD in 3.8 sec (PT, Dec. '92, p. 17; Jan. '93, p. 68).

Not all the new damp designs use four cylinders on the tiebars: Nissei will show a PH860S420B (946-ton) press with new hydromechanical clamp design incorporating a central hydraulic ram. It's said to be fast and compact, and its mold-opening force reportedly is 74% greater than that of a conventional hydraulic press.

Newbury Industries will present a high-speed accumulator-assisted 550-ton press with simplified hydraulics and improved mold protection. It will mold 16-oz dairy tubs in an 2 x 8 cavity stack mold with a cycle time under 6 sec.

A SLEW OF SMALL PRESSES

Besides the new Mini-Jector line mentioned above, the exhibit halls will be humming with small, mini, and micro-mini presses:

* A brand-new 50-ton "Micro" hydraulic machine will be introduced by Sandretto Plastics Machinery, Inc., Cedarville, N.J. The Micro series ranges from about 33 to 110 tons and is said to feature generous tiebar spacing and platen size, as well as closed-loop control.

* A new competitively priced 22-ton "Slim Line" tiebarless machine will be shown by Engel. It first appeared at Interplas '93 (PT, Jan. '94, p. 47). A new series of four tiebarless machines from 35 to 100 tons will also be shown. Unlike the Slim Line, these are all designed and built in Canada for North American needs.

* Competitive price is also cited for the new ET series (28-110 tons) from Van Dorn Demag Corp., Strongsville, Ohio (PT, Nov. '93, p. 46). Built in a highly automated plant in Germany dedicated to small machines, these Americanized models have a compact Demag NC4 microprocessor control (closed-loop optional).

* Cost-competitiveness is also the key to Nissei's new NS series presses, available in compact 22- and 44-ton versions with LCD control displays (PT, July '93, p. 23). Nissei will also show a tabletop, 7-ton HM7 machine with in-line screw injection.

* Besides the miniature 5-ton servo press mentioned above, MCP Equipment will bring along a new Merlin P/N 16-ton pneumatic press with 15-g shot capacity. A new Mark II microprocessor controller will also be displayed.

* Two small toggle-rap presses will be introduced by Boston Matthews, Inc., Norwood, NJ.: 10-ton BM-10 with screw injection; and 22-ton HMS 60/22, which can run in horizontal or vertical mode.

* A new Shinwa Seiki 30-ton hydraulic press with new Datamem IQ "self-learning" controller will be shown by Methods Plastics Machinery, Sudbury, Mass.

* Besides the 44-ton CD press noted above, Krauss-Maffei will show a new KM "C" 88-ton press.

* Another new machine specialized for optical-disk molding is the 27.5-ton M-25B-D-DM from Meiki America Corp., Elk Grove Village, Ill.

THERMOSET PRESSES

A new 110-ton injection molding machine with integrated deflashing system and second-generation Smart Mold monitoring system will be introduced by Hull Finmac, Warminster, Pa.

A newly designed Krauss-Maffei KM B 275-ton thermoset press will be equipped with an AZ BMC feeder and will be molding electrical components.

Two new polyester BMC stuffers will be featured by Bucher. One is a high-capacity Poly 100 model and the other a Poly 210/360 loading, storage, and stuffing system for Fahr-Bucher thermoset machines, designed to handle BMC in 55-gal drums. It was shown at K '92 but this is its first appearance in the U.S. It will be operating on a Fahr-Bucher TS-265P press. Fahr-Bucher equipment was not previously marketed here, although that German firm merged with Bucher-Geyer of Switzerland in 1991.

Bucher will also show a new control for its TS-25 and TS-45 (25- and 45-ton) thermoset presses. The former Texas Instruments 545 PLC with flat-panel display is now called the Siemens Simatic TI 545 PLC.

MODULAR & ENERGY EFFICIENT

Flexibility and economy are cited for the modular ISG series from Toshiba. Two prototype models (430 and 1045 tons) to be shown in Chicago will give molders an idea of how they can "mix and match" injection units, clamping systems, controllers (LED or LCD color touch-screen--both new), and other options. These machines are said to be 15-20% shorter than other comparable models (PT, March '94, p. 15).

Sandretto will introduce the "Logic" toggle-clamp machine series, which is essentially a lower-cost version of the company's Advantage line. The Logic series extends from around 65 to 200 tons and reportedly is identical to the Advantage machines, except for a simpler controller.

The new presses are assembled in Brazil by Semeraro, which manufactures Sandretto presses for the South American market. Clamp, screws, and barrels are manufactured in Italy.

An HT series of five-point toggle presses manufactured in China by Ningbo Haitian Machinery Manufacturing Co. will be exhibited by 888 Plastic Inc., N.Y.C. The HT series ranges from 55 to 2200 tons is said to be designed for high-precision molding. Features include CRT display with self-diagnostics and memory storage of 99 setups; adjustable backpressure control; programmable five-stage injection speed and pressure; and multi-stage clamp-speed and pressure controls.

NPE will also see the debut of the "Euro" series of Taiwanese five-point toggle presses (110-275 tons) from Fortune International, Somerset, N.J. Features include new controls, as well as larger shot capacities, lower noise levels, and higher energy efficiency than the company's VS line of presses (PT, Feb. '94, p. 14).

The HT series of toggle presses from Van Dorn Demag has been redesigned for the international market by incorporating a metric design to accept both Mannesmann Demag and Van Dorn injection units.

Van Dorn Demag will also show Demag's new Ergotech series of toggle presses of 120-330 tons, first introduced at K'92 (PT, Dec. '92, p. 15), which come equipped with Demag's new NC4 controller.

Engel will display a machine and control optimized for the high-tech field of metal-powder molding.

Newbury Industries will show how it has extended its streamlined "Euro"-style redesign from the 100-ton Monotoggle to the 60- and 150-ton sizes (in addition to the vertical machines noted above).

A new 130-ton C-2 toggle press with closed-loop injection control using a Bosch proportional-valve system will be introduced by Welltec U.S.A., Elkhart, Ind.

A new generation of BK-T series double-toggle presses from Battenfeld is said to have thicker platens, more precise clamp positioning, new platen guide and support, larger parts-discharge area, new energy-saving variable-speed pump drive, wider tiebar spacing, and increased clamp force across the entire line. (Largest model is now 770 tons, up from 715 tons.) All this comes at no increase in prices.

Arburg has expanded its Allrounder "V" and "C" series machines with new 220-ton units. The 470V machine is equipped with advanced Sealogica control and Vario Principle feature, allowing the injection unit to be placed anywhere along a horizontal plane. The 470C with 16-bit Dialogica control can accommodate mold sizes of 18.5 x 28.5 in. and a max. shot capacity of 12.7 oz.

A 220-ton model of the energy-saving Ecologica series of toggle machines (PT, Jan. '93, p. 70) will be shown by MIR U.S.A., Leominster, Mass.

Engel will show a 750-ton press equipped with a new "ultra-energy-efficient" drive system using a variable-frequency, variable-speed drive.

Also on the energy-saving theme, Digital Technologies, Toledo, Ohio, will show its new Power Miser retrofit package, said to "drastically" reduce energy consumption.

A new 880-ton hydraulic press from HPM Corp. will feature a new Command 9000 controller with 10.4-in., flat-panel color touch-screen. The H880 is said to offer improved clamp and injection positioning through proportional hydraulics. HPM will also introduce a new 220-ton machine processing PVC with the company's Double Wave screw and will exhibit a new 600-ton high-speed press with accumulator and Command 9000 control.

Methods Plastics Machinery will show an upgraded 200-ton Shinwa Seiki hydraulic press with variable-volume pumps and an unscrewing mold.

NEW OEM CONTROLS

New additions to Van Dorn Demag's controls include Pathfinder 1000, 2500, and 4500 systems for the HT and HP series machines. The Pathfinder 1000 is open-loop; the Pathfinder 2500 is closed-loop; and the Pathfinder 4500 adds communications and SPC capabilities. All have compact flat-panel displays. The new Demag NC4 Compact and NC4 System controls for the ET and Ergotech lines will also be shown. (The System version adds closed-loop functions, process-monitoring screens, and other features.)

A prototype Victor 8000 control that is closed-loop on injection will be introduced by Fortune International.

New closed-loop Procan microprocessor controls will be demonstrated by Boy Machines, Exton, Pa., on its new 24-ton 22M press. The Procan control is fully closed-loop for all velocities and pressures. It offers graphic displays of operating conditions and process trends, internal storage of 25 setups, and an optional disk drive for more. The same updated machine design appears on the new 22D press, which has Dipronic digital control that includes EPQ closed-loop pressure-control capability.

JSW Plastics Machinery will show its new Syscon 1000 controller, said to automatically correct molding defects, on new 245-ton and 165-ton toggle presses.

Methods Machinery will show a new Shinwa Seiki Datamem "IQ" controller, equipped with self-monitoring and "learning" functions.

Netstal-Machinery Inc., Fitchburg, Mass., will demonstrate its new Graphtrack DSP controller interface with simplified user screens. Other first-time demonstrations for the U.S. market include a "smart" datacard with an embedded microchip to replace conventional magnetic-strip cards. A new in-mold labeling system will also be shown.

Tomen America Inc., Buffalo Grove, Ill., is showing Kawaguchi's closed-loop controller with new LCD color-graphics panel. A new color touchscreen controller will also be demonstrated on an Ube 720-ton toggle press. (Tomen is now marketing Ube's smaller presses.)

Mitsubishi (MC Machinery Systems, Wood Dale, Ill.) is showing a new LCD control on its 120MS-3 press.

NEW CONTROLS FOR RETROFIT

A new compact MACO 4500 with flat-panel EL display will be introduced by Barber-Colman Co. Industrial Instruments Div., Loves Park, Ill. It has a number of new features, including more temperature zones, I/Os, logic sequences, timers, counters, and communications options. The smaller MACO 400 Slimline operator station for small machines will also be shown (PT, Apr. '94, p. 23).

Using that Slimline operator station, Epco Div. of John Brown Plastics Machinery, Fremont, Ohio, has configured its new E-2000 retrofit controller for presses as small as 100 tons.

Moog Inc., East Aurora, N.Y. will introduce a CPC 1000 retrofit system with flat-panel display, which provides closed-loop control when combined with the a Moog servovalve. Also new is Moog's CPC 2000 total machine control, said to be a low-cost closed-loop control system with a distributed I/O configuration for easy installation and reduced wiring requirements. A CPC 2000R control is similar to the CPC 1000 but is upgradable to the CPC 2000.

Hunkar Laboratories Inc., Cincinnati, will introduce the Smart Box machine controller/monitor. It's a combination injection process controller, process monitor (with SPC and alarms), and production monitor. An EL touch-screen displays process parameter curves and SPC charts. The unit can stand alone or serve as the link to a Hunkar CIM-III network.

Hettinga Technologies, Des Moines, Iowa, is offering a new control-enhancement package that extends the capabilities of standard high-pressure injection molding machines to include low-pressure molding. The control package works with the existing machine controller to permit molding at clamp pressures 50% to 70% lower than standard injection molding, Hettinga claims.

A new Trailblazer controller will be introduced by Solid Controls, Inc., Hopkins, Minn., as an upgraded version of SCI's older Pathfinder controls on Van Dorn "Classic" machines. The new controller has an upgraded user interface but includes many existing components of the older controller for an economical upgrade package. Floppy-disk drive is included. SCI has also upgraded its Scoremaster EL closed-loop controller with a floppy-disk drive option and memory for 15 setups, and has included a floppy-disk drive option on its System 10T open-loop controller.

HPM Corp. will exhibit a new Allen-Bradley PLC 5/03 Panel/View 550 control system on one of two remanufactured presses.

Although it dropped out of the machine-building business several years ago, the Reed Div. of Package Machinery Co., Somersville, Conn., is making a reappearance at NPE with a new touchscreen 486-based machine controller for retrofit to Reed presses.

CMC Technologies, Buffalo, N.Y., will introduce a five-display, four channel MMC5 monitoring and control instrument for combinations of mold-mating control (PT, Aug. '93, p. 54), cavity-pressure monitoring, and tiebar balancing. CMC also has a new CMC-DAQ data-acquisition system.

A new CPC-3200 process-control system from RJG Technologies, Inc., Traverse City, Mich., gives independent control of filling, packing, and holding phases. It allows selection of a constant fill speed to a forward stroke position and then switches over to a separate constant packing speed.

Kistler Instrument Corp., Amherst, N.Y., is showing an expanded line of sizes and pressure ranges in its Unisens (uniform-sensitivity) series of flushmount transducers for cavity-pressure measurement. Also, the company's Dataflow-plus data-acquisition system for injection molding has been updated and has improved file capabilities.

And Dynisco Instruments will show a new mini in-mold pressure sensor for sensing cavity filling in small areas of complex parts. Dynisco will also introduce an in-mold infrared melt-temperature sensor, model MTX-539, that drops into a pressure-transducer hole.

NEW HOT-RUNNER HARDWARE

Hot-runner systems will be a major category of new products at NPE, encompassing a host of new probes, bushings, and manifolds, as well as new controls. Starting with melt-distribution hardware, the newest entries will include (alphabetically) the following:

* A.L.B.A. Enterprises, Torrance, Calif., is offering a new manifold machined in two halves that is said to allow perfect balance, high polish, and radii in all corners. A new single-point valve gate and new bushing with internal cooling will also be shown. Other new products include a hot-runner temperature controller.

* New Gate Mate nozzles and tips for commodity-grade resins will be unveiled by D-M-E Co., Madison Heights, Mich. The company will also introduce a runner shut-off device for multi-cavity molds.

* An HPS multi-tip edge-gate nozzle is new from Ewikon N.A., Schaumberg, Ill. Also new is Ewikon's 2420 HPS hot-runner system with miniature torpedo-type hot-tip nozzle and internally heated 240-v manifold. It's designed for economical small-pitch applications.

* Three styles of Flextracoil heaters for externally heated hot-runner bushings and nozzles will be introduced by Fast Heat, Inc., Elmhurst, Ill. Flat, square, and round coil stock can be wrapped in straight or conical designs.

* New hot-runner manifolds from Incoe Corp., Troy, Mich., will include prewired drop-in systems, high-pressure multi-cavity systems, thin-line tubular heating, pneumatic valve gates, cluster gates, and miniature and multi-tip bushings.

* A new generation of "CV" (controlled vestige) hot-runner tips from Kona Corp., Gloucester, Mass., is said to facilitate color changes and to withstand a very wide temperature range. The new design is said to eliminate problems of gate "blush" with engineering resins, and the interior and exterior tip configurations have been redesigned for better serviceability.

* Melt Design Inc., Lombard, Ill., will introduce fully balanced, externally heated manifolds, said to simplify assembly and reduce the required number of temperature controls. MDI plans to start offering complete hot halves, prewired and pretested, this summer.

* Mold-Masters Ltd., Georgetown, Ont., will display a new Hot Tip Torpedo, which conducts heat into the gate area and is designed for crystalline materials and resins with tight processing windows. During the cooling stage of the injection cycle, the Torpedo removes unwanted shear heat to improve cycle times. Also new will be a Pico-Shot nozzle, a very compact, externally heated hot runner for small parts.

* A new low-profile, modular hot-runner manifold system from Orycon Control Technology Inc., Ocean, N.J., is said to reduce mold stack height and to be suited to large parts requiring multiple gates. In addition, a new single-tip hot sprue bushing is said to allow easy cleanout of foreign particles and easy replacement of cartridge heaters without removing the mold from the press.

* A new 300 Series valve gate for low-pressure and large-part molding will be shown by Osco Inc., Rochester Hills, Mich. A self-contained hydraulic sequence controller permits setting valve opening and closing times.

* A new VMS valve-gate bushing from Plasthing Hot Runner Systems, Inc., Danbury, Conn., incorporates a thermocouple-controlled 24-v cartridge into the valve pin. The major advantage, particularly for engineering resins, is elimination of premature freeze-off, the company says.

Also new from Plasthing is a "free-flow" OMS open-channel bushing for highly shear-sensitive materials such as PVC, which cannot be processed with torpedo-type bushings. OMS bushings are externally heated with a 240-v thermocouple-controlled coil heater. Bushings can be up to 36 in. long, with max. temperature differential of 40|degrees^ F along the complete length, the company claims.

A new insulated-tip centering ring from Plasthing maintains concentricity of the tip within feed gates as small as 0.014 in., reportedly providing zero gate vestige on caps and closures when using Plasthing standard 24-v open bushings.

Plasthing also reportedly has developed special bushings that are resistant to corrosion and damage from PFA (perfluoroalkoxy) fluoropolymer.

* Plastic Engineering & Technical Services (P.E.T.S.), Rochester Hills, Mich., will show a new rectangular hot manifold with cartridge heaters.

* New from Polyshot Corp., Rochester, N.Y., are its 075M manifold system with an independent heater for each nozzle and thermocouple sensing at the tip. Also new is the Short Series mini heated sprue bushing.

* New hot-runner products from Rama Corp., San Jacinto, Calif., include an insulated and internally heated runner system that involves boring the runner channels and drops directly into the mold base plates. For ease of color change, runner plates can be split at the centerline. Also new are Rama's Economy Line of 1-in.-diam. "straight-through" hot sprue bushings with internal thermocouple. And there's the new "ExactGate" pneumatic valve-gate system that avoids problems of hydraulic oil leaking into cavities.

* A new Thermomechanical Valve Gate from Spear System, Camarillo, Calif., uses a mechanical pin to stop and start the flow of material into the cavity. It combines the mechanical action with the usual tip heater that cycles on and off, and adds a cooling circuit that compensates for the frictional heating that is typical of fast-cycle valve-gate molding.

* Pyropel thin polyimide sheet from Albany International High Performance Materials, Mansfield, Mass., is said to be effective for insulating hot-runner tools.

HOT-RUNNER CONTROLS

American MSI Corp., Moorpark, Calif., has superseded its ATC System II intelligent controller with a new System III (PT, June '93, p. 66). Like System II, it incorporates "Active Reasoning Technology," designed to make the system fault-tolerant by automatically detecting and documenting system malfunctions (including miswiring) and solving them if it can or else alerting the operator immediately. Mold information is displayed in 3-D graphics on a 14-in. CRT. Every detail for up to 96 zones appears on one screen--including set-point and actual temperatures, power output, alarm and abort limits, zone number, and status.

* New series ACM and ASM remote-communications modules from Athena Controls, Plymouth Meeting, Pa., allow a remote computer to monitor up to 99 of Athena's AIM series zone controllers.

* A supervisory control station will be introduced by Gammaflux L.P., Sterling, Va. It can collect process data and generate reports for SPC and other purposes. Also new is the 9000 Series hot-runner control system with digital communications capability.

A new 24-volt hot-runner system is being introduced by Gunther Hot Runner Systems, Park Ridge, Ill.

Plasthing will introduce a "budget version" of its MSC (multi-scan) microprocessor controller. The Compact unit is capable of controlling up to four 240-v manifold zones and up to 12 bushing zones, either 24-v or 240-v, closed- or open-loop.

New from Spear System is a Soft-pulse controller that smoothly changes power output to the runnerless probe and manifold heaters in minute increments. Since there is no "burst" of energy, greater temperature stability reportedly is achieved.

What to Look For

* All-servo-electric machines arrive in force.

* A commercial in-mold painting system is here at last.

* In-mold degating separates parts from runners.

* Several new presses fit on a tabletop.

* Low-pressure molding takes novel forms.

The Latest for Gas Injection

Given the high level of interest in rapidly developing gas-assisted injection technology, at least three exhibits warrant mention.

North American molders will get their first look at a new gas-assist technology from Kontour Moulding of the U.K., which is being marketed here by JPI Technologies Inc., Palgrave, Ont. (PT, Mar. '94, p. 13). The method introduces gas into the cavity after the mold has been totally filled with plastic and a thin skin of semi-cooled polymer has formed on the surface of the part. JPI reportedly will develop the technology for large parts.

New gas-injection boosters and controllers from GAIN Technologies, Sterling Heights, Mich., can program up to six injection phases through four pins in the standard GT-SR-IV-C gas kit. The company will also exhibit new nitrogen generators capable of isolating 99%-pure nitrogen from air at up to 2800 psi.

Cinpres Ltd., Ann Arbor, Mich., will show a new multi-cylinder gas conversion unit that reportedly incorporates improved process-control and monitoring systems. Features include a touchscreen control panel with memory storage of up to 30 different conditions, on-screen monitoring of the process (including peak gas and cavity pressure), and trend analysis of the last 25 cycles for SPC data.

Faster, Smarter Robots

Legions of robots and pickers will be in action at the show, more than enough to satisfy any automation enthusiast. There will be a bunch of new models, too, showing off higher speed, servo-electric precision, and more versatile, easily programmable controls:

* A new family of robots equipped with either electric frequency drive (PLC or PC controller) or servo drive (CNC controller) will be introduced by AEC/Application Automation, Wood Dale, Ill. These robots are designed for presses from 50 to 3000 tons. Also new will be three AST series pneumatic robots for 60- to 400-ton machines. These include one- and two-arm models with telescopic action, 11-lb payload capacity, and 1.2-sec minimum takeout times.

* A new three-axis electric robot, model TES-1400, will be shown by AutoGrip Inc., Leominster, Mass. It's suitable for 150- to 350-ton presses.

* A new line of top-entry AZ series parts removers will be introduced by Automated Assemblies Corp., Clinton, Mass.

* A new Slingshot robot with lightweight carbon-fiber arms will be introduced in top- and side-entry versions by CBW Automation, Fort Collins, Colo.

* Two new robots will be introduced by Conair Group, Pittsburgh. The Harmo FX high-speed sprue picker has a reported takeout speed of 0.6 sec. The Sepro PIP-150 is a three-axis, single-beam unit designed for medium loads.

* Fanuc of North America, Auburn Hills, Mich., is launching a new LR Mate 100 robot for load/unload molding and material-handling tasks.

* A line of sprue pickers from Germany will be introduced to the U.S. by Getecha USA, Duluth, Ga.

* A new Remak RX21 pneumatic traversing robot for machines up to 500 tons will be shown by KFD Sales & Service, Erlanger, Ky. (which recently began handling these robots, formerly offered by AEC).

* Mark II Automation, Germantown, Wis., is introducing a new three-axis Eagle EL series servo robot with ball-screw drive and EMC2000 operators' pendant for position programming or teach-mode setup. The pendant will be standard on all Eagle robots and sprue pickers.

* A new multi-axis servo robot from Ranger Automation Systems, Shrewsbury, Mass., has a new "Adept" controller with a "Windows"-like programming environment and integration package for secondary operations like palletizing, assembly, and vision inspection.

* Star Automation, Menomonee, Wis., is showing several new servo robots with three and five axes. Also new are a CY800 F U.S.-made pneumatic robot and RSL600 F low-cost sprue picker.

* A new line of frequency/encoder robots will be introduced by Sterltech Div. of Sterling Inc., Milwaukee.

* Ventax Robots, Ayr, Ont., has redesigned its VMR3 series robot with two high-speed servo axes for use on molding machines from 100 to 300 tons. It has also redesigned its S3 robot system for greater speed and reliability.

* A new CNC control system from Wittmann Robots & Automation Systems, Torrington, Conn., features a reportedly easy-to-program, handheld pendant that can configure multiple secondary operations, including parallel independent processing of downstream automation.

Also new from Wittman will be a W150-H high-speed side-entry servo robot with take-out time of 0.6 sec. A W312 robot for 40- to 150-ton injection machines is equipped with electric drives that enable it to perform sophisticated palletizing routines and insert loading. In addition, new series W320 robots for injection presses from 100 to 500 tons are equipped with frequency servo, servo, or high-speed servo drives. Speeds are up to 216 in./sec, and a two-stage telescopic arm on the Y-axis reportedly provides a low profile with quick movement even on long stretches.

* Two new servo-driven robots will be introduced by Yushin America, Inc., Cranston, R.I.: A five-axis VA-2500 Absoliner model is for 2000-3000 ton presses and has a 110-lb payload; a four-axis VN-150HS Netliner is designed for 25- to 200-ton machines.
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Title Annotation:Special Show Preview: NPE '94; includes related articles
Author:Gaspari, John De
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:May 1, 1994
Words:5964
Previous Article:Computer solutions starred at National Manufacturing Week.
Next Article:Extrusion.
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