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Machinery annual: technological advances boost processing efficiency.

New developments and technological advances in plastics-processing machinery promise improved efficiency and flexibility, higher-quality parts, and cost savings through reduced energy consumption. Competition from used and rebuilt machinery has somewhat depressed sales of new machines, but manufacturers believe that current high machine utilization will lead to increased demand for replacement machines that can deliver higher productivity and bigger profits for processors. This report reviews the features and benefits of new machines for injection molding, extrusion, thermoforming, and blow molding, and the markets they serve.

Global demand for plastics-processing machinery is expected to expand 3.5% annually through 2009, with growth in both developed and developing parts of the world, reports Freedonia Group in its industry study, World Plastics Processing Machinery (December 2005). In the U.S. and Japan, increased plastics consumption, fueled by generally favorable economic conditions and higher income levels, will foster renewed strength in markets for processing machinery, says Freedonia.

Injection molding machines will remain the most widely used type of processing machinery. However, extrusion equipment is forecast to outperform other types, owing to rising world construction activity and increased demand for extruded building products, the study notes. Thermoforming equipment is also expected to grow at an accelerated rate through 2009, spurred by emerging new applications.

* Record Sales Reported

Germany's Krauss-Maffei Group set sales records for plastics-processing machinery in the last fiscal year, reporting a surge in orders of nearly 10%. Led by the extrusion machinery division, the strong growth is attributed to increased international business and success with machines for high-tech applications. Demand for injection molding machines in Western and Eastern Europe and North and South America has been growing steadily, the company notes.

Milacron Inc., another global supplier of plastics-processing equipment, reported a 9% increase in third-quarter sales over the same period last year. Sales in the company's North American machinery technology division rose 22% vs. year-ago levels, but fell nearly 9% in the European machinery technology segment, Milacron reports.

Husky Injection Molding Systems also reports a positive year, particularly for its HyPET systems and preform molds. That business increased more than 30% in fiscal 2006, a company record. Husky offers a broad product line that includes systems addressing the lower-output segment of the market as well as very high-volume production with new higher-cavitation molds, such as a recently announced 216-cavity preform mold, the world's largest. The company expects further growth in the global beverage-packaging market as plastics continue to replace other types of containers.

* New in Injection Molding

German manufacturer Arburg launched the Allrounder Golden Edition to celebrate its 50 years of building injection molding machines. The feature-packed, value-priced hydraulic machine is available in six sizes, with clamping forces from 400 to 3000 kN. It features high-quality standard equipment, including the Selogica Direct control with touchscreen, wear-resistant plasticizing cylinder fittings, and fast-switching valve technology for enhanced performance. In response to customer demand, expanded options and new features were recently announced for the anniversary machine.

Arburg has added three new machine sizes, including the 920 S, the largest model in the Allrounder S series of hydraulic machines. The 920 S develops a clamping force of 5000 kN with its three-platen clamp. Tiebar spacing is 920 x 920 mm. Other new Allrounder models are the highly versatile 520U, with a clamping force of 1600 kN, and the 275 V vertical machine for insert molding, with a clamping force of 125 kN.

In addition to plastics injection molding, Arburg has also developed expertise in powder injection molding (PIM), which is increasingly being used to produce complex components from metal and ceramic powders with plastic binder material. Special injection units and screws, and special removal and transport, are needed for PIM parts.

Battenfeld recently introduced its compact HM series injection molding machine to the U.S. market, calling it the shortest horizontal machine in its performance category. It offers the largest diagonal distance between tiebars in its clamping-force class. New in the HM line are the HM320 and HM500, with clamp forces of 352 and 550 tons, respectively. The fully hydraulic two-platen machine achieves high opening and closing speeds through the use of quick-stroke cylinders mounted on the exterior.

A high-performance injection unit with a wear-resistant screw and barrel assembly offers constant L/D ratio of 22:1 and provides a high plasticizing rate with excellent melt homogeneity. Battenfeld's latest machine-control system, the Unilog B6, is designed for improved precision, speed, and user-friendliness. In addition, a new drive system for the injection unit of the Microsystem 50 is said to offer improved performance for micromolding.

Boy Machines, the U.S. importer of Germany's Dr. Boy GmbH & Co. KG injection molding machines, is offering two new hybrid injection molding machines. Both feature standard servo-electric screw drive and a new eject-on-the-fly feature to reduce cycle time through the use of a double-pump system. The Boy 55Ae (61 tons) and Boy 90Ae (99 tons) incorporate generous tiebar spacing, a space-saving two-platen design, and Boy's patented energy-saving clamp intensifier. In addition to cycle-time reduction, the machines offer significantly reduced energy consumption, owing to the servo-electric screw drive.

Demag Plastics Group has introduced an injection molding machine at value pricing and short lead times. The Extra EcQ special-offer machine, based on Demag's Extra series, is available in eight models, from 350- to 2000-kN clamping force. Designed with energy-saving and easy-maintenance features, it stands out against competitive stripped-down versions, says the company. Two injection units, four screw diameters, and two pump sizes are available per clamping force, providing flexibility in configuring drive power and plasticating capacity. Tiebar clearances range from 280 x 280 mm to 580 x 580 mm.

Engel, of Austria, has introduced the Engel E-Motion Combi, an all-electric machine for multicomponent injection molding. The machine and all peripheral equipment, including a rotary table, are actuated by electric servo-drives. Designed to accommodate up to three injection units, the machine is available in clamping forces of 1000, 1500, 1800, and 2800 kN. It features a space-saving piggyback injection unit arrangement, and laminar flow box above the mold area. The rotary table, measuring 600 mm in diameter, takes only half a second to turn 180[degrees] and can move to freely definable positions with high accuracy and precision. Tables up to 830 mm are available.

Engel is offering a value-priced version of its Victory Tech and Power models. The new Victory Standard, a tiebarless hydraulic machine available in a range of 28 to 130 tons, can be delivered in four weeks. It incorporates new styling and structural improvements to the clamping unit. Its control and intuitive touchscreen are based on the new Engel CC 200 control system, but adapted to requirements of standard injection molding. All Victory machines are of modular design and can be upgraded.

Engel also offers the Speed series of fast-cycling injection molding machines for high-volume production of packaging containers. Features include a redesigned toggle clamping unit, inline injection unit, and hydraulic drives, which operate in parallel. Clamping forces range from 150 to 715 tons. Plasticizing units with barrier screws provide high performance yet gentle processing of PS, PP, and HDPE, notes Engel.

Husky Injection Molding Systems is offering its new HyPAC injection molding system, designed specifically for thinwall molding. It provides more than twice the melt acceleration of conventional machines and 30% more throughput, producing parts that weigh 10% less, says Husky. It features a purpose-built Ultra Packaging hot-runner system designed to manage injection speed, shear, and pressure, and provide temperature uniformity for even filling of challenging thinwall parts. The PC-based Polaris Control enables seamless integration of third-party equipment.

Advances have also been made in the injection molding of preforms. Husky has developed new technology for faster preform cycles and higher outputs. The HyPET 300 system was demonstrated running a 6.5-second cycle for a 14.5-gram, 500-ml water preform, shaving 2 seconds off the typical cycle time for this application. The cycle-reducing technology is available on the complete range of HyPET systems, which can be tailored for different preform geometries. The 216-cavity mold mentioned earlier was designed to run on a HyPET 650 machine, another new addition to Husky's product line.

Husky partnered with compounding equipment specialist Coperion Werner & Pfleiderer GmbH to develop an in-line compounding (ILC) system for long fiber--reinforced thermoplastics applications. The work-cell incorporates a ZSK70 twin-screw compounding extruder, a 2500-ton Husky Quadloc injection molding machine, Husky Tracer robot, and purpose-built Husky hot-runner system. Installed at a Tier 1 automotive supplier, the Husky ILC system was designed to provide flexibility in formulation, improve mechanical properties and part performance, and reduce material costs. It is available from 550 to 5940 tons.

Krauss-Maffei recently introduced the CX200-1400, a universal two-platen injection molding machine for challenging production jobs. A range of optional addon equipment increases the versatility of CX series. Integration of automation specialist Neureder has been completed, and Krauss-Maffei is promoting itself as a global supplier of complete automated injection molding solutions. The company recently debuted its all-electric EX series in the U.S. The compact machine features a three-platen, Z toggle clamp and direct-drive technology injection.

Also new from Krauss-Maffei is an electric mold carrier for large-part PUR applications such as back-foaming vehicle instrument panels. The carrier, incorporating two electrically driven mold-fixing platens, has great freedom of movement and provides fast, precise mold movements for improved productivity.

Milacron has announced many new products, including a high-performance, all-electric Roboshot injection machine with the latest Fanuc servo-technology; a compact, toggle machine; application-specific vertical molding machines; and a machine-control system with enhanced setup capabilities. Milacron also announced the availability of an optional magnetic quick-mold clamping system for use on its vertical or horizontal presses.

The new Milacron Fanuc Roboshot S2000iB, ranging from 55 to 330 tons, features a new moving-platen design and new injection pressure load cell, along with the Fanuc 310iS CNC control. The machine is well suited for thinwall parts, providing up to 330 mm/s injection speed in less than 36 microsec and up to 500 mm/s in less than 30 microsec with an optional direct-connected injection unit for precision. The S2000i-B offers the artificial intelligence capabilities of the previous generation Roboshot, along with reduced setup and cycle times, says Milacron.

The latest generation of the Magna toggle machine from Cincinnati Milacron, the MTg Hydraulic Toggle, features a compact size, a faster lock-over clamp, a new injection unit well suited for fast changeover, easy-service hydraulics, and the new Mosaic control for enhanced precision and flexibility. For vertical molding applications, the Magna V machines are now available in application-specific variations for increased productivity. Ranging from 15 to 3000 kN, these machines can be integrated with feeders, in-line conveyors, and automation for insert placement, part removal, inspection, and packaging. The Magna V, with digital positioning and an open-access (tiebarless) C-frame design, is said to offer the shortest cycle time and changeover in its class.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has introduced two new high-tonnage models in the Large em Series of electric hybrid injection molding machines. Rated at 3300 and 3900 tons, the Large em press uses four large-capacity, direct-drive injection servo-motors to achieve optimal molding accuracy and cycle performance, says MHI. It incorporates a center press-type mechanism to provide uniform clamping force, which is generated by a built-in hydraulic unit. The hydraulics can also be used for hydraulic cores and valve gates. The power unit is driven by two AC servo-motors on an on-demand basis, which contributes to the machine's energy efficiency. It is said to use 30% to 50% less power than comparable hydraulic machines. The machine has the shortest footprint among large-tonnage electric presses.

Negri Bossi USA's new Canbel VE series of all-electric injection molding machines is available in 11 models, ranging from 77 to 935 tons. Based on the company's Elma all-electric machines, the Canbel VE series was designed to provide faster injection, shorter cycle and stabilization times, and lower maintenance costs. Field trials comparing several models against comparable hydraulic machines have shown significant energy savings for the Canbel All-Electrics, says Negri Bossi. The patented injection unit incorporates new-generation permanent magnet motors, achieving a high torque-to-current ratio. The clamping unit, similar to the toggle mechanism of the company's Canbio hydraulic machines, was modified to permit the inclusion of the mold unit and ejector unit actuators.

Nissei America has launched its FNX Ecoject Series injection machines equipped with the innovative X-Pump hybrid drive system. Designed to combine the clamping advantages of hydraulic systems and the speed, accuracy, and energy efficiency of electric machines, the FNX is available in sizes from 88 to 198 tons. The variable-volume X-Pump, which automatically adjusts clamping force for optimum performance, is driven by a servo-motor, running only when needed. As a result, the FNX uses 40% less energy than the company's fully hydraulic presses and about half as much oil. In another new development, Nissei has enhanced its NEX series all-electric injection machines with the upgraded TACT controller, providing higher speeds and more precision.

Sumitomo Plastic Machinery is offering four new all-electric injection molding machines, including the SEDU series, ranging from 20 to 198 tons. It features four belt-less, direct-drive Sumitomo AC servo-motors with full closed-loop control and digital sensors. The advanced motor technology is said to provide exceptional precision and repeatability and to draw power only as needed for energy savings. Improving on its predecessor, the SED series, the new machine features new software for the servo-control for faster response and improved stability, new temperature control enhancements for the injection unit, a new clamping force correcting system, and a wider distance between tiebars.

The Sumitomo all-electric lineup ranges from 8 to 660 tons, including micro-size to mid-size, high-speed, high-duty, vertical, insert, multishot, and disc molding models. Other machines introduced within the last year by Sumitomo include the SE7M Direct Drive Micromolding All-Electric (7.7 tons), the mid-sized SE-HS High-Speed All-Electric series with direct-drive technology for injection and clamping (242 to 385 tons), and the mid-sized SE-HD High-Duty All-Electric series (20 to 198 tons).

Ube Machinery Inc., known for its large-tonnage all-electric injection molding machines, has introduced what it calls the world's largest all-electric press, the Ultima UN3300HW, providing 3300 tons of clamping force, an injection capacity of 400 oz, and high-speed injection. Like other models in the UN series, the toggle-clamp machine features independent servo-motors for each axis. It has tiebar spacing of 85.4 x 63 inches, a platen size of 125 x 98.4 inches, and daylight of 106.3-137.4 inches. Another new entry in the Ultima UN series is a 2750-ton model.

Wilmington Machinery recently unveiled its new Lumina LP (Large Platen) Series injection molding machine for molding large parts that require structural integrity. The machine features platen sizes up to 110 by 200 inches and shot sizes up to 300 lbs. Wilmington's unique new Versafil independent nozzle control facilitates sequential filling of large parts to increase strength or reduce weight. An improved five-cylinder clamping system enables the machine to easily convert from structural-foam to gas-assist processing for challenging applications. Redesigned nozzles and access area are said to reduce setup time for mold changes. Target applications include plastic pallets, collapsible transport bins, trash containers, and large automotive parts.

Latest Extrusion Technology

Addex Corp., a producer of high-technology blown-film lines, has introduced its Slimline extruders, incorporating gearless, synchronous-torque, permanent-magnet motors, which are said to use 5% less energy than conventional motors. The elimination of gears reduces the space needed, producing a machine that takes up about 10% less floor space, says Addex. The extruder base is designed to allow both smooth-bore and grooved feed sections to be installed, for added flexibility. The Slimline is available in five sizes, from 50 to 120 mm, in 30 or 25 L/D.

American Maplan Corp. (AMC) recently introduced a new sheet extrusion system at its facility in McPherson, Kansas. The line incorporates a 90-ram single-screw, smooth-bore extruder with output capacity of 600 kg/hr of PP and 700 kg/hr of HIPS, 850 mm wide. Based on systems developed by sister company Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik, the line includes a hydraulic screen-changer, melt pump, static mixer, three polish and two cooling rolls, and a large-diameter winder. The line is available to processors for market testing in McPherson.

AMC has also developed a new line for small-profile extrusion, the techBEX, designed to be highly flexible and cost-competitive. The modular line is available with two standard choices of single-screw extruders, 45 mm and 60 mm, based on production demand. Alternatively, AMC twin-screw extruders can be used with the line.

Austrian machine manufacturer Cincinnati Extrusion recently announced the development of a new high-speed extruder prototype, the Rapidex. Currently undergoing long-term testing, it incorporates an extruder with a screw diameter of 60 mm and a processing length of 37 D. The geometries of the screw and barrel feed zone were modified, and the extruder's drive capacity and screw speed were doubled. Running at maximum screw speed, the Rapidex achieved an output of 1000 kg/h with PE 100, and 800 kg/h with PP--more than double that of conventional extruders, says the company.

Davis-Standard is offering the new HPE (high-performance) extruder line for coextrusion and multilayer applications. Replacing the D-S H and D-S A series extruders, the HPE is available in an adjustable vertical or horizontal configuration in sizes ranging from 19 to 44 mm. It has a smaller footprint than the previous models. A direct-drive motor is used rather than belts and sheaves for improved operation. The company is promising to deliver in-stock HPE extruders in two weeks or less; for non-stock machines, the delivery tar get is 3-4 weeks.

Another recent introduction from Davis-Standard is a seven-layer blown film system, featuring seven "Super Cooled" MAC extruders, a low-profile, seven-layer die with automatic air ring, and a 64-inch dual-turret winder. Integrator PRO control technology is designed to improve production efficiencies and rates for simple or complex blown-film structures. The cooling system provides the efficiency of water cooling without the maintenance issues associated with water.

In another development, Davis-Standard has debuted a cost-effective DS-TPC Discrete Control System for extrusion processes. Featuring a touch-panel, the system is engineered to replace other discrete devices such as temperature controllers, pressure indicators/controllers, and driver operators/indicators.

Japanese manufacturer Technovel recently unveiled a four-screw, intermeshing, co-rotating extruder for the first time in North America. Based on the company's twin-screw extruder technology, the innovative machine offers reduced power consumption, space-saving advantages, reduced heat generation, improved vent and feeding performance, and improved dispersive performance, says Technovel. It is well suited for a range of compounding applications, from nano-compounding and reactive processing to recycling of materials.

* Blow-Molding Developments

Blow-molding-machine manufacturer Bekum America has introduced its newest twin-station, long-stroke machine, the BM-806D, for production of up to 40 million bottles per year. Features include full in-machine deflashing and oriented bottle discharge, up to 10-parison production, and in-mold labeling compatibility. Also new is the BA-14 Co-Ex system for coextrusion. The machine was recently demonstrated running a fuel tank in six-layer HDPE/EVOH, using a six-extruder coex package. It features a large clamp size (up to 20 liters), in-machine deflashing, and the Bekum BKC 180-6 coex head with die-size capability of 50 to 228 mm.

Graham Engineering, a manufacturer of extrusion blow-molding equipment, has announced enhancements to its SPM series blow-molding technology that transfers material directly into a shooting pot for pailson delivery. The machine is capable of molding containers ranging from lightweight dairy and water bottles to four-liter handle-ware from HDPE. For accurate, repeatable operation, the machine's die head and manifold feature eight heads on nine-inch center-to-center spacing with 100-point parison programming, three-point front die adjustment, a hydraulic ram-down pre-finish, and blow-pin adjusters equipped with Graham's tool-less adjustment feature.

Nissei ASB Machine Co., a leading manufacturer in the PET-bottle blow-molding industry, has introduced an all-electric single-stage, injection stretch blow-molding machine. The ASB-15N/10E is said to use 60% less energy than comparable hydraulic equipment. Variations in molding conditions due to temperature variations are eliminated in the absence of oil. The machine is well suited for small-lot production of medium-size containers, but it can also be used for high-volume production of small containers. Also new from Nissei is the PF8-4B one-step injection stretch blow-molding machine with a preferential heating system, which allows production of challenging high-ovality containers.

Sidel Inc. has introduced two models in its new generation of blow-molding equipment, the SBO 4 Compact, designed for less than 7000 bottles per hour, and the SBO 34 HighSpeed, which has broken the 60,000 PET bottle/hr barrier. The SBO Compact is an affordable linear blow-molding machine combined with Sidel's latest advances in equipment technology. It is said to reduce bottle-blowing costs by 20% compared with previous models. The SBO 34 HighSpeed model, well suited for bottles under 24 oz, is equipped with 28 heating modules and 34 blowing stations. Operating costs are down 30%, while production levels rival those of two SBO 20 Series 2 machines, says Sidel.

Uniloy Milacron has developed a multilayer reciprocating blow-molding machine said to be well suited for producing extended-shelf-life bottles, which are targeted to areas with limited access to refrigeration. The UMR2000-3L was demonstrated running three-layer HDPE milk bottles of 28-32 grams with a 43-mm neck finish. Sterile air is used to blow the bottles in an enclosed, pressurized clamping area. A proprietary mechanical sealing method in the blowing cycle seals the containers, entrapping the sterile air inside the bottle. A patented mechanical volume-evacuation system eliminates the need for a typical vacuum system. Production rate is 5400 bottles/hr, with a cycle time of 8 seconds.

Wilmington Machinery is offering its new Series IV high-speed rotary blow-molding system, available in a wide range of clamp sizes and cavitation. Features include single-point water connections and simplified on-board pneumatic controls, enabling all functions to be quickly and safely adjusted from the operator's station while in full production. A motorized mold open/close feature enables faster and safer mold changeover.

* Thermoforming Advances

Brown Machine has developed an advanced four-station pressurized rotary thermoforming system for high-speed production of refrigerator door and cabinet liners for an appliance manufacturer. Based on Brown's R-Series rotary thermoformers, the machine features high-speed platens with closed-loop control to provide highly accurate upper and lower platen repeatability, increased speed of the gear-rotate system, and multiple-zone high-level watt density preheat and final heat ovens. In another development, Brown has announced three larger sizes in its CS-Series in-line thermoformers and trim presses. The largest, the CS-7070, has a 70- x 70-inch mold capacity and 74-inch sheet width.

MAAC Machinery Corp. recently announced enhancements to its thermoforming machinery, including larger main frames and platen structures. Platen and index speeds have been nearly doubled. A new thermal-energy controller, a solid-state, 480-volt oven power control system, is standard on all System 9000 machines. The controller replaces seven components per zone with plug-and-play modules, reducing cabinet and floor-space requirements. It also features advanced, user-friendly diagnostics.

Contact Information

Addex Inc.

154 Maple St.

Stoughton, MA 02072


American Maplan Corp.

P.O. Box 832

McPherson, KS 67640


Arhurg Inc.

125 Rockwell Rd.

Newington, CT 06111


Battenfeld of America

1620 Shanahan Dr.

S. Elgin, IL 60177


Bekum America Corp.

P.O. Box 567

Williamston, MI 48895


BOY Machines Inc.

199 Philips Rd.

Exton, PA 19341


Brown Machine LLC

330 North Ross St.

Beaverton, MI 48612


Cincinnati Extrusion GmbH

Laxenburger Strasse 246

A-1230 Vienna, Austria

+43 1 61006-0

Coperion Werner & Pfleiderer GmbH

Theodorstrasse 10

70469 Stuttgart, Germany

+49 (0)711 897 0

Davis-Standard, LLC

1 Extrusion Dr.

Pawcatuck, CT 06379


Demag Plastics Group

11792 Alameda Dr.

Strongsville, OH 44149


Engel Machinery Inc.

3740 Board Rd. RD#5

York, PA 17402


Graham Engineering Corp.

1203 Eden Rd.

York, PA 17402


Husky Injection

Molding Systems

500 Queen St. South

Bolton, Ontario, Canada


JSW Plastics Machinery

555 S. Promenade Ave. #104

Corona, CA 92879


Kortec Inc.

29 Old Right Rd.

Ipswich, MA 01938


Krauss-Maffei Corp.

P.O. Box 6270

Florence, KY 41022


Milacron Inc.

4165 Halfacre Rd.

Batavia, OH 45103


Mitsubishi Heavy

Industries America

1250 Greenbriar Dr., Suite B

Addison, IL 60101


Negri Bossi USA

210 Executive Dr., Bldg. 3

Newark, DE 19702


Netstal-Maschinen AG

CH-8752 Nafels


+41 55 618 6111


Nissei America Inc.

1480 N. Hancock St.

Anaheim, CA 92807


Nissei ASB Machine Co. Ltd.

4586-3 Koo, Komor-shi

Nagano-ken 384-8585 Japan

+81 (267) 23-1565

Sidel Inc.

5600 Sun Court

Norcross, GA 30092


Technovel Corp.

2-13-10 Hanaten-Nishi, Jyuoto-ku

Osaka 536-0011 Japan

+81 66 967 3802

Toshiba Machine Co. of America

Injection Molding Division

755 Greenleaf Ave.

Elk Grove Village, IL 60007


Ube Machinery Inc.

5700 S. State St.

Ann Arbor, MI 48108


Uniloy Milacron Inc.

10501 Hwy. M-52

Manchester, MI 48158


Wilmington Machinery Inc.

P.O. Box 7308

Wilmington, NC 28406

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Title Annotation:plastics-processing machinery innovations
Comment:Machinery annual: technological advances boost processing efficiency.(plastics-processing machinery innovations)
Author:Stewart, Richard
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2006
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