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Sophisticated molding of long-fiber PP car parts.

Auto underbody shields of glass-filled polypropylene will soon be produced on an unusually elaborate, multi-step system for direct molding of long-fiber thermoplastics with in-line compounding (LFT-D/ILC). Sources at machine builder Dieffenbacher GmbH & Co. in Germany say this is its most complex installation ever for auto-parts production. The system was delivered to Menzolit-Fibren GmbH of Bretten, Germany, and will soon start production of parts for the Volkswagen Golf, Audi A3, and other cars.

The plant starts with twin-screw compounding of PP and glass fiber to produce a hot sheet, which is robotically transferred to a vertical compression press of 3300 tons. The fast-stroke press has automatic parallelism control. Another robot transfers parts to an 110-ton press that punches out attachment holes in the parts. Finally a third robot transfers parts to a machine that inserts hole reinforcements and inspects the parts.

With double tools, the line can produce two parts every 22 sec. Dieffenbacher says the line is designed to operate on cycles as short as 20 sec.

A single supervisory computer oversees the entire process. Critical process data for each molding cycle are recorded on each part by a barcode printer. Contact Dieffenbacher North America Inc., Windsor Ont. Tel: (519) 979-6937,
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Title Annotation:Composites
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Dec 1, 2003
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