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What's new in injection molding.

Look for a horde of new specialty and g-p machines, controls, robots, and hot runners -- many with new SPC/SQC and networking features.

While the last NPE in 1988 saw injection machinery suppliers focus on computer software and automation, at NPE '91 many suppliers will be getting "back to basics" and emphasizing improvements in hardware. That's not to say that there won't be plenty of SPC, CIM, CAD/CAE and other high-tech acronyms trumpeted at the show, but this year the machinery is taking center stage.

Space requirements don't permit itemizing every new development in major equipment as well as screws, barrels, and other components. Some are covered elsewhere in this issue; others will be included next month with additional late news of shows ehibits that did not reach us in time for this report. See also this month's accompanying NPE '91 Show Guide for brief notes on all new entries.


Perhaps more than any other feature, suppliers are stressing machinery at NPE '91. Two lines of hydraulic-clamp presses are being introduced by Mitsubishi International Corp.'s Plastics Injection Machine Div., Bensenville, Ill. The MJ Series from 90 to 950 tons and the MSP Series from 90 to 350 tons both feature a new hydraulic prefill valve that's said to drastically reduce clamp-pressure buildup time. Also, because it's possible to eject during mold opening, their overall cycle time is reduced. In the MSP series (first seen at the JP90 show in Tokyo), speed is further increased through use of an ac inverter scew motor, which can rotate during mold opening and closing (see PT, Jan. '91, p. 64).

Nissei America, Inc., Anaheim, Calif., will be showing the PSX40-5A,a "super-high-speed and ultra-precision" 44-tonner introduced at JP90 (see PT, Jan. '91, p. 64). This fully enclosed machine offers screw speed up to 500 rpm and injection rates to 12.8 cu in./sec for molding thin-wall parts with engineering resins.

Nissei will show another fast molding system that was first introduced at JP90, the PS30E3ASEC "clean-room" model for CD molding (see PT, Jan. '91, p. 63). This 33-ton, totally enclosed unit reportedly molds a 5-in. CD in 5.5 sec and a 3.5-in. disc in 4.5 sec, using what's said to be a unique "Mecha-Rolling" (MR) injection-compression technique.

Klockner Ferromatik Desma -- now known as KFD Sales & Service, Inc. -- in Erlanger, Ky., is introducing the Ferromatik FM 250 E packaging machine. Options to enhance machine performance include a reportedly energy-efficient electric servomotor screw drive, which replaces the usual hydraulic drive for a 48% increase in screw-speed capacity. The servomotor is electronically controlled to provide constant screw rpm over the entire recovery time.

Interestingly, KFD will have one of its machines molding 5-qt container lids from a four-face, 2+2+2+2 stack mold -- the first time such a mold has been shown in public.

Mannesmann Demag's U.S. Plastics Machinery Div., Torrington, Conn., is introducing its S series of high-speed presses. And SHI Plastics Machinery, Inc., Norcross, Ga., is introducing the Sumitomo SG 75 Hipro high-speed toggle-clamp model.

Netstal-Machinery, Inc., Fitchburg, Mass., is demonstrating ultrathin-wall, high-speed molding using its N 90/235 press and a new process, the Flow Filling Process from Primtec of Santa Fe, Calif. Company sources declined to disclose details until the show, but said the process results in significant part-weight reduction (50% in the case of the PP flower pot being molded), which allows faster cycle times and removes material from the waste stream.

Netstal is also demonstrating a fully automated thin-wall cup molding system, first shown at K'89 (see PT, Jan. '90, p. 70). It features a high-speed HP 3500/1650 press, six-cavity mold with integrated high-speed take-out device, and automatic stacking, counting, and box packing using the Systec Packstar E from SysTec Engineering of Germany.

Newbury Industries, Inc., Newbury, Ohio, is introducing a 550-ton high-speed Toggle-Ram packaging press with a 60-oz, two-stage injection unit. It will be molding PE butter tubs in a 8 x 8 stack mold. Auxiliary equipment will automatically stack, organize, and box the molded cups.

Other new high-speed packaging machinery includes a special Vista hydraulic press from Cincinnati Milacron's U.S. Plastics Machinery Div., Batavia, Ohio. Also, Meiki America Corp., Elk Grove Village, Ill., is introducing the M-70B-DM with a new clamping system and other features designed to provide speed and reliability. Like many new presses, it also features an improved ergonomic design that's said to require less space and also improve safety.

Spear System, Inc., Camarillo, Calif., is introducing a novel system from Japan for reducing cycle time by permitting screw recovery before gate freeze-off occurs. The Supercycle Hold Pressure System, first shown at JP90, is a device that fits on the end of the injection barrel between the end of the screw and the nozzle (PT, Jan. '91, p. 65). It contains a valve that can shut off flow from the screw and permit flow from a small melth reservoir in the device held under independent pressure control. Thus it maintains hold pressure in the mold cavities while screw recovery begins.


Thermoeset molding machines will be more numerous at this show that in the past. Bucher, Inc., Buffalo Grove, Ill., is demonstrating a complete production cell for molding automotive under-hood parts using the "Lost Core" technique. Metal Cores will be molded in an LMD-2000 casting system from Electrovert Metal Dispending Div., Montreal. This isa fully automatic molding system for the company's Electrolloy low-temperature eutectic metal alloy.

Battenfeld of America, West Warwick, R.I., is demonstrating a BK-T "Duro" 200-ton double-toggle machine with BMC stuffer and Unilog 4000 controls. A specially modified stroke tranducer is said to precisely control the clamp movements for "breathing" and injection-compression to [+ or -]4 mils. Another BMC machine will be shown by Krauss-Maffei Corp., Florency, Ky.

Gluco, Inc., Pittsburgh, calls its 40-ton Model P40-LSH the first "precision" liquid silicone rubber (LSR) machine. The hydraulic vertical clamp press is equipped with an ALPS 55GHEX computer-controlled silicone dispensing machine. The latter accepts up to six components in viscosities up to 10 million cp, generates ratios from 1:1 to 50:1, withstands pressure up to 6000 psi, and is hydraulically operated with digital computer control. Gluco officials say the total absence of pressure fluctuations is a unique feature of this system.

Other LSR presses will be shown by Polymer Machinery Corp., Berlin, Conn. (representing Arburg); Illinois Precision Corp., Wheaton, Ill. (a vertical, rotary-table model -- see PT, Jan. '91, p. 83); and MIR USA Corp., Leominster, Mass. Engel Canada, Inc., Guelph, Ontario, will have new thermoset machines for rubber at the show (see later).


Autojectors, Inc., Albion, Ind., is introducing what company officials believe to be the first vertical-clamp, 250-ton insert molder that doesn't use tiebars. Model HS-250-8 is a C-frame design with a shuttle table. Gluco, Inc., Pittsburgh, is also introducing two 35-ton vertical C-frame shuttle presses with reciprocating screws.

PH Trueblood Corp., Columbus, Ohio, is introducing a 75-ton vertical press with new proportional hydraulics and new closed-loop microprocessor controls, including four-stage injection control. A 35-ton version will come out soon.

Engel is introducing an all new machine line for rubber. It will demonstrate one machine from the line featuring a vertical clamp and injection unit. Engel is also introducing a 55-ton rotary table press at the show.

Arburg is showing insert-molding versatility on its new Allrounder M line with Multronica controls (PT, Oct. '90, p. 13), including a "U-Type" machine featuring both vertical and horizontal clamp capability, and a fixed vertical press.

Other companies exhibiting new vertical machines at NPE include Illinois Precision, which is introducing the TTM-HS2 rotary press with a new touchscreen controller, and Rochester Plastics Machinery, Inc., Cedarburg, Wis., which has a new U.S.-built 500-ton, 77-oz vertical unit.


Several types of special-purpose molding systems are bound to attract attention at the show:

Gas injection: Battenfeld is displaying parts molded using its patented Airmould gas-assist process. Engel is introducing to North America its Gas Melt process, which is said to recover up to 92% of the nitrogen for recycling. Van Dorn Plastic Machinery Co., Strongsville, Ohio, will demonstrate gas-assist molding. And G.A.I.N. Technologies, Mount Clemens, Mich., is exhibiting parts made with its gas-assist process, which is available for licensing.

Metal-powder molding: In what is probably a first for a U.S. plastics show, Battenfeld will demonstrate its BA 200/50 CD-Plus machine configured for metal-powder injection molding (MIM), which requires extremely high molding precision to provide consistent quality parts (see PT, March '91, p.65 for a feature article on the subject).

* Multi-material molding: Husky Injection Molding Systems, Ltd., Bolton, Ontario, as well as Mannesmann Demag and Arburg will all show two-color or two-material presses at NPE '91. Arburg will show a somewhat unusual method: molding a marbleized bracelet with a machine that has two barrels, one of them injecting into the other to form the marbleized pattern, which the second unit then delivers to the mold.


Cincinnati Milacron is extending its Vista toggle line down into lower tonage ranges with the introduction of Vista Sentry machines in sizes from 33 to 85 tons. They have heavy-duty I-beam construction and a new closed-loop control system designed for these machines.

Newbury is introducing a 35-ton press, the smallest in its Mono-Toggle line. And TomKen Tool & Engineering, Inc., Muncie, Ind., which offers the Rabit line of miniature presses from MCP Equipment of England (also at the show), is introducing a 5-ton model with 4-gram shot size.

Battenfeld is showing the largest of three new presses that were introduced at Interplas '90 (PT, Jan. '90, p. 73). The CD-K machines (55, 83, and 94 tons) are toggle-clamp versions of the modular CDPlus line, which lets molders mix and match standard modules to virtually "custom design" their own machine (PT, Sept. '90, p. 104). They have the same Unilog 2040 CNC controller as standard. But the five-point, double-toggle clamp reportedly permits 42 dry cycles/min.


Nissei's new FE series was developed mainly for space savings. Three models, of 132, 400, and 500 tons, will be in Chicago. They are similar to Nissei's FS series but have a new space-saving clamp design that's also said to be more rigid and provides greater daylight. The FE series comes with a new color CRT. Simultaneously clamp movements, plasticating, and ejection permit cycle-time savings.

Both the T Series and H Series of presses from HPM Corp., Mount Gilead, Ohio, have a new "clean design" that results in a more compact footprint. At the show a T500-32 toggle machine will mold an applicance part made of recycled PVC. All the HPM machines at the show will be tied into its ComDat SPC/SQC system.

SHI Plastics Machinery is introducing the Sumitomo SH Series (first shown in Tokyo last November), which runs from 27.5 to 715 tons and includes three new sizes: 495, 605, and 715 tons (PT, Jan. '91, p. 64). These machines have a

swing-disc hydromechanical clamp (similar to Battenfield's) which is said to occupy 25% less floor space than Sumitomo's SG toggle line.


Among the remaining new general-purpose machines to debut at the show, one of the most unusual will be a 90-tonner from Komatsu Ltd. of Japan. It will be exhibited by Husky, which formed a strategic alliance with Komatsu in 1989. Now Husky is launching sales and service of Komatsu presses, which range from 60 to 180 tons. These are best known for their Direct Flow Control nozzle valve, which makes it possible to maintain constant shear rate on the material throughout the injection stroke (PT, Jan. '89, p. 62). Ultimately, Husky plans to incorporate Komatsu technology on its own presses.

Sandretto Plastics Machinery, Farmington, Hills, Mich., will make the U.S. debut of its Series Eight machines, first seen at K'89 (PT, Jan. '90, p. 69). These replace the Series Seven, offering modular construction, enlarged tiebar spacing, longer strokes, more powerful ejectors, and a newly designed injection unit. This toggle line from 66 to 396 tons is offered with two levels of control.

Two lines of general-purpose presses are being introduced by Arburg: the V (Vario) Series in 132, 176, and 220 tons, and the C series of 75-110 tons.

Methods Plastics Machinery, Sudbury, Mass., is bringing to the U.S. the Shinwa Seiki CN line of presses (introduced at JP90), which boasts a more powerful 16-bit controller and faster clamp-pressure buildup and decompression (PT, Jan. '91, p. 65).

Engel is bringing out four new general-purpose machines: Series 30 and 55 with hydraulic clamps; and Series 85 and 100 with toggles.

Tomen America (formerly Toyomenka), Buffalo Grove, Ill., will introduce the Kawaguchi KM Series of toggle presses from 55 to 715 tons (a JP90 entry). They have reportedly an improved variable-volume pump and a choice of panel-type controls or CRT.

Negri Bossi Div., John Brown, Inc., Fremont, Ohio, is showcasing the new NB2 Series of modular presses of 100-300 tons, which sources say offer greater simplicity, precision, and flexibility than earlier models. NB2 machines reportedly can handle larger molds and more viscous resins as well. The line comes with the new Dimigraphic 200 microprocessor controls, which offer closed-loop control of both clamping and injection--unlike the Dimigraphic 100.

Niigata Engineering Co., distributed by Daiichi Jitsugyo America, Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill., is introducing the NE 85 and NE 330 presses. They'll be equipped with a high-speed sequencer to ensure repeat accuracy and PID temperature controls.

From Dong Shin of Korea, YCI, Inc., Compton, Calif., will exhibit the new 165-ton Supermax Pro Series 7000 with closed-loop control, SPC reporting, and automatic die-height adjustment. Also new will be a 250-tonner.

Rochester Plastics Machinery is showing a new line of general-purpose presses built in the U.S. (its previous line came from the Far East). Sizes available are 85-ton and 500-ton, the latter either horizontal with 60-oz shot or vertical with 77-oz.

Newbury is bringing out its largest Mono-Toggle press yet, a 300-tonner. And MIR will show a new 140-ton press with features that reduce energy consumption and increase operator safety.

North American molders will have an opportunity to get acquainted with several lines of injection machines from Hong Kong. Welltec U.S.A., Niles, Ill., is a new firm showing hydraulic-and toggle-clamp machines ranging from 24 to 1760 tons (see PT, April '91, p. 13). Three other suppliers have no U.S. office: Itairy Co., Ltd., Elite Precision Machinery Co., Ltd., and Tat Ming Engineering Works Ltd. The latter will show a computer-controlled machine with a "hybrid electro-hydraulic" system that's said to provide "high precision and outstanding reproducibility." Elite will be featuring 80- and 140-ton machines with Italian-designed mechanical systems and Mitsubishi Microprocessor controllers.


Better graphics and improved operator interfaces will be key features of new and enhanced controls being introduced at NPE '91. For example, Buhl Automatic, Inc., Guelph, Ontario, is launching the IQ Series of control and networking products that offer three unusual user-interface alternatives (see PT, April '91, p. 15 for full details). One is a high-resolution color graphics workstation with a touchscreen; the user interacts with the machine by fingertip manipulation of realistic 3-D pictorial images of familiar devices traditionally used to control injection presses, such as pushbuttons, toggle switches, sliders, limit switches, and timer dials.

In addition, the user can interact with the screen at a distance via a hand-held cursor-control keypad. Operators can also carry standard manual controls with them, so to speak, in the form of a hand-held pendant.

For Barber-Colman Co., Loves Park, Ill., this will be the first U.S. showing of its MACO 4000 closed-loop controller designed exclusively for injection molding (previously seen at JP '90 and Interplas '90). It's smaller and less expensive than the MACO 8000, with an electroluminescent display instead of CRT, although it's said to pack much the same power and features (PT, Jan. '91, p. 65). The MACO 4000 can also be seen running on remanufactured equipment in the Epco, Schaumburg, Ill., booth and on a press from Excel Machinery Corp. in its booth.

Hunkar Laboratories Inc., Cincinnati, is showing its new DAC III low-cost "expert" controller with "automatic" SPC and injection-profile setting (PT, April '91, p. 48).

Boy Machines, Inc., Exton, Pa. is introducing an optional SPC/SQC package that works in conjunction with its Mipronic-Plus control system. Van Dorn is also highlighting a new machine-level SPC capability on presses in its booth.

Hettinga Equipment Co., Des Moines, Iowa, will demonstrate InterLink, a master controller for up to 32 presses and auxilaries. InterLink is available for both Hettinga and other makes of machinery. It consists of a single IBM OS/2 PC with touchscreen, and up to 32 ancillary controllers, each operating a separate press and auxiliary equipment. The system can control mechanical movement and temperature, and has capabilities for datalogging and SPC. It can also be linked to a printer to generate labels, packing slips and invoices required for shipping and billing.

Moog, Inc., East Aurora, N.Y., is introducing the MopacNet injection molding process-monitoring system, which monitors and stores process and production data from up to 99 Mopac 22 injection controllers on a PC. SPC software is provided.

Engel will show the latest version of its Engel Net plant networking software and also new versions of its A02 EC88 and CC90 controls. Also new from Engel is SPC and SPQC software, dubbed QDS and QDDP.

T.G. Branden Corp., Lake Oswego, Ore., is showing its new PC-based SQC Station that interfaces with its Shotscope S9000 monitor. Besides allowing automatic and manual input of part-quality data, the user will be able to correlate those data with the processing conditions responsible for those characteristics. Overlaying X-Bar and R charts for any process parameter with a similar chart for a measured part characteristic can help determine causal relationships.

Branden also has a new high-resolution monochrome 9-in. CRT for use with its S9000 Remote Unit. The display will allow real-time graphic presentation of shop profiles, trends, and X Bar and R information at each machine.


The trend today is toward electric-drive robots with full CNC control. This provides flexibility to perform a variety of tasks, including secondary operations, and also permits rapid changeover from one product to another, dispelling the myth that robots are only for long-run jobs.

Wittmann Robot & Automation Systems, Torrington, Conn., is introducing the W200 robot with CNC control. Also new are the W152 robot with servo drive for high speed and positioning accuracy, and the W60 sprue picker for large machines. A new economical version of the W102 robot has all-pneumatic instead of electric drive (PT, Sept. '90, p. 113).

Application Automation, Div. of AEC, Inc., Wood Dale, Ill., will show off the new Titan EL robot for machines from 200 to 1500 tons. The robot has electric drive with CNC control.

ATM Automation, Ramsey, N.J., also has a new robot with CNC controls. The E2000 can provide motion in all three axes simultaneously.

Yushin America, Inc., West Warwick, R.I., has a new HOPIII three-axis sprue picker for presses from 5 to 500 tons. It's designed for quick setups and has more powerful controls than its HOPII predecessor. Yushin will also exhibit the new Absoliner VA Series of three-and five-axis servodriven robots, first shown at JP90 (PT, Jan. '91, p. 66).

Conair Martin, Agawam, Mass., is bringing its new Indy II up-and-out robot (PT, Sept. '90, p. 113).

New T190 high-speed robot from CBW Automation, Fort Collins, Colo. reportedly can remove parts faster than free-fall ejection.

Mark II Automation, Inc., Germantown, Wis., is introducing the E1 Version 3.0 microprocessor robot controller. It can store up to 30 robot sequences in its battery-backed memory and its data processing is said to be 1000 times faster than the previous E1 version. It is standard on Mark II's Eagle EC and ES Series robots.

A new name in robots at NPE '91 is System Gosewehr, a German supplier of injection robots and automation systems for 12 years. This technology is available in the U.S. through a new office at the facilities of the Tooling Center, a mold supplier in DeForest, Wis. Gosewehr offers stand-alone robots, insert-loading units, parts removers, and turnkey systems. They range from simple all-pneumatic types to electric-drive units with CNC controls.

Also new to the U.S. is Welltec U.S.A., Inc., supplying a range of Hong Kong-built sprue pickers and traversing robots from an office in Niles, Ill.

Still another new name in robots is Star Automation, Inc., Brookfield, Wis., which was recently established to sell, service, and manufacturer the Star Seiki line of robots beginning in Auguts. NPE will see the U.S. debut of the Star CY line of low-cost pneumatic robots, first shown at JP90 (PT, Jan. '91, p. 66). Recently introduced Star BM all-servo models will also be shown. Star Seiki robots have been sold here by Sterltech Div. of Sterling, Inc., Milwaukee. Sterltech officials decline to comment about Star Automation, other than to say that Sterltech will still be a Star distributor at showtime and plans to unveil major new products in Chicago.


Battenfield is demonstrating a new fully automatic mold-changing system with a 190-ton BA-T machine. It stores and preheats four molds and changes molds in under 2 min. Operated by two servo motors for accurate positioning, the system guides the molds along machine-mounted rails.

Arburg is introducing the Rapidomat fully automatic mold changer. It's hydraulically operated from the press. The system reportedly not only changes the mold, but performs purging and other tasks required to start a new job, all without human intervention.

Nissei will show a new simplified mold-changing system (also shown at JP90) with its new FE Series 132-ton press (see earlier). Changing molds involves replacing a memory card in the machine controller, which read the new mold setup and provides instructions for automatic materials changing and adjusting robot takeout position. Automatic purge cycle is also standard in the controller.

Also look for even more improvements in mold-chaning systems from Staubli Corp., Duncan, S.C., and Enerpac Div. of Applied Power Inc., Butler, Wis.
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Title Annotation:National Plastic Exposition '91; includes related article
Author:Fallon, Michael R.
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:May 1, 1991
Previous Article:Robots invade test labs.
Next Article:What's new in extrusion.

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