Targeting efficiency in packaging/medical sectors

As the pressure to reduce costs continues to rise, efficiency and automation will increasingly become the focus for processors in Asia. It with this in mind that machine makers will exhibit at Chinaplas, showcasing applications for packaging and medical sectors.

Injection moulding machinery

  • Austrian machine maker Engel will be demonstrating four integrated cells. A Duo 900 machine integrated with the Viper 20 linear robot will showcase automation. It will also exhibit the Foammelt technology, using MuCell, producing oil sumps on a 900-tonne machine. The plastic melt is loaded with nitrogen or carbon dioxide and then injected into the mould, during which time the gas expands in the cavity. The use of raw materials and the component weight are thereby reduced, while at the same time the rheological properties of the melt improved, allowing for sink-mark free parts.

  • Canadian machine supplier Husky Injection Molding Systems, together with recently acquired Schöttli, will focus on the company’s latest mould technology for select medical applications, including syringes, infusion/transfusion products, diagnostic systems and feminine care items, and speciality closure applications. Also featured, will be Husky’s unique EASYcube mould technology, which is designed to provide the best platform for moulding multi-material closures. With the recent acquisition of Schöttli, Husky’s goal is to gain deeper mould making knowledge in focused medical applications, as well as develop the expertise to build the strongest melt delivery system in the medical market. In addition, Schöttli complements Husky’s existing closures business and will extend the company’s presence in established and emerging markets.

  • German firm Arburg will exhibit three Allrounder machines, tailored to the needs of the packaging and electronics sectors. Lossburgbased Arburg has also improved customer support in China with its distribution warehouse near Shanghai, and is now able to deliver individually adapted Allrounders and Multilift robotic systems much faster than before in the region.

  • To meet the high demands of the packaging industry, Arburg offers Packaging (P) versions of the hybrid and electric Hidrive and Alldrive machines. Arburg will present two P Allrounder 570 H machines. A 180-tonne machine will demonstrate the production of four IML tubs in a short 4-second cycle time. It is equipped with an IML system from French automation and in-mould labelling specialists Sepro

  • Robotique and Machines Pagès. The four-cavity mould from Swiss manufacturer Kebo is adapted for the highspeed production of IML tubs, while the labels come from Belgian supplier Verstraete.

  • Arburg will also demonstrate the Hotmelt process for overmoulding electronic components on a 25-tonne vertical Allrounder 275V. The thermoplastic Hotmelt adhesives can be used over a wide range of temperatures and feature improved adhesion on polar plastics. This makes them suitable for overmoulding sensitive electronic components in the automotive sector, for example. The low mould cavity pressures required for moulding are a major advantage due to the low melting viscosity of the material. This means that the sensitive “inner workings” of the components remain undamaged and are perfectly protected from environmental influences. An LED carrier will be produced as a demonstration part, with the insert consisting of an LED circuit board and two connector cables. The screw that has been adapted to process the material features a diameter of 35 mm and the injection moulding cylinder is equipped with a needle shut-off nozzle. With the 1+1-cavity mould used, the cycle time is around 110 seconds, which is ideal for a simultaneous manual insertion process.

  • Germany-headquartered KraussMaffei will showcase its SpinForm technology on the CXW 200-380/180, producing three-part PP and LLDPE push-pull screw-cap closures for drink bottles in a cycle time of 6.4 seconds. The machine produces these closures fully assembled thanks to the TIM (Total Integrated Manufacturing) technology from mould manufacturer Zahoransky, allowing for various assembly processes, irrespective of the tool sequence. This is the key to producing multipart components on just one machine, quickly. It is also possible to screw in parts or check for leak-tightness as integrated, cost-effective functions. The firm is targeting the concept to packaging and medical technology products. A BluePower servomotor and controller actuate the SpinForm machine.

  • With the extension of production at its Chinese plant in Haiyan, KraussMaffei will also have an “open house”.

  • Also in the KraussMaffei group is Swiss machine maker Netstal, which is said to be enjoying success in China with its PET-Line 2400, PET-Line 4000 and Elion 4200 in particular, with the latter expanded to include a larger tonnage. The firm is seeing growing potential for IML technology in the Asian packaging market and is also gaining ground in the Chinese medical technology sector: thanks to the all-electric Elion series, for the manufacture of clean room components. It has installed over 300 systems for PET preforms, closures and packaging parts in China. Though Netstal’s machines are still manufactured in Switzerland, the plant in Haiyan caters to spare parts. During the open house, PET blood collection tubes will be manufactured on a 200-tonne Elion. As a demonstration plant for the beverage industry, Netstal installed a complete PET-Line system with cooling and drying units in China last year. The 400-tonne machine will also produce PCO28 preforms.

  • Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Plastics Machinery and its Chinese company Demag Plastics Machinery (Ningbo) will exhibit the hybrid El-Exis SP and hydraulic Systec C. In the production of PE-HD screw caps using an El-Exis SP 420-3000, a 96-cavity hot runner mould will be used for the 1.2 g 28-mm caps with tamper-evident protection for mineral water bottles. A barrier screw with L/D of 25:1 delivers the necessary dosing capacity while a backflow barrier ensures process safety. With the hybrid drive, with activeAdjust optimised movement of all axles and the control NC5 plus; this system achieved a 2-second cycle time at its premiere last year at the K2013. It has been further optimised since then, and claims a cycle time reduction of around 10%.

  • A hydraulic Systec 120-200 C will produce toothed racks from POM. The 16-cavity mould from Kebo allows a 12-second cycle time. The system is claimed to reduce energy consumption, with a servo-pump motor. A Success 11 line robot from Sepro performs the removal of the parts with a quality inspection system from Avalon Vision Solutions.

Hot Runners/Auxiliaries

  • Having recently established its hot runners business as a strategic priority, Husky will display technology to serve key markets, including consumer electronics, medical, automotive and closures. Among the exhibits include the Ultra SideGate hot runner, Ultra nozzles, and the latest developments in synchronised stem control applications. Also featured will be the latest expansions to the Altanium temperature controller product line, including the recently launched Altanium Delta3 and upcoming Altanium Matrix2. Husky will also be introducing several new products to address the industry’s need for improved thermal uniformity, increased valve stem control, better gate quality and technology to simplify hot runner installation.

  • Swiss firm Kistler assures 100% quality and zero defect production in all moulding processes, with its sensors and systems that can measure and analyse cavity pressure during moulding, monitor the process and reduce rejects or separate them immediately upon production. Thus, it will present the COPQ (costs of poor quality) tool that calculates a Return-on-Investment (ROI) if moulders were to install Kistler systems. It also has a new resin transfer moulding (RTM) sensor for identifying filling errors and deviations from the optimum process sequence; and for managing cascaded filling operations for large moulded parts.

  • Ultrasonic welding delivers excellent quality at high production speed and is therefore a preferred joining method for injection moulded parts made of amorphous or semi-crystalline polymers. Herrmann Ultrasonic from Germany will display its HiQ series, which incorporates the latest technical advancements. This increases productivity and Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE).

  • The ultrasonic process directs mechanical vibrations into the plastic assembly utilising a specific frequency, amplitude, force and duration. The ultrasonic stack consists of generator, converter, transformation piece (called booster) and weld tool (called sonotrode). The generator converts voltage into high-frequency voltage. By using the piezoelectric effect, the converter changes the high-frequency voltage into ultrasonic waves (20 to 35 kHz). The sonotrode expands and contracts rapidly (20kHz or 20,000 movements/second), thereby introducing the mechanical vibrations into the joint area of the work piece. The vibrations cause friction in the joint area and start melting the material. A short cooling phase under pressure will ensure correct solidification. Since ultrasonic vibrations break up the molecular structure, the parts are tightly bonded, as if they were one piece.

  • The major advantage of ultrasonic technology is the specific energy input, which allows a precisely defined and temporally controlled melting. Through a special joint design the ultrasonic waves are focused directly into the joint zone. The joint design for parts consists of suitable welding geometries with points or edges in the joining area. They are called energy directors and define the direction of the melt initiation. The contact points of the weld geometry prevent large-scale coupling. Good results in terms of strength, tightness and appearance can be achieved if the plastic parts are specifically designed for the ultrasonic process, including all procedural and material features.

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