K2019 Preview: Machinery firms’ cue to save the planet

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At a recent preview of K2019 in Düsseldorf, Germany, machine companies presented their latest technologies to be displayed at the show, which will be held from 16-23 October.

Companies make plans for the future

Hong Kong-headquartered injection moulding machine manufacturer Chen Hsong has established a new German subsidiary in Kempen. The 60-year old manufacturer of injection machines, with clamping forces ranging from 20-6,500 tonnes, already has a subsidiary in the Netherlands, Chen Hsong Europe BV, of which the new company will be a part of.

Besides Chen Hsong Europe, which is the European headquarters, the German company will also serve as an additional technical support base.

Plans are afoot for the Kempen subsidiary to stock fully functional injection moulding machines for demonstrations, tests and training. The large central warehouse in the Netherlands is also well-stocked with many new machines to ensure rapid delivery to the German market, said the Chen Hsong officials.

The company has four facilities in Shunde, Shenzhen, Ningbo in China and one in Taiwan and produces 15,000 machines/year. It sells 65% of its machines in China, 7% in Taiwan and the rest to the overseas market with Europe accounting for a 10% share, but with further growth expected through the new subsidiary.

Meanwhile, machinery group KraussMaffei, which is a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned chemical firm ChemChina, has merged its machinery brands under a single entity.

KraussMaffei will showcase its latest GX machine

The first German company listed on the Chinese stock market, KraussMaffei is also the world’s only provider of solutions for injection moulding, extrusion and reaction process technology. It is now consolidating all business divisions and its previous brands of KraussMaffei, KraussMaffei Berstorff and Netstal within a single brand.

Netstal-Maschinen (Switzerland) will be known as KraussMaffei High Performance AG. Its injection moulding machinery will be integrated into the KraussMaffei portfolio under the Netstal product brand, which means the Netstal name will still appear on the machinery itself. The KraussMaffei Berstorff brand for Extrusion technology will now be known as KraussMaffei Extrusion GmbH.

With a new corporate design to be unveiled to a wider audience at K2019, the Munich-based firm says it is reinventing itself with its new motto: Pioneering Plastics.

Applications aligned to sustainability

organic sheets and tapes

The use of thermoplastic composites is growing when it comes to lightweighting in the automotive industry, as due to the consistent thermoplastic approach it is possible to integrate the forming and functionalisation of fibre-reinforced prepregs, which reduces unit costs. Also, the use of exclusively thermoplastic polymers makes it easier to develop recycling strategies.

Based on this, Austrian machine maker Engel will showcase its well-known organomelt process at K2019. The process allows fibre-reinforced prepregs, with a thermoplastic matrix such as organic sheets and tapes to be heated, inserted into the mould, formed there and directly overmoulded with thermoplastic.

Now, Engel is working together with its customers and partners on the production aspects of designing composite components with a targeted load distribution. At the show, a moulding process developed in partnership with automotive parts supplier Brose will be demonstrated. A production cell will show how different prepregs can be combined to tailor the lightweight construction characteristics to a component’s specific shape as well as the different stresses on individual areas inside the component. The demo part to be produced at the K show, for instance, is more rigid in its window frame area than on the inside of the door.

It is also said to be the only system in the world that can simultaneously process three differently shaped organic sheets between 0.6 mm and 2.5 mm in thickness in a fully automated process involving integrated IR ovens.

The organomelt production is based on a duo 3660/800 injection moulding machine and includes two integrated IR ovens, coupled with three Engel easix articulated robots all operating at the same time.

Chinese raw material producer Kingfa will supply the glassfibre PP sheets. When the mould – built by Georg Kaufmann Formenbau – closes, the organic sheets are formed and subsequently overmoulded with glass fibre-reinforced PP within the same mould. Reinforcing ribs are shaped on the back of the component, while a leather-look grain is shaped on the visible side.

Meanwhile, KraussMaffei will show an example of a circular economy in action. Launching its new GX 1100 machine at the show, it will mould 20 l PP buckets, each injected in two cavities with IML. The shot weight will be 1,500 g and cycle time of 14 seconds.

The buckets will subsequently be shredded and fed back into the material loop as regrind. A ZE 28 BluePower twin-screw extruder will produce a technically enhanced re-compound, with pigments and a 20% proportion of talc added to the PP flakes. After underwater pelletising and drying, the re-compound will be fed to an all-electric PX 320 machine, where the material will be formed into an A-pillar panel, with an overmoulded layer of fabric. The company says it is using this example as “packaging products fulfil their duty quickly, so why not use them as raw material for new high-tech parts!”

Being energy efficient

Sumitomo will showcase its El-Exis machine

Consuming up to 20% less energy than its predecessors, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag is bringing two energy-enhanced El-Exis SP machines to K2019: a large and a smaller version. Catering specifically to the packaging moulding markets, the ultra-high speed range boasts the lowest dry cycle times, due to the hydraulic accumulator, which achieves injection speeds of up to 1,000 mm/s. This enables moulders to produce even thinner packaging items. The range is also one of the fastest machines in the market for injection dynamic.

The German/Japanese firm will also demonstrate what it says is a trailblazing, as-yet unseen, touchfoil interactive decoration for a vehicle console on a brand new IntElect 500 being unveiled at the show. As a result of the big tie bar spacing, increase in mould height and opening stroke, the new models accommodate larger moulds, providing a less energy intensive machine for automotive applications that would previously have required a larger tonnage.

It will also reveal its newest 180-tonne IntElect S all-electric medical machine. Aimed squarely at mass manufacturers of medical plastic components, the machine has been specially built for extremely narrow tolerance applications requiring fast cycle times between 3 -10 seconds. The layout of the mould space ensures it’s clear of contaminants, particles and lubricants, for cleanroom environments. It will be shown moulding pipette tips on a 64-cavity mould.

Going the whole hog with circular economy

With the CEO of Engel, Stefan Engleder, stating that the circular economy topic is close to his heart, the Austrian machine maker will be a part of this cause.

Since recycled material is subject to greater batch variations than virgin material, the company will use its iQ weight control assistance system, from Engel’s inject 4.0, to process fully recycled ABS. It will allow for a constant melt volume during injection to ensure quality.

One further approach to using recycled materials more widely is sandwich components with a core of recycled material embedded in virgin material, which is determined by the geometry of the moulded part and the flow pattern in the cavity.

The transport boxes that Engel is producing at its stand using the skinmelt process have a component geometry, but yet are able to incorporate a recycled content of over 50%. What is also important is the grade purity “ensuring that the sandwich-moulded products can also be easily recycled at the end of their service life”. The PP boxes will contain recycled material from post-consumer collection. Engel will work with Grüne Punkt (The green dot) and Duales System Deutschland (DSD, Germany).

transport boxes using its sandwich moulding process

Finally, at the outdoor exhibition area between Halls 10 and 16, post-consumer waste will be converted into miniature waste containers on an Engel victory machine. Austrian recycling machine maker Erema’s recycling pavilion is located in the immediate vicinity.

Another victory machine will produce card boxes from recycled fishing nets with the PA recycled material coming from Chile, where three American machine manufacturers have set up collection points for end-of-life nets. In Chile, the nets are recycled on an Erema system and processed into skateboards and sun glasses on Engel’s machines.


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