IRVINE, Calif.—The injection molding machine is getting smarter, and companies are learning how to harness those capabilities to turn out more complex parts.
During an Arburg Inc. technical seminar focused on new technologies in Irvine, attendees saw examples of multi-component applications and the value of real-time temperature and pressure sensors during molding.
Examples of multi-component applications, machines and tools were demonstrated on a 220-ton all electric Arburg Allrounder 570A Alldrive with two injection units in a horizontal L position.
The setup included a rotary indexing unit and automated multi-shot tooling from the automation division of MGS Mfg. Group Inc.
The cell molded T-bar specimens of thermoplastic elastomer and polypropylene on 23-second cycles.
Ashton Jantz, technical development engineer in Romeoville, Ill., with the distribution segment of PolyOne Corp., discussed material development for multi-component applications including self-bonding for overmolding and non-bonding for in-mold assembly.
For self-bonding, molders can use any combination of TPE family resins, Jantz said, but non-binding for in-mold assembly applications is tough to do. The key: is to reduce or eliminate post-molding assembly steps.
Kai Wender, regional manager based at Arburg's California technical center in Irvine, talked about multi-component injection molding and the importance of optimizing design in terms of application and using perfectly harmonized technology.
Arburg views multi-component molding as a core expertise. He said the company has been involved in multi-component parts since 1962.
He cited the ability of Arburg's freely programmable Selogica control system to provide full integration of injection molding machines, robotic systems and peripherals such as rotary units.
Modular machine technology allows for individual customer-specific solutions, Wender said.
Brian Hartlmeier, program manager in Elm Grove, Wis., with the MGS automation division, discussed the variable considerations in creating tools for multi-shot molded parts.
Hartlmeier said more applications are incorporating soft-touch TPE overmolding beyond the standard grip, handle and surface embellishment uses.
He recommended the use of higher temperature materials in the substrate molding step and cooler temperature resins on the overmolding step.
"Clear parts bring additional concerns," he added.
Hartlmeier encouraged product developers to go to the experts in materials and plastics processing machines and coworkers before moving a project too far down the line.
In another demonstration, a 165-ton Arburg Allrounder 520E Edrive model molded a nylon radar housing.
Auxiliary systems included an Arburg Thermolift convection dryer, a Motan automatic feeder, a fully integrated Arburg Multilift Select linear robotic system and a Priamus' BlueLine 5070A-2p2t real-time versatile-automation-random-access-network amplifier for cavity pressure and temperature sensing.
Marcel Fenner, technical manager and president with the U.S. unit of Priamus System Technologies A.G. in Brunswick, Ohio, discussed the value of using pressure and temperature sensors in a mold.
Priamus creates advanced process control systems for the plastic injection molding industry. Depending on the application, Priamus FillControl system components can document, monitor and control the injection molding process.
Using the technology can cut the volume of molds and machines, and reduce the costs of scrap and labor, Fenner said.
"The technology is here," Fenner said. "It is up to you to use it."
Juergen Giesow, Arburg director of technology and engineering, discussed use of a real-time cavity pressure sensor to control material injection and to regulate the holding pressure stage.
Applying a reference curve regulation "will stabilize the part quality with different viscosity or changing conditions," Giesow said. "Variation from shot to shot is minimal."
The technology is incorporated in Arburg electric machine platforms and is available with a position-regulation option on Arburg hydraulic machines.
Friedrich Kanz, president of Arburg in Rocky Hill, Conn., welcomed seminar attendees and introduced Michael Stark, Arburg national sales manager since March. Stark served as master of ceremonies for the Nov. 2 event in Irvine.
Arburg Inc. is a subsidiary of machine manufacturer and technology developer Arburg GmbH + Co. K.G. of Lossburg, Germany.