SCHWERTBERG, Austria—Engel Holding GmbH is hoping its new micro-injection unit, designed to produce extremely small components from liquid silicone rubber, generates some big waves at a virtual event intended to showcase some of its latest technology.
The micro-injection unit—the 50/30 TL injection molding machine—will be featured during the company's live e-xperience event, set for Oct. 13-16, the dates originally planned for Fakuma 2020. With physical events off limits for the foreseeable future, the company, like so many others, is turning to cyberspace to present the innovations originally planned for Fakuma.
"Even in times of COVID-19, Engel's R&D pipeline is well filled," Christoph Steger, Engel's chief sales officer, said in a statement.
Developed with ACH Solution of Fischlham, Austria, the micro-injection molding machine can produce precision LSR components with shot weights at 0.0013 grams. This aligns with the demands for the smallest components used in the field of opthalmology.
For the market launch, a 32-cavity valve gate cold runner mold will be used to produce connecting elements needed in ophthalmic diagnostic instruments. The filigree parts measure 1.7 mm in length and 0.9 mm in diameter.
"The focus during the development of the micro-injection unit was on a high degree of flexibility," Engel said in a news release. "Thanks to the quick coupling system, the unit can be exchanged for a conventional screw injection unit in less than 30 minutes to maximize the production uptime of the injection molding machine."
Engel also touted the machine's lack of tie bars, which allow platens to be fully utilized. This, the company said, allows the machine to accommodate large multi-cavity molds, ultimately reducing the footprint and increasing productivity.
While the all-electric e-motion TL machine is ideal for the medical market as well as the electronics market—which produces minuscule parts for high-quality optical components in smartphones—Engel expects increased demand for micro-molded LSR parts in the automotive arena.