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Thermoforming innovations at K 2004 include several new trim-in-place units for packaging, the first in-line packaging system with an infrared scanner that automatically adjusts oven temperatures. and improved halogen heating that works better with preprinted sheet.
Illig of Germany will introduce the RDK 80, a high-speed automatic trim-in-place pressure former whose advanced servomotor control is said to allow very precise setting of variable platen strokes and speeds. The platens are servo actuated while the clamping frame is pneumatic. Direct placement of vacuum and pressure valves on the forming station allows for faster cycles, Illig says. The machine has a 760 x 575 mm forming area and steel-rule dies integrated into the forming tool. It seals a “pressure bell” against the sheet so that application of forming air can be controlled independent of the movements of the plug assists.
Illig will show off a new handling system for the automatic stacker on this machine and will also introduce a new stacking system for its cam-driven, tilting-platen RDM 70K trim-in-place machine for PP drinking cups.
G.N. Plastics Co. of Canada will launch the GN191DM dual-mold thermoformer, a radiant-heat, cut-in-place, plug-assist unit aimed at trays and containers. With two alternating molds that shuttle in and out of the forming station, products are cooled and removed from the first mold outside the forming station, while the second one is in the forming station. More than 40 cycles/min are said to be possible. An optional preheating station is available for PP processing.
OMV of Italy will unveil the F87 integrated extrusion/forming system with a forming area of 850 x 650 mm and a built-in rim roller for PP drinking cups, which eliminates a secondary operation. The machine processes 1600 lb/hr and permits quick mold changes.
Sencorp is introducing higher-tonnage trim presses to allow easier processing of hard-to-cut materials like PET, APET, and PETG. The new presses (75, 100, and 110 tons) have a dual-pressure cutting system with a low-pressure stage that penetrates the part and a high-pressure stage that cuts through and finishes the trim. This two-stage cut reduces angel hair and shattering, especially in PET, the company says.
Sencorp will also unveil what is said to be a first for thin-gauge, roll-fed machinery—an infrared scanner that provides a graphic profile of sheet temperature and even automatically adjusts the oven temperatures if necessary. (IR scanners have previously been used on heavy-gauge sheet-fed industrial machines.) The system was developed jointly with Land Instruments, which supplies the thermal-imaging hardware and software. The closed-loop system is available on all current Sencorp models and is retrofittable.
Another heating innovation comes from Geiss AG in Germany. The Speedium halogen element, developed jointly with Philips, reportedly reduces heating time 10% to 15% relative to previous halogen heaters by emitting an additional wavelength that is absorbed by plastics. Single-station machines can now compete with multi-station machines, particularly in applications such as printed signs, according to a company official. Up to now, halogen heating systems were ineffective with multi-colored surfaces, which heated unevenly due to varying degrees of IR reflection by the colors.
Industrial forming news
In heavy-gauge machinery, Cannon Forma (formerly Cannon-Shelley) of the U.K. will demonstrate the PF 1210 single-station machine. It features an advanced Windows-based computer system with sag control and closed-loop control of each heating element via multiple thermocouples. Control of the “real” temperature of each element is novel, according to Cannon. At the show, the machine will form motorbike covers, an application that reportedly requires an advanced heating system to achieve exact and repeatable forming of high-gloss, preprinted acrylic sheet into a complex shape.
In CNC trimming machines, Geiss will show its cost-effective FZ-ECO series with a PC-based CNC control and a spindle-type head drive. The five-axis machine is claimed to provide high-end performance at a cost advantage over linear-drive units.
Geiss will also introduce a more rigid sonotrode (knife holder) for ultrasonic cutting. It permits six-axis cutting of thicker, rigid, and reinforced materials.