From new machine controls to automotive skin-insert molding to electric machines, the latest molding-machine technology from Ube Machinery Inc. was on display during a recent open house at the company's Ann Arbor, Mich., headquarters.

 

New PC-Based Controller

A brand-new line of controllers with a color-touchscreen interface is tailored for the U.S.-built UM Series toggle machines of 500, 720, 1000, and 1500 tons. Jointly developed by Ube and Xycom Automation Inc. of Saline, Mich., the new HUMMA-X controllers employ an industrial PC running a graphical interface under Windows NT. Among its features are:


  • A single process-overview screen showing all setpoints.
  • Storage capacity for up to 99 mold set-ups on the controller's hard drive, plus additional storage capacity on disc or network server.
  • Five-step profiled control of injection speed and pressures and screw RPM.
  • Automatic clamp-force compensation for mold expansion and contraction.
  • Robot interface.
  • Built-in networking, internet, and intranet support.
  • On-line storage of manuals and CAD drawings.
  • Process and production monitoring capabilities.
  • Field replaceability of all components.

 

In-mold laminating

"Dieprest molding," Ube's patented backmolding technique for in-mold lamination, has been around for about three years, but the process has recently been improved in ways that should broaden its appeal. Dieprest now works with a wider variety of insert materials, including not only fabric but also foam-backed vinyl or PP, and pre-formed film inserts. What's more, Ube plans to introduce an in-mold paint system for Dieprest as soon as the end of this year. "We're targeting bumpers, fascias, instrument panels, and body panels," says sales and marketing manager Taku Tawarada. Ube also plans to pair Dieprest with coinjection molding, he adds.

Some Ube machines (not yet including U.S.-built models) can be retrofitted for this injection-compression process with the addition of an extra servo valve on the clamp and a control upgrade. Add-on costs for a 720-ton press run about $100,000.

 

Electric enhancements

At the open house, Ube showed off its new 950-ton all-electric machine, the world's largest. Tawarada previewed some changes that will soon appear on the press. For example, it will be available with a single 55-kw (74-hp) motor on the clamp end, significantly trimming the cost. In its current design, the 950-tonner uses pairs of synchronized motors for clamp and injection functions