Where Was 3D Printing at the Fakuma Show?

By: Matthew H. Naitove 12. November 2015

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, appeared in various guises throughout October’s Fakuma 2015 show in Friedrichshafen, Germany:


 •  Arburg (U.S. office in Rocky Hill, Conn.) brought three of its Freeformer machines, the first to use standard molding pellets, to Fakuma. Two of them formed part of “Industry 4.0” exhibits of “personalized manufacturing” in which the Freeformers applied individualized decoration to injection molded parts. One new wrinkle was an automated cell in which a Freeformer was tended by a Kuka robot instead of a human operator.


Arburg officials noted in a Q&A session with the press that its 3-axis Freeformer model is meeting current demands of the market and there is little push from customers so far to commercialize a more expensive 5-axis version. More immediate development priorities, the officials said, were nitrided components to resist wear, a larger build envelope, and printing of high-temperature resins.


 •  While Arburg is the first plastics machinery company to offer its own 3D printer, Boy Machines (U.S. office in Exton, Pa.) announced at the show that it is offering a turnkey package with a Stratasys 3D printer for making plastic cavity inserts. Such tool inserts (which also appeared at multiple exhibits at NPE2015 in Orlando) are typically made of ABS and are said to last for up to 500 shots. Because there is no internal cooling for the inserts, Boy blew cold air over the mold face between cycles.


3D-printed ABS mold inserts were also shown at Fakuma by Hasco (U.S. office in Fletcher, N.C.) as prototyping accessories for its quick-change mold bases.


 •  Boy Machines showed another application of 3D printing in end-of-arm tooling for a sprue picker. KraussMaffei (U.S. office in Florence, Ky.) also showed 3D-printed EOAT on articulated six-axis and Cartesian three-axis robots, as well as a servo sprue picker, in three molding cells. KM noted that 3D printing allows the customer to make its own EOAT, to make it fast and lightweight and with optimized conformity to the shape of the part to be handled. (For more on 3D-printed EOAT, see Aug. ’14 Close Up.)

Have You Ever Seen Faster?

By: Matthew H. Naitove 11. November 2015

Four 125-ml PP gourmet cups in just 1.55 sec: Sumitomo (SHI) Demag (U.S. office in Strongsville, Ohio) molded them at October’s Fakuma 2015 show in Germany. The parts, 83 mm diam. and 0.32 mm thick, were molded on a 200-m.t. El-Exis SP hybrid press, using 70-MFI resin. The 3.4-g parts were filled in 0.09 sec at an injection speed of 700 mm/sec. A side-entry robot removed parts in 0.3 sec with the help of only air ejection.


That’s the fastest molding cycle I can remember having seen—at a show or anywhere. Can you top it? If so, email me at

Funny Looking Robots

By: Matthew H. Naitove 10. November 2015

Automation was the name of the game at October’s Fakuma 2015 show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, but with some new twists. It was the first time I had seen this type of high-speed assembly robot—at a plastics show. They are referred to generically as “parallel” or “delta” manipulators or robots, and their specialty is super-fast pick-and-place tasks with fairly small, lightweight parts.


Shown here is a M-1iA delta robot from Fanuc Robotics (U.S. office in Rochester Hills, Mich.), which was paired with a Fanuc Roboshot injection press (sold here by Milacron LLC, Batavia, Ohio) to sort micro parts by cavity.


A larger model appeared at the Netstal booth (U.S. office in Florence, Ky.) as part of an IML automation cell from Machines Pagès of France. After a conventional robot placed four labeled containers from each shot on a conveyor belt with and camera that scanned the labels for correct placement, the aptly named “Spider” robot picked out the containers individually and placed them on a stacking fixture separated by cavity. As it was explained to me, the merit of this approach was that any improperly labeled parts could be separated individually without rejecting the whole shot.


For more on this and other exhibits at the Fakuma show, see my upcoming Close Up article in our December issue. You also can learn more about parallel/delta robots on Wikipedia, at Mecademic in Montreal, and at Adept Technology, Inc., Pleasanton, Calif.

Windsor Group Coming Out with New Line of Injection Presses

By: Matthew H. Naitove 27. October 2015

Received this tip at the Fakuma 2015 show in Germany two weeks ago: Windsor Group, Inc., Mason, Ohio, will launch a new line of injection machines in the next couple of months. Up to now, the company has been providing support for the installed base of Klockner-Windsor machines, serving primarily the auto industry. For example, Windsor Group has upgraded older presses with new controls and with energy-saving variable-frequency electric drives (VFDs). Evidently, it aims to raise its profile with a new line of presses.

Haitian Shows New Models & Upgrades At Fakuma Show; More Coming in 2016

By: Matthew H. Naitove 26. October 2015

A Jupiter II 650-tonner.


At the Fakuma 2015 show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, a couple of weeks ago, Haitian of China and its Zhafir German subsidiary showed a number of new developments and previewed some of next year’s machine introductions.


 •  The Haitian Jupiter II Series of servohydraulic two-platen models (shown at NPE2015 in Orlando) is now available in “Jupiter II plus” versions with a redesigned clamp that offers 40% faster dry cycle (i.e., cut from 6.5 sec to 4.2 sec for a 450-metric-ton model) and eliminates lubricating cylinders around the tiebars. New linear guides replace tiebar guidance, and a digital, contact-free position-measurement system is said to provide rapid response and high-precision positioning.


 •  The Zhafir Venus II all-electric machine has been upsized from the previous limit of 550 m.t. to 650 m.t. (as seen at NPE), and a 1000-m.t. model is due next year.

Venus II 230-m.t.


 •  The new Zhafir Zeres all-electric line with integrated servohydraulics for nozzle touch, ejection, and core pulls was shown at NPE, has been extended beyond the original size range from 40 to 230 m.t. to 550 and 650 m.t., with larger models to come.


 •  In development is a new generation of Zhafir Mercury all-electric tiebarless models, which also will have integrated servohydraulics for secondary functions. The first prototypes of this German-designed ME-X line are being built in China.


Haitian and Zhafir machines are sold here by Absolute Haitian, Worcester, Mass.

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