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Relief for Hot Summer Toolrooms

By: Matthew H. Naitove 21. July 2014

June's Amerimold 2014 show in Novi, Mich. featured lots of mold components and other hardware and software for moldmaking and repair. But DME Co., Madison Heights, Mich., broadened the concept of toolroom products. It showed off new offerings designed to make workers more comfortable and productive in hot toolrooms during the summer.

One example was Squiche electrolyte drinks in powder “fast packs” or sticks to dissolve in water. Also available are new fans for cooling work areas. Supplied by Airmaster Fan Co., Jackson, Mich., these include floor-mounted pedestal models and ceiling-mounted versions, as well as water-misting fans.

Custom Molders: How Do Your Hourly Press Rates Compare?

By: Matthew H. Naitove 9. July 2014

 

The only place you can find an answer is right here—at ptonline.com—and in Plastics Technology magazine. If you’re one of our injection molding readers, you’re probably familiar with our twice-yearly Custom Injection Molding Hourly Rates Survey. It’s the only source I know of data on average machine-hour rates for different press sizes—with and without operator, with and without profit included—in five regions of the country. I’ve talked to a number of molders who use it to benchmark their own rates versus the competition.

 

Where do you come in? Right now we’re gathering data for our midyear survey of hourly rates. We need your data to make this survey accurately representative of molders throughout the country. Your answers are submitted anonymously, so they’re 100% confidential. Please go to this address and take 5 minutes to fill out a brief online questionnaire. (Some of you may already have received an email asking you to do so.) So please contribute! Your responses to my blog requesting your help a few months ago were essential to making our 2013 end-of-year survey possible. We need enough of you to respond now so we can get the midyear data in print and online without delay. Thanks!

Show Us Your Worst Hot-Runner Leaks!

By: Matthew H. Naitove 8. July 2014

They can be even worse than the one pictured here. Detecting and stopping a leak when it is at this early stage is one of the points in an upcoming Troubleshooting article, authored by Gammaflux, on how to cure common hot-runner headaches, including how to prevent small leaks from becoming an expensive mess.

 

To dramatize the importance of early leak detection and intervention, we invite injection molding readers to submit photos of nasty hot-runner leaks to accompany this article. We know you have the leaks and are betting some of you couldn’t resist documenting them. Send your photos to me, Executive Editor Matt Naitove at mnaitove@ptonline.com by Aug. 15. Thanks!

Wittmann Battenfeld Hosts Live Show of Its Latest Machines & Robots

By: Matthew H. Naitove 18. June 2014

Some 200 visitors attended the open house at the expanded U.S. headquarters of Wittmann Battenfeld in Torrington, Conn., on June 5-6. The occasion was the official opening of a $3-million, 20,000-ft2 addition to the existing 70,000 ft2. The two-day event featured nine operating injection molding cells, plus additional exhibits of robotics and auxiliaries, and a full slate of technical workshops presented by Wittmann Battenfeld experts as well as speakers from Fluid Automation, Gammaflux, MGS Mfg, M.R. Mold, and RJG Inc. Hosts of the meeting were Michael Wittmann, general manager of Wittmann Group; Georg Tinschert, managing director and CEO of Wittmann Battenfeld; David Preusse, president of Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. (North America); and Sonny Morneault, U.S. national sales manager. Among the highlights of the meeting:

 

• Michael Wittmann said the parent company was increasing capacity for building EcoPower all-electric presses and for in-house manufacturing of giant 30-metric-ton platens for the company’s largest, 1600-m.t., presses. The firm is also expanding its Mexican sales/service headquarters.

 

• Tinschert said the new MacroPower E hybrid two-platen line has been expanded since its introduction at last fall’s K 2013 show in Dusseldorf: From the original 450-m.t. model, the line has been expanded to include sizes of 400, 500, 550, 650, and 700 m.t.

 

• Tinschert revealed that Wittmann Battenfeld is exploring with customers the nascent field of structural thermoplastic composites. In particular, he said the firm is looking into overmolding “dry” reinforcing fabrics, skipping the intermediate steps of purchasing and reheating preimpregnated “organic sheets,” as they are often called.

 

• There was lots of news in robots at the open house. Wittmann showed off its newest robot line, the W8 pro series, which currently has just one model (W833 pro), which will be joined by three more at the Fakuma show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in October. The line will eventually span the entire W8 series range from 6 to 275-lb payload capacity. The new series is more energy-efficient, more vibration-resistant, quieter, and has a neater design with fewer and shorter cables and more compact control cabinet, plus LED status lights like the the latest versions of other Wittmann auxiliaries.

 

• There are several new software features for W8 and W8 pro series robots, including a new Wizard to make setup easier and also more flexible than before; Quickload access to stored job recipes without requiring password access; new setup screen; One Touch Auto for one-button launching of a reference routine and sending the robot to its ready position; Dry Cycle Direct, another one-button command for a low-speed dry cycle; and a new Offline Editor to allow a PC to emulate the teach pendant for remote programming.

 

• The live exhibits demonstrated Wittmann’s first use of 3D printed robot EOAT, made of laser-sintered nylon powder for a four-cavity mold and utilizing a new integral “leaf-spring” design in place of metal springs to compensate for variation in part pickup position. What’s more, 3D printing allows integration into the EOAT of some formerly purchased pneumatic components.

 

• Also demonstrated was Wittmann’s fairly new RFID chip technology incorporated into robot EOAT and the robot arm, which ensures that the proper tooling is loaded for a particular job.

 

Look for more details on these and other innovations from the Wittmann Battenfeld open house in an article in the August issue of Plastics Technology.

 

Want a Machine with Everything?

By: Matthew H. Naitove 17. June 2014

You may have heard the one about what the guru told the hot-dog vendor: “Make me one with everything.” That seems to be what a French molder of cosmetics packaging had in mind when it ordered an injection machine for development projects. “We envisioned a single machine that could map all of our requirements,” said Fabrice Baraviglio, president of Groupe Texen, one of the largest global manufacturers of packaging and screw caps for cosmetics and perfume. For the company’s new Texen Lab innovation center, it ordered a 160-metric-ton. CX hybrid press from KraussMaffei in Germany (U.S. office in Florence, Ky.).

 

The machine has two electrically driven injection units for multi-component sandwich molding and hydraulic two-platen clamp that can handle indexing molds. Both injection units are equipped for MuCell physical microcellular foaming, plus interfaces for gas-assist and liquid silicone rubber (LSR) molding. The control unit is programmed for various processes such as in-mold decoration, in-mold coating/painting (KM’s SkinForm, ColorForm, and CoverForm processes), as well as textile back molding (DecoForm). The machine also comes with KM’s Dynamic Mold Heating (DMH) system for rapid heat-cool molding to provide smooth aesthetic surfaces.




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