INJECTION MOLDING: Foaming Technology Works on Conventional Presses

Profoam process uses physical foaming with a liquid propellant.

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Arburg has collaborated with the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV) in Aachen, Germany, to introduce the Profoam process for foaming thermoplastic molded parts. Unlike other physical foaming technologies, this process can be used on conventional injection molding machines without modification.

In Profoam, the plastic granules are mixed with liquid propellant in a granulate airlock (photo) upstream of the injection unit, which has a normal screw geometry. The result is a lightweight part with low distortion and homogeneous foam structure.

Arburg first demonstrated the technique at its Technology Days 2015 in Lossburg, Germany, in March. There, it produced two airbag housings made from fiber-reinforced PP in a cycle time of around 70 sec on an electric Allrounder 820 A. The part (photo) was 280-mm long and weighed 272 g, about 18% less than if made by conventional injection molding.

Arburg also discussed Profoam at the June opening of its new U.S. headquarters in Rocky Hill, Conn. (see Starting Up).

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New Foam Molding Process in Development

At May’s SPE Annual Technical Conference in Milwaukee, researchers from the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) in Aachen, Germany, presented a progress report on a developmental physical-foaming process for standard injection machines.