INJECTION MOLDING: Revamped Line Promises Greater Injection Speed, Lower Energy Use

Linear guides throughout and a purpose-built ball screw contribute to greater speed and efficiency for Toshiba’s new all-electric line.

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Toshiba Machine (U.S. headquarters in Elk Grove Village, Ill.), introduced its new ECSXII line of all-electric injection molding machines at Plastec West (Feb. 9-11; Anaheim, Calif.). The show represented the line’s North American debut, with their initial launch coming in Japan in 2014.

Applying linear guides throughout the machine, the ECSXII line eliminates tie bar bushings and allows the two-piece platens to open and close with less drag. On the injection unit, the linear guides support the system’s entire weight, allowing it to move freely and granting greater control over injection speed and back pressure, resulting in what Steve Cunningham, sales manager for Toshiba’s U.S. and Canadian Plastics Machinery Div., called “the most energy efficient machine Toshiba has ever built.”

The machine’s ball screw was specifically designed for injection molding, and Toshiba said it spreads the load across more than twice the surface area, which reduces stress and increases life expectancy. Optional twin motors can be installed for high-speed injection, ranging up to 500 mm/sec, and a link line toggle system is angled to distribute force evenly across the platen.

A strain gauge on the tie bar allows machine tonnage to be set accurately and adjusted during the cycle. Toshiba noted that a load cell behind the screw, measures melt pressure in real time, feeding data to the V-50 controller, potentially eliminating the need for in-mold transducers. The V-50, which features a color touch-screen display, allows simultaneous motions so that the machine can reportedly reduce cycle times by up to 30%.

The machine line also features a redesigned space-saving frame, which allows hydraulic power units, necessary for core pulls, etc., in the all-electric machine, to fit beneath the machine, saving floor space.

At Plastec West, Toshiba displayed a 100-ton ton press molding polystyrene petri dishes. According to Cunningham, between the February show and the summer, Toshiba will introduce machines to North America from 30 to 250 tons. In the fall, it will expand the tonnage further, adding 310- and 390-ton models, with the line eventually to range up to 1950 tons. Despite customer interest at Plastec, Cunningham said Toshiba would like to transfer the 100-ton ECSXII that was on display in Anaheim to its California tech center in Ontario. The first ordered machines were to arrive in the port of Los Angeles from Japan in March.