Continuous Compression Molding Challenges Injection for Optical Parts

SACMI’s CCM systems, originally developed for bottle caps, now show promise for high production of lighting lenses and other optical parts.

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It’s not just for bottle caps anymore. Besides a recent move into single-serve coffee capsules, the continuous compression molding (CCM) process from SACMI of Italy is now being developed for optical parts such as lighting lenses, advanced instrumentation and automotive parts. SACMI is working with Polyoptics, a leading German producer of plastic optical systems and components, and the German research institute KIMW in Lüdenscheid. So far, the project reportedly has yielded excellent lab samples in cycle times significantly shorter than alternatives such as injection molding, says Sacmi.

SACMI builds CCM systems in which a plastic profile is continuously extruded and cut off into blanks that are automatically deposited into individual compression molds that move continuously on a conveyor. This process offers independent control of each mold and flexibility in number of molds being run. Lab tests have shown that CCM can use the same polymers—PMMA and PC—used by Polyoptics for injection molding of optical parts. KIMW verified the quality of the samples.