Wittmann Battenfeld Customers Push Machines into Coronavirus Duty
Wittmann Battenfeld injection molding machines in Italy and Austria are churning out valves for respiratory masks and face shield frames and straps, respectively.
Global supplier of injection molding machines, automation and robots, Wittmann Battenfeld, recently shared two stories of how its machines are supplying much needed components in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
In much the same way 3D printing provides a production bridge to large-scale injection molding in normal times, here too the first application represents a case where a quickly conceived prototype transitioned to full-scale production via molding and a dedicated tool.
Wittmann Battenfeld customer Oldrati (Villongo, Italy) is molding a valve from PP on an EcoPower 180 CombiMold at its Silital plant, acquired in 2007. This valve enables the transformation of a snorkeling mask into a respiratory mask for Covid-19 patients.
Initially, Italian design firm Isinnova created the “Charlotte” valve using 3D printing as part of its reimagining of the snorkeling device, with the valve allowing the mask to be attached to a ventilator. Oldrati took on the project despite that fact that two of its factories were located in two of the hardest hit regions of Italy—Bergamo and Brescia.
The now injection molded “Charlotte” valve allows a snorkeling device to be attached to a ventilator.
Oldrati Group announced plans to donate 2000 of its “Easy Covid 19” kits and 10,000 Charlotte Oldrati valves to hospitals to aid in the fight against Covid-19. Wittmann Battenfeld has been supplying Oldrati and Silital since 2015, delivering 30 machines with clamping forces from 350 to 3000 kN (40 to 340 tons). The company said five more machines from the SmartPower series will be installed at Silital in May and June.
Face Shields, Fast
In another instance of a customer quickly ramping up production to assist in the coronavirus response, Wittmann Battenfeld also shared the story of Austrian molder Mack (Altenmarkt). That company has been supplying face shields, which utilize frames and straps injection molded on Wittmann Battenfeld presses.
In a report in the Lower Austria News, Mack’s Managing Director Patrick Scheibenreiter described the genesis of the project. “We had the idea on a Sunday lunchtime, on Monday evening we were finished with the construction and on Saturday we had the first series parts,” Scheibenreiter told the paper.
A family-run business, Mack was purchased in 1988 by the father of today’s owner-manager, Stefanie Bettel. Production at the present location in Altenmarkt has occurred since 1998. The company runs 18 injection molding machines ranging from 220 to 1800 kN (25 to 200 tons) in clamping force, of which 15 are from Wittmann Battenfeld.
The straps are molded on a hydraulic machine from the HM series, while a servo-hydraulic SmartPower series with 600 kN clamping force, featuring a Wittmann WP80 sprue picker, produces the frame.
(From left) Rainer Weingraber, Managing Director of Wittmann Battenfeld; Stefanie Bettel, owner-manager of Mack; and Patrick Scheibenreiter, technical director and at Mack, all wearing Covid 19 face shields made by the Austrian molder.
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