Injection Molding: Wittmann’s U.S. Debut of Two Machines, New Robots & Auxiliaries at NPE
A high-speed packaging machine, two-shot micromolder, and new high-end and economical robots, plus several new auxiliaries bow in at NPE.
Among six work cells that Wittmann Battenfeld Inc., Torrington, Conn., will display at NPE2018 (booth W3742), two will present new machines that previously debuted in Europe for the first time at a U.S. show. The EcoPower Xpress is the company’s newest, high-speed, all-electric machine, aimed at packaging and other thin-wall products (photo). It offers injection speeds up to 600 mm/sec, injection acceleration up to 15,000 mm/sec2, and injection pressure to 36,275 psi. Shown in prototype form at K 2016, it became commercial as of Fakuma 2015 last fall. At NPE, a 440-ton model will run a 96-cavity bottle-cap mold; such a mold ran at Fakuma in 2.7 sec.
Also new is a two-shot model of the MicroPower 15-ton micromolding press, first shown in Europe in 2016. It has two parallel injection units and a rotary disk molding a plug that goes inside the recording head of a vinyl record player. The parts are made of PC and electro-conductive PC. Parts removal will be handled by a Wittmann S8VS4 SCARA robot specially designed for this machine.
Two robot series will also see their U.S. debut at the show. One is the new X Series, which is basically equivalent to the company’s pro series plus the new R9 control. At the opposite end of Wittmann’s line is its new Primus line of economical servo robots for relatively simple pick-and-place uses. It also comes with R9 control.
Overall, Wittmann’s exhibit emphasizes its Wittmann 4.0 interconnectivity of presses and auxiliaries as a “Pathway to 4.0.” This theme will be evident in all the exhibits, including the most complex 4.0 work cell, which interconnects a MacroPower 850 machine producing an automotive spoiler with an HRSflow servo controller for five valve gates, Gammaflux hot-runner temperature controller, and Wittmann robot, TCU, blender, granulator, and Flowcon Plus electronic water-flow controller. The cell also shows off the new CMS Condition Monitoring System for predictive and preventive maintenance.
A number of the molding cells on display make use of the Tempro Plus D mold-temperature controller (TCU) with energy-saving SpeedDrive option introduced at last fall’s Fakuma show a variable-speed pump and the ability to set either motor speed, pump pressure, or differential temperature (ΔT). Some of the working cells also use the new Aton H beside-the-press wheel-type dryer with larger, 7-in. touchscreen and fully integrated 4.0 capabilities. Several cells utilize the Flowcon Plus to continuously monitor and automatically control water flow through each individual mold circuit.
New auxiliaries on display also include the G-Max granulator with control pendant on a cable that can reach outside a safety enclosure and communication with the machine control so that the granulator shuts down when the press is off to save energy. Also new is the S-Max screenless granulator; central drying system with new modular Silmax 5000L drying hopper and new modular Silmax 2000L-Auger model for non-free-flowing materials and PET crystallization; and central material-handling systems with new Teachbox Net 5 control.
Liquid silicone rubber is breaking out of its niche into a broader array of applications, helped by new developments in materials, machinery, and processing. Larger parts, micro-parts, foams, and multi-color or multi-material combinations are key areas of innovation.
At the big “K” Show next month, top billing goes to new all-electric machines aimed at every segment of the market, from general-purpose to high-end.
Hot buttons at the show will be multi-component molding, in-mold labeling/decorating (IML/IMD), in-mold assembly, medical molding, liquid silicone rubber (LSR), micro-molding, and high-speed packaging.