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KraussMaffei introductions run full gamut

By: Bill Bregar

April 3, 2012

ORLANDO, FLA. (April 3, 9:20 a.m. ET) — Krauss-Maffei Corp. (Booth 1503) is highlighting packaging and medical molding at NPE2012.

Krauss-Maffei is debuting a packaging application for its high-speed version of its two-platen press, an MX with 650 tons of clamping force molding large, screw-on polypropylene closures on a 48-cavity mold. The machinery maker also is demonstrating in-mold assembly of three-part closures on a SpinForm press. And an all-electric EX press is molding drink cups in a three-second cycle.

President Paul Caprio said closures and packaging have been good markets for Krauss-Maffei, the U.S. unit of Germany-based KraussMaffei AG. “In North America, it’s been one of the strongest parts of our business from an installed customer base, and year over year growth,” he said. “It’s companies that need more than a general-purpose machine, that need faster cycles. They need a larger injection rate.”

In a press conference April 2 at NPE2012, Karlheinz Bourdon, managing director of KraussMaffei Technologies, said automation will help U.S. companies reduce costs and compete. KraussMaffei has doubled the robot assembly area in its Munich headquarters.

The company has added product engineers and automation specialists to the U.S. operation in Florence, Ky., Bourdon said.

KM makes injection presses, extruders for pipe, profile and compounding, and polyurethane processing machinery. The company is showing off two processes to make a complex part—the SkinForm process molding a center console for a car on a hybrid CX injection molding machine, with an overmolded PUR skin.

In extrusion, Krauss-Maffei also will show Internal Pipe Cooling for pipe, and other machinery.

The Munich-based KraussMaffei AG generated record order income of 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) for fiscal year 2010-2011, ended Sept. 30, 2011. That topped the old record of 1.05 billion euros in the pre-recessionary year of 2007-2008.

Caprio said North American business remains strong this year.

“From my perspective, the U.S. has not really slowed down at all,” Caprio said. “Certainly for North America, we expect better results this year than last year. It’s a very good time for NPE.”

Caprio said demand “still feels very healthy, from a business standpoint. There’s no question about it.”

For KraussMaffei extrusion, the depressed U.S. housing market has hurt demand for vinyl siding and windows. Excess extrusion capacity makes it difficult to sell new extruders for those products, he said.

“The good news is that the pipes needed for oil, gas and water are growing dramatically. So for the extrusion business, it just seems to have switched over from housing to infrastructure. That offsets the downside of the housing market itself,” Caprio said.

KraussMaffei Berstorff, which makes compounding extruders and equipment for the rubber and tire industries, “remains in a sold-out position,” he said.

Caprio said KM’s injection molding machine business is well-placed in solid market segments.

“In North America, automotive is still very hot, without question. The packaging and medical market are always very stable growth engines. Even in the downturns, those markets continue to invest,” he said.

Here is a closer look at KM’s NPE offerings:

• The 650-ton MX is beefy enough to hold a very heavy 48-cavity closure mold, while maintaining a high-level of platen parallelism and uniform clamping-force distribution. The high-performance injection unit gives high-precision molding even at injection speeds up to 700 millimeters per second, the company said.

Caprio said this is a large of a press “is new for our packaging customers in the global market.”

“But it seems to be in America where they run such large cavitation that the machines keep growing in size, to handle the customers’ demands,” Caprio said at the press conference. “So what typically used to run in a 300-ton machine ten years ago, moved to a 500 (ton), and now we’re seeing 650 and even larger molding machines.”

•  A 200-ton CX SpinForm press with a TIM stack mold (for “total integrated manufacturing”). “The lightweight, three-part, push/pull closures made of PP are created with innovative cube technology and integrated assembly and exit the machine ready for use,” Bourdon said.. Zahoransky Formenbau GmbH built the mold.

The twin-platen design gives accessibility to the mold and a lot of space for the integrated assembly stations. Bourdon said the press has a BluePower servo-driven hydraulic pump drive for energy efficiency. Servoelectric motors take over the movement of the reversing plate in the opening direction, and the rotation, giving absolutely accurate positioning, he said.

• A fast-cycling, 160-ton EX all-electric press is molding the thin-wall drink cups, removed by an SR 80 side-removal robot. The robot’s controller is completely integrated into the MC5 controller on the  injection press. An optional CleanForm GMP package transfers the molded parts immediately into sterile packaging. “It’s capable of fast cycles and is extremely clean,” Caprio said.

•  The SkinForm work cell running the automotive console on a 200-ton CX hybrid press. The two-platen press has a fully electric injection unit. KM is using a new foamed aliphatic PU material that the company says combines excellent ultraviolet-light resistance and soft-touch feel, molded over a base part of polycarbonate/ABS.

The injection press is molding the carrier part, then a RimStar hybrid PUR mixing and metering station overmolds the soft cover. “Typically this is done in two steps. Here, we’re showing that in one production cell—one step, one mold,” Caprio said. “We’re combining processes to reduce scrap and doing just in time production.”

Caprio said NPE2012 marks the U.S. introduction of the two-in-one process. “It’s early in the introduction phase here. The production cells that we have sold are in Europe,” he said. KM has a partnership with Michigan mold-maker Proper Group International Inc. to design and build SkinForm tooling.

• Medical molding is represented by two, two-component presses. An 80-con CX press with a second, add-on vertical injection unit molds syringe pistons with a soft seal, displayed at the stand of mold maker Boucherie USA Inc. (Booth 1178). At KM’s own booth, a 250-ton CX press, with an MGS vertical injection unit, is making out two-component ear tags for animals.

Turning to extrusion, KraussMaffei Berstorff:

•  Shows the twin-screw ZE 60 A UTX compounding extruder outfitted with the EasyClean, which reduces cleaning time. The line has a modular design so it can be shipped in an international shipping container. “Customers are very interested in the idea that, if they’re going to be a low-cost country where they don’t have the engineering capacity to put a compounding line in operation, this is a good solution,” Caprio said.

• Said the Internal Pipe Cooling (IPC) technology shortens the cooling section by up to 40 percent because it uses ambient air to cool the pipe from the inside, in addition to traditional external cooling. That significantly cuts power consumption, the company said.

• Is showing a single-screw extruder, KME 125-36, for running polyolefin pipe.

•  Is exhibiting a KMD 63 K/P model, a conical twin-screw extruder, for pipe and profiles.