August 14, 2012
WOOD DALE, ILL. (Aug. 14, 12:45 p.m. ET) — Custom molder and mold maker Matrix Tooling Inc./Matrix Plastics Products is using an Engel vertical press to more efficiently insert-mold TPE surgical catheter tubes with stainless-steel needles that are nearly five inches long.
“One of the reasons we chose the Engel was the flexibility of the controller” on the press, said Andy Ziegenhorn, molding accounts manager at Matrix, in an Aug. 14 news release from Engel Machinery Inc. in York, Pa.
“It allowed us to handle the mechanics of the tool and also allows for future improvements to the process, such as cutting the catheter tube to length within the mold,” said Ziegenhorn. “It’s a pretty complicated [manufacturing] job.”
The system is built around a 45-ton Engel insert 80V/45 vertical injection molding machine. The press includes dual core-pulls, a two-station rotary table, and a highly accurate and repeatable servomotor-controlled injection unit that incorporates a high-temperature barrel package.
“We’re still in the initial stages with this project and ... are hand-loading the inserts at the present time,” Ziegenhorn said. “[But] we have realized there are many automation possibilities. We plan to automate this process with a side-entry robot as the production volumes ramp up.”
Matrix has approximately 50 employees at its 30,000 square foot headquarters plant in Wood Dale, where it designs and builds its own molds. It operates a combination of 14 electric and hydraulic molding machines that range in size from 5-to-300 tons. Two of those presses are used in its Class 100,000 clean room.
“The start up on this complicated mold—a mold with removable core mandrels—was flawless,” added Patrick Collins, molding operations manager at Matrix, “The mold has two ejector halves that rotate on the turntable. As the one side is being injected with plastic, the other is being ejected and loaded.”
Ziegenhorn said that Matrix “wanted to limit [its] risk/exposure as much as possible—especially as we were bringing a new technology into our facility.”
Matrix specializes in molding engineering resins to produce some 20-million parts per year for its medical/surgical, electronics, military and consumer products customers. It also does assembly, sonic welding, laser marking, and project-specific labeling.