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KraussMaffei leads engineering trends

By: By David Vink
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

October 21, 2013

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — KraussMaffei AG Chairman Jan Siebert says the group, involving KraussMaffei Technologies GmbH, Netstal AG and KraussMaffei Berstorff GmbH (Hall 15/B27) subsidiaries, is participating at the K show under the motto of "Trendgineering." The motto illustrates the group being "ideally placed to make use of market trends" by applying its various technologies.

At a news briefing at K 2013 in Düsseldorf, Siebert detailed the trends on which the group is focused: urbanization and globalization, protection of resources, process and product efficiency, and premium quality surfaces.

He stressed that each of the three group brands acts independently in the market, even though a process of combining the various "back offices" is underway. Although the group has introduced a new common "services and solutions" program extending from startup, through utilization, optimization to phase-out, "market identity is maintained in the after-sales area, as this involves very different processes due to the specific content of the individual brands," Siebert said.

Back office integration taking place already in early 2014 includes: the Mexican group subsidiary selling all three brands, the merging of KM and Netstal subsidiaries in France, the merging of Netstal's Belgian and KM's Netherlands subsidiaries into a common Benelux unit, and taking on a Netstal products responsibility by the KM and KM Berstorff subsidiary in Thailand.

Before leaders of the three brands spoke, Siebert summarized the group's financial status, with turnover estimated at 1,065 million euros for the year ending Sept. 30, practically unchanged compared with 2012 (1,064 million euros). As an indicator going into 2014, incoming orders have not changed much either: up from 1,067 million euros in 2012 to 1,073 million euros in 2013. Siebert announced however that KM's financial year will move to a calendar year starting on Jan. 1.

KM Berstorff

Peter Roos, vice president of the KraussMaffei Berstorff extrusion machinery subsidiary, highlighted the new KMD 60-41 B/R extruder aimed at polyolefin pipe extrusion and available with screw diameters between 45-125 millimeters. The new extruder has a 41 L/D ratio screw, the longest from KM, providing high output without compromising product quality. The entire screw length is used for melting and homogenization, reducing stress on the plastic material, KM says.

Roos explained that the reason KM came to the market later than competitors with this size of extruder, as an addition to the existing 36 L/D type, is that time was spent on processing evaluations, including melt behavior. KM recommends use of its KM-RKW 34-250 pipehead with the new extruder, in order to benefit with the interior pipe cooling (IPC) technique from both exterior water and interior air cooling, enabling 40 percent less cooling length while maintaining full production speed.

A seven-layer KM-7L-RKW 01-32 pipehead is on display at the K show. Roos says KMB has delivered several five-layer pipeheads and has one enquiry for a six-layer pipehead. He added "We haven't had even an enquiry yet for a seven-layer pipehead, but if you can do six layers, you can also do seven layers." The new seven-layer pipehead has been designed for up to 500 kilogram per hour output for pipes in diameters between 8mm and 32mm.

The company's new ZE BluePower twin-screw extruder comes with an OD/ID ratio of 1.65 and torque now increased 30 percent to reach up to 16 NM/cm3, along with increased free volume. Screw shaft and screw profiles have been optimized in order to fully utilize the increased torque. Driven by a water-cooled three-phase motor and high-efficiency gear unit, KMB says the new extruder offers "substantially higher output rates at considerably lower energy consumption."

Roos says that use of new wear liners with the extruders' induction-hardened or powder-coated barrels makes the new extruder particularly suitable as a unit to meet the trend toward compounding more abrasive and aggressive materials.

Netstal

KM's Swiss injection molding subsidiary Netstal-Maschinen AG is launching a new all-electric Elion 2200 and an Evos 4500 machine with an integrated Eco Powerunit drive at K 2013. A new Elion 4200 hybrid-drive machine had its debut at Drinktec 2013 in September and can be seen at K 2013 molding HDPE beverage closures in a 96-cavity mold from Schöttli Mould Technology AG (Hall 01 F25) with a two-second cycle time. Netstal said this performance "simply cannot be matched by all-electric machines."

The machine can produce such closures at a rate of 170,000 per hour and Netstal CEO Hans Ulrich Golz put this in perspective, saying the high output is now faster than compression molding — the major process used for closures and one that has previously managed to keep well ahead of injection speeds. Golz explained, "We have a customer who told us that producing 110 million closures per month [or 1.3 billion per year] is faster now than with compression molding at 60 million per month."

The fast cycle time has been achieved with the machine's injection unit, yet Netstal claims energy consumption is 50 percent lower than conventional hydraulic toggle-lever machines.

At K 2013, the machine runs with closure cooling and air-drying equipment from Eisbär Trockentechnik GmbH (Hall 10, Stand H46), as well as an Intravis GmbH (Hall 11, Stand A58) inspection system.

Golz says Netstal will "reinforce its production expertise" in 2014 by redesigning Elion and 1200 models on a modular basis, developing 250- and 870-size injection units, providing multicomponent molding capability for the Elion series and bring the aXos control system platform to Evos and Elion machines.

KM Technologies

At KraussMaffei Technologies, Frank Peters, KM's vice president of sales, detailed these technologies: fully automatic tool changing for packaging crates; provision of high-quality surfaces with polyurethane flood coating on GXW 550 SpinForm rotating table machines; use of the MuCell physical microcellular foam process from Trexel Inc. (Hall 13/B46) on an AX 130; as well as lightweighting with KM's FiberForm process applied to production of flash-free hollow long-fiber-reinforced items with overmolded features applied with the gas-assist injection molding process.

Peters showed the washing machine cover made using MuCell in on an all-electric drive machine as a worldwide innovation, since it combines 35 percent weight saving and due to the foam core, yet the thin-wall part, in ASA/PC copolymer, has a high-gloss "almost Class A" through-colored surface without the usual tell-tale signs of foam cores — absence of swirl marks and streaking. According to Peters, it is the low melt viscosity that has enabled the part to be molded in thin wall thickness and the high-gloss surface has been obtained through use of dynamic rapid heating and cooling applied to the mold.

Other benefits of the CellForm process illustrated by the washing machine cover include ability to use a lower cost and operating cost machine with lower clamping force, while molding the 127-gram shot weight part with fast cycle time of 37 seconds also reduces production cost, as does the low-energy-consumption die on the all-electric drive.

Aside from Trexel MuCell process, other partners in the washing machine demonstration include Krallmann Werkzeugbau GmbH for the mold, Styrolution GmbH (Hall 5/C24) as supplier of the ABS/PC copolymer, and GWK Gesellschaft Wärme Kältetechnik mbH (Hall 10/J39) for the dynamic rapid mold-heating and -cooling system.

Nicolas Beyl, head of KM's reaction process machinery department described, as a premiere at K 2013, demonstration of transfer molded (RTM) polyurethane-based carbon-fiber reinforced plastic parts resin that can be painted directly in a second stage after removal from the mold. The process is demonstrated on the hood of Roding Automobile GmbH's Roadster R1 sports car and is novel in that the carbon fibers of the 2.0mm thick CFRP part do not show through to the 0.2mm thick paint surface. A feature of the process is injection of the PU with vacuum assistance while the mold is slightly open.

Materials partners in the demonstration include Henkel AG & Co. KGaA for the polyurethane resin system, Rühl Puromer GmbH (Hall 7A/C25-1) for the aliphatic UV-resistant PU coating material, French reinforcement textile producer Chomarat Textile Industries, composites materials supplier Mühlmeier GmbH & Co. KG. Compression press producer Dieffenbacher GmbH (Hall 14/AO4) and composites production equipment producer Alpex Technologies GmbH also have been involved.

Finally, Frank Peters confirmed that there are in fact two of its MX 4000 SpinForm swiveling platen machines at BMW in Leipzig, where exterior thermoplastic body panels are produced for the new BMW i3 car (also with conventional Engel machinery). Peters said, however that the two SpinForm machines are the only swiveling platen machines running at BMW. He described how these are used to mold the two skins of the body panels, which are bonded together by a combination of a molded-on TPE seal using material from Kraiburg TPE GmbH & Co. KG (Hall 6/C58-1) and adhesive from Sika AG.