CHICAGO — Besides seeing the Vista Maxima, Cincinnati Milacron Inc.'s first two-platen injection molding machine, NPE visitors can look into the future — controllers for the Information Age and all-electric machines sporting digital components.
Also new: an injection press with just two lower tie bars, and Milacron's first parallel twin-screw extruder.
Milacron is exhibiting at Booths S2130 and S2330. The company is showing 27 machines, including 11 new ones.
A press operator can surf the Internet using Milacron's new controller, the Camac Xtreem. The controller uses Windows NT architecture. For example, without ever leaving the machine, an operator can browse the GE Plastics Web page for specifications about a type of resin, or Milacron's own site for troubleshooting. The NT version of Xtreem can be tied directly into a plantwide data system.
Milacron said another version of the controller, Xtreem ST, is a refinement of the Camac 486 GUI, with no time-consuming changes in algorithms.
Both controllers have a large, 101/2-inch screen.
Milacron is showing new technology for injection molding, blow molding and extrusion. Milacron's D-M-E Co. unit, at Booth S1447, will show several new standard mold components.
Milacron, which builds machinery in the United States, Germany, Austria and India, is by far the largest U.S.-owned plastics equipment maker. Milacron's Plastics Machinery Group, based in Batavia, Ohio, racked up 1996 sales of $662 million.
Currently, 60 percent of Milacron's business comes from U.S. sales. But officials want to boost distribution around the world, to capture a greater share of the $10 billion global market for plastics machinery, said Raymond Ross, president and chief operating officer.
Milacron's new joint venture plant in Ahmedabad, India, built 85 injection molding machines in 1996, its first full year of operation. Milacron says it wants to boost production by 75 percent this year and then, in 1998, to build a factory that could turn out 600 machines a year, the company's annual report said.
Right now, about 20 percent of the Indian factory's output is being shipped outside of that country, to Southeast Asia and South America, according to Bruce Kozak, vice president of the marketing group for Milacron's U.S. Plastics Machinery division.
Milacron is continuing to push its Elektra all-electric injection molding machines, which were introduced at the 1994 NPE. This time, Milacron is unveiling a 300-ton Elektra with a 29-ounce shot, and a new, 100-ton vertical-clamp Roboshot press from Fanuc Ltd.
``There is no doubt that this is the No. 1 technology that our customers are focusing on,'' said William Gruber, vice president of U.S. Plastics Machinery. ``We clearly have the leadership in electric machines, and we intend to keep it.''
All-electric injection machines run more quietly, with more accuracy and better repeatability than hydraulic presses, according to Milacron. Milacron's electric machines, Elektra and the Fanuc machines from Japan, come in clamping forces of 17-725 tons.
Electric presses are more expensive. But at NPE, Milacron will show one solution — the Elektra IID, with a digital motor/drive package, instead of the current analog control circuits. Milacron eventually will replace analog with digital on all Elektras, according to Barr Klaus, product and development manager.
Digital technology, Klaus said, ``will be a more cost-effective solution to get better performance.'' Booth visitors will see an 85-ton Elektra IID.
In the large-tonnage injection presses, the two-platen trend that started at K'95 in Germany continues in Chicago. Milacron weighs in with the Vista Maxima, initially offered in four clamping-force sizes: 1,500, 1,760, 2,200 and 3,000 ton, with shot sizes from 179-540 ounces.
Eventually, the two-platen line will go from 500-4,000 tons, said Ron Hertzer, chief engineer.
In Chicago, Milacron is showing a 1,760-ton Maxima. Key to the machine: a single, large pancake-shaped ram, mounted on the stationary platen behind the die plate. The ram distributes clamping force evenly along the back of the die plate, limiting deflection to the moving platen only, instead of both platens, as can happen with other systems that build tonnage with cylinders mounted on the tie bars. The ram, which moves just 1.37 inch, is as big as the platen.
``It's fully supported behind the mold,'' Hertzer said.
The moving platen is supported by large skates directly under the platen. Milacron said the Maxima has faster clamping speed and takes less time to build tonnage than other machines.
Milacron also is showing:
An injection press, the Vista Prowler, that eliminates the top two tie bars, giving easy access to the mold area. Deflection, known as ``clamshelling,'' can happen when you eliminate tie bars and cause mold wear. The Prowler's HydraColumn counteracts deflection with small twin hydraulic cylinders embedded into the lower part of the machine. Three sizes are to be available the first quarter of 1998: 65, 100 and 130 tons. Milacron is showing a 100-ton Prowler at NPE.
In extrusion, Milacron is showing its first parallel twin-screw extruder, called Atlas, which comes in screw diameters of 112 and 132 millimeters.
The Tracker T800 industrial blow molding machine, featuring a Camac 486 controller running the new Quality Tracking System, which corrects for changes in back pressure and resin viscosity in forming the parison. Milacron claims the 88-ton Tracker is the first blow molder made from pre-engineered standard modules.
A demonstration of coinjection molding with virgin resin and painted regrind on a 500-ton Magna hydraulic press with two 29-ounce injection units.
A Ferromatik Milacron injection press molding 12 two-color soda bottle caps every 51/2 seconds using liquid carbon dioxide, instead of water, for faster mold cooling. The mold rotates. Another press with downstream equipment will mold, stack and wrap compact disc jewel boxes at a rate of more than 40 a minute.
A small-footprint Vector V-Tech vertical press, by Autojectors Inc. (Booth E9434).