CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Milacron Inc. announced in December that the European Patent Office upheld the firm's patents on the use of brushless, direct-current motors in electric injection molding presses, ruling against Arburg GmbH + Co.
Arburg of Lossburg, Germany, had filed several challenges against Milacron's patents during the past two years, according to Cincinnati-based Milacron. The firm markets the machines as its Elektra line.
The European Patent Office in Munich, Germany, conducted a hearing Oct. 16. According to Milacron, after listening to arguments by lawyers for both sides, and deliberating just 45 minutes, the chairman of the patent office's Opposition Board ruled against Arburg and upheld all claims of the Milacron patents.
Officials of Arburg's U.S. unit, Arburg Inc. in Newington, Conn., said the firm had no comment.
The patents addressed by Arburg's complaints cover the major manufacturing countries of Europe. Milacron has a similar U.S. patent on the brushless DC motor technology.
Harold Faig, Milacron's vice president of plastics machinery worldwide, called the ruling ``a critical victory for our electric machine strategy, particularly as these machines are breaking through from specialized applications to general-purpose work.''
In a news release Faig said, ``This decision provides vital support to our manufacture and marketing of all-electric injection machines throughout the world.''
The brushless DC motors have provided the key to developing electric presses with clamping forces greater than 300 tons. Other firms have used AC, or alternating-current, servo motors to run small injection molding machines, but Milacron said AC motors cannot provide enough power for larger machines.
Milacron offers Elektras with clamping forces as great as 725 tons, and the company plans to go higher. The DC motors power ball-screw drives.
Faig said Milacron adopted the ball-screw drive from metalworking equipment the company produces.