ELGIN, ILL. — Already well-known for its machining centers, Sodick Co. Ltd. is renewing its plunge into North America through its new distributor in Elgin, Steppe Technology.
For years, Sodick has sold electric discharge machining centers to the metalworking industry from its U.S. headquarters in Chicago. Before Steppe signed on, Sodick was handling sales of its plunger injection molding machine only from Torrance, Calif.
Alex Petrusha, Steppe's general manager, plans to always have three presses in stock for demonstrations and customer mold trials.
``We'll have these machines ready to run at any time,'' he said.
Steppe is selling Sodick's line of machines with hydraulic clamp or a hybrid electric/ hydraulic clamp. Clamping forces range from 20-260 tons.
Petrusha said the Elgin facility will handle service, spare parts and training. Those areas had been a weak point for Sodick in the past, he said. Sodick tried to sell its V-line presses in the United States three years ago, but failed to back the machines up with support.
Sodick's small-tonnage injection presses are designed for high-precision, repeatable molding of connectors and other tight-tolerance parts. At a June 23-24 open house in Elgin, visitors saw molds that rotate to simultaneously mold and assemble intricate parts in several shots.
Yokohama-based Sodick manufacturers its injection presses in Kaga, Japan.
V-line presses use a plunger instead of the traditional reciprocating screw. A plasticizing unit is mounted on top of the main injection barrel, at an angle. An extruder screw feeds plastic into the injection unit. A plunger pushes the melt forward into the mold.
Compared to a reciprocating screw machine, Sodick says plunger machines minimize shear of the material, and eliminate screw abrasion and wear. A plunger fits snugly into the injection cylinder, eliminating backflow.
The company claims its V-line technology is better than other plunger machines. A small bypass channel solves a common plunger-press problem of resin from earlier shots getting hung up in the barrel near the nozzle. That can cause problems with subsequent shots. On the V-line, the plunger forces that material through the bypass, cleaning the barrel on each shot.
Sodick uses the same injection unit and plasticizing unit on both the hydraulic and the electric/hydraulic machines. Hydraulic machines come in clamping forces from 20-260 tons. Hybrid electric/hydraulic presses range from 44-110 tons.
On the hybrid machines, electric motors drive the clamp movement, ejectors and plasticizing unit. Hydraulics power the tonnage build and injection.
Sodick presses include some features borrowed from EDM machines, such as linear bearings. Also, the hybrid model uses a direct electric drive instead of the more common ball-screw mechanism.