CHICAGO (July 18, 5:40 p.m. EDT) — Thermal system maker Watlow Electric Manufacturing Co. of St. Louis introduced thick-film manifold-heating technology at NPE 2000.
Clamping the heater to the manifold´s outer surface in a hot-runner system results in uniform heat distribution. The unit lies flat against the manifold, avoiding the need for machined grooves. Resin flows uniformly through the plastic molding machine, final manifold and nozzle.
There is "big interest" in the United States and Europe in thick-film applications, said Reiner Lehnert, the Kronau, Germany-based director of Watlow´s "plastics solution center."
The manifold heater, which Watlow makes in Hannibal, Mo., can replace tubular heaters or provide support for uniform heat at a manifold´s edge.
In addition, the firm introduced its MI-brand savings-predictor program incorporating new software. The program can analyze cost savings for energy, maintenance work and production-line downtime achieved by using Watlow MI band heaters rather than ceramic knuckle or mica band heaters.
The program can save as much as 30 percent on annual energy costs and help equipment last longer because the injection molding machine or extruder runs cooler, Lehnert said.
Soon, Watlow will release an E-Safe mercury-free relay for plastics industry power switching. The E-Safe relay performs better than a typical mercury relay while fitting the same footprint, the company claims.
At NPE, Watlow emphasized its Numerical Solutions service for evaluating virtual thermal-system prototypes during product design and development cycles.
Watlow, founded in 1922, designs and makes industrial heaters, sensors, controls, system assemblies and software. This year, the company began linking design, engineering and marketing functions for semiconductor, life-science, packaging, food-service and industrial machinery industries, in addition to plastics.
Watlow employs 2,500, has annual sales of about $250 million and manufactures products at 10 domestic sites in Missouri, Illinois, California and Minnesota, as well as locations in England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Singapore.