SCHWAIG, GERMANY (Aug. 27, 11 a.m. EDT) — Injection press maker Demag Ergotech GmbH is branching into new territory: designing complete molding plants for customers.
In the first project, Demag engineers created a molding operation for Raufoss, Norway-based Raufoss Composites AS to make propane gas containers out of plastic. Andreas Mai, head of project engineering at Demag, described the job during Demag's pre-K 2001 news conference in June.
Mai said Raufoss wanted help with designing the product and setting up a $14 million factory. The resulting plastic propane containers are lighter and more attractive than the standard steel ones. An opening allows users to see the level of gas left in the tank. Everything is plastic except the valve.
Demag set up a fully automated process. A blow molded inner shell is fitted with a valve and wrapped in resin-soaked glass fibers. The production cell for the carrier includes an 880-ton Ergotech injection press. A robot moves the container to a conveying area. Separately, two other Ergotech presses, with 462 and 88 tons of clamping force, make the top parts of the outer case. These are welded together in a separate station.
On conveyors, the inner shells and the gas container carriers and top parts move to a final assembly cell, which includes a six-axis robot. Automated assembly equipment puts it together. Finished tanks are shipped from the plant in Raufoss, Norway.
So far, Raufoss Composites has produced 250,000 of the plastic gas containers, for the Norwegian market.
Demag's Mai said the company may sell the propane tanks in Brazil and Asia.