BRESCIA, ITALY (Sept. 4, 2:20 p.m. EDT) — Italian machinery maker MIR SpA is making two big moves, by introducing an all-electric injection press at K 2001 and setting up a factory in Brazil.
MIR executives announced the news at a K show-related news conference in Italy. This year, MIR expects to build about 700 injection presses a year, generating sales of about $100 million. Included in the total are horizontal and vertical presses and compression molding machines, made by MIR and sister company PIP srl.
Brazil — already home to several Italian plastics machinery producers — has lured MIR. The company is building a factory Sorocaba, near SÃ¢o Paulo, marking MIR's first factory outside of Italy. Company executives said Brazil offers a large market, access to other South America nations, and a pool of skilled employees.
This year, MIR expects to supply 150 injection molding machines to a Brazilian market it estimates at 1,400 presses. The Sorocaba plant will build machines in clamping forces from 27.5-1,100 tons.
A MIR competitor, press-maker Sandretto Industrie SpA, is doubling capacity at its 2-year-old factory in Aruja, Brazil. Auxiliary equipment maker Piovan SpA started a factory in Osasco last year. Two other equipment firms, Bausano Group SpA and Maicopresse SpA, recently started building machines in Brazil.
In machinery news, MIR's e-power machine should be available in the United States by the second quarter of 2002, according to Ed Matola, general manager of MIR USA Corp.
Matola said the division in Leominster, Mass., gets inquiries about all-electric technology “almost continually, so this should help us quite a bit.”
After five years of development, the e-power line marks MIR's entry into the growing all-electric arena. MIR's headquarters plant in Brescia makes straight hydraulic-clamp presses, toggle-clamp machines and the Ecologica brand of hybrid presses that combine electric and hydraulic power.
MIR will offer all-electric presses in clamping forces from 154-440 tons. MIR will make larger all-electrics if the price for larger components comes down, officials said.
E-power machines match the speed and loads of other MIR machines, but the electric is 30 percent faster, boasting 130 millimeters a second on the 220-ton version, which will be running at K 2001.
For injection, MIR engineers developed a system that uses two motors coupled together and fitted in-line with the injection barrel. These motors rotate clockwise and counterclockwise, in the opposite direction and a variety of speeds to match the machine movement required. For injection, linear movement is directly applied to the screw using a ball screw integral to the motors, a design that allows MIR to design in a reduction of the specific power for the machine, compared with competing all-electrics of the same clamping force tonnage.
For part ejection, the presses uses a straight linear movement, without the need for belts or gears common to all-electrics.
Borrowing from the MIR Ecologica-brand hybrids , the e-power line features an inverter-driven, three-phase electric motor for the screw rotation.
Also at K 2001, MIR will show:
* An 860-ton version of its two-platen, HMPC Compact line. The hydromechanical machines use MIR's Hydroblock clamping system, using two hydraulic cylinders to bring the moving platen up to the fixed platen, which rides on special shoes that slide along guides on the machine bed. Clamping is applied through four high-pressure, short stroke cylinders fitted on the tie bars and locked onto the fixed platen. At K, the 860-ton HMPC Ecological machine will mold an outdoor table from polypropylene. MIR is now taking the HPMC design all the way up to a whopping 10,600-ton press.
* A tie-barless vertical press, the PVP 50 TR, will insert mold a corkscrew with a steel core and a handle from PP and a thermoplastic elastomer. The PVP line sports two vertical injection units.
* A tie-barless horizontal press, the MPL.
* An HTMC press for running bulk molding compound for thermoset molding.