MALTERDINGEN, GERMANY (Oct. 15, 9:30 a.m. EDT) — Ferromatik Milacron Europe, the German unit of Milacron Inc., is introducing a lower-price, all-electric injection press at the upcoming K 2001 in Dusseldorf, Germany — trimming the price premium that all-electrics have over hydraulic machines.
Ferromatik Milacron is building the new Elektra Evolution press at its factory in Malterdingen. At K, Milacron is rolling out the Evolution as a European machine. Company officials have not decided whether to market the Evolution in the United States, according to Bob Hare, North American general manager of Ferromatik Milacron Europe. Hare explained that in the United States, Milacron covers the small-tonnage market with Roboshot all-electrics, through its agreement with Fanuc Ltd.
“That market is already served by Milacron here, but it is not in Europe,” said Hare, who is based at Milacron's Plastics Technologies Group headquarters in Batavia, Ohio.
Initially, Ferromatik Milacron will build Evolution machines with clamping forces of 33, 55, 82, 121 and 170 tons. The company plans to extend the range to bigger sizes in the future.
European molders — and machine builders — have been much slower to adopt all-electric injection molding technology than have molders in Japan and the United States. Price is a big reason. Milacron said the price of all-electrics can run 40-50 percent more than comparable hydraulic machines.
The Evolution cuts that premium to about 20 percent, according to Milacron.
Milacron calls its U.S.-made all-electrics the Powerline brand. The Ferromatik operation in Germany began making its own all-electric press shortly before Milacron bought the company in 1993. Hare said the German unit retained the Elektra name because it is well-recognized in Europe.
The German operation will continue to offer higher-end Elektra presses, under the Classic brand name, Hare said. The operation also will keep making all-electric presses for molding optical discs.
How did the Malterdingen plant get the price down? The company dramatically reduced the number of parts used on the press, Hare said. Also, designers selected a drive and motor combination that is lower-priced. Another change: A recirculating ball screw replaces a high-end transmission used to convert rotary motion from the electric motor into linear motion for running the press.
Evolution presses use a five-point toggle mechanism.
The company announced the Evolution at a K 2001 news conference in Germany Sept. 27.