DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY (Dec. 12, 3:25 p.m. EST) — A modular design helped Engel Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH reduce costs on its Victory line of injection molding machines, which made its debut at K 2001 in Dusseldorf.
K also marked the introduction of the e-motion, Engel's all-electric machine. Both the electric and the modular press have no tie bars — a trademark of the press maker from Schwertberg, Austria.
After selling some 16,000 of the HL line of tie-barless machines, Engel is replacing HL machines with the Victory. The modular concept means building a machine series with one common platform. For Engel, that means Engel can build identical Victory machines around the world, in Austria; York, Pa.; Guelph, Ontario; and the new plant in Pyongtaek, South Korea, according to Kurt Fenske, vice president of business development at Engel Machinery Inc.
The goal is making pre-engineered presses and standard components in higher volumes, to reduce the price and get fast, off-the-shelf delivery, said Fenske, who is based in Guelph.
Fenske compared it with buying a car. “When you buy the next-sized Buick, it comes with certain options,” he said at the K show.
But Victory buyers still will have many options. Engel said the machine range comprises about 360 potential modules.
K show visitors saw Victory presses molding film-decorated cell phone housings from an ABS/polycarbonate blend; hard/soft cell-phone parts from PC and thermoplastic elastomer; base frames for inkjet printers made from glass-fiber-reinforced polyphenylene oxide using the MuCell method; and a coolant tube for a car engine using water-injection molding.
Engel will offer three optional packages for Victory machines:
* The “Tech” press, or standard machine, covers 80 percent of all molding jobs, Engel said. Buyers can choose injection units, each of which is available with one of three screw diameters. Other options are available on the level of hydraulic power and controls. Prices range from $38,000 for a Tech with 66 tons of clamping force to $70,000 for a 165-ton machine. The complete line ranges from 40-200 tons.
* “Power” machines are geared for technical molding because they allow parallel movements of the mold and ejector, among other features.
* Hybrid “Speed” presses are designed for fast filling applications such as packaging. A central accumulator drives hydraulic functions while the screw is powered by an electric motor.
For plastics molding, all three versions can be ordered to run multicolor, multimaterial and coinjection molding. Engel also can configure presses for molding standard rubber or liquid silicone rubber.
Turning to all-electric news, Engel said the e-motion line of machines is available in clamping forces of 60, 110 and 165 tons. Engel introduced the all-electric, tie-barless press in the United States last year, but K was its introduction to European customers.
Currently, the European market for all-electrics is limited to a narrow window of customers that have applications demanding high precision and a low reject rate and can justify paying more, according to Peter Neumann, Engel's managing director. But Neumann said all-electric technology promises to open up new molding methods.
As an example, Neumann cited Engel's X-Melt as a technology. Under X-Melt, the screw builds up a high melt pressure with the shut-off nozzle in its closed position. For injection, the nozzle opens up, allowing the melt to explode into the mold all at once. All-electric molding makes X-Melt possible, because the screw must maintain precise screw position after the shut-off nozzle opens, he said.
In other news, Engel announced it was investing 3 million euros ($2.7 million) in a new technology center in Hagen, Germany. The center also will house Engel's new German automation facility, called Engel Automatisierungs-technik Deutschland GmbH, which handles all turnkey projects in Germany.
Engel also has German branch locations in Nuremberg and Hanover. The firm is relocating its existing branch in Cologne, Germany, to the new Hagen facility.
The Hagen center, Korean assembly plant and a new branch in Sweden that opened in June represent a significant investment, Neumann said.
“In the currently strained economic situation, many companies are afraid of investing, but Engel has never let itself be influenced by economic ups and downs. We have always planned for the long term,” he said.