The following briefs were gathered by Plastics News senior reporter Bill Bregar at the K 2001 show, held Oct. 25-Nov. 1 in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Wilmington molding parts with wood fiber
European companies are interested in injection molding parts with wood fiber, said Russ La Belle, president of Wilmington Machinery Inc., which introduced a new structural foam technology at K 2001.
Wilmington has molded polypropylene parts with 30 percent wood filler on a two-stage press with 375 tons of clamping force.
La Belle said wood fibers give parts added stiffness with less mass.
``We see this being very suitable for furniture applications,'' La Belle said. Pallets are another potential application.
The machinery maker in Wilmington, N.C., worked with Onaga Composites, a wood-fiber pellet supplier in Onaga, Kan.
Krones introduces blow mold machines
Krones AG introduced a Confiform S/H blow molder than can produce up to 1,600 bottles per cavity, per hour.
The machines come in sizes ranging from eight to 40 cavities. Features include a new linear oven, preform handling with few takeover points, a new valve design that cuts energy use and a newly designed mold station.
Krones' U.S. unit, Krones Inc., is based in Franklin, Wis.
Jomar Corp. touting machine's flexibility
Jomar Corp. of Pleasantville, N.J., touted flexibility on its new single-station extrusion blow molder, called EBM 25.
For blow molders of large parts or containers up to 25 liters, Jomar will supply the machine to run one through four parisons. This version has a 350-millimeter mold opening to handle larger parts and can be equipped with an accumulator extrusion head.
Companies molding small cosmetic or pharmaceutical bottles can get the EBM equipped with five to 12 parisons. The press has a smaller 200mm opening that allows a faster cycle time.
Standard on both versions is in-machine trimming with a gripper for bottle orientation that delivers bottles standing upright, for downstream handling. A tie-barless mold platen allows easier and quicker mold changes. A nitrided screw and barrel is also standard.
The EBM 25 is run by a Gefran controller with a color monitor and four-language display.
Novapax increases NSB machine's size
Novapax Kunststofftechnik GmbH of Leer, Germany, has boosted the size of its NSB four-station injection blow molders.
The company showed the first NSB, with 44 tons of clamping force for preform molding and 271/2 tons of blow molding power. At K, Novapax ran PET containers on an NSB 650/400, with 711/2 tons of preform clamp and 55 tons of blow clamp. Other new sizes include the NSB 850/500 with 931/2 3tons of preform clamp and 55 tons of blow cl& and the NSB 1250/650 with 1371/2 tons of preform clamp and 711/2 tons of blow clamp.
All four models feature large molding areas, long transfer tables and fast indexing. A Siemens S7 controller is standard.
Novapax sizes its machines so that clamping force is slightly larger than competing machines so the extra fourth station can be run.
More than half the NSB machines Novapax has sold are used to mold clear PET cosmetic containers, because the machines use unique screw designs, special nonreturn valves and very accurate temperature control.
Novapax's U.S. office is in Hammonton, N.J.
Kiefel purchases firm's winding unit
At K 2001, blown film machinery maker Kiefel Extrusionstechnik GmbH announced another move to strengthen its position in winders, now sold under the Kirion brand name.
Kiefel of Worms, Germany, has purchased the winding division Christian Maier GmbH & Co., which makes orbital winders. In a related deal, Kiefel said it has signed an agreement with a German consultant, Werner Mulfarth, who holds the license to Maier's orbital technology.
The Maier acquisition and agreement with Mulfarth both will be effective April 1. Mulfarth will be available as a consultant for Kiefel.
Eberhard Wenger, Kiefel marketing director, said Mulfarth had a licensing contract for the Maier winders. Since Kiefel was unable to buy the license, the firm signed the deal with the consultant.
Wenger stressed the acquisition only covers the winder division, and that the rest of Maier remains an independent company based in Heidenheim, Germany.
Terms were not disclosed.
Orbital winders are designed for winding on very short cycles. The center winding with pressure control of the contact rollers gives good roll quality. The stepless movement of the contact roll also offers nonstop roll slitting during roll changeovers.
The Maier acquisition follows Kiefel's purchase in 2000 of Wintech Winding Technology of Lachen, Switzerland.
Kiefel's U.S. facility, Kiefel Inc., is based in Wrentham, Mass.
Addex Inc. displays blown film Redi die
Addex Inc. of Hingham, Mass., showed its Redi die for blown film, which it claims overcomes drawbacks of conventional spiral as well as side-fed pancake dies.
Addex said the die gives a 20-25 percent ``unassisted'' - or without a gauge control device - reduction in variation of film thickness.
A side-fed design means the die has a lower profile than a spiral mandrel die. That allows technicians to make adjustments from the floor without climbing on the equipment or using ladders.
Redi also uses something called binary division technology to divide the melt stream from the extruder evenly around the die. While conventional pancake dies divide and recombine the melt flow along a horizontal plane, Redi divides on a vertical plane, a setup that Addex said reduces internal (vertical) pressure and reduces the need for a large number of bolts to hold together horizontal die plates.
The Addex design assures similar melt parameters, such as pressure, shear and residence time, at any two points equidistant from the supply port.
After dividing the melt around the die, Redi brings it back together to form a seamless tube and exits the die lips. That is accomplished by feeding the melt in spirals toward the die's center pin.
Redi dies also have two sets of spirals used on the horizontal die plate, so that melt alternately is fed from the top and the bottom of the plate. The cross section has a melt flowing from the top between melt blows from the bottom, giving an even film thickness.
Air gaps between the layers allow the die to process materials with different melt temperatures.
Kuhne exhibits its Tornado cooling ring
A Tornado swept through Kuhne GmbH's booth at K 2001 - the Tornado cooling air ring for blown film, that is.
Kuhne said the Tornado gives a cooling rate 50 percent higher than competitors. It can be used with long- or short-bubble necks. A height-adjustable venturi set guarantees optimal bubble stability and improved film tolerances. For low-pressure conditions, the ring has an external air volume adjustment.
The upper lip can be adjusted during production. Also, the cooling ring can be adapted for different die diameters by using inserts, ranging up to 500 millimeters in diameter.
During the K show, Kuhne, of St. Augustin, Germany, demonstrated the Tornado cooling ring on a three-layer blown film line. The company also ran a seven-layer cast film line at the show.
Brabender reveals testing equipment
Brabender OHG of Duisburg, Germany, showed small production lines for testing film and resin production.
Brabender bills the Lab-Station as a pilot plant on wheels. It includes mixing and extrusion equipment. The operator can configure the instruments to allow operation under pre-defined processing conditions. Easy-to-use software runs on Windows 95, 98 or NT.
A film tester optically checks blown or cast film for faults and the level of transparency. Another device gives a quality check for gels, black specks or fish eyes. Defects are classified and sized. The video camera presents enlarged, time-stamped pictures showing particle width, length and area.
The Auto-Grader continuously determines the melt index, film purity, transparency, density and haze on-line. The device also can determine the exact time a product meets the specifications, minimizing off-spec material.
Another machine, a stand-alone extruder called E 19/25, is designed for laboratory use. Several dies are available, including strand dies, tubing dies, cross-head dies and dies for blown and cast film.
The company's North American operation is C. W. Brabender Instruments Inc. of South Hackensack, N.J.
Bielomatik touts welding technology
Bielomatik Leuze GmbH + Co. said its new QSLW technology does laser welding of parts with complex corners and even some three-dimensional weld seams.
QSLW stands for quasi-simultaneous laser welding. A scanner mirror projects the narrow laser beam across the weld contour at the same times, heating up and plasticizing the area. Since two parts must be pressed together during the welding operation, preform tolerances can be melted off and forced into the weld beam.
Also new from Bielomatik of Neuffen, Germany, is equipment that does machining and welding of automotive fuel tanks. The machine can handle small to midsize unit volumes with different shapes and models.
Bielomatik also showed the Servomot hot-plate welder, run by electric motors, with no hydraulic power. Features include precision and fast tool changes.
Beilomatik Inc., the U.S. unit, is based in New Hudson, Mich.
Atlas Electric unveils testing instrument
Chicago-based Atlas Electric Devices Co. unveiled the UV2000, an easy-to-use instrument that tests the effects of exposure to the sun's ultraviolet light on plastics, coatings and other materials.
The operator sets up test parameters using a touch-screen controller. The unit uses eight 40-watt fluorescent UV lamps.
Also at K, Atlas showed the VIEEW, a device that does digital image analysis. It evaluates structures on sample surfaces. The machine can classify types of surface damage, such as cross-hatch marks and delamination.
The company also said its Ci5000, 4000 and 3000 Weather-Ometers now have a user-friendly controller with a touch-screen panel available in five languages.
Delcam plc offering PS-Electrode software
Delcam plc rolled out software to design electrodes used to make molds.
The PS-Electrode, an addition to Delcam's Power Solution range of software for computer-aided design and manufacturing.
The user selects a point near the center of the required burn area and the software automatically selects all surfaces within the nearest convex curve. A number of different regions can be selected, so a single electrode can be designed to burn over several related areas.
Delcam is based in Birmingham, England.
ICO unveils grades of Icorene powder
ICO Inc. introduced the first grades of Icorene powders for rotational molding, made from DuPont Co.'s Hytrel thermoplastic polyester elastomer.
The ICO Polymers Technical Centre in Heverlee, Belgium, announced the supply agreement with DuPont at K 2001.
ICO's Icorene K3300 series takes advantage of Hytrel's toughness, resistance to chemicals, oil and solvents and high resistance to creep, impact and flex fatigue. The material also remains flexible at low temperatures and retains its properties at high temperatures, too.
Houston-based ICO said the material is suited for automotive hinge covers, tubing and flexible hose, fuel tanks and impact-deadening mats.
ICO Polymers also introduced the Icorene C-series of electrically conductive polyethylene. It said the materials are replacing stainless-steel vessels and fan housings.
ICO also owns Wedco Inc., a Houston company that grinds powders for rotomolding.
Future Design shows Saturn Genie air ring
Future Design Inc. showed its programmable blown film air ring - the Saturn Genie.
Linear actuators measure and adjust the position of the air ring settings, which are stored in a program memory. The Saturn Genie measures and adjusts the upper lip, forming cone and the bubble cone. The height of the ring over the die can be measured and automatically changed.
Future Design is based in Mississauga, Ontario.