CHICAGO (July 15, 11:10 a.m. EDT) — Krauss-Maffei Corp. launched a revolution at NPE 2003, with the world premier of its multicomponent injection press that features a rotating mold carrier between the two platens.
At NPE, a 200-ton Revolution press molded a black ABS cover for a cellular phone. The second shot was a soft gasket around the edge, a thermoplastic elastomer. The two injection units were arranged in a straight line, with the molding area in the middle.
Paul Caprio, executive vice president, said using a small rotating table between the platens is less expensive than competing multishot machines that require specialized molds.
“There are systems in the marketplace, either a turning cube or four-face, that have broached this system from the tooling end. And we're attacking it from the machinery side so that you can work with any mold maker that has competence. All the utilities are going to that rotary table unobstructed,” he said in a June 24 press conference at Krauss-Maffei's NPE booth.
The Revolution is available in clampings forces of 180-4,000 tons. On the larger-tonnage Revolutions, 800 tons and bigger, the entire middle platen is designed to swivel. The company is targeting the automotive industry for large Revolutions.
Caprio said the system doubles the output of a standard two-component press. “The full face of the mold is finished product,” he said. “You can also take that another set and go 90 degrees on a turn for cooling and another 90 degrees on the opposite side for ejection out of the cycle.”
Caprio said KM sold the 200-ton Revolution at NPE to Tecstar Manufacturing Co., a unit of MGS Manufacturing Group of Germantown, Wis. Another MGS unit, Moldmakers Inc., made the mold running the cell phone parts at the show.
Krauss-Maffei sold all four of its injection presses at its NPE booth, officials said.
Multicomponent molding was a major NPE focus for Krauss-Maffei. The company also showed its bolt-on injection units, a lower-cost and flexible path to multishot molding. Complete with its own power pack and controls, the injection unit can be moved from one machine to another. The bolt-on can run on any make of machine.
It's an easy way for a molder to try multicomponent molding, Caprio said.
“The bottom line is that we feel we get our foot in the door with any company, and they can get into this system much less expensively than a full-blown machine. It can help them gain that business and we gain a new customer,” he said.
Florence, Ky-based Krauss-Maffei Corp. is the U.S. unit of Krauss-Maffei Kunststofftechnik GmbH of Munich, Germany.
At NPE, top officials discussed how KM is responding to the depressed machinery market. Josef MÃ¤rtl, chairman of the KM managing board, said the company has remained profitable. Sales for 2002 were $421 million, from injection presses, extruders and polyurethane processing equipment. The company expects 2003 sales to surpass that figure.
MÃ¤rtl said KM wants to increase its North American sales by stressing how its machines can boost productivity and reduce costs. And he said, despite statistics that show low capacity utilization for molders, NPE visitors gave a different story. “The companies at our booth, they were all loaded with work,” MÃ¤rtl said. “It seems like it's picking up slightly.”
Caprio said the changes to the U.S. plastics industry have been dramatic. “The days of just shooting plastic and shipping parts, that's really leaving the U.S. and mainly heading to China,” he said. “And our molders really have to add more value, to bring more value to the table for their customers and keep that business here.”
Late last year, Krauss-Maffei bought a German automation supplier, Neureder AG, to get into the robot business. The result was running at NPE, as one of the robots removed baby-bottle nipples, molded on a hybrid, 110-ton Eltec press from liquid silicone rubber. The robot placed the parts on a scale for quality checking, then moved them on to a conveyor.
“The robotics are integrated into the controller of the machine, so there's one less piece of equipment that the operator has to deal with,” Caprio said.
The Eltec was sold to Dow Corning Corp. for use in a laboratory, Caprio said.
KM also demonstrated a 450-ton press molding closures on a stack mold, 288 at a time.
The company also announced — but did not display at NPE — a new series of large-tonnage press called the MX machine to replace the MC series of two-platen machines. Clamping forces range from 800-4,000 tons. Features include a new wide-platen option and better plasticizing rates. One key innovation is that the locking and clamping force buildup mechanisms have been moved to the moving half of the clamp, which improves access to the fixed platen and nozzle area.
Caprio said big machines have remained a core strength of the firm, which consistently sells more than 100 presses a year from 800 tons and above. “This year will be a record, that's nearly 170 units in that range,” he said.