As the culmination of Robert Schad's five-year plan for Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., the company's mini-factory of an NPE booth touted the complete Hylectric press line, showed an Index PET preform machine redesigned to be less expensive and displayed hot-runner improvements.
Schad launched the plan in 1997. He wanted to transform Husky from a specialist in injection presses for thin-wall packaging and PET preforms into a broad-line press maker. Central to that strategy is the Hylectric injection press, a hybrid machine that Husky says combines the best of hydraulic and electric power.
At Husky's 12,000-square-foot booth, the company ran three integrated systems boasting very high productivity. A resin-blending and centralized conveying plant was in the back of the booth.
Jeff MacDonald, Husky's vice president of marketing, said the company has ``reinvented our positioning in terms of products, facilities and the people who deliver it all.'' The company has continued to invest, spending about $13 million to expand hot-runner manufacturing in Milton, Vt., and $30 million to increase capacity for making PET preform molds at its headquarters in Bolton, Ontario.
MacDonald said the company is committed to remaining a packaging equipment leader. ``We're launching ourselves back into complete systems for the thin-wall packaging industry,'' MacDonald said. That includes mold design and new hot-runner products. ``Our customers are telling us they want us to become the systems supplier again,'' he said in a June 25 interview at Husky's booth.
Husky made several hot-runner announcements during NPE.
The UltraHeater replaces a conventional wire heater with film-heating technology. The layout of the heater is printed into the film, so heat is placed precisely where it is required. Layers of thin insulating material are printed on a stainless-steel sleeve, encapsulating a thin, conductive film.
The heaters will not absorb moisture, which Husky says can happen with conventional wire heaters. UltraHeater also boasts a 21/2 times faster response.
Husky developed the UltraHeater to work with its Ultra line of nozzles, according to Martin Baumann, sales and marketing manager for hot runners.
Husky also rolled out several enhancements to the Ultra line:
* Ultra nozzles now are being made out of a tougher material that gives a wider operating-temperature window and keeps tips lasting longer. The new tips will be available on Ultra 500, 750 and 1000 nozzle sizes.
* The company added edge-gate and multiprobe gating options to the Ultra. The nozzle tips are suited for direct gating of small parts that require very close pitch spacing. Baumann said the front-mounted insert tips are easy to maintain. Previous rear-mounted tip inserts required the complete nozzle housing to be removed.
* An UltraFlow tip forces resin around a grooved mixing chamber inside the nozzle, creating a homogeneous melt for improved surface finish and uniform color. Thorough mixing prevents weld lines and flow lines that can begin in the hot runner.
Husky also expanded its Pronto line of fast-delivery hot runners by adding three new manifold configurations that offer mold makers an easy solution for nonsymmetrical nozzle drop layout. Husky also added the Ultra 1000 nozzles to its Pronto line.
The company also added an option for back-to-back valve gating to its stack-mold hot runners.
In machinery news, Husky pumped out preforms on a next-generation version of its Index press, with a separate post-mold cooling station.
The Index features a revolving turret block that carries the preform molds as they cycle through the injection process. The initial Index machines used a four-sided mold that injected the preforms and then cycled them through a cooling stage. The redesigned press uses just two mold faces. A post-mold cooling device removes the preforms from the mold, then cools them by chilled water and a new CoolJet system that uses a blower instead of expensive compressed air.
At NPE, preforms rained out of a 600-ton Index machine that ran a dual-face, 144-cavity preform mold.
Mike Urquhart, vice president of PET systems, said the new Index uses less energy and produces consistent, high-quality preforms. Husky will roll out the complete lineup of presses during the next 12 months, featuring machines with clamping forces of 125 tons, 300 tons and 600 tons.
In other preform news, Husky said it will roll out a new HyPET molding machine during the next 12 months. HyPET machines boast a 5 percent faster cycle time, lower energy use and wide tie-bar spacing, Urquhart said.
Husky's Polaris personal-computer-based controller, available on the Hylectric presses, now is standard on the company's PET machines as well.
Husky also now is offering PET mold-refurbishing packages to restore old preform molds, and audits to help customers.
At its booth, a 1,000-ton Hylectric press molded food containers in a two- by eight-cavity stack mold. Husky's SwingChute whipped the parts out of the mold and dropped them down a chute to a conveyor. Because they are contained within the tie bars of the press, SwingChutes take up less floorspace than parts removal robots.
A 400-ton, Hylectric two- by 96-cavity stack mold produced 1,800 closures per minute. Husky said that is the industry's highest-output closure system.