Arburg Inc. was molding suitcases at NPE 2003.
By molding the small suitcase, Arburg demonstrated two-color molding - the first time one of its largest-size, 440-ton presses has run two-component molding at a trade show.
In other news, Arburg will build a new California technical center this year, officials said in an interview before NPE, which ran June 23-27 in Chicago.
Arburg operated 10 injection molding machines at its 8,500-square-foot booth.
For its suitcase giveaway, Arburg made the ABS suitcase parts on an Allrounder S, with one horizontal injection unit and the second configured vertically, down into the mold. Each 45-second cycle produced one side of the suitcase shell, one bolt for the hinge, and an interlocking bar, so that all of one suitcase's parts are molded in two cycles.
The vertical injection unit adds a white Arburg logo.
A robot removes the parts and places them on a conveyor, then a machine operator assembles them into the finished case.
Multicomponent molding is a growing market for Arburg in the United States, said Friedrich Kanz, president of Arburg Inc. Many U.S. molders are getting into it for the first time as a way to offer more-technical molding and to compete against offshore molders.
Lossburg, Germany-based Arburg GmbH & Co. has a long history of multicomponent molding. Spokesman Christoph Schumacher said Arburg got into the technology in the early 1960s. That experience is valuable to molders exploring the area, he said.
``We are able to answer many, many questions which customers have,'' Schumacher said.
Arburg, known for years as a small-machine specialist, introduced its 440-ton press at K 2001 in Germany.
Arburg also molded polypropylene pipettes on an 88-ton Allrounder All-Drive (A) press. Arburg can offer the A in an all-electric version, or the secondary axes, like part ejection and nozzle contact force, can be powered by either hydraulic or electric.
The Allrounder A at NPE ran electric ejection. Nozzle movement and core pulls are equipped with hydraulic drives.
Also at Arburg's booth, an ``advance'' model of the Allrounder C boasted economical, accurate production. The press has an electric screw. Hydraulic drives are run by a frequency motor that moves faster or slower depending on power demands of the machine at different parts of the molding cycle.
A position-regulated screw on the C makes it as accurate as an all-electric press, Kanz said. The screw position is determined by a stroke-measuring system and pressure transducers that determine the actual pressure value, and the information is passed on to the controller.
Arburg is investing money to expand in California, and back in Germany. Kanz said the firm had rented a West Coast technical center, but decided to build a new one measuring 6,700 square feet. Construction will begin in Orange County, Calif., later this year, although Kanz said he could not identify the city.
In Lossburg, Arburg is installing large metalworking equipment to produce tie bars for its larger presses, from 275-440 tons. Schumacher said the company already makes tie bars for its small-tonnage presses. Arburg also is adding large machining centers to produce large platens in a single step, reducing production time.
Arburg is investing $17 million in the expanded metalworking capacity in Lossburg.
In controls-related news, Arburg celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Selogica controller. The ``control+'' is offered on Allrounder C machines with clamping forces from 33-242 tons. The software includes extended monitoring with additional functions, extended machine movements for ejector, core-pull and nozzle, and more programmable functions.