MUNICH, GERMANY (Sept. 29, 10:30 a.m. EDT) — At K 2004, Krauss-Maffei Kunststofftechnik GmbH will introduce its CX press, a two-platen machine that replaces the C series, and will show its larger, two-platen MX line — as both lines boast shorter cycle times and other features.
The Munich-based company will show technology in its three segments: injection molding machines, extruders and PU processing equipment. Since acquiring Neureder AG in 2002, KM also brings in-house automation to the table.
KM will show an example of its cross-processing abilities, when it turns out the cover of a seat-belt lock. The company will injection mold a preform from a thermoplastic, then in another step, will encapsulate the part in PU. The PU gives the part excellent surface qualities that cannot be achieved with thermoplastic elastomers, according to the firm.
A Krauss-Maffei robot will remove the seat-belt covers and stack them into containers.
Josef MÃ¤rtl, chairman of the Krauss-Maffei managing board, said the main focus is KM's “ability to implement customer-specific requirements precisely, successfully and very rapidly.” He said partnerships among processors, machine makers, resin suppliers and mold makers will become more important in the future, as products become more complex and customers more demanding.
Processors will try to integrate more and more steps in the process to save costs, time and effort, through technologies such as multicomponent molding, he said. K show visitors can see two examples of KM's add-on injection units that turn a standard injection press into a shot-shot machine. KM will show the two injection units in an L configuration, with the second unit opposite the operator station.
At its K stand, mold maker Machines Boucherie NV of Izegem, Belgium, will mold pistons for syringes on a KM80-160 CX press, with the second injection unit coming down vertically on the fixed platen.
The bolt-on injection units have their own hydraulic power packs and a controller that is tied into the injection press via its own interface.
KM also will show:
* Three of the new CX series of injection presses, in clamping forces of 38, 88 and 176 tons. KM said it has developed a new, high-performance hydraulic system that cuts cycle time. The CX also boasts a bigger platen size and more distance between tie bars than the old C line, so the CX can handle larger molds more easily.
* The MX, which was introduced last fall to replace the large-tonnage MC two platen presses. Krauss-Maffei has improved the clamping unit by shifting the locking and clamping-force buildup to the moving side. The columns no longer are being moved. Dry cycle times have been reduced by more than 30 percent, the company said. Also, KM has improved access to the fixed platen and nozzle area. Because of a special geometry, the single-piece moving platen introduces the clamping force into the mold very evenly, resulting in low deflection and long service for molds. Maximum platen parallelism is achieved even with very heavy molds, because of the generously dimensioned platen support and guidance mechanisms, the firm said. Krauss-Maffei plans to share the improvements to its two-platen technology with its direct-compounding system, the injection molding compounder, or IMC. At K, an MX will be paired with an IMC to make an automotive part.
* A 35-90 CX molding medical pipettes on a 20-cavity mold. Only the self-supporting clamping unit protrudes into the clean room. The clamping unit can be retracted from the clean room for mold changes or maintenance.
* A C3 Sprinter molding thin-wall food packaging, which then will be removed by a high-speed KM robot.
* In extrusion, Krauss-Maffei will exhibit a twin-screw extruder for profiles, the KMD90-32/P. Features include a wide processing latitude, high melt homogeneity and low wear. KM has increased the torque and enlarged the pre-warming section on the 32/P range — which yields a 20 percent increase in the specific output rate, or the output related to the screw speed. That means lower screw speeds can achieve higher outputs.
* KM also will exhibit a pipe die head that can produce single-, double- or triple-layer pipe. Three concentrically intermeshing spirals ensure uniform melt distribution across the die orifice.
* The company also will introduce a vented single-screw extruder for producing sheet and film. Benefits include increases in both the higher specific output and total output rate, and an improved melt, the company said.
* In controller news, KM will roll out the MC 5 for injection molding, and the new C5 for extrusion.
Officials painted a glowing financial picture in June. The company's fiscal 2003-04 ended Sept. 30.
MÃ¤rtl predicted year-end sales of more than 500 million euros ($608 million), topping the previous KM record set in 1999-2000. He said all three divisions are contributing to the growth: injection, extrusion and reaction injection molding. Two big factors driving growth are the success of its large-tonnage injection presses and strong demand from the auto sector, especially for the new MX series.
Companywide, sales for the first half of fiscal 2003-04, which ended March 31, were 283 million euros ($344 million), up 17 percent from the year-earlier period. First-half orders also grew by 28 percent, to 304 million euros ($370 million).
Turning to the injection press segment, sales grew 24 percent in the first half, to 213 million euros ($259 million). Orders were up 19 percent.
Axel Wiemers, head of sales of injection presses, said the division was forecasting year-on-year order growth of around 10 percent and sales growth of around 9 percent for fiscal 2003-04.
Krauss-Maffei will more than double its sales and service capacity, including spare parts, in such fast-growing regions as China, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, Wiemers said. The company is adding service offices in China, Thailand, Malaysia and Russia, and is building a technical center in Shanghai, China.
Price pressures remain intense, Wiemers said. But KM focused on the high-performance injection press segment and fully automated manufacturing cells, as a single-source supplier.
RIM, the PU machinery segment, enjoyed the biggest increase in the first fiscal half, as sales rose 25 percent, to 41 million euros (US$50 million). First-half orders jumped 70 percent to 58 million euros ($70 million).
Krauss-Maffei cited big orders from automotive and appliances makers in Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States.
At K 2004, the company will show new mixing and metering equipment resulting from its acquisition of the Elastogran PU machinery business of BASF AG.
In extrusion, KM had a huge order for 240 machines from Dalian Shide Plastic Industry Co. Ltd., which makes vinyl windows and pipe in China. Dalian Shide plans to build 11 plants across China.
According to KM, the Chinese government has decided the market share of vinyl windows should reach at least 50 percent by 2010. Pipe extrusion also should benefit from China's planned infrastructure projects.
Russia and Eastern Europe also are importing lots of vinyl windows, and those regions are investing in domestic production capacity, the company said. In the United States, the construction sector is experiencing a slight recovery.
It all adds up to double-digit order growth for Krauss-Maffei extruders. Orders for the first half were up 30 percent, to 51 million euros ($62 million), over the prior year's first half. However, sales were down 20 percent, to 30 million euros ($36 million), because fewer extrusion machines completed acceptance procedures, the company said. But in the third quarter, KM said it had made up the backlog.
The company also said some new technologies spurred sales. That includes the QuickSwitch, which changes pipe diameter at the push of a button, without stopping the pipe extrusion.
At K, the company will show a QuickSwitch that can produce pipe in diameters of 6½-10 inches.
Krauss-Maffei's U.S. headquarters is in Florence, Ky.