The Institut fur Kunststoffverarbeitung in Aachen, Germany, has presented research work on the injection molding of thermoplastic foam, which requires a low clamping force.
IKV has tested the process by molding components that incorporate elements such as ribs, screw-in heads and bosses.
IKV developed the Optifoam technology, which was commercialized in 2004 by Sulzer Chem-tech AG of Winterthur, Switzerland. The key feature is a blowing fluid injection nozzle, which introduces blowing agent directly into the polymer, upstream of the plasticizing unit. IKV said the nozzle is retrofitted easily and inexpensively onto conventional presses.
The foam cannot obtain a Class A surface finish, IKV said.
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