Speed is the theme of Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. (Booth S2132) at NPE 2006 - what Husky said is record-setting speed in thin-wall molding, in-mold labeling and PET preforms.
``It's absolutely essential that we continue to innovate,'' said Mike Diletti, vice president of sales and marketing.
The reason, he said, is increasing commoditization of plastics processing machinery and a more crowded market for some of Husky's areas of strength, like packaging.
``We have pressure caused by new entrants in the field. Many of our competitors also are focusing on technology in our core markets,'' Diletti said in a Tuesday news conference.
One new technology Husky is showing is a HyPAC press with 300 tons of clamping force, whipping out deli tubs eight at a time on a 3.6-second cycle. It has a two-by-four stack mold.
On the injection side, Husky has borrowed from its magnesium molding technology to use hydraulic accumulators to blast the melt into the mold.
The HyPAC press has electric screw rotation, but with a twist - Husky designed the motor to wrap around the screw, instead of the standard setup behind it, said Bruce Catoen, vice president of packaging.
That means the motor has much less inertia so it can hit high screw speeds instantly.
``To us, this is the show stopper,'' Catoen said. ``We think this will change how people mold thin-wall parts.''
Another feature is the new hot-runner system, called UP, for ultra packaging. The hot runner is designed to manage injection speed, sheer and pressure, and give a uniform temperature for even filling.
Husky said the HyPAC machine boosts throughput by 30 percent and has more than twice the melt acceleration, so it allows molders to cut the weight of parts by 10 percent.
A side-entry CBW robot zooms in and out to remove the tubs.
NPE is not all about speed for Husky. Size is important too. You can see a monster, 216-cavity PET preform mold sitting on Husky's stand.
The world's largest preform mold is going to a U.S. plant of Amcor PET Packaging, although Husky wouldn't disclose the location of the plant. Amcor PET Packaging is based in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Also this week, Husky is demonstrating in-mold labeling of cream cheese containers at less than a 2½-second cycle on a 120-ton Hylectric press.
Husky's Swing Chutes rotate into position as the mold opens to simultaneously place labels into the mold and grab the molded parts. The label covers all five sides.
A side-entry robot would require the clamp to reach the open position before it entered the molding area, increasing cycle by at least 0.4 seconds, according to Husky.
Husky said the IML press is about 30 percent faster than the one it ran at K 2004 in Germany.
The company also is showing some ever-faster technology to mold PET preforms, including a HyPET press running a 72-cavity mold, running a 6½-second cycle for 14.5-gram preform for a half-liter water bottle.
Husky said that same preform would have required an 8½-second cycle a few years ago - marking a 25 percent improvement for the new machine.
The company is emphasizing its ability to design and manufacture hot runners and preforms, which officials said are important factors in continuing to get faster.
``Because of the complex interaction between machine, robot, hot runner and mold, it is only possible to achieve the fastest cycle times if all these pieces are designed together as a system,'' said Mike Urquhart, vice president of PET systems.
Husky also has announced that it shipped, to an unidentified U.S. customer, a HyPET press with a 144-cavity mold that is making a 20-ounce soft drink preform on a 10.5-second cycle. Husky claims that is an industry-best cycle time.
At NPE, Husky also is molding 1,500 closures a minute on a Hylectric press running a 72-cavity mold.