Injection press maker Demag Plastics Group hit the hot-button issues at NPE 2006, showing El-Exis and Multi presses molding thin-wall packaging, multicomponent and in-mold labeling, and the larger two-platen Titans turning out automotive parts.
Klaus Erkes, executive managing director, said DPG wants to focus on markets that require specific, dedicated technology, such as packaging, electronics, automotive and medical. Automotive was the main focus, as the company's booth had a racing theme.
In addition to seven injection presses on its stand, DPG showed a Mustang and an F-150 pickup truck modified by Roush Performance.
DPG showed multicomponent molding, both large and small. A 120-ton Multi press molded a polycarbonate magnifying glass, then molded a second shot of glass-filled nylon for the cover. The two parts are assembled with a mechanical hinge. The cycle time was 20 seconds.
In a big-part automotive job, an 1,100-ton Titan press was turning out a two-shot cowl panel, the ``leaf screen'' on a car. The Titan was equipped with a bolt-on injection unit, the Multi-Plug. First, the press shot the polypropylene part, then the Multi-Plug added the second shot of Santoprene thermoplastic elastomer for the sealing strip. Cycle time was 45 seconds.
A Wittmann robot removed the part.
At a news conference, application manager Ansgar Jaeger said there is huge potential for multicomponent molding in the U.S. He threw out some numbers. About 1,150 multicomponent presses were sold worldwide in 2005. European processors bought more than half of those, about 700-750, he said. U.S. molders bought only 70-80, said Jaeger, who added that DPG officials see the trend continuing toward larger automotive two-shot parts.
Many of those machines will have bolt-on injection units like the Multi-Plug, which Jaeger said can convert a traditional one-barrel injection press into a multicomponent at a good price.
``That is, especially in the U.S., a very important feature because everyone wants to start in the multicomponent business, and tries to use a low investment to get into this field,'' he said.
Another Titan, with 500 tons of clamping force, was turning out a Roush center rear valence of thermoplastic olefin on a 70-second cycle.
A larger, 1,500-ton Titan turned out a Roush TPO front spoiler for an F-150, running a 70-second cycle. A six-axis Kuka robot removed the parts, which were cut automatically and placed on a conveyor.
Turning to packaging, DPG ran two of its El-Exis presses, hybrid machines that combine electric and hydraulic drives.
According to Jaeger, the Ex-Exis presses can hit injection speeds of 800 millimeters per second. The presses also use less energy than traditional hydraulic machines.
At the Chicago show, held June 19-23, a 1,765-ton El-Exis popped out a PP cup and lid in a family mold - with in-mold labeling -every 4½ seconds.
DPG also showed its ability to mold high-cavitation parts by running a PP cup for dipping on a 24-by-24 stack mold on a 20-second cycle. Molded parts dropped onto a high-speed conveyor. The press had 615 tons of clamping force.
Demag Plastics Group, with headquarters in Strongsville, Ohio, and Schwaig, Germany, said NPE 2006 marked the North American trade show debut of the 1,500-ton Titan, the 1,100-ton Titan and both of the El-Exis machines.