Ube Machinery Inc., known for its large-tonnage injection presses for automotive, delivered a news flash at NPE 2006 by showing a high-speed packaging press and a machine molding drink coasters to show in-mold labeling.
``You'll notice that we don't have any automotive applications at NPE. And really, the message is that though we are the global leader in automotive, we can do other things, too. We're not restricted to automotive,'' said David Bernardi, senior sales and marketing manager.
Ube ran an all-electric booth, and Bernardi said Ube builds all-electrics, in clamping forces of 25-3,300 tons. Parent company Ube Machinery Corp. Ltd. of Nagoya, Japan, also continues to make hydraulic machines up to 7,000 tons.
But Bernardi said all-electric technology represents the future. All-electrics are the dominant choice in Japan and several other Asian countries, and in the United States, all-electric presses are nearly 50 percent of the market, based on units sold, he said in Ube's June 21 news conference.
``I feel eventually, yes, hydraulics will just phase out of existence. But we're not forcing them out, we're just watching it happen,'' he said.
Ube Machinery builds all-electrics up to 1,550 tons at its U.S. headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Ube ran two all-electric presses during NPE 2006:
* A 110-ton press using Ube's Dieprest foam technology, to mold-in a logo of a dog onto a drink coaster. After the insert was placed in the mold, the machine injection molded the substrate. During the foaming activity, the press - using Dieprest, run in closed-loop through the machine controller - opens the clamp under controlled pressure and positioning. The result is a part with very small, uniform cellular structure, Bernardi said. A Star robot removed the coaster.
* A high-speed, 720-ton machine with extra-wide platens molding a 20-liter container, on a single-cavity mold. A Yushin side-entry robot removed the parts and stacked them onto a conveyor.
At NPE, the large container was molded on a 15-second cycle, although Bernardi said the press can run other packaging products in cycles of less than 8 seconds.
The wide-platen press has a tie-bar spacing of 43 inches between the bars, a 47-inch clamp stroke and generous daylight spacing.
Of course, Ube did have some big-press automotive-related news, and it was about the new, biggest-sized all-electric, the 3,300 tonner. Ube did not show the massive press in Chicago, but Bernardi gave some details about it. The first machine is making bumper fascia, on a cycle of less than 30 seconds, at a Japanese automotive molding plant that Ube has not identified.
Bernardi said the giant press is powered by eight electric servomotors: two to move the clamp, two to rotate the screw for shot recovery, three motors for injection and one servomotor for part ejection.
Bernardi said presses will follow the lead of machine tools, which years ago moved to electric power. ``We as manufacturers have to satisfy our customers' needs,'' he said.
``They want speed, superefficient, clean machinery, and that's all-electric.''