Fakuma 2006 marked the European introduction of Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.'s HyPAC press, as the machine snapped out polystyrene drink cups on a 2.6-second cycle.
Husky highlighted the HyPAC and new hot-runner developments for closures, medical and thin-wall packaging at the trade show, held Oct. 17-21 in Friedrichshafen.
Husky machines have long been used to make plastic packaging, but the HyPAC is the company's ``first official, dedicated packaging machine for thin-wall applications,'' said Volker Neuber, vice president for Western Europe.
The Bolton, Ontario-based machinery maker debuted the HyPAC at NPE 2006 in Chicago in June. There, a HyPAC with 330 tons of clamping force molded deli tubs, eight at a time, on a 3.6-second cycle, running a two-by-four stack mold. The tubs were polypropylene.
Also a 330-tonner, the HyPAC at Fakuma bested the NPE cycle time by a second, but the parts and resins were different at the German show. At Fakuma, the press ran eight PS tumblers each time, on a single-face mold. The tumblers also are much smaller than deli tubs.
A high-speed Ilsemann robot zipped the cups in and out to a stacker.
Husky is promoting the super-fast injection time of 0.06 second, with a profile control that allows a thin wall to be filled at lower melt temperature, with minimal packing pressure on a press with the lowest-possible clamping force and mold break force.
``The injection rate of this machine is about double our previous machine. So it's quite a step up in terms of its performance,'' said Jim Overbeeke, business manager of packaging, during a booth tour, after Husky's news conference Oct. 17.
In one key improvement, Husky engineers designed the motor for the electric screw drive to wrap around the screw, instead of being located in the standard place behind the screw. The motor can instantly hit high speeds.
In other packaging-related news, after the show, Husky announced that in fiscal 2006, it set a company record for orders for preform molds and HyPET injection presses to mold the preforms. Orders for preform molds and systems increased more than 30 percent from the year before.
Husky's fiscal year ended July 31.
In PET, ``all segments of the market performed strongly - bottled water, aseptic juices, hot-filled teas and sports drinks all grew at double-digit rates,'' said Jeff MacDonald, Husky's vice president of beverage packaging.
Husky also attributed the strong order levels to its recently introduced improvements for in-mold and post-molding cooling, dry cycle reductions and hot-runner refinements. The innovations have cut PET preform cycle times by as much as 25 percent from 2003-level systems.
At the Fakuma show, Neuber said Husky, like all plastics machinery makers, is facing some ``cruel facts'' from global competition. Injection molding presses are becoming commodities. Also, Husky has been pressured as new players have entered its stronghold of machines to mold PET preforms.
The answer for Husky is to develop new technologies even faster, and continue to focus on complete systems for specific molding jobs.
``Our strategy is differentiation,'' Neuber said.
Husky continues to push into the automotive market, through its in-line compounding system and the two-platen Quadloc press, the Tandem machine for matched-part applications like door panels, and the HyMET magnesium molding machine.
At Fakuma, the company announced the sale of two large-tonnage Quadloc presses to Tier 1 supplier DrÃ¤xlmaier Group's plant in Landau, Germany. The Husky machines will mold door panels and center consoles for the new Audi B8, among other vehicles.
Husky will host a Nov. 14 automotive day at its European headquarters in Dudelange, Luxembourg.
In other news, Husky:
* Introduced the Ultra 750 HT-S6 hot-runner nozzle for closures. Three melt-channel sizes can give optimal rheology with the full range of closure resins. The tip design allows for faster color changes.
* Showed a new back-to-back valve gate system for stack molds and thin-wall packaging, called B2B VG.
* Introduced its smallest valve gates, the Ultra 350, with a seal diameter of just 8 millimeters.
* Announced it has opened a sales office in Vienna, Austria, to handle central and Eastern Europe. Christian Kapsamer, Husky's general manager for central Europe, will run the office.