Krauss Maffei GmbH and its sister company, Berstorff GmbH, have done process integration before, by bolting a compounding extruder atop an injection molding machine, dubbed the IMC, for injection molding compounder.
But at K 2007, look out! The unified business, now called ``KraussMaffei Berstorff,'' will show a manufacturing cell that links extrusion, injection molding and reaction molding of a new polyurethane material. The part: a multicomponent automotive assembly to dampen vibration, for a quieter ride.
Officials of Krauss Maffei say this will be the first time an IMC will be teamed up with multicomponent injection molding.
A Berstorff extruder will team, IMC-style, with one of Krauss Maffei's CX injection presses to make the load-bearing part. The body and collar of the part, which handles the load, are injection molded from nylon.
Then the two components are joined using an elastic material made of Elastollan (TPU-X), a new cross-linking thermoplastic polyurethane from Elastrogran GmbH.
The cross-linking agent is added to the TPU melt as a liquid, and the two materials are mixed on an IMC. The IMC operates continuously, ensuring the cross-linking agent gets steadily mixed into the PU polymer and thoroughly mixed and compounded. The plasticized, homogenous material then gets injected into the mold, through a heated runner and an injection piston.
The mold is specially designed so a Krauss Maffei LS-R linear robot can enter and remove the parts with the mold closed, so processing can continue in the other stations during part removal. The new manufacturing process, jointly developed by Krauss Maffei and Elastrogran, cuts the cycle time to make one part down to about 60 seconds.
The Munich, Germany-based company has demonstrated IMC at trade shows before, running large automotive parts with high throughputs. But the K 2007 display is intended to show how IMC works for small and midrange shot weights - and also for blending additives into the melt.
In a restructuring announced March 16, the extrusion operations of Krauss Maffei and Berstorff were bundled into a new single business structure, under the ownership of parent Mannesmann Plastics Machinery GmbH. The business move does not include any plant closings or personnel reductions. But, by linking Krauss Maffei and Berstorff more closely together, officials want to drive the integration of the technologies of both companies. Krauss Maffei makes injection presses, pipe and profile extruders and PU machinery. Berstorff, of Hanover, Germany, builds compounding extruders.
Dietmar Straub in April became the new chairman and chief executive officer of MPM, and the leader of Krauss Maffei, by far the machinery group's biggest unit. Former top executive Josef Mrtl has left Krauss Maffei.
Krauss Maffei is developing the clean-room markets of medical, health care and packaging. Also, the company reports strong worldwide demand for extruders for window profiles, pipe, insulated panels and other construction products, and large-tonnage injection molding machines.
Another major focus at K 2007 will be compounding and processing parts using renewable raw materials, including a compounding extruder for running plastic with wood, flax or hemp content.
Meanwhile, Krauss Maffei continues to have strong business, officials said at a pre-K press conference held in June in Munich. Straub said sales grew by 9 percent, and orders increased by 8.5 percent, in the first six months of the current fiscal year, a period covering Oct. 1 through March 30.
Since 2001, the combined sales total of Krauss Maffei and Berstorff compounding extruders has seen 72 percent sales growth. For fiscal-year 2006, ended Sept. 30, the combined operations generated sales of 706 million euros ($870 million).
The company has been pushing its expertise in customized manufacturing cells that combine the benefits of two or more of its core processing technologies. One example at K 2007 will be the SkinForm process for PU coating with injection molding in a spinning-platen machine, with a high level of automation. The cell will make an interior trim part by molding a plastic substrate, and overmolding it with a PU surface layer.
In other PU-related news, Krauss Maffei will introduce a small-volume mixing head, offering the advantages of high-pressure technology for low throughput. Another mix head is designed for spraying on skins for complex automotive components, such as instrument panels, center consoles and interior door trim.
Krauss Maffei also has developed a process to spray a heavy, PU-based soundproofing layer on the underside of preformed automotive carpets, using a robot.
The Routing Star trims interior trim parts, by mounting the parts on a fast-moving turntable.
Turning to developments in extrusion at K 2007, KraussMaffei Berstorff will show a KMD 63K/P conical twin-screw extruder piggybacked above a KMD 133-32/P profile extruder, for very high output of vinyl window profiles. The system can deliver a dual-strand blast of 1,760 pounds of profiles an hour. The conical twin is designed for coextrusion, such as applying color coatings to the profile or adding outer layers of virgin resin to a core of regrind.
KraussMaffei Berstorff also will announce next-generation extruders for running foamed sheet.
In pipe extrusion, the business will show a KM-RKW die head to produce large-diamter pipe. The spiral distributor head produces single-layer and multilayer polyolefin pipe. The melt stream is split by passing through a pattern of holes, on its way to the spiral channels, a design the company says eliminates the problem of leaks.
Another machine at K, a single-screw extruder dubbed KME 125-36 B/R, has a longer processing unit to give improved thermal and material homogeneity at a constant, low-melt temperature.
KraussMaffei Berstorff also will exhibit a modular compounding extruder line, so the extruder, and the upstream and downstream equipment are assembled in module form, to fit the dimensions of an overseas shipping container.