DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY (Dec. 13, 10 a.m. EST) — Engel Holding GmbH's K 2007 exhibit debuted the e-Max, an all-electric injection molding machine priced lower than its current E-motion. The firm also showed its largest-ever Speed press for packaging, and rolled out the Exjection injection process to make parts normally made by extrusion.
The company from Schwertberg, Austria, also highlighted its theme of combining several processes into one machine, like foaming and injection molding, and coinjection molding with water-assisted molding.
Jim Moran, vice president of sales for Engel North America in York, Pa., said bringing multiple technologies is an Engel strong point. “We've shown coinjection for 20 years. We've shown Watermelt for seven or eight years. And now we're combining coinjection and Watermelt,” he said.
At K, Engel showed Exjection running on an E-motion press with 55 metric tons of clamping force. The press molded a long, profile-shaped ABS sample part. The wall sections were just 1.2 millimeters thick.
Injection molding profile parts is difficult, because the liquid resin has to flow through long sections of a cooled mold. Engel and its Austrian partners — IB Steiner and Hybrid Composite Products GmbH, both of Spielberg, Austria — said the solution is to move the injection mold past the nozzle.
“The mold slowly moves down and fills up the cavity. It's a continuous movement of the mold and a continuous filling process,” said Thomas Krivec, a project engineer with IB Steiner, which developed the process.
Krivec said the creators do not intend for Exjection to compete directly with continuous extrusion. But Exjection can be an alternative to extrusion for making long parts, such as automotive moldings, that require end caps or other labor-intensive secondary components.
By moving the mold, Exjection creates short flow paths, so the pressure does not affect the entire part, but only where actual filling takes place. That means the long, skinny parts can be injection molded on presses with relatively small clamping force. There also is a low residual stress in the part, Engel said.
In Europe, the slow acceptance of all-electric injection molding has prompted equipment suppliers to find ways to reduce the price. Engel gave its answer at K 2007: the new e-Max, which the company claims is getting closer in price to hydraulic machines. Another feature is a small footprint.
The e-Max has tie bars, unlike Engel's E-motion, which is tie-barless. Engel also makes the e-Victory all-electric press.
Engel showed a 110-tonne e-Max at the show, held Oct. 24-31 in Dusseldorf, molding cell-phone housings in an automated, turnkey cell.
Engel's booth showed its plan to target five key markets: automotive, medical technology, packaging, telecommunications and technical molding.
In packaging, Engel showed its largest-yet Speed press, a 500-tonne machine molding thin-wall, rectangular food containers. The work cell included a high-speed Engel robot, built on a large, independent frame apart from the machine, and a stacking system. Engel also added another size of the Speed, a 380-tonne press.
For automotive molding fans, Engel announced it is ready to start serial production of presses with its Dolphin process, which blends injection molding with foaming to create a closed-cell, soft skin. At K 2007, a 900-tonne Duo two-platen press was molding an armrest.
Engel first introduced Dolphin in 2006.
Engel also made several announcements during the show:
* The company will invest “several million euros” during the next four years to expand its plant in St. Valentin, Austria, by 19,800 square feet, bringing the factory up to 224,400 square feet. When construction is completed by the summer of 2009, the added space will boost the number of large-tonnage Duo machines the St. Valentin plant can make by 30 percent.
The expansion is needed to meet increased demand for Duos, said Joachum Metzmacher, division manager for large machines.
* Engel has joined the battle for injection molding compounding machines. The company said ZSE Maxx compounding extruders from Leistriz Extrusionstechnik GmbH will be linked with its 1,000-tonne Duo press, to compound and feed material into the injection molding machine.
* Engel reached a landmark, its 3,000th multicomponent machine. The press was delivered in mid-September to Gira Giersiepen GmbH & Co. KG in Radevormwald, Germany. Gira Giersiepen is using the three- component machine to mold rocker switches for outdoor electrical systems.