Munich, Germany-based KraussMaffei AG brought a high-technology theme to Plastimagen, with an exhibit featuring a 160-metric-ton injection press producing a nylon automotive part using water-assisted molding.
The firm does not have any customers in Mexico using water-assisted injection molding. But regional sales manager Ralf Knobloch said it's only a matter of time, since Mexico is home to so many automotive, appliance and electronics molders.
``Because of the exchange rates, our machines are not the cheapest, so we have to sell technology,'' Knobloch said.
``Mexico is making cars for the world market, so they have to have the same level of quality that suppliers do in Germany or anywhere else in the world. So if it makes sense to make a part using the water injection process in Europe, then it also makes sense to do it over here.
``No one is running water-assist here yet. But they are running gas-assist, and they know this is the next step,'' Knobloch said.
The process has significant advantages, according to the company. For the part KraussMaffei was molding at the Mexico City show, cycle time saving was significant - 27 seconds vs. 60 seconds for a gas-assist process, according to Bernd Herzog, manager of application and process development at PME Fluidtec GmbH. PME Fluidtec is a Kappel-Grafenhausen, Germany-based equipment vendor that offers the water-assist technology.
``We've found that water injection offers a 20-70 percent improvement in cycle time,'' Herzog said.
KraussMaffei also can offer a back-to-barrel process to recycle material back into the machine. Other advantages include reduced warpage and enhanced precision, a big advantage when using expensive engineering resins.
The machine at Plastimagen, featured a mold by Werkzeugbau Siegfried Hofmann GmbH from Lichtenfels, Germany.