KraussMaffei AG revealed its new AX all-electric-drive injection molding machines Aug. 21 at its Munich headquarters, and demonstrated a 100-metric-ton model.
The AX machines, with 50-350 tonnes of clamping force, use drive technology from Toshiba Machine Co. Ltd. of Tokyo and are aimed at buyers in standard electronics, medical and packaging markets. The AX range will be marketed initially in Europe and the United States, but will be offered worldwide later, said Karl-Heinz Bourdon, managing director of KM's injection molding machinery business.
KM Chief Executive Officer Dietmar Straub said both the Elion all-electric machine from KM's Netstal subsidiary in Switzerland and the EX all-electric from KraussMaffei are being retained.
Straub said the AX is an affordable, yet solid and adaptable all-electric press that can include integration of automation in the control system and that has low operating costs.
Bourdon said complete production cells based on the AX take up only 75 percent of the space needed for conventional cells. Bourdon said the AX costs about 20 percent more than standard all-hydraulic machines, but ``this should reduce with economy of scale.''
``But it is the low operating cost that is of interest today, particularly with rapidly increasing energy prices,'' he added.
KM will show three AX machines from the middle of the clamping force range at the Fakuma trade show in October commercially available models of 80, 100 and 180 metric tons.
``We want to have the full range in the market by the end of 2009,'' Bourdon said.
Otto Urbanek, managing director for production and technology at KM, said the AX has many of the features found on typical KM machines: The AX has the same interchangeable plasticizing units as CX and EX machines, and the same MC5 control system and mold movement. He added that the AX can save up to 75 percent of the energy needed for comparable hydraulic machines because of its lightweight, five-point toggle cl& 80 percent lower friction operation with platen guides on ball bearings for low mold wear; and recuperation of electricity from braking energy.
Bourdon showed data indicating all-electric presses account for 14 percent of the market in Europe, 50 percent in the United States and 70 percent in Japan. He admitted his prediction that the machines would hold a 20 percent share of the European market has been slower arriving than he expected, but the trend remains firmly upward.
KM announced its technology agreement with Toshiba in February, but at the time gave no details.