Trexel Inc., developer of the MuCell microcellular molding process, is working with injection press maker Engel Machinery Inc. to commercialize the injection/ expansion molding process, also known as the core back process.
Core back can mold structural parts with dramatic weight savings by cutting the density and increasing the ratio of stiffness to weight, the companies said. Once the foamed resin has filled the mold, the back of the mold is partially extracted to foam a thick, multilayer structure.
Trexel President David Bernstein said that by combining core back and MuCell, you can essentially saturate the polymer with supercritical fluid, or gas in its supercritical state, while keeping the mold closed under pressure, and then precisely open the mold to get maximum expansion.
You get a much thicker part, but one that is much less dense, in fact as much as 75 percent less dense, he added.
Customers in North America can conduct trials at Engel's facility in York, Pa. Stephan Braig, president and CEO of Engel's North American operations, said the process has good potential for applications that have a flat surface, such as automotive door panels.
In one recent commercial application, Mazda Motor Corp. has used core back and MuCell to mold parts with weight reductions up to 30 percent. Mazda, which is working with injection press builder Japan Steel Works Ltd., plans to start using the technology on 2011 model-year cars.
In other news, the Woburn, Mass.-based Trexel said Unilever NV's 17½-ounce Rama margarine tub won the 2008 German Packaging Award (Deutscher Verpackungs Preis), and a WorldStar Packaging Award.
The tub design was developed by Veriplast Solutions of St. Priest, France. It uses Veriplast's super-light injection molding (SLIM) technology, which combines MuCell with the Veriplast Extra Slim Label.
Tel. 781-932-0202, fax 781-932-3324.