All those green claims for injection molding machines now can be measured against one solid industry standard the new Euromap 60, which also could be adopted in the U.S.
Euromap 60 is devoted to the standardization of the type of measurement to get the specific machine-related energy consumption of an injection molding machine, said Joachim VettkÃ¶tter, vice managing director of the Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association within VDMA, the German engineering federation.
VettkÃ¶tter also is technical director of Euromap, the European umbrella association for plastics machinery that passed Euromap 60 in mid-June, shortly before the NPE2009 show in Chicago.
The important thing is that now you have a real basis to compare the energy consumption of machines, whether they have hydraulic drives or electrical drives, or if they are hybrid machines, said VettkÃ¶tter, who is an authority on plastics machinery standards.
On June 23 during NPE2009, VettkÃ¶tter met with staff members of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. to discuss the new standard. SPI is organizing a working group with representatives from about seven or eight companies to begin harmonizing U.S. standards with Euromap 60. The group's first meeting is scheduled for Aug. 10-11 in Florida.
Energy consumption is a hot topic these days. At NPE, exhibitors of nearly every type of equipment, from injection presses to granulators, engaged in some form of green marketing.
Standards are needed to cut through the maze, said Thorsten Kuhmann, managing director of the VDMA's Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association.
A lot of companies have gone out in the market and said they are energy-efficient. They had logos and so on, Kuhmann said.
It's really difficult for converters to see. 'Is it true, or is it just marketing? Can I really compare?'
And that was the reason why we decided, OK, we need to have a provable base standard.
Kuhmann and VettkÃ¶tter explained Euromap 60 in interviews at NPE.
Machinery executives at the show generally supported the idea. We hope that SPI is following some of this standardization so that we can develop some global standards for energy consumption, said Peter Neumann, CEO of injection press maker Engel Holding GmbH of Schwertberg, Austria.
SPI President Bill Carteaux said the Washington-based trade association has been working for some time with Euromap on uniform standards. SPI has been pushing the idea of a sustainable plastics industry, and Euromap 60 fits in, he said.
Euromap 60 covers thermoplastic injection molding machines with a single injection unit and a reciprocating screw, horizontal clamping and an electrically heated barrel.
The standard excludes energy used to cool water for the machine and mold, and for compressed air. Most presses fall into that category.
The test uses an adjustable nozzle and squirts a shot of polypropylene into the air. There is no mold. The standard spells out details about the nozzle, which each press maker will have to provide.
VettkÃ¶tter said Euromap 60 gives cycle parameters for the three common injection molding applications: thin-wall parts, technical parts and thick-wall parts. For each type of part, the standard lists injection speed, pressure and time, part ejection and other parameters. The necessary injection pressure is set using the adjustable nozzle, according to the tables given in the document.
So everything is specified and with the values you achieve with your measurement, you really can compare the energy consumption of a machine, VettkÃ¶tter said.
An injection press standard is only the beginning. Next up, is an energy measurement standard for extruders, then one for thermoforming. VettkÃ¶tter said an extruder group has had some meetings and a working document has already been prepared for thermoforming machines.
Auxiliary equipment makers also are talking about standards, especially for resin dryers.
VettkÃ¶tter said Euromap will tackle auxiliaries once the standard-makers finish with primary machinery.
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