KraussMaffei AG showed off its core strength at K 2010: technology that can combine several processes to make plastic parts.
The Munich-based firm makes injection molding machines, extruders and reaction processing equipment for processing polyurethane. Examples of all three were on display at KraussMaffei's K show booth in Dusseldorf, and officials outlined the combinations of technologies during a press conference Oct. 27.
CEO Dietmar Straub said the firm, which includes the KraussMaffei, KraussMaffei Berstorff and Netstal brands, generated sales of about 754 million euros ($1.03 billion) for its fiscal 2010, which ended Sept. 30.
At K 2010, KraussMaffei displayed machines running ColorForm, SpinForm, CleanForm, CoverForm and FiberForm.
The ColorForm process, introduced at K 2010, painted parts with a high-gloss surface, inside the mold on a press running a SpinForm system where two mold faces rotate between two injection units.
The show-floor press an MX machine with 1,000 metric tons of clamping force, molded an ABS case with a soft-touch surface of thermoplastic polyurethane finished with a high-gloss blue coating. A RimStar Nano metering system applied the polyurea coating inside the closed mold. Total cycle time was about 68 seconds.
ColorForm can completely replace conventional painting, including extra steps of pre- and post-painting work, said Frank Peters, a member of the machinery maker's managing board.
The ColorForm process developed by KraussMaffei is an absolute world premier, Peters said at the press conference.
KM also demonstrated its clean room technology called CleanForm, which was molding sterile polypropylene syringes straight from the 160-tonne all-electric EX machine. The press was housed in a portable clean room. A six-axis KR16 robot removed syringes from the 48-cavity mold, in a staged drop, to represent cavity separation, pack- aging and sealing processes.
Manufacturing costs can be cut by as much as 25 percent, for instance, if the de-molded parts are immediately transferred to sterile packaging, said Karlheinz Bourdon, director of KM's injection molding machinery division.
Parts would have to be packaged right away at the press. Otherwise, the parts would have to be re-sterilized.
Bourdon said the process is not commercial yet. But there's a great deal of interest, he said.
In another demonstration, an all-electric AX press molded polycarbonate LED lights encapsulated with PU so high-pressure reaction injection molding and injection molding join forces. The parts are ready to assemble after four minutes 50-90 percent faster than other methods.
Bourdon said the CoverForm process can replace conventional glass components by molding transparent, scratch-resistant acrylic coatings inside the mold to automotive plastic parts in a single shot, instead of the 14 process steps that had been required. Process integration yields cost reductions of up to 30 percent, he said.
KraussMaffei and German acrylic supplier Evonik RÃ¶hm GmbH developed CoverForm. At K, a KM injection press molded an automotive mirror.
The machinery maker again combined processes to make a composite-laminate test part to show off a possible lightweight and structural automotive application. In Dusseldorf, KM used an IMC injection molding compounder in which a Berstorff compounding extruder fed material directly to a 300-tonne injection molding machine.
In a demonstration of the FiberForm process, unformed organic sheet blanks were automatically placed in the mold, thermoformed and then back-injected with glass-fiber-reinforced nylon. An LRX 150 linear robot removed the parts, which require no trimming.
Peters said FiberForm can give weight savings of up to 20 percent from traditional structural parts. That's an important consideration for automakers under pressure to boost mileage, especially for electric cars, he said.
KraussMaffei Berstorff GmbH showed several extrusion innovations:
* In a world introduction at K, the company rolled out a universal pipe extruder for its 36D series of single-screw extruders. Customers have the option of a gearless drive system and a water-cooled high-torque synchronous motor.
The universal feature means the extruder can run a range of standard polyolefins, as well as polybutylene, ABS, regrind and masterbatches.
* Production of optically clear film and sheet from dried and undried PET including amorphous PET, glycol PET and ground PET made from bottles and edge trim using a PlanetCalander tied to a co-rotating twin-screw ZE-UTX or ZE-UT extruder. There is no need to crystallize or pre-dry the PET.
One application could be clear sides for bus stops, said Hans Ulrich Golz, the new CEO of KraussMaffei Berstorff in Hanover, Germany.
* A twin-screw ZE 60 UTX that dries natural fibers and biomaterials right in the extruder, with no need for pre-drying the material. To increase heating performance in the homogenizing section, the company added a special barrel housing with higher heating capacity. The number of heating cartridges was increased while the distance to the processing chamber was reduced. All homogenizing barrel sections are insulated to decrease consumption of heating energy by about 30 percent.
A degassing zone in the vacuum processing zone has a vent port stuffer.
* A production system to make pressure pipe from cross-linked polyethylene and peroxide, activated by infrared light. The PE-Xa pipe has special properties, making it suitable for trenchless installation and for laying without sand beds.
KraussMaffei Berstoff supplies the complete system, incorporating KMD 63 K/R conical twin-screw extruders for single-layer or multilayer pipe. Thin layers of bonding agent and an oxygen barrier can be applied to the basic PE-Xa pipe.