Officials of Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. know their new H-MED AE press is clean they tested it in a clean tunnel at the Advanced Manufacturing Center at Husky headquarters in Bolton, Ontario.
Husky introduced its first-ever all-electric injection presses at K 2010, the H-MED AE for medical molding and the H-PET AE for molding PET preforms.
In 2009, Husky exited large-tonnage injection presses to concentrate on smaller machines for thin-wall packaging, historically its core market. The addition of all-electric technology using what Husky officials say are components and subassemblies from Japan-based Toyo Machinery and Metal Co. Ltd. will help Husky expand into medical clean room molding.
In a K show interview, Jeff MacDonald, Husky's vice president of marketing, said Husky has what is believed to the plastics machinery industry's only clean tunnel.
It's a simulated clean environment. You slide machines in and out, he said. It also gives us the ability that, when we put a system together, we can test it and then certify it to the customer as being a certain level of cleanliness classification.
Husky engineers used the tunnel to design the H-MED AE.
When we looked at the technologies and how to best apply them for medical, there were really two things we wanted to see. One was cleanliness and one was repeatability, MacDonald said.
The engineers studied existing Husky presses and those from competitors in the clean tunnel, he said.
At K 2010, held in November in Dusseldorf, Husky showed an H-MED AE injection molding machine with 100 tons of clamping force running medical parts on a 32-cavity mold. MacDonald said Husky already has a strong position on hot-runner systems for medical molding, which will help sales of the H-MED machine into that market.
Executives from several competing press makers at K 2010 said the all-electric Husky presses look like Toyo presses with Husky guarding and controls, but MacDonald disputed that. He said that, after comparing different all-electric machines, officials picked Toyo as a supplier of components and motion control technology.
What does Toyo supply? The drives and motors. It's subassemblies of the machines that incorporate those drives and motors. So there are some significant subassemblies of the machines that are coming from Toyo, but ultimately that's packaged into a Husky machine, MacDonald said.
MacDonald said that Husky does the final assembly, bringing the Toyo subassemblies together with Husky's mold, automation and auxiliary equipment.
They're [Toyo] making significant parts of the machine. But it really comes together as a Husky system in our operations, he said.
Husky officials decided not to develop their own all-electric technology. MacDonald pointed out that a number of suppliers provide Husky with subassemblies, saying: It comes down to the make-or-buy economics.
Husky also made K-show news in PET preform molding, by running a 32-cavity preform mold on a 230-ton H-PET AE, and launching the next generation of its high-performance package for its HyPET press, which boosts productivity and energy efficiency.
During K, an H-PET ran a 22-gram EcoBase preform for a 1-liter water bottle at an 11.8-second cycle time. MacDonald said Husky is targeting the H-PET at lower-volume molding of niche-market packaging and also customers in emerging markets.
The high-performance HyPET molded EcoBase preforms on a 96-cavity mold, on a five-second cycle. Nadeem Amin, Husky's director for PET business development, said the improvements can cut cycle time by at least 5 percent from the previous HyPET HPP cycle times, and reduce energy consumption by up to 15 percent from standard HyPET systems.
Meanwhile, Husky continues to work on technology for molding post-consumer PET material into preforms. At the 2009 Drinktec trade show in Munich, the company molded preforms with 50 percent post-consumer flake on the machine, dubbed the HyPET RF, for recycled flake.
What we're to do today, after another year of testing and development, is to take that up to 100 percent recycled flake, MacDonald said at K 2010. Several global customers have run initial trials, and the first commercially viable HyPET RF is running at a customer's plant in Europe to support a leading bottler.
Features of the machine include an extruder designed for improved processing of pellet and flake blends, two shooting pots and in-line continuous melt filtration.
So far the HyPET RF presses have been able to run recycled post-consumer flake from food-grade uses, material that has been decontaminated first, MacDonald said.
The next step in our development will be to accept flakes that have not been pre-decontaminated. It's a huge engineering challenge, so we've still got a long way to go there, MacDonald said. It's definitely one of the most ambitious engineering projects we've taken on in awhile. It's a big challenge.