Electricity was in the air at Engel Holding GmbH's K show booth in the form of all-electric injection molding machines.
K 2010 marked the debut of the all-electric e-cap press for molding caps and closures.
Together with the e-max and the e-motion, Engel now has a complete range of fully electric machines, from standard to fast cycling, said Christian Pum, chief financial officer of the Schwertberg, Austria, firm.
Engel also offers the Ecodrive, a hybrid technology that uses both electric and hydraulic power, for its Victory and Duo models. An all-electric injection unit is combined with a smart hydraulic pump to run the platen movement, nozzle contract force and core pulls. The hydraulic pump shuts off during injection. The Ecodrive boasts energy improvements of 25-60 percent over standard hydraulics, said Engel officials.
At the K show in Dusseldorf, Engel produced 130,000 caps per hour, from a 96-cavity mold running on an e-cap machine with 420 metric tons of clamping force, on a 2.7-second cycle and Engel officials claim that cavitation level and fast cycle time are firsts for an all-electric injection press molding caps.
The machine is extremely energy-efficient, has low cooling water requirements and offers an impressive level of availability, said Walter Jungwirth, head of Engel's packaging business.
In other electric news, a rotary-cube e-motion press molded a tube, complete with a polypropylene cap. Tubes were produced in the first cycle and the cap injected in the second cycle, all in a single step. The K show press also featured an in-mold labeling system. Cycle time was 12.5 seconds.
Also, Engel molded petri dishes on an e-motion press, running an eight-by-eight cavity mold on a cycle time of less than 3.7 seconds.
The company also introduced the e-insert, an all-electric version of an Engel insert machine with a servoelectric rotary table and a fully electric injection unit. A 100-metric-ton e-insert press molded a sensor housing for electronic controls, made of glass-reinforced nylon with metal inserts.
In a K 2010 news conference, Georg Steinbichler, vice president for research and development, outlined several technology highlights for Engel at the K:
* A production cell molding a lens for light-emitting-diode lighting, on an e-Victory press with Engel's new Viper linear robot.
* An e-motion press demonstrating Engel's Clearmelt technology to back-mold ABS to a prefabricated, three-dimensional veneer layer, then overmolding that with clear layer of polyurethane. PU overmolding gives a skin for touch sensors and other tactile applications, Steinbichler said.
* The Organomelt process that makes very lightweight sheets to replace steel and aluminum sheets, for automotive applications. Steinbichler said the parts are load-bearing, like sheets in the aerospace industry. The technology includes preforming and back molding of thermoplastic sheet, heating the sheet and having a robot move the part to another station, where it gets cut by a laser, heated by infrared head and then put into a mold as an insert as Engel produced a nylon steering column structure at K.
At the news conference, President and CEO Peter Neumann said Engel is on track with its plan to double the capacity of its large-tonnage press assembly plant in Shanghai, first disclosed in June.
Our goal is to manufacture 200 large-scale machines annually in Shanghai, Neumann said. Construction will begin in February or March, he said.
Engel has been selling machinery to European and U.S. transplants, but the Austrian press manufacturer is winning business from domestic Chinese molders, Neumann said. These Chinese customers are becoming and more interested in technical molding, he said.
Neumann said Engel has 60 percent growth in the fiscal year ended March 31, over the prior year. He said the strong sales have strained capacity at some Engel plants to record levels, including its robot factory in Dietach, Austria and its press assembly plants in China and South Korea.