KraussMaffei Corp. highlighted packaging and medical molding at NPE2012.
The company debuted a packaging application for the high-speed version of its two-platen press, an MX with 650 tons of clamping force molding large, screw-on polypropylene closures on a 48-cavity mold. The machinery maker also demonstrated in-mold assembly of three-part closures on a SpinForm press. And an all-electric EX press molded drink cups in a three-second cycle.
President Paul Caprio said closures and packaging have been among the company's strongest markets in North America, measured by installed customer base and year-over-year growth.
Companies “need more than a general-purpose machine; they need faster cycles,” Caprio said. “They need a larger injection rate.”
KM makes injection presses; extruders for pipe, profile and compounding; and polyurethane processing machinery. The company showed off two processes to make a complex part — the SkinForm process molding a center console for a car on a hybrid CX injection molding machine, with an overmolded PU skin.
In extrusion, KraussMaffei also showed internal pipe cooling for pipe, and other machinery.
KraussMaffei Corp. is the U.S. unit of Munich-based KraussMaffei AG.
KraussMaffei AG generated record order income of 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) for fiscal 2010-2011, ended Sept. 30. That topped the old record of 1.05 billion euros in the pre-recessionary year of 2007-08.
Caprio said North American business remains strong this year.
“From my perspective, the U.S. has not really slowed down at all,” Caprio said. “Certainly for North America, we expect better results this year than last year. It's a very good time for NPE.”
Caprio said demand “still feels very healthy, from a business standpoint.”
“There's no question about it,” he said.
For KraussMaffei extrusion, the depressed U.S. housing market has hurt demand for vinyl siding and windows. Excess extrusion capacity makes it difficult to sell new extruders for those products, he said.
“The good news is that the pipes needed for oil, gas and water are growing dramatically. So for the extrusion business, it just seems to have switched over from housing to infrastructure. That offsets the downside of the housing market itself,” Caprio said.
KraussMaffei Berstorff, which makes compounding extruders and equipment for the rubber and tire industries, “remains in a sold-out position,” he said.
Caprio said KM's injection molding machine business is well-placed in solid market segments.
“In North America, automotive is still very hot, without question. The packaging and medical market are always very stable growth engines. Even in the downturns, those markets continue to invest,” he said.
Here is a closer look at KM's NPE offerings:
* The 650-ton MX, which is beefy enough to hold a very heavy, 48-cavity closure mold while maintaining a high-level of platen parallelism and uniform clamping-force distribution. The high-performance injection unit gives high-precision molding even at injection speeds up to 700 millimeters per second, the company said.
* A 200-ton CX SpinForm press with a TIM (total integrated manufacturing) stack mold. “The lightweight, three-part, push-pull closures made of PP are created with innovative cube technology and integrated assembly and exit the machine ready for use,” said Karlheinz Bourdon, managing director of KraussMaffei Technologies, in a news release. Zahoransky Formenbau GmbH of Freiburg, Germany, built the mold.
The twin-platen design allows easy access to the mold and provides a lot of space for the integrated assembly stations. Bourdon said the press has a BluePower servo-driven hydraulic pump drive for energy efficiency. Servoelectric motors take over the movement of the reversing plate in the opening direction, and the rotation, resulting in absolutely accurate positioning, according to Bourden.
* A fast-cycling, 160-ton EX all-electric press, which molded thin-wall drink cups removed by an SR 80 side-removal robot. The robot's controller is completely integrated into the MC5 controller on the injection press. An optional CleanForm GMP package transfers the molded parts immediately into sterile packaging. “It's capable of fast cycles and is extremely clean,” Caprio said.
* The SkinForm work cell, which ran an automotive console on a 200-ton CX hybrid press. The two-platen press has a fully electric injection unit. KM is using a new foamed aliphatic PU material that the company said combines excellent ultraviolet-light resistance and soft-touch feel.
The injection press molded the carrier part. Then a RimStar PU mixing and metering station overmolded the soft cover.
“Typically this is done in two steps. Here, we're showing that in one production cell — one step, one mold,” Caprio said. “We're combining processes to reduce scrap and doing just-in-time production.”
Caprio said NPE2012 marked the U.S. introduction of the two-in-one process. “It's early in the introduction phase here. The production cells that we have sold are in Europe,” he said. KM has a partnership with Warren, Mich., mold maker Proper Group International Inc. to design and build SkinForm tooling.
* Medical molding was represented by two-component presses. An 80-ton CX press with an add-on vertical injection unit molded syringe pistons with a soft seal, displayed by Boucherie USA Inc. of Knoxville, Tenn., the Americas representative of machinery and mold maker G.B. Boucherie NV of Izegem, Belgium. At KM's booth, a 250-ton CX press with an MGS vertical injection unit made two-component ear tags for animals.
Turning to extrusion, KraussMaffei Berstorff:
* Showed the twin-screw ZE 60 A UTX compounding extruder outfitted with EasyClean, which reduces cleaning time. The modular design allows it to be shipped in an international shipping container. “Customers are very interested in the idea that, if they're going to be in a low-cost country where they don't have the engineering capacity to put a compounding line in operation, this is a good solution,” Caprio said.
* Said the internal pipe cooling (IPC) technology shortens the cooling section by up to 40 percent because it uses ambient air to cool the pipe from the inside, in addition to traditional external cooling. That significantly cuts power consumption, the company said.
* Showed a single-screw extruder, KME 125-36, for running polyolefin pipe.
* Exhibited a KMD 63 K/P model, a conical twin-screw extruder for pipe and profiles.