MUNICH, GERMANY (May 16, 1:50 p.m. ET) — KraussMaffei AG lifted the veil on the new GX two-platen hydraulic injection molding machine series on May 15 in Munich.
The company is planning worldwide production of the machines, in Germany, the United States and China.
Six tonnages are available, ranging from 400-650 metric tons of clamping force. Although 400 guests, of whom around two-thirds from Germany, had their first glimpse of the GX at the May 15 customer event at the company's headquarters, the machine series has been secretly under evaluation since October at two German molders, Coko-Werk GmbH & Co. KG and WAFA Kunststofftechnik GmbH.
Both companies presented their experiences with the GX at the launch day event.
By the end of the event, a “sold” sticker appeared on a GX 450-3000 machine that had been demonstrating toothpaste tube shoulder manufacturing with in a mold from closure producer Kutterer-Mauer AG.
Frank Peters, KM's vice president sales, told European Plastics News that all six GX demonstration machines at the launch had sold during the day. He would not identify the buyers.
Other GX molding demonstrations included a Miele appliance fan cover, a Simbie-Dickie consumer product, a collapsible Schoeller Arca Systems crate and a fixed crate in a Mundmold mold.
The GX machines features a modular design, not only to provide customers with a choice of four different injection and clamp units and either hydraulic or electric drive plasticizing screw options, but also to make the machine more suitable for worldwide production.
Karlheinz Bourdon, KM's vice-president technologies, said GX uses all possible energy-saving elements from KM's Blue Power solutions.
Georg Holzinger, KM's technical development manager, showed charts comparing energy consumption of CX and GX machines and a competitor's nearest equivalent, molding a high density polyethylene part weighing 780 grams with 40 seconds cycle time.
The standard GX consumed 21 percent less energy than the competitor's equivalent machine, while a GX fitted with an electric drive plasticizing screw and KM's Blue Power servo-drive hydraulic system optimization consumed 12 percent less power.
A major contribution to energy saving is the result of the first-ever use of the new 32 series variable capacity pumps from Bosch Rexroth AG, but items such as shorter oil lines also helped.
The GX has a similar footprint to the existing CX machines, which will continue to be offered. Bourdon told European Plastics News that while length is “practically the same” as the CX, the GX is around 150 mm wider, due to the higher complexity and improved access to the mold area with mold heating interfaces located on the operator side.
Specific features of the GX include GearX, GuideX, click-closing pump area panels and a clamp unit that enables fast 2.3 seconds dry cycle time.
The GearX locking unit is characterized by fast operation within less than 0.4 seconds. The “shoe” of the GuideX guide rail system ensures enhanced mechanical stability, with high stiffness ensuring high platen parallelism by preventing tilting of the movable platen, yet providing flexibility for precise and distortion-free low-wear linear guidance during mold closing.
Daniel Ammer of KraussMaffei said the low maintenance roller bearing design GuideX system has 80 percent lower friction than conventional guiding systems. This was demonstrated by KM trainees being called upon to move a platen by hand.
KM demonstrated the implications of this on surface quality by molding a high-gloss acrylic piano black automotive cladding part.
Also launched with the GX machine was the new “two clicks to the aim” MC6 touch screen based control system, designed for use with first-time full two-way integration via programming and operation via KM-ProgTech and WizardX software with KM linear robots or KM-customized multiaxial robots, based on suppliers such as Kuka and available with a hand-held control option.
Said by KM to be the largest ever touch screen control unit for injection molding machines, the MC6 includes a number of new features over the earlier MC5 design. These include scalable split-screens, KM's own “ProcessDesigner” and “Visu” display software, wiping functions that can be made while wearing gloves and an Eco button to accept, modify or manually reset processing parameters based on monitoring of 5-20 previous cycles for optimal energy consumption.
Holzinger said the MC6 presently uses plasticizing screw speed, clamping force and “performance package” parameters for energy optimization, but that other processing parameters will be added in future.
Bourdon summarized the status of the GX by saying “we have been discussing the ideas of a self-adjusting injection molding machine for years – now we have at least done it with energy.”
Bourdon said KM will set up production of the GX in both China and the United States, supplementing production in Munich.
The company had disclosed at Chinaplas that KM has started to make larger MX series injection presses at its Haiyan, China, plant, which is being expanded. That plant had previously specialized in extrusion and reaction processing equipment.
GX presses made in China will use local sourced large metal castings, but the injection units and plasticizing screws will remain sourced from Germany.
U.S. production of the GX will follow at an as yet unspecified later date, he said.