KraussMaffei AG lifted the veil on the new GX two-platen hydraulic injection molding machine series 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. About 400 guests — approximately two-thirds from Germany — got 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 day, a “sold” sticker appeared on a CX 450-3000 machine that had been molding toothpaste tube shoulders in a mold from closure producer Kutterer Mauer AG.
Frank Peters, KM's vice president of sales, said that all six CX demonstration machines at the launch had sold during the day, though he would not identify the buyers.
The CX machines feature 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 of technologies, said GX uses all possible energy-saving elements from KM's BluePower 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 1.7 pounds with a 40-second 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 BluePower servo-drive hydraulic system optimization consumed 12 percent less power than an equivalent competitor's [optimized] machine.
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, while 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 said that while length is “practically the same” as the CX, the GX is around 6 inches (150 millimeters) 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 a fast 2.3-second dry-cycle time.
The GearX locking unit is characterized by fast operation within less than 0.4 second. 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. That 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. KM said the system allows both machine and automation to be controlled on any control panel, even by beginners, using KM-ProgTech programming and WizardX software with KM linear robots or KM-customized multiaxial robots from suppliers like Kuka AG. It's available with a hand-held control option.
Said by KM to be the largest-ever touch-screen control unit for injection presses, the MC6 includes a number of new features over the earlier MC5 design.
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.
KM had disclosed at Chinaplas last month in Shanghai that it has started to make larger MX series presses at its Haiyan, China, plant, which is being expanded. That plant had previously specialized in extrusion and reaction injection molding equipment.
GX presses ma de 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.