Although a number of LSR molders and an LSR material supplier say in-house mold making is crucial to success in automatically molding flash-free parts, Sei Woo Hi-Tech Polymer GmbH in Holzhausen, Austria, is a notable exception.
Sei Woo decided to work closely with mold maker ACH Solutions GmbH Hefner Moulds in Fischlham, Austria, located around 60 miles west, near the border with the state of Bavaria in Germany.
ACH Solutions Hefner claims to be one of the world's leading engineering companies for tooling and production equipment for processing of silicone rubber and other multicomponent tools. ACH has demonstrated LSR technology at a number of injection molding machinery company open houses and trade fair booths.
"The greatest genius in the silicone sector, not [just] because I work with him, is [Christian] Hefner as founder of ACH Solution. He is well ahead of others, that is certain," said Peter Lehmann, managing director of Sei Woo Hi-Tech Polymer.
Lehmann, a former Starlim employee, explained: "We just produce LSR parts for customers, as we are too small to do our own toolmaking, as we only need five, six or eight new tools per year."
LSR World visited Sei Woo in its new building, several kilometers away from its previous site, so new that a Sei Woo street sign was still showing the wrong direction. This frustrated Lehmann, who has tried for months to get the sign changed. The council told Lehmann he had no authority to change the sign himself.
Sei Woo runs 14 Engel injection molding machines in its machine park, along with three Fanuc Roboshot machines. Lehmann said tests have started on the Fanuc machines, rebuilding by Nexus Automation GmbH in Schörfling/Attersee, Austria, for LSR. Among various turnkey plastics processing solutions, Nexus will show an LSR one on the Fanuc booth at Fakuma 2017.
Lehmann justified including Fanuc machines in the machine park by saying, "Although I have had a lot of positive experience with Engel machines and the Sei Woo group head in Singapore is an Engel fan, one shouldn't go through the world with blinkered eyes. We tried some years ago to convert a Fanuc machine for LSR, but it wasn't the right time or just too soon. But the experience that we gained is that the Fanuc machines work with incredibly high precision and reproducibility."
Sei Woo Hi-Tech Polymer was founded in 2000, when it started molding solely for its parent company, Singapore-headquartered Sei Woo Polymer Technologies Pte Ltd., a rubber parts producer, established in 1962 by the group's head, Low Yoon Keong.
The group has production plants in Austria (Sei Woo in Holzhausen), China, Malaysia and Thailand — the company having moved production away from Singapore when it became too expensive.