Orlando, Fla. — The demand for miniaturization, particularly in the medical and electronic device sectors, has prompted MHS-Mold Hotrunner Solutions Inc. to release its next-generation M3 microinjection molding machine.
The product, along with the new line of cooling-free, zero-maintenance valve gate actuators, was on display at NPE2018.
Georgetown, Ontario-based MHS expanded its product range for high injection molding solutions with its new M3, Model M-3-D08. It is the only dedicated microinjection molding machine capable of producing small, direct-gated plastic parts on a large scale.
Its electropneumatic molding cell delivers both high-volume and low-volume production capabilities to industries that require extreme precision, quality, speed and flexibility, the company said.
"We believe micromolding plays a critical part in the future of plastics production, and that now is the time for a big leap forward," said Harald Schmidt, president of MHS.
Schmidt said his company wants to take microinjection from a niche enterprise to the mainstream.
"The M3 makes it easy for OEMs and molders to get into the game," he said. "Injection molding precision plastic parts has never been this easy, efficient or profitable."
The features of the M3 include:
• High-quality, direct-gated parts without wasted cold runner material or secondary processes.
• Faster cycle times for small parts, ranging from 0.0001-0.400 grams, generally ranging from four to five seconds, depending on the part.
• Extremely high production outputs of up to 60 million direct-gated plastic parts per year.
• Fast, cost-effective prototype molding and low-volume molding.
• Ability to produce two different part designs with each shot, each with different part weights.
• ISOKOR injection technology, which reduces melt residence time and protects resin morphology.
• Portable, easy to move with leveling castors.
• Integrated automation with standard touchless parts and takeout.
• User-friendly machine controls with a large touch-screen interface and secure cloud access.
• Clean room friendly.
According to the company, the latest iteration of M3 --- the first version was first introduced in 2013 --- offers all the advantages of direct valve gate runner technology. Part quality, cycle times and scrap material waste are all improved compared with cold runner technology, MHS said, providing substantial savings when molding costlier plastics such as polyetheretherketone (PEEK) or bioabsorbables.
Using conventional cold runner micromolding, MHS said it is common for the weight of the runner to be several times greater than the weight of the part produced. This new machine can direct gate parts as small as .000 grams with a fine gate diameter of 0.5 millimeters (0.197 inches).
The high-pressure ISOKOR injection process, MHS said, improves the quality and consistency of each part. Since the machine uses a lower melt residence time than conventional machines, plastic degradation, a challenge in micromolding, is eliminated.
The M3 prevents a molder from having to monitor the material since only a minuscule amount of plastic is moved through the system.
"We want everyone to start thinking small," Schmidt said. "It can be made with plastics, at this scale and speed, and direct gated, there are so many advantages and possibilities."
The M3, however, is not restricted to microparts. The company said it has enough clamp force and shot volume to produce larger small parts, as well as it has the ability to expand the number of parts produced on one machine.
MHS used NPE2018 to introduce its latest line of cooling-free, zero-maintenance valve gate actuators that cover a wide range of injection molding applications.
MHS said the line features internally actuated Rheo-Pro IVG nozzles and manifold mounted black box cylinders for what the company calls a "bulletproof" performance to plastic part applications of every size for various industries.
The products are built entirely without O-rings or lubricant, so that practically no amount of heat or force can wear them out, even at temperatures of 850° F. With no O-rings or lubricants, the pistons require very little maintenance over the life of a mold, which the company said is an advantage over other pneumatic, hydraulic or electric shut-off actuators, including those without high-temperature materials.
"Valve gating is still very much a growth market as manufacturers around the world move to automated and more efficient injection molding production," Schmidt said. "We feel we now have the most reliable and user-friendly hot runner systems in the world, and we plan to disrupt that space."