The American Injection Molding Institute in Erie, Pa., is offering courses about the Imflux process, the low-pressure injection molding technology from Procter & Gamble Co.
Partnering with AIM, located at Beaumont Technologies Inc.'s 40,000-square-foot facility in Erie, is an opportunity to spread knowhow about the process more broadly throughout the plastics industry, said Jodi Hammock, Imflux's director of human resources and education.
P&G formed Imflux in 2013 at its own facility in Hamilton, Ohio, a suburb of P&G's headquarters city of Cincinnati. After several years of secrecy, Imflux officials began to openly promote the technology more broadly in 2017.
Hammock said the initial efforts were to spread Imflux through P&G's supply base of molders, which she termed as "customers."
"If you look back what we've doing for the last four years, it's been only educating our customers about the technology," she said. "This will be an opportunity for the entire industry to go find out about Imflux."
Dave Hoffman, director of the AIM Institute, said interest is high. "There's been a lot of buzz about Imflux," he said.
The AIM Institute will offer two levels of courses. A two-day introductory course gives the basics. "It's for the non-user [of Imflux], giving them an idea about what Imflux is about and how it can benefit your organization," Hoffman said. Attendees will gain an understanding of Imflux control parameters, how it compares with conventional molding and examples of applications.
A four-day class in Applied Imflux Processing is geared to Imflux users, including how to set up the process on a machine and how to convert a conventional molding process to Imflux. The class is designed for process technicians, engineers and managers.
Currently, three of the 15 injection molding machines at Beaumont Technologies are equipped with Imflux, but there are plans to add more Imflux-enabled presses, said John Beaumont.
Beaumont Technologies has been working with Imflux for about five years, helping with research to refine the process, he said.
"We feel this is a technology that will become state-of-the-art," Beaumont said. "And part of what our mission is, is to educate the industry about what's going on out there — but not just the popular technology but the emerging technology."
Hoffman said students in AIM's plastics technology and engineering program will also be exposed to Imflux.
Imflux technology uses constant, low pressure and slow filling to simultaneously fill, pack and cool the mold. Imflux officials say the technology cuts cycle time and allows parts to be molded on smaller-tonnage presses. Imflux-developed software and sensors control the process.
Gene Altonen, chief technology officer at Imflux, said the AIM Institute is a good choice for an education partner.
"Our growth has been driven by constant research and improvements to our molding technology," Altonen said. "It was imperative that our training partner be well versed in not only conventional molding, but also open to understanding the benefits of Imflux and how our pressure-controlled process has the potential to transform the way our industry thinks and operates on the shop floor."