For Elmet Elastomere, K 2022 represents a chance to showcase its long-standing business partnerships and new liquid silicone manufacturing components, as well as a production cell for beverage lids that highlights both.
Elmet, of Oftering, Austria, is a supplier of processing equipment for liquid silicone and production of LSR parts.
Partners in the production cell—which includes Elmet's flagship Smartshot E and Smartmix Top 7000 dosing system (an upgrade from the company's Top 5000 dosing unit)—include Sumitomo Demag (injection molding machine), Shin-Etsu (silicone supplier), SimpaTec and Mettler Toledo.
"Elmet has been a leader in these fields for more than 25 years," said Bob Pelletier, sales manager, dosing systems in the U.S. for Elmet. "One of biggest challenge customers face is dealing with a supplier that has knowledge, vs. one who does not.
"It is very important to deal with a supplier with experience with materials. And there are nuances to silicone that are very specific. It is very important to find a tool maker for LSR that can do this, and do it well."
The production system being presented at K 2022 manufactures four separately sized lids for the food and beverage business, intended to retrofit beverage cans after they have been opened to keep contents fresh.
The precise accuracy and stability of the injection process is made possible by a weighing cell, and a laser marks the finished lids to ensure traceability.
"The Top 7000 (dosing system) is new for us and a step forward from the Top 5000," Pelletier said. "They are automated systems. You load the buckets and the switch detects when the follower plate reaches the bottom of the bucket, and the system takes over. This takes potential errors away—the lid for 'A' won't fit on 'B,' and vice versa—and improves potential contamination issues."
And this, in turn, eliminates the dreaded down time for processors. There is less volume to change with the drums (as the follower plate reaches almost to the bottom, using up to 99.6 percent of silicone material) and there is less to clean up.