Imflux Inc., the Procter & Gamble Co. subsidiary that developed low-pressure injection molding technology, is showing how machine builders are using its hardware and software in an online series of demonstrations starting with the world's largest machinery maker, Absolute Haitian.
Hamilton, Ohio-based Imflux and Worcester, Mass.-based Absolute Haitian Corp. have common customers, have been working together since 2017 and recently signed a distribution agreement.
Haitian will integrate Imflux processing software as an option on its servo-hydraulic and Zhafir electric injection molding machines sold in the U.S. and Canada.
The collaboration gives conventional molders access to a platform that optimizes processes, goes beyond their proprietary technology, and will allow them to take on more projects, according to Mike Ortolano, an owner and the chief technology officer at Absolute Haitian Corp.
Absolute Haitian is an exclusive distributor for Haitian International Holdings Ltd. of Ningbo, China, and both companies have been taking on more work. The global press builder had a record year in 2020 and sold more than 43,000 injection molding machines. Sales increased more than 20 percent to $1.8 billion with exports contributing $537.5 million.
The partnership with Imflux expands the capabilities of Haitian machines, Ortolano said.
For example, processors can run more sustainable materials, such as post-consumer resin (PCR), on Haitian and Zhafir molding machines with less energy, wear and waste, according to company officials.
"The technology is very interesting to us. We feel it gives processing opportunities, it goes outside the box of conventional processing utilizing the low and constant pressure platform that automatically recognizes changing conditions and adapts in real time," Ortolano said during a May 25 webinar and live demonstration, or "deminar," as the Imflux marketing team called it.
"The Imflux platform simplifies process controls," Ortolano continued, "particularly in certain areas like using wide-spec material, which is typical now with people struggling to find resin. They're having to look at sustainable resins, more recycled materials and those sorts of things."
The demonstration featured a 618-ton Haitian Jupiter III two-platen, servo-hydraulic press with Imflux technology. The JU5500 III ran a four-cavity housewares mold — two bowls, four spoons and a lid — made from recycled polypropylene in a machine cell with a Hilectro servo robot and Fanuc collaborative robot.
Demonstration viewers could input their addresses to receive samples of the housewares to examine up close, similar to trade show giveaways.
"What we enjoy about Imflux is the precise control of the melt flow front," Ortolano said. "That gives us the ability to pack thin walls at lower speeds and pressures compared to conventional processing techniques."
The Imflux system is suitable for all Haitian markets from medical to automotive, but the machine builders expect the first adopters to be molders running wide-spec regrind materials. Imflux allows for wider viscosity shifts in materials, including greater amounts of recycled material, while improving throughput, according to officials from the two companies.