Rotoline Industrial Equipment Ltda. has introduced what it says is the first rotational molding machine with a spherical oven.
The Sphere Oven SO 1.60 is the result of research within the small parts market and with it Rotoline seeks to revolutionize the rotational molding process, according to company officials with the Chapecó, Brazil-based company.
Rotational molding machines usually have doors, but the Sphere Oven SO 1.60 has vertical opening and closing that enables a more homogenous air flow, reduces heat loss and saves space, Raphaeli De Luccas, commercial director of Rotoline, said in an email.
The machine can be fully automated from weighing the material to opening, closing and feeding the molds, which has many advantages when molding small parts, De Luccas said.
"Small parts in rotational molding require more attention in their manufacture," he added. "They need very specific and precise quantities of raw material, in addition to demanding a very laborious operating process. It is necessary to accurately weigh the amount of raw material to feed the molds, in addition to the storage, transport, weighing and dosage of material, until it reaches in the molds, which need to be opened, fed and closed, all through human action."
De Luccas compared a part that needs 20 kilograms of polyethylene to one that needs 300 grams. For the larger part, there are no major problems in missing or exceeding a few grams of raw material, he said. However, when it comes to smaller parts, such as those that use around 300 grams, weighing accuracy is essential, and it can difficult when the job depends on one person to do it.
The sphere oven solves these bottlenecks, De Luccas said.
"With the new Rotoline machine, all this is done automatically, saving time, with more precision and considerably reducing material waste," he said. "In addition, the machine has a robot to feed the molds with the amount of material programmed in the recipe and uniformly distribute the raw material inside the mold, which results in parts with greater repeatability."
The Sphere Oven SO 1.60 is capable of making more parts in less time due to several factors, not just the number of parts per cycle.
"To make, for example, 1,200 parts a day, with the regular process you need three people and with this machine only one," De Luccas said. "So, the operator of the Sphere Oven SO 1.60 makes 1,200 parts a day against 400 parts a day per person on the regular process."
Another important factor is the possibility of using up to four different colors in the same recipe.
"This enables the production of the same piece with different colors and/or large-scale production of products with the same color, without the need for operator contact with the machine to carry out the exchange of raw material," De Luccas said.
He also pointed to the "great" space saving in the factory because there is no need for space for scales and raw material collection and storage.
"When evaluating at the end of the day, the time savings in moving people, collecting and weighing raw material, opening, closing and feeding the mold, is compensated by the machine working in an automated way, thus producing more," De Luccas said.
The new machine is available for visits at Rotoline USA in Kent, Ohio. To see it in operation, call Josh Partlow at 330-677-3223.