PA66 resins and chemical intermediates
The Ascend Performance Materials presented its portfolio of Vydyne PA66 products poised for launch into the automotive, cable tie, electrical and electronics, consumer and industrial, and compounding markets.
The focus was on high-productivity compounds from Ascend’s new line in Pensacola, FL that is said to combine high-flow low plate-out characteristics with tight viscosity control, targeted primarily at intricate high-volume electrical and electronic parts. Also on show were new automotive grades with enhanced thermal resistance for radiator end tanks, charge air coolers (intercoolers), fans and shrouds, under-bonnet connectors and other applications. Additionally, the company presented a new class of impact- and weather-resistant grades designed specifically for cable tie manufacturers who service the transportation, heavy equipment or industrial markets as well as an improved speciality high-viscosity grade that is intended to offer good balance of extrusion process efficiency and aesthetics that are desired in film packaging. Also compounding feedstock grades were showcased that are claimed to offer additional options in terms of viscosity, and reactivity primarily aimed at increasing flexibility around the type and concentration of additives.
In-production measurement solutions, also for multilayer products
Two of the newly-developed products by Zumbach Electronic are the LSV 1000/2000 velocimeters and the Rayex S x-ray measurement system.
The LSV 1000 and LSV 2000 Laser Surface Velocimeters measure length and speed in continuous or quasi-continuous production processes without contact. They can be used to measure on a lot of solid surfaces, including carbon steel, shiny aluminium and oily sheets. According to the company, both sensors can be easily integrated and operated in process control and cut-to-length applications. In addition, the velocimeters feature quick data feedback and reliable operation.
Zumbach‘s Rayex S x-ray measurement system has been developed for measuring on single and multilayer products such as foamed pipe, vulcanised products and hydraulic hoses. Capable of measuring up to an outside diameter of 80mm, a repeatability within ± 0.02mm can be achieved. Measured parameters include diameter, ovality, wall thickness and eccentricity. In conjunction with a processor system, an automatic control of a production line is possible. A display provides statistical process information that can be displayed either numerically or graphically.
Dynamic mould cavity and cyclic mould temperature control
Gwk’s presentation at the K fair focused on a dynamic mould cavity temperature control system with recycled CO2. The Vario temperature control system introduced is not only designed for cooling operations as low as -20°C but also for heating, up to +250°C, areas of moulding that are smaller in terms of their area, more complex and featuring thinner walls. By using gasiform CO2 any contamination of the cooling channels can be avoided. The gas used, with its good heat transfer characteristics, has been refined in a process developed by Linde, ISK and Gwk and is also capable of being recycled.
For mouldings with a large surface area, the company offers the cyclic mould temperature control systems Vario cs and Vario wh, both of which will operate with water within a temperature range of 40° to 200°C. A special feature of such systems is the arrangement of a valve unit in proximity to the valve which switches over dynamically between the heating and cooling phases. This valve requires relatively little energy. For heating up a pressure-blanketed hot water temperature control device is used and, for cooling, a temperature control device with a highly efficient heat exchanger. At the fair the process was used in demonstrations by KraussMaffei and Sumitomo Demag.
The dynamic mould cavity temperature control system, known as integrat evolution, is especially interesting in relation to mouldings incorporating demanding surface finish requirements. Rapid changes of temperature and power densities that can be metered locally are realised by combining ceramic resistance heating systems under the surface of the mould cavity and cooling channels in proximity to the cavity. There are a number of instances where this technology is already being used and, by comparison to Variotherm temperature control technology, it demonstrates a lower energy input requirement. The temperature control system integrat evolution unites the technology of the Gwk products integrat 4D, integrat 40, integrat direct and integrat process control in a single shared pedestal unit.
New control algorithm and branding
At the K 2013, TSM introduced a new control technology to their blenders and also presented their new look company brand.
The new control algorithm is said to allow a better control of performance at lower set-points and has been implemented in TSM‘s new batch and continuous blenders. It is supported by throughput measurements, which the company states can now be done in real-time. The aim of the new algorithm is to improve product accuracy, consistency and production waste reduction. It was developed in cooperation with a UK university.
The rebranding of the Irish company was introduced to reflect its expanding global presence. In addition to a new blue-white logo, the company website has also been optimised for user-friendliness and several new key managerial appointments within TSM have been set.
TSM is a global supplier of blending, auxiliary and control equipment based in Ireland with regional hub offices in the USA, Taiway and China.
PBT in hybrid and electric vehicle connectors
The newest addition to the hydrolysis resistant family of DuPont Crastin PBT resins achieves a comparative tracking index (CTI) rating of 600V for improved component safety, and adds melt stability for better processing, which often leads to lower costs. The new family — Crastin HR HFS — is also said to allow designers to make components with thinner walls and to allow processors to use newer technology as the material stays in the melt state even longer.
Crastin HR HFS is targeted for automotive electric and electronic components and for hybrid and electric vehicles to help meet the ongoing “miniaturisation” trend. The product debuted in high voltage shield connectors for battery packs and inverters.
The Crastin HR HFS family includes Crastin HR5315HFS and Crastin HR5330HFS, with 15 and 30% glass reinforcement respectively, available in natural and laser markable black. Both are impact modified with high strain-at-break values, while retaining the stiffness of a reinforced PBT. They qualify as direct drop-in solutions to replace existing Crastin HR grades in automotive connectors, electronic control units (ECUs) and fuse boxes.
High-gloss exterior posts
Among the exhibits of Styrolution were the A, B, C and D exterior posts of the Land Rover Evoque which were created with Styrolution’s speciality grade Luran HH120 SPF50. The material was chosen due to its easy flow and low material density, opening up a wider processing window resulting in a reduction in part weight and reduced scrap rates. It is also said to offer a high gloss, piano black finish without the need for paint.
Luran HH 120 SPF 50 is based on Styrolution’s family of styrene acrylonitrile copolymers (SAN) for usage in injection moulding and extrusion applications. The compound is said to offer properties like pigment and surface purity, UV stabilisation as well as good heat and scratch resistance and thus providing an alternative to polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) piano black applications.
Compounding and masterbatch production lines from Turkey
For the Turkey-based company Polimer Technics it was the first time on the K since its founding seven years ago. The company is both designer and manufacturer of full compounding and master batch production lines, including for sheets. Its main customers are located in Turkey, but some of the ca. 200 turnkey production lines already sold were exported to Russia, Azerbaijan, Italy and Iran.
Having made several new contacts in the EU, US, India and Russia, the company reports a good response to their first K presentation, which they set up in order to grow. Sales Engineer Hasan Ülker states that Polimer Technics‘ strength is the strong technical design and its close contact with the customer.
Carbon Black made from old tyres, bulk goods conveying by cable car, container tipping station
The items showcased by Zeppelin at K, in collaboration with its partners, included a line for reclaiming Carbon Black from old tyres, a solution based on a cable car for conveying bulk goods over long distances as well as a container tipping station.
In conjunction with Pyrolx, Zeppelin has developed the first closed circuit system in which Carbon Black, the main component of tyres, can be reclaimed from old tyres, in addition to oil and gas. In order to do this, organic compounds are dissolved in vulcanised rubber granulate at high temperatures, whilst excluding oxygen. According to Zeppelin, the Carbon Black reclaimed in this way is of a high quality that offers a good basis for the manufacture of new tyres. A pilot plant has already been established in Holland; currently they are pressing ahead with planning and implementation work for the construction of their first commercial plant.
In order to be able to transport polymers over a distance of 20km, Zeppelin has, together with the cable car manufacturer Doppelmayr, developed the concept “Rope-Tec” for conveying bulk materials. In this, bulk materials containers developed by Zeppelin are transported by means of a cable car from the production plant to the logistics centre. This offers a cost advantage by comparison to transport operations using a container and an HGV as well as being an option that is easier to achieve over such a large distance than pneumatic or hydraulic solutions. The concept promises better planning reliability as a result of uniform conveying speed, only a slight chance of cross-contamination, low noise emission and gentle product handling.
The container tip station or “Container Station Tilting Unit (CTU)” from Zeppelin takes care of the complete emptying and filling process for the 20‘, 30‘ and 40‘ ISO containers that are increasingly being used for bulk materials. The station can be used for HGVs with different heights and widths and offers a cost advantage due to its rapid container emptying facility. The line has already been installed in five locations in Venezuela.
Hand extruder and plastics machining with hot air and laser
Leister Technologies is part of the Leister Group of companies. Based in Switzerland, where its principle manufacturing activities are located, the company’s product portfolio for professional applications comprises equipment for machining plastic with hot air, hot wedge and laser technology as well as hand extruders. At K the Swiss presented, among other things, the new “Weldplast S1” hand extruder, two hot air blowers from the “Mistral” series as well as the “Novolas TTS” laser welding line.
The Leister “Weldplast S1” extruder is designed for welding plate thicknesses ranging from 4 to 12mm, using typical plastics such as PE, PP and PVC among others. The device incorporates a throughput of up to 1.15kg/h. The wire intake operation on both sides twist-free for wires of between 3 and 4mm diameter. LED lights are located on the working head and these improve the view of the welding process when it is dark.
The hot air blowers “Mistral Premium 6” and “Mistral System” incorporate a brush-free fan motor which is, thanks to its good maintenance characteristics, suitable for continuous operation. Control of the “Mistral System“ fan may be via an operating console on the device or by means of an external system interface. The “Mistral” devices can handle any quantity of air to up to 400l/min.
In the new laser welding line “Novolas TTS” the laser unit is separate from the welding cell. The advantage is that the cell ca be placed on a table while the laser unit is set up close by. The system is designed for contour welding; operation is by using a further development of the Leister “Human Machine Interface (HMI)”.
Strand pelletisers, laboratory extruders and micro-dispensers
Coperion presented numerous new developments and product improvements, amongst which were two heavy duty strand pelletisers, a laboratory extruder as well as a micro-dispenser.
The nine strand pelletisers “SP 500 HD“ and “SP 700 HD“ in series “HD“ (Heavy Duty) from Coperion Pelletising Technology are robust in structure and are designed for heavy loads. This makes them in particular highly suitable for granulating plastics with a high content of reinforcing agents such as, for example, glass fibres. Because they operate with relatively high throughput rates of up to 6,300kg/h, they have an inlet section that is protected against wear. The two strand pelletisers are specifically developed for use with the company’s own twin screw extruders and can be integrated into the controls on these machines.
The new Coperion laboratory extruder “ZSK 26 Mc18“ with a 26mm screw diameter can be used for compound formulation developments or the production of small amounts of compounds up to 180kg/h. In terms of its structure it is clearly laid out, simple to use and easy to clean. By comparison to its predecessor model, it offers an increased torque of 15Nm/cm3, which leads to increased throughput. The extruder can be retrofitted to give a machine a greater amount of free volume so that even voluminous products with a high torque requirement can be processed. The extruder is controlled by means of the new “CSpro” control system.
The new micro-dispenser from Coperion K-Tron is designed for dispensing operations from 0.02 to 27dm3/h. If features interchangeable 12mm and 16mm twin and single screw dispensing modules. Due to the associated tight tolerance output dimensions it is well suited for precision dispensing of high quality additives in plastics processing procedures.
Integrated line for food and non-food applications
An IML Competence collaboration demonstrated the possibilities of a high-performance system for IML technology (In-Mould Labelling).The collaboration provided information on simplified operation, QA measures and documentation options for IML in food and non-food applications. The presentation showcased the entire IML range as a reference manufacturing cell.
Glaroform, Näfels, Switzerland showed a fast running injection mould with two cavities for a round-oval 500ml food container. The mould has an on-site hot runner system with pneumatically operated needle valves. The moulded part is decorated with IML on the sides. The mould is equipped with a form-fitting and highly efficient cooling system, in order to guarantee a very fast cycle time with reproducible product quality. Form-fitting cooling also effectively reduces warping of the part. In order to ensure a long service life, the mould is manufactured using the latest surface coating processes. The thin-walled product has an average wall-thickness of 0.4mm and a weight per unit of approximately 11g.
Beck Automation added a dynamic automated IML system to the manufacturing cell. The application cycle time is said to be less than 3.0s. Beck’s system is equipped with the latest in control and drive technology and is operated via touch screen. An integrated remote access provides the option to log into the system from outside in order to provide customer assistance when required. A camera inspection system from Omron is used for quality control of the manufactured containers. Any parts determined to be flawed are rejected by the Q-Sort Line after inspection, and collected in a NOK parts box. The good products are then stacked and removed from the system via a conveyor belt. The Q-Sort Line can be retrofitted and existing plants can be upgraded with this QA module.
Ernst H. Furrer is supporting the application with temperature-controlled cooling water using its newest cooler technology. “Free cooling” can be deployed optionally. This means that cooling is achieved with cold outside air, as long as the difference is sufficient to permit the desired medium temperature. The use of compressors is unnecessary in this phase, enabling power cost savings of up to 60%.
Viappiani Printing produced labels for this exhibit based on a 60µ EUP orange peel film made by Treofan. The container’s round-oval shape requires labels to be stamped with precision and to guarantee the fast cycle time with a good electrostatic charge. Viappiani can print IML labels with up to eight colours including lacquer coating.
BFA Solutions presented the production data capture for a closed cell (MDE) in packaging for IML Competence. The product information system PiSolutions jointly captures, displays and chronologically logs the process data, data sets, orders, error messages and status information. In the case of the exhibited application, the injection moulding machine data was recorded by the machine’s standardised Euromap 63 interface and combined with the automation data received from an OPC interface. This data was then stored and visualised in a central database.
Melt at its best behaviour
Fanuc Robomachine Deutschland exhibited three of its electric Roboshot injection moulding machines which are aimed at high-end applications and low energy consumption. To achieve this, the Roboshot machines are equipped with energy recovery control, torque dependent dosing control, PMC 2 and 3, as well as with the specific backflow monitor and with efficient AI mould protection.
With a Fanuc Roboshot S-2000i-100B (1000kN clamping force) PP closure caps for syringes were produced at the K show using a specific 48-cavity medical device mould. Parts are removed by a linear robot, which was specially developed for medical applications by company Hekuma, with a positioning accuracy of 0.01mm. With a shot weight of 32g PP, the Fanuc injection moulding machines achieves a cycle time of maximum 8.1s.
Close cooperation with Otto Männer has resulted in a solution for two-component applications in small and micro volumes. The Roboshot S-2000i-150B has been modified with an integrated rotary drive and a flexible attachment option. It has therefore been equipped with a so-called “Duo-Män” bolt-on unit as second injection system. The fully electric “Duo-Män” injection unit is mounted directly to the mould half of the nozzle side. Using the eight-cavity 2K mould provided by Schneider two-colour felt-tip pen caps are produced in PP (16.5g per component, 17s cycle) and deposited by a handling unit.
Filigree functional parts with many complex geometries, as produced in large quantities in the electric and electronic industries, require maximum precision when it comes to surface finish, contour accuracy, weight and reproducibility. Here, Fanuc can provide a complex mould for the manufacture of connectors. With a shot weight of 22g four functional components in PBT are produced simultaneously in a cycle time of 12s. Part removal is handled by a three-axes linear robot, equipped with servo drives and control, by systems partner Hi Tech Automation.
Hekuma’s new needle hubs for insulin pens claim improved production speed and precision. Disposable needle hubs for insulin pens are equipped with a thread and a short cylindrical sleeve for the injection needle. Designed to be single-shot, they are screwed together for injection then removed and discarded. Self-injecting diabetics usually need several hubs per day; with around six million diabetics in Germany alone, annual consumption is in the billions. As all-plastic products, material costs are low and the more that can be produced within a given timeframe, the more cost-effective production becomes – so long as quality is consistently high and reliable.
Hekuma, the Bavarian systems manufacturer, mould manufacturer Braunform and Engel, the Austrian injection moulding machine manufacturer, have jointly developed a system that is claimed to accelerate needle hub production by up to 20%, to improve quality and increase machine availability. Hekuma’s contribution to the system is process automation; removing the needle hubs from the mould, along with the control and delivery of the products. It provides the take-out robot, with a side-entry linear robot (Heku DS) and gripper, as well as the quality control camera, transfer and bag storage. The take-out robot is equipped with an EOAT that handles 96 parts, instead of 16, and accelerates at up to 16g.
In the first step, the integrated vacuum system sucks the parts from the mould into the gripper’s fixtures. Light beams monitor when the respective spaces are clear, which activates gripper withdrawal and subsequent mould closure.
An integrated camera monitors product quality; pins that have been damaged during manufacture are automatically rejected. The system’s cavity-specific handling enables it to produce different parts within the same cycle provided they have similar properties, such as the same shot weight. The system presented at the K trade fair simultaneously produced needle hubs with holes of 0.5 and 0.3mm.
Lab-scale granulation and screen changers
Austrian company Econ is a manufacturer of extrusion peripherals, especially underwater pelletising systems, pellet dryers, screen changing system and pyrolysis furnaces for cleaning of extrusion dies and filters.
The company became known for its specific pelletising system with the technology of thermal separation. It is available in several sizes with transfer rates of up to 6,500kg/h. The granulator is also capable of processing sensitive materials beyond standard plastics, such as polyamides, LCP, as well as elastomeric materials such as TPE or TPU, and all types of granules. Thermally sensitive colour compounds can be processed. As an example of a granulation system in industrial scale, the company was presenting a complete EUP 150 production line offering a production capacity of 100 to 350kg/h and consisting of a Leistritz twin screw extruder, the EUP 150 granulator and a EWT 250 water treatment unit including the pellet dryer. The material processed will be a thermally conductive boron nitride / LDPE-compound.
The company was also introducing its new laboratory version of the underwater pelletising system, the model EUP 10 for throughputs of 1 to 15kg/h.
After a complete design revision, a new screen changer range was unveiled to the public. Main distinctive feature is a patent-pending seal technology, which offers advantages especially for low-viscosity plastic melts (PA, PET). At the same time the potential for blockages with highly viscous materials, such as PC or highly filled compounds, or polymers, which tend to thermally degrade, leading to deposits in the extrusion system can be reduced. Another feature is the high proportion of the free-flow area of the screen: 75% are permanently open for the melt stream, while 25% are backwashed due to a new screen assembly. Two meshes are located next to one another in each of the two displacement piston units. This design allows a more direct melt flow in the melt channels. The melt flow without large deflections and dead spots allows for faster product or colour changes. The new-generation screen changers will be analogous to the previous series “ESK B” available in seven sizes for flow rates up to 2,700kg/h.
Screen changer for extrusion applications
Applying additional layers with two or more extruders on a base material to obtain specific properties is a demanding task for the operator. The relative speeds and throughputs of the individual extruders have to be adjusted to control the different layer thicknesses. In addition, multiple heating zones, filter monitoring or additional drives have to be controlled. To address this situation, Maag Pump Systems showcased its new Maax 400S, an automation solution targeted at co-extrusion lines to join the company’s existing Maax 100S and 600S models.
With the new control an integrated temperature control of all system components is possible, line start and stop procedures are kept simple and procedures can be saved in parameter lists to increase productivity. The controller is based on the latest Siemens Simatic HMI series, a high-resolution 16 million colour widescreen touch panel display. The latter is now also used as a basis for Maag’s entry level Maax 100S and 600S control systems, as well as Maag’s Expac extrusion solution.
Maag Filtration also showcased a screen changer for extrusion applications. The new line adapts the patented design of Maag’s large-area polymer screen changer to the special needs and filter requirements of the extrusion industry. Dueto the new shape of the