TecPart Award for Innovation 2013

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It has been a tradition on the first day of the fair for Michael Weigelt, Managing Director of TecPart-Association of Technical Plastic Products e.V., to award the coveted “K” to the winners of the Award for Innovation. Prizes were awarded to eight plastics processors in respect of ten engineering components considered to be innovative, constructive, engineering design solutions also suitable for use with plastics.

Michael Weigelt (left), Managing Director of TecPart-Association of Technical Plastic Products e.V., awarded the coveted “K” to the winners of the Award for Innovation during K 2013 (photos: TecPart)

Drinkclean drinking bottle

Material: PP-TPE in composite construction

Production process: two-component injection moulding

Manufacturer: Adoma, Wangen, Germany

Without any additional cover for the mouthpiece, this new type of bottle closure complete with toggle joint prevents any contamination of drink nipple or beverage (including under extreme conditions). The two-component closure has been designed to incorporate three functions: a guideway for the medium, a sealing function and a place to store the drink nipple and keep it clean while it is not in use. The mouthpiece on the bottle incorporates the hard component which, in addition to the media guideway, also doubles as a storage facility for the drink nipple. Following the transfer process in the same mould, the soft component (TPE) is applied using the injection moulding process to give guaranteed impermeability. Coordinating the materials one with the other as well as ensuring the coordination between geometry and shrinkage behaviour was the biggest challenge encountered in this project.  

Rollbar in real aluminium, back injection moulded with plastic

Material: PC+ABS GF20, aluminium suitable for anodising, Bayblend T88-4N black

Manufacturing process: black injection moulding of preformed metal components

Manufacturer: BBP Kunststoffwerk Marbach, Marbach, Germany

For the high quality roll bar cladding, it was essential that the special shape should be created taking into account the visual  requirements of a Class A component, whilst maintaining a low overall weight and the metallic “cool touch” effect plus meeting the requirements applicable to an external component. In addition, there is only a small amount of space available for clipping on the cladding; this is so that there is plenty of installation space available for the actual roll bar carrier. The sandwich construction creates stability and ensures minimum wall thickness in the aluminium (60% less weight) whilst maintaining a high level of rigidity. In addition, it eliminates the need to allow time for the two components to bond together. In the production process a pre-formed aluminium tube component is placed in the injection mould. When the plastic is injected the component is finish-moulded in the mould and the locking catches are injection moulded-on simultaneously in a single pass.

Housing for a dialysis machine

Material:  PS-UL

Manufacturing process: thermoplastic foam injection moulding; Cu lacquering, lacquering

Manufacturer: Fried Kunststofftechnik, Urbach, Germany

The 120cm tall housing is characterised by complex geometry. Ventilation slots, screw threads, holes, ribs, cable ducts, openings and drawer inserts all call for a high level of accuracy of fit as well as dimensional accuracy. The thermoplastic foam injection moulding technique used for the production of the housing is ssaid to offer practically unlimited design potential for the deployment of flexible wall thicknesses in a creative way and for ensuring the required rigidity. In addition the process enables a reduction in the weight of the component to be made. The highly complex injection mould is used on an injection moulding machine with a clamping force of 32,000kN. The housing, which weighs a solid 23kg, is fabricated in a single shot from a flame retardant PS, subsequently undergoing preparations for the special requirements of the medical sector in the company’s own paint shop.

Housing for Euro 5 pressure regulating valve

Material: PA6T/66 GF30

Manufacturing processes: injection moulding and assembly

Manufacturer: G.A. Röders, Soltau, Germany

The component, with measurements incorporating close position tolerances, is fitted with two choking coils with a diameter of 0.56 +0.03/-0.08mm. The problem is that the small cores heat up to material temperature with each shot and undergo thermal elongation as a result. A further problem: a metal insert is pressed into a drilled hole in the hot condition. In order to achieve the high pull-out forces of the metal insert extensive stretching of the drilled hole was necessary through the insert. This means the rupture of components at the jointing seam during the cooling stage. The solution: to attach an external overflow to the hole, slightly offset to the jointing seam, using a film approximately 0.8mm thick. Only when the component is completely full, sufficient pressure will be built up to fill the overflow as well. But since it is slightly offset to the jointing seam, the glass fibres become re-oriented due to the flow of material and the jointing seam is, as it were, obliterated.

Roof operating unit, assembly groups keyboard housing and spectacles compartment

Material: PC, PC+ABS, PBT, Hydro/Midi/Soft/Paint, flake PA6.6

Manufacturing processes: 1C-, 2C-, 3C injection moulding, two-layer lacquering, laser inscription, flocking, chromium plating, assembly

Manufacturer: Kunststoff Helmbrechts, Helmbrechts, Germany

One of the special features of the roof operating unit is the development, geared to plastics, of parts for single and multi-component injection moulding, as already taken into consideration in the subsequent processes such as lacquering, lasering, flocking and assembly. In the triple component injection moulding process, the three components for the fibre optic cables, the light partitioning and the design area are combined with one another in a triple component indexing plate mould. Keyboard housing and spectacles compartment are lacquered in the undercut areas so as to avoid any undesirable egress of light and cover any visible edges in the rear section of the component. During assembly of the keyboard housing 20 components are put together, ten of which are design elements and the other ten engineering components such as fibre optic cables, actuators, springs and keyboard housings. As regards the spectacles compartment five components are assembled – two engineering and three design components – and the torsion springs set automatically.

MyWave- 3D (see also Plastics 1+2/13)

Material: PC film, back injection moulded PC and PC+ABS, LCP

Manufacturing processes: in-mould labelling, laser direct structuring, 3D installation of electronic components

Manufacturer: Kunststoff Helmbrechts, Helmbrechts, Germany

MyWave-3D is a development project for integrating electric circuits within a plastic component. In the present version a decorative film with a black, high-gloss appearance is used with Black Panel (disappearing effect). Control is by means of capacitive fields through comparatively thick layers of plastic and printed IML foil. With a corrugation in the component lid and contoured conductors in MID technology, it demonstrates the spatial flexibility of the technology which enables operation independent of a keypad – including on 3-dimensionally moulded components featuring a decorated, rear-lit surface. At its heart is the combination of a curved injection moulded part decorated using the in-mould labelling process (IML) and a 3D printed circuit board that follows the contours of the component;  this PCB is populated with electronic components by a newly developed 3D automatic placement robot.

Pressure tank

Material: PA6.6 GF30

Manufacturing process: injection moulding with subsequent assembly

Manufacturer:  KTS Kunststoff Technik Schmölln, Schmölln, Germany

A pressure tank, which has up to now been mechanically produced in special steel for a maximum overpressure of 8bar, is expensive to manufacture. When it comes to a possible substitute in plastic, only a glass fibre reinforced material can be considered due to the high mechanical load. Materials of this kind, however, tend to come into conflict with pressure-tight surfaces and, in particular, the indispensable chemical-resistant membrane. On the one hand, the neat, smooth surfaces that are necessary in addition demand high mould temperatures whereas, on the other hand, high temperatures increase the risk of voids, sink marks and warping. The total of, in part, conflicting requirements call for competent solutions and simulation calculations along the whole of the process chain. The fully functional pressure tank is resistant to chemicals without any risk of the liquids being carried adhering to the wall of the vessel. The seal between the top section and the bottom section is guaranteed. The end customer benefits from a price advantage as a result of the substitution of the material.

Air outlet for tumble dryer inclusive of filters

Material: PP-TV40, TPE, PMP, POM+GF, fleece (PET)

Manufacturing process: one-component, two-component injection moulding, insert technology, hot element moulding

Manufacturer: Miele, Warendorf, Germany

The air outlet is an important component in a tumble dryer. It acts as a seating for the axes of the drum, it provides a seal for the drum opening and the door, supports the door and the lock and conveys the air used in the process to the heat exchanger, as far as possible without any losses. This means that close manufacturing tolerances – at the same time as basic functional dimensions in the range of tenths of millimetres – are essential alongside relatively large dimensions. The lower section of the air outlet consists of a welded front and rear wall welded with the upper section. The round sealing lip opening in the lower part is directly injection moulded on using a small injection moulded device flange-mounted directly on the injection mould. Manufacture of the upper section involves the automatic placement of a transparent disk in the mould prior to insert moulding. The manufacture of the filters, in particular the angled main filter (expanded in the picture), is complex from a geometrical and material viewpoint. The whole of the process chain for manufacturing the air outlet is completely and fully automated.

Impeller04E

Material: PPS GF40

Manufacturing processes: injection moulding and metal insert moulding

Manufacturer:  Ros, Coburg, Germany

In this case the problem was how to develop an impeller that would incorporate a high delivery capacity and, in addition, a high level of efficiency and which would at the same time be characterised by small measurements in relation to external diameter and component height. The geometric design emerged from a close cooperation between the plastics processor and the customer. The manufacturing process was designed so as to guarantee the roundness of the component. In order to make it possible to remove the extreme undercuts on the component from the mould, various techniques were combined with one another.

Bearing housing M276

Material: PF (GF35 + GB10)

Manufacturing processes: thermoset injection compression moulding and metal insert moulding

Mnaufacturer: Ros, Coburg, Germany

The component, made from a phenol resin moulding compound filled with glass balls and glass fibre, replaces an existing bearing housing made from diecast aluminium. The plastic used is characterised by a low tendency to abrasion and good resistance to media. The substitution was aimed at reducing vehicle fuel consumption by addressing the component weight (reduced by comparison to the metal housing) as well as to achieve a commercial advantage by means of the new process. In order to bring this about, the designers optimised the basic geometry of the component for a thermoset design, taking into account the load on the component and the manufacturing process. Instead of the conventional metal beaded gasket, a dispensed silicone seal was used. Cementing in the water pump bearing, the geometric design of the bearing seating on the component and the fact that there is no need for mechanical reworking by comparison to the diecast aluminium have, in addition to the cost advantage, accounted for savings in weight of more than 33%.

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