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A profusion of new and upgraded injection machinery at K highlighted twin themes of Circular Economy and Smart Manufacturing. While presses keep getting faster, they also grow ever more energy efficient in kWh/lb of plastic processed. The vast majority of injection machines at the show were all-electric, hybrid, and/or servohydraulic. This year’s exhibits featured machines equipped to process large amounts of post-consumer recycle (PCR) or biobased materials.Chen Hsong demonstrated three-layer sandwich molding with recycle in the core. It utilized a second injection unit and an adapter plate to divide the two streams. And Milacron showcased its M-Powered integration of iMFLUX low-pressure molding technology, which is said to adjust automatically for large variations in melt viscosity, a potential risk in processing PCR. Milacron’s multi-nozzle low-pressure injection molding machine (LPIM) technology for structural-foam and structural-web molding is already to handle up to 100% regrind, and testing is underway with iMFLUX on LPIM machines.A new option on J-ADS all-electric auxiliary machinery from JSW is said to be advantageous for molding thick-wall parts from PLA and other resins. The optional JS servo drive is said to enable extended hold times together with fast injection and high responsiveness.Zeroplast worked with Wittmann Battenfeld on an exclusive basis to develop a bowing molding machine process for this material. The result is a specially modified, all-electric EcoPower 240 press (240 metric tons) with a special injection unit, heating system, and processing software. According to Wittmann sources, this system was adapted to the Zeroplast material’s sharp transition from solid to liquid and the resulting narrow process window.Meanwhile, Elmet introduced a web-enabled Premium Connectivity Package with email functionality and remote support for the whole TOP 5000 series. All TOP 5000 dosing systems already have a VNC and OPC-UA interface for data exchange with the molding machine. The new remote-access interface allows users to change settings and monitor system status via the new Elmet Connect online portal and an app, without requiring access to the customer’s own IT network.
Another introduction from Arburg was the vertical, hydraulic Allrounder 1600 T (200 m.t.) with a larger (1600-mm) servo-electric rotary table for automated overmolding of metal inserts, such as pipe fittings mold.
Boy Machines introduced a couple of new features not previously reported: an electric slide table for the Boy 35 E VH with vertical clamp, and integration of a Regloplas TCU with the Procan Alpha controller on a Boy XS (10 m.t.), enabling mold temperatures to be displayed and adjusted on the press control screen (via Euromap 82.1 protocol).
Chen Hsong is offering several new lines of machines, not all of which were at the show. The Jetmaster MK6 line of servohydraulic toggle presses comes in 88 to 668 m.t. The clamp, base, and injection blowing machine unit have all been redesigned and beefed up. Also redesigned is the Jetmaster Large SVP/2 series from 650 to 3000 m.t. New Evolution MK6e servohydraulic toggles (90 to 650 m.t.) are a lower-cost version said to be suitable for 80% of the market. The powerpack has been downsized somewhat, so these machines are not optimal for high-volume or high-torque production. There’s also a smaller new low-cost line, Focus SVP/2 from 20 to 60 m.t. At the higher-performance end is the new Speed series of servohydraulic toggles (128 to 468 m.t.) with a “top-of-the-line,” high-response servomotor for ultra-high-speed injection. The related new Speed-Pack series (260 to 470 m.t.) has longer screws, up to 26:1 L/D. Finally, a new all-electric series is the Spark line from 100 to 230 m.t., boasting a more compact and more open design.