Corona, California – Innovations in liquid silicone, cube moulds, in-mould decoration and Industry 4.0 were featured in a technical symposium at Engel North America’s Corona technical centre.
Markus Lettau, West region sales manager for Engel North America, presided at the 13 Jan symposium.
In liquid silicone, Bluestar Silicones USA Corp. has developed fast-curing self-bonding self-lubricating LSR Select in a conceptual change from traditional systems for two-part liquid silicone rubber injection moulding.
“LSR Select shifts control to an inline process from chemistry,” and is “adjustable to optimise the curing process,” said Umar Latif, Bluestar Silicones technical services manager for North American elastomerics markets.
Bluestar and Graco Inc. of Minneapolis partnered in the custom design of novel equipment with servo pumps for close control over LSR Select formulation and processing.
Kipe Moulds Inc. of Placentia, Calif., made tools, and Roembke Manufacturing & Design Inc. of Ossian, Ind., conducted trials with one-cavity prototype moulds for a matt seal connector, duck bill valve, solution seal and baby bottle nipple. Latif said cure time reductions ranged from 20 percent to 50 percent.
The development in the York, S.C., technical centre is applicable to other global locations of Bluestar Group. The centre opened in 2012 and utilises two Engel injection moulding machines.
Brush manufacturing equipment maker Boucherie Borghi Group of Izegem, Belgium, is nearing introduction of a new generation of its Flexi-Cube technology.
The development will “further enhance our design and provide more flexibility,” said Sherman McGinnis, injection mould sales manager for Boucherie USA Inc. in Knoxville, Tenn.
The current Flexi-Cube contrasts with traditional cube moulds. Parts move about the Flexi-Cube’s centre section, have flexible travel distances and achieve transfer times as low of 0.7 of a second per station. In a standard cube mould, the entire centre section rotates with movements restricted to 90 degrees or 180 degrees.
In Mould Decorating Association ZoMazz Inc. worked with Phillips-Medisize Corp. on the in-mould decoration for the Clarisonic Mia 2.
Jonathan Drake, CEO of ZoMazz Inc. of Monterey, Calif., described the firm’s patented technology for scalable digitised in-mould decoration as a technique many “processors don’t have.”
The young firm can qualify a plastics processor on the precision technology or provide finished product through contract moulders. “We can do one or millions,” he said.
ZoMazz received the gold award for the best injection moulded durable part in the 2015 competition of the Skokie, Ill.-based In-Mould Decorating Association. The label is used on the Clarisonic Mia 2 facial cleansing brush. Phillips-Medisize Corp. moulds the product.
Engel’s ‘Inject 4.0’
Engel’s Wolfgang Degwerth described the company’s technology concept Inject 4.0 as its vision to extend the idea of Industry 4.0 relating to cyber physical systems. Degwerth is vice president of sales and customer service for Engel Machinery Inc. in York, Pa.
While Industry 4.0 aims “to handle the increasing complexity better,” Engel’s Inject 4.0 looks toward future applications involving preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance and cloud services for early adopters and smart factory advocates, Degwerth said.
Engel plans to introduce a solution for condition monitoring at K 2016, set for 19-26 Oct in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Engel’s Joachim Kragl described machine embedded intelligence including iQ software. Kragl is director of advanced moulding systems and processing for Engel Machinery.
The iQ software is now standard for weight monitoring on Engel electrics and optional for weight control. An iQ clamp control can reduce wear and automatically find the clamping force.
Kragl talked about Engel’s intelligent mould control including the e-flomo version for closed loop control and e-flomo premium for fully remote control. Engel showed both versions at the 2015 Fakuma show.
Lettau discussed Engel’s Fast Lane program that can provide quick delivery “ready for any demanding application” as needed to meet customer requirements.
Lettau underscored the value of Schwertberg, Austria-based family-owned Engel Holding GmbH as a “stable long-term partner” able to “increase competitiveness for customers.” The Americas account for 22 percent of Engel sales, Europe for 58 percent, Asia for 17 percent and elsewhere for 3 percent. In addition to Corona, Engel locations in the Americas are in York, Pennsylvania, as Engel Machinery; Waterloo, Ontario; El Marques, Queretaro, Mexico; and Cotia, São Paulo, Brazil.
During the day, Engel machines produced bursting discs for 1-milliliter safety syringes on a smart manufacturing cell, ran a four-cavity duck bill mould with in-mould slitting using Bluestar liquid silicone and demonstrated use of ZoMazz digital in-mould decorating with a single cavity mould.