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AUTOMATIONCOMPONENTS

The entire production procedure is time-consuming and also cost-intensive due to the various processing stages. Controlled processing of elastic parts increases the cost and time required still further. 2K processes: unrivalled precision in mold production technology Rico has been producing membranes using a 2K process for more than a decade. Two injection technologies are combined in a single mold: in one half, a ring is produced, from polyamide (PA) for example, using a conventional injection molding approach, while in the other half, the LSR membrane is mounted on the thermoplastic ring using a liquid injection molding or LIM technique. This 2K process demands special know-how in mold design. Precise temperature control and accurate separation of the mold’s cooled thermoplastic side and heated LSR side are essential. Rico has built on the comprehensive expertise of its RICO GROUP partner HTR. The heat treatment specialist advises Rico on the options for refining the various types of high-quality steel that Rico uses in its molds. This guarantees outstanding product quality and long useful lives. Choice of material a decisive factor The choice of materials is especially important when it comes to elastomer processing. Rico has access to materials data collected over the past 20 years, and also works closely with raw material producers, meaning that newly developed materials can also be taken into consideration. When using temper-free materials that comply with food safety regulations, a slit can be made in the LSR membrane immediately after injec-

INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS

tion molding. This removes an entire work step, with the slit made straight after the production process. The combination of LSR and a solid plastic ring as a means of support simplifies processing of the membrane during the manufacturing process, right through to the final assembly of the sealing cap. Effective automation concept The PA rings are made using a hot runner nozzle over a sub-runner. An automated rotary mold carries the premolds to the LSR side of the mold, where the components are injected directly onto the PA ring, using a single cold runner nozzle for each component. At the end of each cycle, the 2K membranes are removed from the mold under controlled conditions by a handling system, which allows the form to close again, meaning that production can continue. There is enough time during the subsequent closing and injection process to make cross-slits in the membranes outside the machine. For this purpose, a removal robot carries the molded parts to a special cutting and punching device. After the parts have been centered “online”, the slit is made. This procedure is suitable for both 2K components and pure LSR articles. Finally, the parts are removed from the processing unit on a conveyor belt. This approach removes the

need for assembly and processing later on, as the dosing membrane is ready for application and can be mounted directly in the bottle closure. With a view to further innovation and the interlinking of industrial manufacturing processes in accordance with Industry 4.0 principles, industry leader Rico is also considering connecting the production of sealing caps and dosing membranes. In line with the group’s strong reputation for production efficiency, this would mean that most of the required processes were carried out during production.

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05/09/17 13:26

FOOD PROCESSING - 2017 - 4  

Technical, bimonthly magazine focused on food&beverage technology. It is in English and German/French/Spanish in according to the worldwide...

FOOD PROCESSING - 2017 - 4  

Technical, bimonthly magazine focused on food&beverage technology. It is in English and German/French/Spanish in according to the worldwide...