Japanese machinery and technology
IPF showcases Japan’s injection moulding machinery might Japan’s triennial IPF exhibition, held in Chiba, near Tokyo, from 25-29 October, might not have packed in the same crowd as the previous event but nevertheless, it proved to be a fitting event to showcase the latest from the country’s high-tech injection moulding machinery suppliers. the plating process, the caps were visually inspected then screwed onto jars containing candy. An X-ray unit then detected the number of sweets present and if this was correct, the jar was then labelled. Another Tokyo-headquartered company Japan Steel Works (JSW) also displayed a press-side metallising system, this time plating building bl o c k s m o u l d e d from PC resin using a 55-tonne J55-AD-60H all-electric injection machine. It was operating i n a 2 0 - s e c o n d cycle and the blocks were coated three shots at a time in the 60-second sputtering process. A focus at Nagano-based Nissei’s stand was the application of an all-electric 110-tonne NEX110III-9EG press for low-pressure moulding. The tool is opened slightly during injection by the melt pressure in this process dubbed K-SAPLI (Kindly-Smart Application f o r P l a s t i c I n j e c t i o n ) a n d c o m p re s s e d a f t e r w a rd s , thereby preventing flash and short shots, according to Nissei. In other developments on the NEX110III-9EG press, b o t h p l a t e n s a re w a t e r- c o o l e d a n d a l i n e a r g u i d e is also employed to maximise platen parallelism. Furthermore, dual hydraulic cylinders are used for nozzle touch, enabling optimisation of touch force and minimising adverse influence on the fixed platen, says Nissei. Nissei also debuted its latest generation of alle l e c t r i c m a c h i n e s a t I P F, t h e N E X I I I S e r i e s . T h e main new features are a 15 in. vertical touch screen controller that can display split view screens. The user can switch between different screens by swiping. Heat stability has also been improved in the barrel through insulation and improvements in the heating zones. For its part, Niigata Machine Techno was emphasising the ability of its all-electric machines to handle moulding tasks normally considered to be best carried out on hydraulic machines. T h e c o m p a n y o ff e r s a L o n g P re s s u re H o l d ( L P ) o p t i o n o n i t s p re s s e s a n d t h i s w a s d e m o n s t r a t e d at IPF on a 130-tonne MD130S6000 press moulding an acrylic part with a 20 mm wall thickness in an extended cycle time of 23 minutes. The hold time for this part was 45 seconds, which is 50% longer than normally achievable with all-electric machines, according to Niigata. The long hold time is realised
Lower attendance at show T h e s h o w o r g a n i s e r, I n t e r n a t i o n a l P l a s t i c F a i r Association, put lower attendance down to a number of factors, including the recent flooding in Thailand t hat has devastated Japanese manufacturing there; c o m p e t i t i o n f ro m o t h e r i n t e r n a t i o n a l a n d re g i o n a l shows; lacklustre economic prospects in Japan and a contracting local processing sector as well as the high value of the yen putting off overseas visitors and putting a damper on machine sales prospects. In all, 43,745 visitors attended the five-day IPF s h o w, i n c l u d i n g 2 , 1 5 4 o v e r s e a s a t t e n d e e s . O v e r a l l , attendance was down by more than one-third compared with the 2008 show, itself coinciding with an industry downturn fuelled by a global recession. All-electrics parade a host of solutions The key focuses on the show floor were application and system-solution driven, rather than machine builders unveiling radically new series of machines. Tokyo-based Toshiba Machine showed a 180-tonne EC180SX-4A all-electric injection machine moulding polycarbonate (PC) caps under a “clean box” that were then transferred to a plating system by robot. After
JSW’s exhibit showcased the sputtering process
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Japanese machinery and technology using Niigata’s Dither Control function, which rotates the servomotors on the injection side ever so slightly (at speeds of as low as 0.4 mm/second) in order that they do not overload. S u m i t o m o H e a v y I n d u s t r i e s, m e a n w h i l e , d e b u t e d its latest all-electric series at IPF, with machines in clamping forces from 50 to 180 tonnes. The EV Series re p o r t e d l y d e l i v e r s 2 0 % e n e rg y s a v i n g s o v e r t h e company’s previous DUV Series and uses less grease to boot. Performance improvements have also led to greater precision. For example, part weight standard deviation when moulding coil bobbins from PBT can be improved by up to 30% with the EV Series. The machine controller on the EV Series has also been upgraded. The NC10 controller employs a vertical 15 in. panel with viewing screens that are customisable depending on whether the user is a machine operator, maintenance technician or engineer, for example.
tool from the platen ever so slightly so as to minimise wear. While it didn’t have a machine on show at IPF, Ube Machinery did highlight its capabilities in multiple shot moulding on its new UF Series, which includes machines in clamping forces of 680, 800, 1,000, 1,300, 1,400, 1,800 and 3,000 tonnes. Ube has developed the C a v - c h a n g e p ro c e s s , w h i c h e m p l o y s a t w o - c a v i t y mould that rotates 180 degrees between the platens and dual injection units. One of the injection units does so from the side. The side injection unit is used to inject both non-foamed and foamed elastomer shots in sequence. The main shot is rigid PP, the second shot a PP-based elastomer and the third shot employs the same elastomer, but this time, the mould core is pulled back to allow foaming. The UF series represents the first 100% all-electric machine developed by Ube. Since 1996, the machine v e n d o r h a s o ff e re d t h e M D s e r i e s o f m e d i u m a n d large machines jointly developed with Niigata. The UF series features an easy-to-use controller and is t a rg e t e d a t A s i a n p ro c e s s o r s . U b e w i l l c o n t i n u e t o offer both series of machines.
Multiple shot moulding highlights Nissei also ventured into three-colour moulding with its 140-tonne DCE140-9E press outfitted with a sideinjection unit. Additional attributes of this machine include a two-piece split moving platen that is said to focus toggle clamping force at the centre of the mould, and a mould rotating mechanism that separates the
Automotive and packaging sectors covered Mention all-electric expert Fanuc and processors using this supplier ’s machines are traditionally found in the
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Japanese machinery and technology precision electronics sector. However, the company is now expanding its ambition to become a player in applications such as automotive and packaging, as evidenced by two exhibits at IPF.
Sodick Plustech also exhibited its LSR100A liquid silicone rubber (LSR) injection press based on its V-Line system with the LSR fed through a conveying screw to prevent material surging. The machine employs a shorter plasticising screw with an L/D of 10 compared with 18 for a standard machine in order to minimise material wastage, which is an advantage in the medical device sector where LSR grades are typically costly, according to Sodick. Sodick has also ventured into inline compounding with a co-rotating twin-screw plasticising unit docked with its plunger system. The 100-tonne PE100 press was demonstrated compounding and moulding samples from biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA) resin and scallop powder. While the exhibit had an environmental tinge, this machine will also be applicable for hightech applications such as carbon nanotube (CNT) compounds, said Sodick. LGP moulding machinery Light guide panel moulding machines were in abundance at IPF, typically moulding these electronic components from acrylic or PC. In a material costcutting initiative, Toyo Machinery & Metal and Toyo Styrene teamed up to offer a system whereby light guide panels could be moulded from a speciality grade of PS. A 280-tonne Toyo Si-280V GD620 all-electric press demonstrated moulding of PS light guide panels in a two-cavity tool with a cycle time of 40 seconds and a part weight of 21 g. The press is capable of an 800-mm/ second injection speed at peak pressure of 350 MPa. Besides lower cost, the PS grade employed absorbs lower moisture, warps less and has better dimensional s t a b i l i t y t h a n c o m p e t i n g re s i n s , a c c o rd i n g t o To y o Styrene. ◆
Fanuc claimed a fast cycle of 3.7 seconds for moulding food cups on its machine
A 100-tonne Roboshot S-2000i100B injection machine was turning out PBT connectors in what the supplier termed a demonstration of lower running costs and energy savings for the cost-sensitive automotive sector. Fanuc sought to highlight the fact that its all-electric machines claim up to 15% better energy efficiency compared with all-electric presses from competing suppliers on account of their ability to recover more e n e rg y f ro m t h e s e r v o m o t o r s d u r i n g d e c e l e r a t i o n . Fanuc also showed a 300-tonne Roboshot S-2000i300B moulding food containers from polystyrene (PS) in a cycle time of 3.7 seconds, using a six-cavity mould. Also highlighting its all-electric packaging credentials was Sumitomo, which introduced an upgrade of its 350-tonne SE350HSZ machine. Whereas previously the company recommended a hybrid machine for highspeed moulding of thinwall packaging, it now says that with its Pack Specification option, this is achievable on an all-electric. This latest version of the all-electric, with an injection speed of up to 550 mm/second, was seen at IPF moulding PP cups weighing 15.1 g each in a 12-cavity tool, in a cycle time of 3.9 seconds. Sumitomo highlighted the fact that the cup had a length-tothickness ratio of 209 (136-mm cup height versus cup wall thickness of 0.65 mm). Aiming for thin walls Perhaps the thinnest part being moulded on the IPF show floor came from Yokohama-based Sodick Plustech. It showed its 20-tonne LP20EH2 plunger machine processing a digital camera shutter from polyacetal resin with minimum wall thickness of just 0.08 mm at its tip. The machine injected at a speed of 800 mm/second with an acceleration of 12.7 G.
Toyo’s 280-tonne machine was moulding light guide panels
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