IndustryNEWS China’s IMM sector continues to grow Last year, China’s injection moulding machine (IMM) industry had sales of RMB20 billion, an increase of 40%, says a new report on the industry by Research in China. And though China started relatively late in the all-electric sector, behind Japan and Europe, the government’s energy conservation policy has boosted this sector.
in China and the world, sold 30,000 units last year and realised sales of RMB7 billion. Meanwhile, Chen Hsong’s large and medium IMMs accounted for over 50% of the total production. This year, the company tied up with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to manufacture and sell two-platen machines in China and Taiwan.
There are more than ten Chinese firms offering allelectrics, including Haitian International, Chen Hsong, Chuan Lih Fa, Guangzhou Borch Machinery, GSK CNC, Zhejiang Sound Machinery and Ningbo Shuangma Machinery. In addition, the report highlights 14 global and Chinese firms. Haitian, the largest IMM manufacturer
Competitive optical component technology To cater to the industry’s use of polymers, instead of glass, in optical components, Austrian injection moulding machinery maker Engel has introduced a new technology known as Optimelt, featuring optimised plasticising units for processing transparent polymers. Overmoulding is also used in Optimelt and it starts with the production of a pre-moulded part that is recoated with additional layers (usually of the same material) in one or more subsequent stages. However, utilising plastics does pose challenges in the optical sector, including microstructures on the
This makes the process particularly attractive to manufacturers of thick layer components such as LED lenses. Studies on multi-layer components in the area of lighting technology have shown that boundary layers between coatings have no effect on the function of illumination optics. Thermal simulation of the cooling process proves that the multi-layer process also offers benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness. This was demonstrated by comparing three different triple-layer variants and the conventional single-layer process in the production of a 30 mm thick lens. In the first multi-layer prototype, the three layers were applied in turn at three stations of a rotary table. For the second variant, two thick outer layers were injected into separate cavities; in a subsequent step, these layers were brought together in a single cavity and connected by means of a thin layer of plastic. For the third
surface of light-guide elements that must be precisely moulded across the entire flow path and the need to minimise residual stress in moulded parts, especially where a subsequent coating will be applied. Finally, the optically effective surfaces on lenses with large differences in thickness must be accurately contoured. Engel says the main advantage of using its multi-layer overmoulding process, compared to a single-layer process, is that the recoating covers sink marks and other defects on the surface of the previous layer, thereby ensuring high optical quality.
Engel’s Optimelt technology can be used to produce lenses for a variety of sectors
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Due to the growth of the electronics and toy sectors, LK Technology’s sales were up 84.8%, with sales of IMMs increasing by 119%. Guangzhou Borch Machinery, on the other hand, introduced the BE all-electric machine last year and this year launched a four-colour machine, two-platen machine and in-mould labelling machine at the Chinaplas show in April. variant, the inner layer was produced first in an index platen mould; followed by two outer layers that were produced simultaneously. To enable an objective comparison of the four processes, an identical number of cavities were used. In the multi-layer variants, similar layer thicknesses were chosen to ensure the same cooling times. A lower mould temperature was set for the inner surfaces in each case, ie. poorer surface quality of the pre-moulded part was deliberately accepted. This was possible because these surfaces are covered by another layer in the following step. The lower mould temperature was found to significantly reduce cycle times. The triple-layer process with index plate, where a middle layer is injected followed by two outer layers, performed the best. Since two layers are produced simultaneously in one station, 180% higher productivity is possible, compared to a conventional single-layer moulding. In addition, sink marks can be corrected on both sides. Engel has applied for several patents for its new technology.
IndustryNEWS Smallest mould temperature unit Singapore-based moulder and mould maker Meiban has introduced what it says is the world’s smallest mould temperature controller. Measuring 97 x 61 x 30 mm and weighing 135 g, it can be held in the hand and has no external mould cables or cabinets. The Picco hot runner controller is able to control two zones and can be mounted directly on the mould. It stays there when the mould is moved. As well, since the heater/ thermocouple wires plug directly into it, there are no long cables
outside the mould and there is much less noise and signal loss for a more accurate control, says Meiban. It has a selector switch for five pre-set temperatures for the most commonly used resins and two calibrating screws to fine-tune the temperature settings, if required. The company says that with its simple plug and play type of connectors Picco is able to eliminate any human errors once the wiring is correctly fixed during the initial start-up.
Magna expands in China; Teijin honoured for CFRPs Canada-based automotive parts supplier Magna International has expanded its presence in China by forming a joint venture to acquire an existing injection moulding and painting facility in Wuhu. The three-party joint venture, called MCC Wuhu Exteriors, consists of Magna Exteriors and Interiors (51%), a subsidiary of Magna, Changshu Automotive Trim (34%) and Chery Tech (15%). The 300,000 sq ft manufacturing plant, which had a revenue of US$43 million in 2010, employs about 600 people and supplies front and rear fascias to its main customer Chery Auto. Magna says the new venture will open the door for its exteriors and fascia business in China. The company already has a manufacturing presence in the country for its interior components and systems. In other news, Japanese company Teijin’s mass production technology for carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) has been presented the Global Automotive Carbon Composites Technology Innovation award by Frost & Sullivan. The latter says Teijin was recognised for its new CFRP compression moulding technology that offers a low cost-to-
performance alternative for metal replacement in large structural body-in-white components. Furthermore, the reduced cycle times along with the development of an economical thermoplastic resin, intermediate materials and high processability, paved the way for Teijin’s recognition. Teijin’s thermoplastic CFRP enables reduction in cycle time to under a minute, while conventional CFRP utilises thermosetting resin and requires at least five minutes for this process, making it unsuited for mass production and limiting its use to high-end vehicles. Thus, it overcomes one of the biggest challenges in the industry and represents a significant leap forward in the use of carbon fibre in mass production of automotives. With increasingly strict environmental standards and regulations in the automotive industry, there is mounting pressure to reduce vehicle weights through the use of lightweight materials, such as CFRP, for components conventionally made from steel or aluminium. The world’s second largest producer of carbon fibre, Teijin says it is well positioned to be a leader in the development of such applications for CFRP. 2
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IMA Industry News August 2011