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2013 | Technology review MHS rethinks micromoulding

Canadian hotrunner systems developer Mold Hotrunner Solutions (MHS) demonstrated its M3 micromoulding system. The company describes the

system, which incorporates a number of novel mechanical features, as the world’s first high cavity micromoulding system and the first to offer a fully automated production capacity of more than 150m parts per year. The result of several years

of development, the system was born out of the realisation that traditional injection machine design could not deliver the production require- ments of the micromoulding industry, according to MHS president Harald Schmid. Schmid says the M3

addresses two key challenges for micromoulders – melt

degradation and difficulty in upscaling prototypes to production. For the former, at least, Schmid said the company called on its expertise in advanced hotrunners. “The heart of this machine is the hotrunner,” he said. “We do not plasticise the melt at its final process temperature. The machine plasticises the melt to deliver it to the mould then it is raised to the processing temperature required at the nozzles. So we can take temperature sensitive materials.”

Schmid said the system not

only raises the temperature to the required processing temperature at the nozzle but also the required injection pressure, which is generated by eight 4mm diameter plungers within the manifold. “There is not an injection unit, the hotrunner is the delivery system.” Upscaling of prototype moulds is simplified on the M3 through the use of mould inserts, which also eliminates the conventional mould

runner-free mode (more parts can be produced per cycle if cold sub-runners are employed). The clamp is accessible

architecture. “When you prototype in micromoulding it is difficult to scale up – the validated prototype is not comparable with the produc- tion part,” he said. “The M3 works with inserts,

not cavities, so process characteristics are the same for the prototype and high volume production. This is especially important for medical moulders,” said Schmid.

Each mould insert carries eight impressions and the tiebarless clamp accommo- dates four inserts, making a total of 32 parts per cycle in

from all four sides to simplify part removal automation while oil-free electromagnetic clamping is used to provide the 4 tonne locking force. 1,450N of ejector force is provided and an integrated part removal robot is included that enters the mould space from above. On the injection side, the machine uses an 18mm diameter screw plasticising unit that accepts standard granules and a direct valve gate system. Schmid says a further novel

feature of the M3 is the ability to produce parts with different shot weights in each insert. It is also possible to run multi-component or over- moulded production. At the show, the machine

was producing miniature watch gears of 3.5mm and 6mm diameter on a 5s cycle time, which included 100% visual inspection. ❙

Frigel previews updated Microgel system

Italian cooling technology company Frigel previewed a new version of its Microgel beside-the-machine cooling units ahead of a full introduc- tion this spring. The new units are designed

to be more versatile in application, allowing more effective optimisation to specific production applica- tions, according to Frigel CEO


Orindo Dorin. “Until now the design has been rigid – it has been designed to work in a wide range of temperatures and came in one or two zones and with two different pumping systems,” Dorin said. “The new Microgel is flexibile. You can have a much wider range of pumping capacities, can have units with or without heating. It

INJECTION WORLD | January/February 2014

fits every customer’s require- ments.”

With plant wide monitoring

increasingly widely used in the plastics injection moulding secotr, the new Microgel is also designed for connectivity. On-board storage has been increased while web connec- tivity is built in to the controller so the unit can automatically update electricity consumption

and functional data to a central system. The company also showed

the latest version of its Ecodry dry-cooling system for central applications. This now includes a new touchscreen control sys- tem and the option to run in combination with a cooling tower as well as with a closed supply system. ❙

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