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In-line compounding | technology


In-line compounding technology promised big cost savings but its implementation has been limited. Now some new players are stepping in to the in-line sector. Peter Mapleston reports


Revisiting the in-line option


Is there a future for in-line compounding and injection moulding? Several machinery companies have gone various distances in developing this integrated produc- tion technology but to date only one has made a real success of it: KraussMaffei with its IMC brand (Krauss- Maffei is well positioned with its own in-house expertise in injection moulding and compounding technology). A number of factors may have held in-line compounding back, included limited applicability and the rise of alternative systems, but the technology has continued to develop and at least one new player has emerged. The process continues to offer advantages, according


to KraussMaffei. “The IMC perfectly links the continu- ous extrusion process with the discontinuous injection moulding process. This setup protects the material by heating it only once above its melting temperature,” the company says. In the IMC process, the plasticised and homogenised material moves from the extruder into the barrel of the injection unit via a heated runner. The injection unit does not require a plasticising screw, and is equipped with a piston instead.


www.injectionworld.com


KraussMaffei unveiled its fi rst-ever unit with in-line


compounding and injection moulding, the Injection Molding Compounder (IMC), almost 18 years ago, at K’98 in Düsseldorf, Germany. It demonstrated the KM 420-3500 C2 IMC, which combined a modifi ed C2 injection moulding clamping unit with a Berstorff twin-screw compounder mounted piggyback style and linked to it via a double shot-pot concept. The prototype system was shown compounding polypropylene and calcium carbon- ate, from which it moulded garden chair armrests. Since then, KraussMaffei has made various improve-


ments to the technology. It has worked on various modifi cations, largely aimed at reducing complexity and improving adjustment of process steps and overall robustness of the system. Included in the modifi cations was a move to a single shot-pot concept with a material buffer system. At K2007, the company showed IMC with a new generation of control software (MC5) that enabled complete integration of the various IMC components into a single controller, as well as simplifi ed operation and a more intuitive interface. Two years ago, in 2014,


Main image:


KraussMaffei claims


considerable


success with its IMC in-line


compounding and injection moulding


technology. It may now face renewed


competition


September 2016 | INJECTION WORLD 37


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