Milacron moulded demonstration parts using the ImFlux technology on an Elektron EVO 155 machine

with digital-based service and customer-focused business support tools, according to CEO Dr Frank

Milacron shows ImFlux low-pressure moulding innovation

Milacron showed a novel low-pressure injection moulding technology from ImFlux of the US on its Fakuma stand. ImFlux, a wholly owned subsidiary of Procter & Gamble (P&G), claims various benefits including improved part quality, shorter cycle times, less moulded-in stress and suitability for thin-wall moulding. ImFlux describes the pressure profile as ”the green curve” because there is not the same peak in pressure during the fill stage as in conventional moulding, and, instead, a more constant pressure is maintained to fill and pack the mould. Ethan Stiefel, Plastics Processing Engineer at ImFlux, said the company’s propri- etary software constantly monitors the melt pressure via sensors in a custom nozzle adaptor and instantaneously adjusts injection pressure. Stiefel and his colleagues demonstrated the ImFlux technology on an Elektron EVO 155 machine in a cell including a Mold-Mas- ters hot-runner system with servo-electric valve actuators and a TempMaster SeVG + controller. Parts were produced in a four- cavity mould in a cycle time of approximately 15 s, and at a constant pressure of 530 bar, compared with peak pressure of 1,250 bar if the parts had been conventionally moulded. Less pressure variation when using ImFlux leads to more uniform shrinkage, reduces warpage and increases cavity to cavity consistency, the company claims. There are other benefits from using lower pressure, such as the potential to increase mould cavitation and improve mould and part design. Stiefel also demonstrated a material switch from PP to HDPE to showcase the system’s automatic viscosity adjustment feature. He said P&G is using the ImFlux technology in applications moulded with materials containing recyclate, where the technology adjusts for the viscosity variations that are typical of recycled polymers. After using ImFlux in its internal processes, P&G has this year made the technology available to moulders outside its supply chain once they have a licence from ImFlux. Milacron has a non-exclusive agreement to distribute the ImFlux technology. Since Fakuma, Milacron has been offering an ImFlux option, on new machines or retrofitted, as part of its M-Powered suite of tools.

26 INJECTION WORLD | November/December 2018

Stieler. “We are not so naïve not to see that this market is changing,” he said. “In the future, we will not only sell high quality machines but also create value around the machines.” Part of this “added value” will be in its ability to deliver machines to customers quickly and to offer pricing options that meet their specific needs. The machine leasing model that the company launched for customers in Germany last year has, for example, been extend- ed to include Austria, Italy and France. KM Group’s Injection Moulding Segment President Dr Hans Ulrich Golz said the “Rent-It” model allows custom- ers to respond flexibly to changing demands from customers. “Their production is always on the cutting edge without burdening the balance sheet,” he said.

Golz said the company was also targeting the

clear need for faster lead times with the introduc- tion of its “Speed-to-Market” programme. This includes 30 standardised variants of its CX, GX and PX machines up to 400 tonnes, as well as a range of LRX linear robots, that are available on delivery times of 10-12 weeks. “We have enlarged our production capacities to accommodate this,” Golz said. “If the model is not in stock our production is designed to build one in a short period of time.” In the digital arena, the company is now rolling out the e-Service platform that it previewed at the K 2016 fair. According to Nadine Despineux, who heads up the newly-formed Digital Service Solutions unit at KM, this has been trialled and field-tested by its Netstal division and is now being rolled out across the group (she said the smaller and more uniform Netstal business is an ideal launch environ- ment for new digital technologies.) More than 200 machines are already connected to the system. Similarly, the Analytix app for monitoring machine conditions and efficiency, is also now being widely released following field trials at Netstal. Stieler said the plastics machinery market has slowed somewhat over the past few months but that the KraussMaffei business was still seeing strong growth. Sales for the first nine months of 2018 were up by 1.6% on the same period in 2017 to €973m, while incoming orders were up by 2.5% to €1.05bn. Wittmann Group expects its full-year 2018 sales to be about €430m. The company had an extreme- ly strong first quarter, said its CEO Michael Witt- mann at its press conference. But there was not the

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