NPE: Technology developments meet needs for consumer, medical, industrial applications

April 30, 2015

New all-electric models, add-on units, redesigned injection barrels and screws and micro-molding presses have been developed to address the growth in demand for a range of medical, consumer and industrial applications, from pipettes to lenses to piping.



Boy Machines Inc., Exton, Pa., displayed its Boy 2C XS injection unit, designed as an add-on unit for multi-shot or multi-component molding. The clampless unit features its own hydraulic drive system and control. The unit can be integrated into any injection molding machine with 25 tons of clamping force or higher, and can be mounted in a horizontal or vertical position directly on the mold of the primary machine, depending on the application. The system has been available for more than a year but has been upgraded in its design, with a choice of two upgraded injection units.

Boy says its Procan Alpha 2 controls used with its Boy 25E model of servomotor and hydraulic pump units now feature an assist function that provides a simpler graphical 11-step representation of the molding cycle. Users can now also select a differential injection value for the hydraulics, which better determines if the hydraulic fluid is delivered to injection or rerouted back to the tank, and in what amount, so that injection speeds can be tailored to the task. The model also allows users to change the screw (12mm to 38mm diameters available) without having to exchange the entire unit, says Robert Koch, Midwest regional sales manager.

A new micro-sized injection unit created by Kipe Molds Inc., Placentia, Calif., for direct injection of liquid silicone rubber (LSR) will be offered by Boy as an option on its XS unit with an 11-ton clamp. Kipe developed what it calls its Micro Deck injection unit MD125, featuring a small-diameter screw to produce flash-free LSR parts in a single cavity. The Boy XS model handles shot volumes as small as 0.1 cubic centimeter.



Several new machinery components related to multi-shot molding of magnifiers made from a polyamide 66 and two types of LSR with differing hardness were highlighted at the show by Nissei America Inc., Anaheim, Calif.

Nissei has created a molding cell to produce magnifier lenses featuring a 198-ton NEX-180III-5ELM series electric machine connected to the company's new IU5A series of portable side- or vertical-entry secondary injection units, says Steve Kato, regional manager. Nissei developed a new Spiral Plunger System (SPPS) which it says is ideal for small volume, high-pressure molding. The first-in first-out plasticization metering by the inline screw of the NEX unit is combined with the low-volume LSR molding capability of the plunger metering IU5A injection unit. Two side-entry plunger-type units, injecting LSRs with different durometers, are connected to the NEX unit. Nissei says use of the side-entry units with the SPPS configuration allows for the production of diffusion lenses, micro lenses and other products such as automotive connectors.

The IU5A side-entry injection unit will be joined by a larger IU9A model with a 32mm to 36mm stroke, and an IU12A model with a 125mm stroke later this year. The secondary injection units can be used with any Nissei molding machine type. Currently, 22mm and 26mm diameter screw sizes are available.

Nissei also chose NPE for the North American debut of its NPX7 Advance micro injection molding press. The press was designed with a 12mm in-line screw for highly stable molding of parts weighing less than 1 gram. The press has a 7.7-ton straight hydraulic clamp with linear guides on the die plate and Nissei's X-Pump hybrid pump system for injection. Nissei planned to mold micro medical suturing instrument parts on the press.

This model and other units now feature the upgraded TACT IV controller and its newly designed operator panel, larger 15 inch vertical screen with a two-window display, easy-to-use setup screens and improved ability for monitoring and production management. Nissei's new Smart Feeder, for use with the micro-molding unit, prevents insufficient resin feeding and stabilizes resin melting and plasticizing.

One other technology from Nissei is the production of medical parts in a multi-cavity application featuring a 121-ton general-purpose NEX110III-18E electric machine, upgraded with a new plasticization device. The newly designed injection unit has subdivided and optimized barrel temperature control zones that reduce molding defects to improve the energy efficiency, molding stability and plasticization time. The model uses Nissei's flat-clamp toggle mechanism and new Tact IV controller, and has a servomotor load-monitoring function as a standard feature, which allows the load state to be monitored while pursuing faster cycle molding. Pipettes made of PP were to be molded in 32 cavities in a 5 to 7 second cycle time.



Milacron LLC, Batavia, Ohio, added a 240-ton model to its Fanuc Roboshot line of all-electric presses. The Roboshot a-220iA model uses the Fanuc 31-iB control, which allows users to select from eight different modes for pressure transfer from injection to pack and hold, which helps prevent sink marks in thick-wall parts and improves the wall thickness of thin-wall parts.

Features and capabilities of the newest Roboshot model include 550mm clamp stroke, standard maximum daylight of 1,200mm and tie bar spacing of 650mm by 650mm. At the show the new Roboshot model produced a high-precision medical part (a Luer female fitting) from Eastman Tritan copolyester in 32 cavities in a cycle time of 10-12 seconds, says Mike Prachar, VP, global marketing, advanced processing technologies. The parts, produced from a 25 gram shot, were molded in a tool from Prestige Mold Inc., Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and featured a new hot-runner system and new servo-driven valve gates from Milacron's Mold-Masters division.


Niigata Machine Techno Co. Ltd., Wood Dale, Ill., rolled out horizontal and vertical configurations of its newest generation of all-electric machines. The new MD S7000 series horizontal line ranges from 55 to 150 U.S. tons. A 110-U.S. ton MD100S7000 model at the show featured an integrated hydraulic power pack for core pull and ejection functions, as well as a new linear guide system for the clamp and a redesigned support system for the stationary and moving platen. Other features include more user-friendly control screens for faster navigation and setups, including mold height adjustments. Niigata's balance pressure filling program and two selections for nozzle touch force, as well as a real-time energy monitoring display that allows users to optimize the production cycle, are included, says Peter Gardner, general manager and VP of sales.

In addition, Niigata also developed a vertical version, the new 110-ton two-station vertical double-toggle clamp MDVR110S7000 model. Features include table height that is just 3.4 feet from the floor, which eliminates the need for a work platform and provides easier access to the user. The new unit, suited to thick-wall optical automotive applications, has wider tie bar spacing (500 inches by 500 inches versus 460 inches by 460 inches) and the belt driven servo rotary table with optical encoder that permits operation as low as 0.1mm per second, ideal for thick-walled insert molding applications.



Engel Machinery Inc., York, Pa., launched two new versions of its victory servo-hydraulic line of small presses without tie bars for consumer goods, medical and general-purpose molding. Its new victory hy-tech models, which range from 30 to 560 tons, are offered in two configurations that depart from the use of an electro variable capacity pump system. The victory hy-tech US model features a full range of capabilities and options along with Engel's ecodrive system as a standard component. Ecodrive is a fixed displacement pump and servomotor drive system designed to reduce consumption of water for cooling the hydraulic oil by minimizing heat energy transfer to the oil during machine movements. The victory hy-spex model is designed as a cost-saving machine that is preconfigured with a limited range of options but also incorporates the ecodrive system.

To mark 25 years as a supplier of tie-barless machines, Engel demonstrated an 85-ton victory 330/85 hy-tech US model that produced drainage pipe fittings from PP in a two-cavity mold with a 25-second cycle. The tool was supplied by ifw-Kunststofftechnik GmbH, Micheldorf, Austria. Engel says that more than 60,000 tie-barless machines have been delivered worldwide since Engel introduced the first model at the 1989 K Show in Germany. Engel has more than 45 patents relating to its tie-barless technology.

Engel's new e-motion TL series of compact, tie-barless all-electric toggle machines is designed for the manufacture of small precision parts and premium optical components for the electronics and medical industries. The all-electric machine has a one-piece frame that is lighter and more space saving than competing models, yet the design ensures high platen parallelism and even distribution of the clamping force. The direct-drive electric injection unit boasts maximum injection speeds of 800mm per second, says Joachim Kragl, director of advanced molding systems and processing.

A new 55-ton e-motion 55 TL, featuring Engel's new CC300 machine controller, was introduced late last year at the Fakuma show in Germany. At NPE, a 180-ton e-motion 160 produced needle holders for insulin pens from PP in a 96-cavity mold from Braunform GmbH, Bahlingen, Germany, in 3.8 seconds.



Wittmann Battenfeld Inc., Torrington, Conn., is touting its new 50-ton SmartPower 55/130 servo-hydraulic model.

The SmartPower line, available since January in sizes from 25 to 120 tons, features a central hydraulic system for clamping and a new servo-hydraulic drive for injection. The product line uses the same amplifier system utilized on the company's all-electric EcoPower models to capture and reuse servo drive braking energy, says Michael Wittmann, general manager.

Wittmann Battenfeld also developed a new nozzle that permits multi-component sandwich structures to be produced on the MacroPower line of large-tonnage two-platen hydraulic presses. The nozzle contains two channels, and is designed to rotate 180 degrees, allowing aggregate from each injection unit to enter a different nozzle channel. The nozzle can be cleaned from the front for quick color changes, and the design permits access to the nozzle and barrel from both sides of the press for ease of maintenance.

At the show, a 650-ton MacroPower 650/8800 B6P was configured with the company's HiQ flow integral control, HiQ Melt Cushion control, and MMQ Value analysis tool to detect material deviation. This was combined with the machine model's Quicklock locking and pressure build-up system and finite element method-optimized platens to produce a thin-walled box from PP.

Wittmann Battenfeld's 15-ton all-electric MicroPower 15/10 model was part of a clean room molding cell designed to produce plugs for eye tear ducts from two-component LSR in a four-cavity tool at the show. The machine line features a dynamic piston-injection system that reduces the sprue by 90 percent while delivering high cavity pressure.


Sumitomo Demag, Strongsville, Ohio, used its hybrid electric Systec Servo 280 unit to demonstrate a new liquid CO2 gas-assist technology from Linde North America Inc., Murray Hill, N.J., in the production of a long and hollow 680 gram PC grab handle. Linde's patented Enhanced Gas-Assist Injection Molding (eGAIM) reduces cooling cycle time by 30 percent or more compared to nitrogen assisted systems, says Jeremy Krismer, sales representative. EGAIM leverages the higher pressure and cooling attributes of liquid carbon dioxide to trim cycle times by cooling the part from the inside as it hollows out the part.

The Systec 280 Servo press is part of a lineup spanning fully hydraulic styles up to 135 tons and toggle clamp and hybrid drive units above 146 tons (overall sizes range from 39 to 2,248 tons). It deploys Sumitomo Demag's activeDrive system which uses a frequency controlled servo-motor with a fixed volume pump, where the servo motor matches the oil volume required for each phase of the molding cycle, achieving up to a 50 percent reduction in energy use versus a standard hydraulic press.


Maruka U.S.A., Pine Brook, N.J., the exclusive North American distributor of Toyo machines from Japan, unveiled an updated all-electric ET vertical injection molding system. The series now has enhanced controllers that provide a faster response and greater molding accuracy, and make the machine easier to operate. Rotation of the two station rotary table occurs in 1 second compared to 1.5 seconds previously, due to the updated features. Insert part loading was simulated on a new 90-ton Toyo ET-90 HR vertical die clamping machine with a horizontal injection unit. The series is offered in clamp sizes from 55 to 150 metric tons (60.5 to 165 U.S. tons) with horizontal or vertical injection, says Dale Bartholomew, product manager.

NPE marked the debut of injection machinery from FCS Group of Tainan, Taiwan, sold in North America through Maruka. A 900-ton FCS LM-900SV hydro-mechanical two-platen unit produced a 620 gram step stool from PP at the show on a 35-second cycle. The LM-SV line, which ranges from 550 to 4,000 tons, has a short clamping unit that trims floor space requirements by 30 percent. A Rexroth solenoid valve ensures clamping force is accurate to plus or minus 1 percent.



Toshiba Machine Co. America, Elk Grove Village, Ill., introduced a 30-ton electric and new 110-ton and 390-ton servo-driven hydraulic models at NPE. Its new 30-ton EC30SX is the smallest in the small tonnage electric line with eight previously existing models ranging from 55 to 385 tons. The models are configured with Toshiba's V50 built-in controller and iPaquet Lite machine monitoring program. The new unit molded connectors on a 1.8-second cycle at the show.

Toshiba also introduced two new servo-hydraulic models, including the 110-ton Tia110S, which manufactured lenses for motorcycle taillights. A new and larger tonnage servo-hydraulic ISG390N press also was on display. Both models use Toshiba's energy-efficient servo drive motors to drive hydraulic pump systems at just the required speed for molding operations, reducing energy consumption up to 65 percent versus traditional hydraulics. Toshiba will roll out a complete lineup of servo hydraulic machines later this year, says Thomas McKevitt, general manager of the injection molding division.


Plustech Inc., Schaumburg, Ill., the North American headquarters of Sodick Injection Molding Machinery Division, Yokohama, Japan, introduced three low-tonnage machines, all of which employ Sodick's V-LINE two-stage plunger technology which separates plasticizing (stationary screw) from accumulator–assisted plunger injection. This two-stage system allows for consistent measurement and injection and is ideally suited for miniature/ micro precision components, tight tolerance and advanced polymer applications.

The new 3-ton HC03VRE Micro vertical injection machine features a 14mm diameter screw and 8mm diameter plunger with a servo-driven, two-station rotary table. It uses a mold clamping system that closes and clamps in a single motion, coupled with belt-driven table rotation. It is an electrically-driven hybrid direct pressure mold clamping system that uses four tie bars for alignment and high rigidity so that the clamping force is applied uniformly. The unit is designed for high-speed production. In a demonstration it molded 0.09 gram liquid crystal polymer micro bobbins that were directly gated in a two-cavity tool in a 1.9-second cycle, with a 0.04-second filling time. This machine demonstrated only a 0.002-inch minimum cushion variation during the five-day show, says Len Hampton, national sales manager. The unit is run on a Windows XP control platform.

Plustech unveiled its new 20-ton LP20EH3 Micro horizontal molding machine, designed to deliver injection speeds of 1,300mm per second and injection pressure up to 42,000 psi. This machine has a re-designed hybrid direct clamping mechanism that enables cycles of only 0.97 seconds. A thin-walled micro-sized molded interconnect device with different surface finishes and tight tolerances was produced on the machine using special cavity inserts. A linear direct servo valve provides a response time of 2 millliseconds.

Plustech also introduced a 100-ton Global Platform (GL) horizontal molding machine that can be configured to meet a multitude of regional specifications. Models with clamping tonnages of 40, 60, 100 and 150 tons will be launched, and all feature a center direct clamping mechanism and 12-inch color touch screen control.

A GL 100 ton unit was used in a metal-to-plastic conversion application in an automated manufacturing cell for an automotive water pump rotor. It was demonstrated in an automated cell with cavity pressure monitoring and a visual inspection system.


Welltec North America, Pacific, Mo., the U.S. division of Welltec Machinery Ltd., Hong Kong, launched its new Ge Plus series of direct center-clamp servo-hydraulic machines ranging from 55 to 205 tons. The direct clamping structure of the Ge series utilizes both servo ball-screw and static hydraulic design for rapid yet energy-efficient response. A lock-nut design, driven by four AC servo motors, eliminates pressure on the ball screw and servomotor.

The model also features an independent servo-driven hydraulic power pack for core pull. The model also features B&R controls, European-sourced servo motors and drives and a rigid platen design with a movable platen that travels on linear rails. At least four injection unit sizes are available for each Ge model, says Rodney Sams, president.

Welltec says its Se II line of servo-hydraulic toggle machines now incorporates a higher efficiency pump mechanism and comes with wider tie bar spacing. A 130-ton Se II model at the show has a 2-inch wider platen, with injection pressure capability increased by several thousand psi.

The Se II series, available in 17 models from 90 to 2,000 tons, features B&R controls, a five-point toggle with a multi-pin toggle linkage, central lubrication system and automatic mold height adjustment. The servo motor, servo pump and servo drive system provides closed-loop pressure and flow rate control of the hydraulics.



Gluco Inc., Jenison, Mich., introduced its HVS series of insert injection machines in a new 30-ton vertical clamp with horizontal injection, designed to handle shot sizes down to 1 ounce. The HVS 30 joins existing 50- and 75-ton HVS models. Features include a left-right shuttle table and quick mold change capability with parting line adjustment. The HVS series handles shot sizes from 1 to 10 ounces and offers shuttle tables in sizes of 8 by 10, 10 by 12 or 12 by 16 inches.



Arburg Inc., Newington, Conn., added the largest electric injection unit to its lineup of Alldrive systems. The Alldrive 2100 injection unit features four servo motors and a spindle system adopted from its smaller 290 injection unit. Using modular drive technology, this larger size handles shot weights up to 1,286 grams, and is designed for large-volume, high-precision molding. It can be used with Arburg's modular Allrounder units with clamping forces up to 500 tons.

At NPE, Arburg demonstrated a 165-ton electric Allrounder 520 A model with a size 400 Alldrive injection system, where the unit was also configured with a stainless steel GMP compliant clamping unit, to produce 0.35 gram pipette tips in a 64 cavity-tool in a 4.5-second cycle time. The short cycle times are achieved by the simultaneous movement of the servo-electric main axes and the play-free, direct-acting spindle drives that ensure accuracy. The electric machines come standard with the SELOGICA control systems.

Mikell Knights, senior correspondent

[email protected]


Arburg Inc., 860-667-6500, www.arburg.comBoy Machines Inc., 610-363-9121, www.boymachines.comEngel Machinery Inc., 717-764-6818, www.engelglobal.comGluco Inc., 616-457-1212, www.gluco.comMaruka U.S.A., 973-487-3800, www.marukausa.comMilacron LLC, 513-536-2000, www.milacron.comNiigata Machine Techno Co. Ltd., 630-875-0202, www.niigata-us.comNissei America Inc., 714-693-3000, www.nisseiamerica.comPlustech Inc., 847-490-8130, www.plustech-inc.comSumitomo Demag, 440-876-8960, www.sumitomo-shi-demag.euToshiba Machine Co. America, 888-593-1616, Battenfeld Inc., 860-496-9603, www.wittmann-group.comWelltec North America, 913-486-9211,