There were plenty of memorable stories and new products in the pages of Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing and on the website in 2020. Before moving on to 2021, we have been looking back at some of the highlights. This is the last installment in the series.
Yizumi Germany uses robot arm to bring additive manufacturing to IMM
Additive manufacturing takes many forms, and a new system from Yizumi Germany combines an extrusion head with a six-axis robotic arm that moves the head as it deposits resin in layers. The flexible robotic arm, known as SpaceA, can be used for overmolding in conjunction with injection molding machines.
Yizumi manufactures injection molding machines, and the SpaceA system can easily be incorporated into an injection molding environment, said Nicolai Lammert, head of additive manufacturing for Yizumi Germany.
“We can substitute a two-component injection molding machine with one standard injection molding machine and one printer,” Lammert said. “Also, the mold can be way easier. It is more economic for some use cases to overprint plastic structures with our printer. You have the possibility to make the part stronger by using a special polymer with fibers in it.”
The SpaceA’s print head moves with positioning accuracy to within 0.05mm. The system is packaged with control technology, including an 18.5-inch multicolor display.
Coperion extruders certified to produce material for masks
Coperion achieved what one official called a “milestone” when it validated its ZSK twin-screw extruder for producing PP pellets that are tailored for meltblown fabrics used to make masks for medical personnel.
Tests at Coperion’s lab in Stuttgart, Germany, in conjunction with Lummus Novolen Technology GmbH, demonstrated Coperion’s twin-screw extruders can produce PP pellets with extremely low melt viscosities.
“With this process, the licensees of Novolen are now able to produce these coveted products safely and reliably, without restrictions on the existing product portfolio,” said Sebastian Schwarzer, technology manager for extrusion at Novolen.
Novolen develops and implements process technologies. The newly developed PP compound is based on a raw PP material developed in a Novolen process. Coperion made the necessary adjustments to its extruders so they can produce the PP for meltblown applications.
Cobot can stretch and reach around obstructions
The OB7-Stretch model, the fourth in the OB7 product line from Productive Robotics Inc., has a longer reach (4 feet) and lighter maximum payload (8.8 pounds) than the standard OB7 cobot.
Suited for performing a variety of tasks, including welding, cutting, painting and assembly, the cobots have seven axes. The seventh axis, the J3 arm, allows the cobots to operate in confined workspaces and reach around obstructions such as a machine’s sliding door.
Software upgrades include the ability of OB7 cobots to directly monitor and control the machines they are working with for fast and easy integration with compatible systems. The upgrades also include live online status monitoring and email and text message alerts for status updates, machine stoppages and other issues.
Quote of the week:
“The plastics industry, at least in our part of the business for compounding machines and extrusion machines, is quite conservative. For example, injection molding machines are already ahead of us – ahead of the compounding industry – in terms of digitization, Industry 4.0, IoT, or whatever you call it. Connected machines and data analytics will come also in the compounding/extrusion business, I believe.”
Markus Schmudde, head of R&D at Coperion Corp.
Previous installments of our look back at 2020: