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Keywords of this article:  injection molding 
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injection mold 
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The Fakuma 2018 international trade fairfor plastics processing concluded with success in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Thefive-day exhibition was fully booked out with 1933 exhibitors, and attracted 47,650expert visitors from all over the world.

Fakuma 2018 drew down its curtain with great success.
Fakuma 2018 drew down its curtain with great success.

For this edition, the exhibition area is approx. 85,000sqm. Exhibitors from outside of Germany accounted for more than 42% of the total number. According to the organizer P. E. Schall GmbH & Co KG, the visitors demonstrated high levels of expertise and the technical discussions were of “high-quality”, and the exhibitors were more than satisfied.

The proactive technology transformation in plastics processing keeps on moving well and fast, as plenty of new digitalized, automated and energy efficient solutions were introduced at the exhibition. At the same time, industry players also make every effort to explore new markets or dig for further opportunities.

New machines and control systems under spotlight

Fakuma is used to be a platform showcasing latest innovations and technologies of injection molding. As such, many debut and new machines could be seen at the booths of leading injection molding machine manufacturers.

At its booth, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag launched the compact high-speed version of the IntElect S. The IntElect S 130/520-450 ran a medical engineering application to demonstrate the new all-electric machine series for high-speed parts.

The machine features a package of options that ensures a clean production environment. The 32-cavity pipette application focused on quality assurance and traceability.

The IntElect S injection moulding machines are available with clamping forces between 500 kN and 1,800 kN and with injection speeds between 350 and 500 mm/s. They are specially built for high-speed applications with cycle times between 3 and 10 seconds.

Thanks to its optimized configuration of motors and drives, this model outperforms standard IntElect machines in terms of mold movements, injection and metering speeds and ejector movements, which translates into significantly reduced cycle times.
The El-Exis SP 200 ran a high-speed IML application from the packaging segment at the stand.
For packaging segment, an El-Exis SP 200 demonstrated live a high-speed IML application which is a classic complex packaging process: a production unit with a high-volume output, low part weight, IML and cycle times below 3 seconds.

For ENGEL, simplicity is the success factor for modern injection molding. Therefore, the company displayed the CC300 with an upgraded control concept and new features. The control unit makes it more efficient, user-friendly and safe to use injection molding machines and integrated system solutions. For example, the machine operator can now switch between tasks and components even faster.

Meanwhile, ENGEL showcased three premieres at the same time with a highly integrated production cell on which two-part callipers were manufactured.
The extremely compact layout of the production cell with the easix robot at its centre.
With a clamping force of 1200 kN, the new e-motion 120 TL is the largest machine in its series. This upward expansion represents ENGEL's focus on the trend towards an increased use of multi-cavity molds.

Together with other system partners, ENGEL went one step further at the exhibition. The system solution presented allows for a fully automated switch of the mold inserts within just one minute.

The extremely compact layout of the production cell with the easix robot at its centre was a real eye-catcher. The robot is responsible for the complete handling of the mold inserts and components, the marking of injection-molded parts and their assembly, and the removal of the callipers from the production cell.

The VPower vertical machine.One of the highlight of Wittmann Battenfeld at the exhibition was the VPower, the first vertical molding machine in PowerSeries design. The machine’s generously dimensioned rotary table is powered by a servo-electric drive as standard. It offers flexibility, as the injection unit can be converted from vertical to horizontal and vice-versa, even after commissioning.

Thanks to its open design, the VPower vertical machine is also well suited for the integration of automation systems with insert feeding and finished part removal functions.

The updated robot series WX and PRIMUS were also on stage. The design updates of WX series with R9 control unit include: vertical profile anodized and bicolor (telescope), integration of the B servomotors into the vertical profile, vacuum formed cover plates, etc.

The full extent of Wittmann 4.0 integration with MES (Manufacturing Execution System) drew big attention as well. Wittmann 4.0 specific functionalities are now extended in the software TEMI+ so that key figures of peripherals can also be evaluated for the first time.

To demonstrate its latest technological developments,KraussMaffei showed double IMD and IML simultaneously with all-electric PX 320 at its booth. With the PX 320, a single production step created a complete ten-inch HMI display (human-machine interface) with integrated electronics, black decorative frame and scratch-proof coating.

For this purpose, a six-axis robot inserted the IML film with printed conductor paths on the nozzle side. In addition, on the ejector side, an IMD film with single-image decor ran through the mold, transferring its paint with design layer and UV-hardening top coat to the component. Beside the IMD film for the HMI display, another film ran through the mold and provided a second cavity with another decor.
The PX 25 aims at articles with low shot weight.
In addition, KraussMaffei also showed the new “little sister” in the PX series, the PX 25. The application demonstrated at the exhibition was the production of a sealing ring made of liquid silicone (LSR) with an intricate undercut and a weight of only 0.15 g, in the field of micro-injection molding and requiring only 14 seconds cycle time.

The main focus of Arburg was on the "Road to Digitalisation", and the new, modern mint green, light grey and dark grey color scheme in which all the ALLROUNDERs appeared for the first time.
 Arburg highlighted its smart solutions at its booth.
At various stations of the booth, experts provided information on the digital assistance packages and offered an insight into the future, e.g. the GESTICA control system with filling simulation, augmented reality (AR) for smart service and the introduction of the new customer portal.

Further highlights of Arburg included the premiere of the ALLROUNDER 820 H in the Packaging version and the new clamp design, a turnkey system featuring the new SCADA system ARBURG Turnkey Control Module (ATCM) and automated micro LSR injection molding.

Dr. Boy GmbH & Co. KG showcased its intelligent solutions in a wide range of different fields, including the new machine BOY 125 E which answers the demands of its customers for a larger clamping unit.

“Increasing complexity of automation equipment and the encouraging increase in the use of additional injection units prompted us to enlarge the clamping unit accordingly,” said Alfred Schiffer, Managing Partner.
 The new machine BOY 125 E.
Even with a 470 mm distance of tie bars and a maximum platens distance of 825 mm, the manufacturer demonstrated that it is possible to design a very robust and yet compact machine with a footprint of just 5.2 m².

All BOY machines at the booth were connected to the ProSeS host computer system which allows an insight into the production process of each molded part. For each manufactured part, all desired process values can be reproduced by means of a printed QR-code during the entire service life of the molded part.

In relation to digitalization, the BOY Remote Service (BRS) was elucidated. Users can send online pictures of a machine to the service centre via a smartphone. With the use of "smart glasses" (a combination of smartphone and customizable screen), questions can also be clarified by marking of certain areas of the image within the glasses.

Other elite technologies that shine

With two separate booths, Husky highlighted its Hot Runners and Controllers technology at one booth, and focused on its Packaging and Medical molding solutions at another.

 Husky offers the Ultra Helix valve gate to provide molders with unprecedented quality and reliability.Husky showcased the Ultra Helix valve gates, with over 4000 nozzles installed. In addition, the new Altanium Valve Gate Sequencer was demonstrated. It is an easy-to-use single unit that combines temperature and valve gate control, excellent for filling large, multi-gated parts.

The booth also displayed Husky’s new Altanium Matrix5, Altanium Delta5 and Altanium Neo5 mold controllers. The new Ultra SideGate Inline, providing 18 mm gate spacing for small parts and suitable for compact molds, was also shown.

For Packaging and Medical molding solutions, Husky highlighted its Multi-Layer Technology for packaging applications. It is an integrated solution that allows more attractive packaging options over alternative materials, such as metal cans, cartons, glass and high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

With the highest ever system capability, Multi-Layer Technology can produce packages with a wide range of barrier content, while delivering up to 50% savings on barrier material costs for some applications.

The machine and sealing specialist Sonderhoff, part of Henkel, promoted its new FIP CC (Formed-In-Place Closed-Cell) technology at the exhibition. This technology combines the high water resistance of the silicone world and the attractive material costs of the polyurethane world.
 Peter Fischer, Marketing Director, Sonderhoff Holding GmbH.
Already with the metering, the CC foam is stable in almost complete sealing dimension applied to the part contour. The new predominantly closed cell foam seal Fermapor CC based on PU has been developed by Sonderhoff especially for applications with high demands on water resistance.

The DM 402 CC mixing and dosing system developed for the new FIP CC foaming process was demonstrated live at the Sonderhoff stand. It has a much shorter set-up time, and the change of material is easier, therefore simplifies and speeds up potential process adjustments.

According to Peter Fischer, Marketing Director, E-mobility is offering new opportunities for the company. “The battery housing of electric vehicle is of course an application for our technology. We have already made some solutions for several OEMs,” he said.

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