French plastics manufacturers face major challenges
Many manufacturers in France are facing pressure on profit margins due to rising raw material and energy prices on the one hand and weak demand for plastic products on the other. This goes in particular for manufacturers of technical parts and suppliers to the sluggish local automotive industry. However, the demand for plastic packaging has recently dropped, as has the production of semifinished goods and building products. “This year we will be using the FIP specifically to show French plastics manufacturers how to stay competitive despite all these challenges. For example, we will be presenting an all-electric injection molding machine for physical foaming which offers double savings on energy and material costs, but without compromises,” explains Jacques Socquet, Subsidiary Head of KraussMaffei Group in France.
MuCell® saves materials and energy
In Lyon KraussMaffei will be presenting an AX 130-750 CellForm featuring integrated linear robot LRX 50 and equipped with the new MuCell® system for producing foamed components. “It is particularly easy to operate and a new metering system makes it extremely compact,” explains Socquet. The machine produces an ASA/PC copolymer cover for white goods (such as washing machines) at a shot weight of 127 g in a cycle time of around 37 seconds. By adapting the part design especially to MuCell®, the wall thicknesses and part weight were adjusted in such a way as to achieve material savings of 35 percent with no loss of functionality. Dynamic mold heating ensures a premium-quality surface finish. Energy consumption is kept to a minimum by the all-electric AX series injection molding machine, which, thanks to its high precision and shot weight constancy, is ideal for the CellForm process because there is no need for an offsetting holding pressure phase. The machine is equipped with an innovative safety system that guarantees user-friendly and safe handling of the machine. A special feature is that the active functions required for the foaming process, such as back pressure, can also be executed with opened safety gates by means of electric motor drives and in compliance with current safety standards. All parameters in the MuCell® process are visualized on the MC6 control system and can be set in a simple and intuitive way.
Increasing production efficiency in many different ways
“To increase production efficiency, KraussMaffei offers a wide range of process options which also allow the number of operating steps to be reduced,” explains Socquet. In general, there are major advantages to be had in combining multiple stages of production in a single injection molding cell. But the optimal interaction of individual components within the machine is also a key factor. For example, all machines from the GX series are equipped with PowerPack drive systems with energy-efficient variable delivery pumps which considerably improve the efficiency of the machine. The optional use of “Blue Power Servo Drive” technology further optimizes energy consumption compared with variable delivery pumps. Depending on the application, energy savings can amount to as much as 50 percent compared with conventional hydraulic concepts. Another beneficial effect in terms of energy efficiency is the use electronically controlled water distributors whose temperature can be adapted individually to moldings.