MoldMaking Technology

AUG 2018

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NPE2018 Post Show Highlights 30 MoldMaking Technology —— AUGUST 2018 MMT Team Shares NPE Technology and Trend Recap Plastics is a massive industry, which was quite evident considering the size of NPE2018. It was the largest NPE show to date, making it a difficult show to experience and cover at the same time. However, the MMT Team did its best to walk the miles of aisles to see and report on the latest technology and trends. Here are three trends: 1. Mold monitoring and process control. Numerous companies are improving their methods of monitoring molds and the molding process using sensors, monitors, software and the cloud to collect, analyze and share data, which ties directly to Industry 4.0. 2. Additive manufacturing. Many molders and mold builders were walking the 3D/4D Printing Zone truly interested in these technologies. It seems as though something has clicked in their minds, enabling them to see additive manufacturing as an avenue to new business opportunities (in which they accept lower-volume work) and a method to help customers save time and money (via 3D-printed, conformal- cooled inserts). 3. Conformal cooling. Numerous shops are buying technology to produce conformal-cooled inserts (which are made from vacuum- brazing and 3D-printing technologies). The news on the street is there is a lot of business out there for conformal-cooled inserts, if provided by shops with the tooling expertise to get it done right. On top of that, with conformal cooling taking off, exhibitors showcased solutions for largely unforeseen challenges, including systems for cleaning clogged water lines and for monitoring them so that clogging does not happen at all. A few technology highlights included: • Mold materials. High-polish, corrosion-resistant stainless steels, spe- cialized aluminum mold plate and pre-hardened steels were on display. • Hot runners. Nozzles for multi-cavity applications; screw-in nozzles for better sealing and ease of assembly and disassembly; small nozzles; a combined hot runner system with 3D-printed conformal-cooled cores for automotive lens molding; sequencing and temperature controllers; servo-driven valve gate systems; actuator cooling without separate cooling lines; side-mounted cylinders and side gating hot runner solu- tions were on display. • Mold components. Couplers that automatically connect and discon- nect via standard machine motions; ball-guided ejector bushings; guides for inclined pins; standard mold-base components; new, readily machined cooling products reaching through cores that previously have not been feasible; through-hardened pins for large molds; new alignment locks; centering units; double-rack lifters; water manifolds and collapsible cores were on display. • Surface treatment: Laser texturing, diamond, electroless nickel coat- ings and a four-axis laser for engraving and texturing were on display. • Mold maint enance and repair: Dry ice blasting, micro TIG welders and mobile laser welders were on display. Listen to MMT editors discuss the show at short.moldmakingtechnology.com/npe18wrap . X-Cell Tool, JP Grosfilley (JPG) and Milacron collaborated at NPE2018 to showcase Milacron's new Quantum-series injection molding machine and introduce the international partnership between X-Cell Tool and JPG to bring indexing technology to the United States. This was accomplished by running a single-cavity, double-wall cup, injection-molded with JPG's indexing system in 35 seconds. Basically, the indexing system manipulates the components of a mold to change the positions of mold components and in conjunc- tion with a robot that is relocating molded parts, which makes it possible to overmold the two parts together. The machine molded the two cups apart from each other, and then with another shot, the mold sealed them together. Then, when the mold opened, the mold components would switch, and a robot would place one cup over the other cup. Then, the mold would close and inject again to seal the cups together. The single-rotating element system exhib- ited at NPE made the cup, but for more complex applica- tions there are bi- and tri-rotating elements to expand the capabilities within the molding cycle to accommodate products with things like multiple materials or colors, in- mold assembly or other components placement such as filter media or water. An indexing plate bolts right into the injection machine and has a servo motor in the center with a single rotating element or with bi-rotating or tri-rotating elements that yield a variety of additional movements of mold components inside the mold. A single-rotating element system exhibited at NPE2018 by X-Cell Tool, JP Grosfilley (JPG) and Milacron made this cup.

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