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Injection Molding In The Spotlight At Plastimagen

Latin America's largest plastics show, Plastimagen, wrapped up on March 15 from Mexico City, with precision injection molding strongly represented, including a particular emphasis on thin-wall packaging systems.

Arburg presented its Allrounder Hidrive machine series with a hybrid Allrounder 520 H Packaging machine injection molding two thin-walled tubs in a cycle time of 2.2 seconds. In a second exhibit, Arburg built a compact production cell around an Allrounder 470 C Golden Edition and a Multilift Select robotic system. The Allrounder "Packaging" version has sector specific features and at the show offered a 1300 kN clamping force and a size 800 injection unit. The 2-cavity mold from Hofstetter allowed high-speed injection of thin-walled tubs with a shot weight of 16.8g. Arburg's booth also featured a hydraulic Allrounder 470 C Golden Edition with a clamping force of 1500 kN and a size 400 injection unit working in conjunction with a Multilift Select robotic system. The machine injection molded garden trowels with a weight of 65g, with the Multilift Select robotic system entering the mold vertically, removing the trowels, and setting them on a conveyor belt.

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag was represented by its Mexican distributor, Avance Industrial, which exhibited molding of food containers and two additional applications for the consumer and packaging industry. A high-speed El-Exis SP 350-2500 machine with eight-fold tool from Stack Teck molded 500-ml food containers in a cycle time of 2.9 seconds. The 18.8g polypropylene containers had a wall thickness of 0.5 mm, for a flow path/wall thickness ratio of 260. A fully electric SE 180 EV with 1800-kN of clamping force injection molded 2-liter containers with IML labels in one single tool from the Guadalajaran manufacturer Epigsa. An integrated Yaskawa Motoman 6-axis robot positioned the label in the tool and removed finished parts. These 18.8g polypropylene containers have a wall thickness of 0.75 mm at the bottom with a flow path/wall thickness ratio of 200. At Erat's booth, Avance Industrial exhibited with its long-time partner Sepro Robotique, with that company supplying automation on a hydraulic Systec 210-840 that injection molded fans. The HDPE parts, with a shot weight of 27g, are removed from the machine by a S5-25 linear robot from Sepro Robotique. In this part, gas injection molding equipment from Bauer Compressors Inc. was employed.

KraussMaffei presented three injection molding machines at Plastimagen, including the new GX series, as well as its AX and CX series. A GX 450-4300 injection molded disposable spoons from a 32-cavity mold, while an all-electric AX 180-750 and a CX 80-750, both equipped with a linear robot, also ran at the company's booth. The CX 80-750, featuring a LRXS 100 linear robot, molded transparent housings, while the AX 180-750 molded beer mugs. On that machine, a LRX 150 linear robot demolded the parts and place them on a conveyor. The company said since its establishment in 1999, the KraussMaffei subsidiary in Mexico has grown along with the countries burgeoning injection molding industry and it "hopes to continue doing so in future with above-average results."

Wittmann Battenfeld's 400-sq-m Plastimagen booth featured injection molding machines and auxiliaries, including multiple injection molding units. Three machines from the PowerSeries were on display, as well as a hydraulic machine from the HM series and a toggle machine from the TM series. In addition, A MicroPower 15/10 machine molded a POM clamp weighing only 0.003g from a 4-cavity mold supplied by Microsystems UK. After 4 second cycle time parts were removed by a W8VS2 Wittmann robot and passed on to a camera integrated in the production cell for inspection. A polypropylene (PP) fitting was molded on an EcoPower 240/1330 with a 2-cavity mold supplied by Austria's IFW.  A MacroPower 450/3400 with a single-cavity mold from Haidlmair creating a PP stacking crate, and a HM 110/350 injection molding a frame with an inserted glass pane using a single-cavity mold from KIMW. The variothermic BFMOLD process is used to produce the frame, enabling the foamed part to feature a perfect "piano black surface". A TM 180/750 machine injection molded a PP insulin from a 48-cavity Hasco mold running in a 6-second cycle time. A total of nine robots were showcased, including the servo robot models W808, W823, W828 and W843 representing the small, compact and medium-sized portfolio.

In a December 2012 release, show organizer E.J. Krause reported that 95% of the exhibit space for Plastimagen 2013 had been sold. The organizer anticipated having more than 850 exhibitors from 21 countries. The show had 12 international pavilions and covered nearly 29,000 sq m of exhibits. The U.S. Commercial Serve ranks Mexico as the twelth largest plastics consumers in the world with more than 4102 plastics companies. In 2011, Plastimagen generated attendance of 29,254 hailing from 34 countries. There were 781 exhibiting companies from 21 countries, occupying more than 28,044 sq m of exhibition space.

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