Efficient foaming without release agents
| Gerhard Konrad
KraussMaffei presents Automatic Film Insert (AFI) technology at K show
Release agents are used to facilitate demolding in the production of components made of PUR foam. KraussMaffei's Automatic Film Insert (AFI) technology now offers an alternative. It takes account of stringent health and safety regulations while also sustainably enhancing efficiency in the foaming process. The AFI technology also offers additional advantages.
"With the AFI technology, we can simultaneously meet the needs of different customer groups," explains Nicolas Beyl, President of the Reaction Process Machinery segment at KraussMaffei. "It allows us to offer a sustainable alternative to using sprayed release agents. AFI technology also helps us to produce PUR foam components using a fully automated process." Automatic Film Insert deploys a plastic film that precisely lines the mold and thus reliably separates the foam from the mold.
Precision is the deciding factor
Inserting a thin film into the upper and lower half of a foaming mold automatically and without wrinkles is a difficult task. Automatic Film Insert delivers a solution that is fast, precise and saves on material. The technology therefore boosts the efficiency of PUR component production. Using this KraussMaffei technology, two film frames are automatically filled according to the size of the mold with a thin film from a roll. The frame is lowered over the mold and the film, supported by underpressure, clings precisely to the mold surface. Foaming and demolding are then executed as usual. In rotary table systems, the foaming process is fully automated by robots: at the end of the cycle, the component only has to be removed from the arrangement for post-mold processing. The remaining production process takes place without manual intervention.
"With the AFI technology, we can simultaneously meet the needs of different customer groups. We offer a sustainable alternative to using sprayed release agents. AFI technology also helps us to produce PUR foam components using a fully automated process.Nicolas Beyl, President Reaction Process Machinery at KraussMaffei
High productivity through automation
AFI can play an important role in increasing the productivity of foam part production. In the manufacture of media-protected components, AFI technology is used to apply protective film to the mold. This reduces the operating personnel's workload, while automatic insertion ensures optimum quality for each component. In addition, the system assembles the film from the roll in a manner that saves on material and meets requirements. A continuous, fully automated production process is thus ensured, along with high system productivity.
Components with film protection – secure film-foam composite
The technology developed by KraussMaffei is also suitable for producing foam components that are covered with a protective film. These components are used in vehicle manufacturing when protection against environmental factors is required (e.g. in the case of acoustic insulation in wheel arches). Here, the AFI technology ensures optimum bonding between foam and film: once activated on one side, the film clings to the surface of the foam mold without wrinkles or bubbles.
Clean air at the workstation
With this technology, the film replaces liquid release agents in the production of foam parts with a closed or open surface. This means that room air at the workplace is free of release agent vapors. It also facilitates compliance with increasingly stringent health and safety regulations.
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