Lätzsch continues its success story with new PUR system
| Gerhard Konrad
Product line expanded with hybrid production system for flameproof interior components
Lätzsch GmbH is an automotive and commercial vehicle supplier renowned among automakers and manufacturers. It has earned this reputation with its components made of polyurethane integral semi-rigid foam and glass-fiber reinforced plastic/carbon-fiber reinforced plastic components. The company has now commissioned a KraussMaffei foaming system for an order for various assemblies from a well-known coach manufacturer. The mixing and metering technology has been customized for processing a polymethylpentene flame retardant compound.
"As a system provider, we offer complete solutions from a single supplier and supply finished assemblies that only have to be installed. This means less effort for our customers and highly efficient transactions," says CEO Hans-Joachim Lätzsch. He considers this the key to the company's success. "We can now also offer our customers components made of formulations with solid flame retardant materials."
Complete development from a single supplier
Stringent requirements exist for passenger transportation. Passenger safety takes highest priority. This is why only flameproof materials may be used in the passenger compartment. For assemblies installed in buses built by a major manufacturer, Lätzsch has developed a special polymethylpentene flame retardant compound. The PU structural foam complies with the flame retardant directive ECE118-03, which applies specifically to coaches. "The flame tests are carried out simultaneously with production in our in-house fire safety lab," Lätzsch explains. Lätzsch GmbH also handles the design engineering of the foam molds in-house. "This enables us to make our production very cost-effective. It also gives us the ability to carry out mold optimizations quickly and efficiently," says Lätzsch, describing his philosophy.
Partner in development and series production
Lätzsch made use of KraussMaffei's expertise in developing the mixing and metering technology for metering the flame retardant. "KraussMaffei's technicians and design engineers were reliable partners in implementing the necessary reconfigurations and expansions to our system. This was true both in the development phase for metering the flame retardant and developing and installing the system for series production," Lätzsch says.
Polymethylpentene flame retardant compound with solid filler
The new system includes three foaming cells, a material processing unit with static mixers and two piston rods with 15l plungers. This makes it possible to have shots with very short cycle times, even for very large volumes. For metering the polymethylpentene flame retardant, the system features two wear-resistant high-pressure metering cylinders. The isocyanate is metered using a high-pressure metering unit with axial piston pump. Processing the polymethylpentene flame retardant compound requires a piston metering system, because abrasive, powdered fillers are used. This hybrid system enables fast and continuous foaming.
Efficient work and short cycle times
Lätzsch had a system with two piston rods installed. One of the 15l plungers is ready for shots at all times, and there are no waiting times for raising the pistons. Both piston rods take in the polymethylpentene flame retardant compound from a shared raw material hopper. This ensures the uniform quality of the material.
Customized mixing head configuration
The metering of the flame retardant also requires a corresponding mixing head configuration. In this specific case, two 4-component poly-iso mixing heads (MK12/18 ULP-4K-F-80) and a 3-component mixing head (MK8/12 ULKP-3KV-80) were selected, which are fed using the hybrid twin-piston pump solution.
Control and operation using the PUC08
A PUC08 HMI from KraussMaffei is used to control and operate the entire system. "This ensures that we always maintain the complete overview of the current status of our system's production cycle," Lätzsch says. In addition, the PUC08 records all process data and production parameters. The database is the basis for quality monitoring and process optimization and thus ensures higher production reliability. In addition, in case of service, the PUC08 is the basis for remote service over the Internet.
Varied range of production
Lätzsch GmbH has extensive experience in production of foamed components for the vehicle interior. For driver's cabs, Lätzsch foams products such as floor mats, armrests, separating walls, handles and storage boxes. "In particular, our customers value our flexibility in producing short runs," says Lätzsch's CEO. "If necessary, we can produce the desired components very quickly and deliver them just in time." Lätzsch now has a total of thirteen foaming cabinets, ensuring plenty of capacity, even for large orders.
In particular, our specialized expertise includes the production of foamed components with inserts such as metal inlays for movement functions and handle systems. It also includes components made from various materials, some of which have an energy-absorbing function. Lätzsch supplies PUR components in a variety of colors and with IMC surface finishing. There are graining and jet-effect structures depending on requirements.
Expert in fiber composite components and logistics services
Lätzsch GmbH works in three business units of PUR processing, GRP/CFRP production manufacturing, the automotive service area as well as metal processing. Around 125 employees work together in production at the three locations in Saxony: Kitzscher-Thierbach, Neustadt and Streitwald.
Lätzsch has made a name for itself in the commercial vehicle industry as a highly skilled producer of components made of fiber reinforced plastics (GRP/CFRP) and of integral semi-rigid foam parts made of polyurethane. The range of services includes everything from engineering to the approval process and from overhaul to the new development. For many years, Lätzsch has been relying on the quality and performance capacity of KraussMaffei's polyurethane machines.
The portfolio of fiber-reinforced GRP/CFRP products includes components for a variety of vehicles, such as construction machinery, buses, forklifts, municipal vehicles, agricultural machines, mechanical and device engineering as well as medical and rehabilitation technology and special vehicles.
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