Processes & Products
Maximum precision in the clean room
| Petra Rehmet
KraussMaffei at the Swiss Plastics Expo
Processing intelligent materials. For example Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) with its high growth rates. At the Swiss Plastics Expo in Lucerne (January 21 - 23, 2020, Hall 2, Booth D2101), KraussMaffei will be demonstrating how that can work, including in micro-injection molding under clean room conditions and in post-mold processing.
A PX 25 CleanForm will produce slotted micro-diaphragms with a component weight of just 0.0375 g in the 8-cavity mold. Digital solutions such as the dataXplorer and APC plus ensure consistently high process transparency and component quality
"Switzerland is a market for high-end technologies and an established competence region. Precisely the attributes that the exhibit, the PX 25 CleanForm, impressively addresses at the Swiss Plastics Expo," explains Bruno Schleiss, managing director of KraussMaffei (Schweiz) AG. The PX 25-55 CleanForm, the smallest all-electric size from KraussMaffei, with a clamping force of 250 kN, demonstrates highly sophisticated medical micro-injection molding with liquid silicone (LSR). A micro-diaphragm weighing just 0.0375 g is created from a shot weight of only 0.3 g (8-cavity mold). The cycle time is 30 seconds.
The exact metering of such small shot weights is realized using a completely new metering system developed by our partner Nexus Elastomer Systems. The compact system solution ensures high-precision metering of the low-viscosity material. Plastification of the micro-shot weights is performed by the newly developed 12 mm screw from KraussMaffei, which is what makes such small weights even possible.
Intricate automation and production under clean room conditions
KraussMaffei automation has also been especially optimized for this intricate application. The slots in the flexible micro-diaphragm are cut by a fine blade integrated into the gripper while the part is still in the mold. Demolding and bagging in the system are monitored by a camera system and supported by a KUKA IR 6 R 900 Agilus IR robot. Like all KraussMaffei PX machines, the systematic modular construction means that even the smallest PX 25 can be upgraded with the necessary clean room equipment. Besides the obligatory clean room technology for laminar airflow, this includes encapsulated drive units, antistatic painting, raised machine legs to FDA-compliant hydraulic fluid.
"This opens up whole new possible applications, for example in medical technology or in the life science sector."Bruno Schleiss, Managing Director of KraussMaffei (Schweiz) AG
Digital solutions ensure greater process transparency
Digital solution for process enhancement and for collecting and evaluating data round off the offering of the PX 25 at the Swiss Plastics Expo. The APC Plus (Adaptive Process Control) machine function also demonstrates its strengths in this micro-injection molding automation task with LSR, ensuring high shot weight consistency and, consequently, uniform component quality. This is an important argument for the cost-intensive material LSR.
The dataXplorer also offers further added value. It charts up to 500 different signals from the injection molding machine within the space of one millisecond as continuous curve progressions, allowing an unrivaled look at the depth of the process and the hardware. There are hardly any questions that cannot be investigated with it. "If the molded parts are appropriately labeled, all production operations can be assigned to the shot years later. Such complete documentation is essential, especially for customers in medical technology or for safety-relevant components," Schleiss adds. Visitors to the KraussMaffei exhibition booth at the Swiss Plastics Expo will be able to track these data using a printed QR code on the bagged components.
Growth market silicone
The market for silicone processing is enjoying double-digit growth all around the world. The material is not just flexible and temperature-resistant. It also impresses as being resistant to aging, fire and bacteria. And it is being constantly developed further. The new generation of silicones has far superior properties. They cure quicker at the same temperatures, are temper-free and can be used for optical applications. "This opens up whole new possible applications, for example in medical technology or in the life science sector," explains Schleiss.
KraussMaffei partners for the exhibit at the Swiss Plastics Expo are the companies Momentive Performance Materials, Nexus Elastomer Systems, SensoPart Industriesensorik, Automated Packaging Systems, Gimatic Vertrieb, iba, gwk Gesellschaft Wärme Kältetechnik and Max Petek Reinraumtechnik.