For almost 50 years little kids have been conquering the world with Bobby-Cars, and parents who test the "more stylish" vehicles for their children usually find that those are not as functional as the red, blow-molded car with headlights that look like friendly eyes. Children can push themselves along while either sitting or kneeling on it. The center of gravity is so low that it never falls over, and it is so strong that an advertisement at its market launch showed an elephant putting a foot on it. In short, it is an institution in children's rooms in Europe as well as around the world.
Three specialists and a (little) red classic:Frank Burkhardt and Cordula Wieland (Local Sales and Expert Sales KraussMaffei) and Michael R. Raum (Head of Production Simba Dickie Group) at the BIG location in Burghaslach (from left to right)
The Bobby-Car's Ackermann steering system consists of metal parts and rugged injection molded parts. The latter are manufactured from polypropylene on KraussMaffei machines located at the BIG plant in Burghaslach, Germany. Situated right by highway A3 between Nuremberg and Würzburg, the plant is recognizable from a distance. The toy factory's outer motif resembles a buffalo with its horns extending toward the sky—which sometimes causes tourists to mistake the building for an oversized steakhouse.
BIG belongs to the Simba Dickie Group (Fürth), which manufactures toys with over 3000 employees at eight production facilities. KraussMaffei machines make up about 95 percent of the group's machines, and all series are being used: CX, PX, GX and MX with clamping forces from 500 to 16,000 kN. 30 percent of the machines have an electric drive, and the trend is rising.
"We are a long-established family business with excellent products, and when we sometimes have children here to test newly developed items, it is always something quite special."
You can see he enjoys his job:Michael R. Raum is the Head of Production at Simba Dickie with a total of eight production locations.
BIG designs its own toys with the aid of specialized designers. Often the basic ideas come from employees with families or from end customers who write to BIG. A current hit is the AquaPlay waterplay system, which children three years old and older can use to learn how water flows through channels or how a water lock works.
To keep the water in the desired paths, it is important to have the right geometry and to keep the deformation of the channels and sealing connecting clips to a minimum.
12 new KraussMaffei machines
Still, the requirements for repeatability in the process are not quite as high as in the automotive sector, and you might even be able meet them with a machine from the medium price segment.
Nonetheless, the Simba Dickie Group is currently ordering 12 new machines from KraussMaffei. Five of those are headed to the plant of Smoby, a French brand.
Michael R. Raum points out, "We appreciate the modular design of the machines, namely, the fact that we can combine the clamping unit and injection unit the way we need to. The wide product range from the PX to the MX is also important to us. But the purchase is one thing—training, application technology and the like are something else. When it comes to planning the manufacturing technology for new products, we consult with our partner KraussMaffei and have also made use of the TechCenter in Munich. Developments such as APC plus are also a great help to us."
With the red aesthetic matching that of BIG:A production system from KraussMaffei with its "makers": Michael R. Raum (Head of Production Simba Dickie Group), Frank Burkhardt and Cordula Wieland (Local Sales and Expert Sales KraussMaffei) (from left to right)
The APC plus machine function responds to viscosity fluctuations in the melt and individually adjusts the filling quantity in the cavity for each cycle. APC plus acts sort of like a cruise control for the injection molding machine and is able to keep the shot weight specified by the mold setter consistent during ongoing production even if, for example, the material viscosity changes due to external factors such as an altered room climate, or if varying material compositions can occur. As a result of this, APC plus supports even inexperienced operators with a reliable process.