Special report on the 35th anniversary of multi-component injection molding machine by FCS Ⅱ

Previously: Special Report On The 35th Anniversary Of Multi-Component Injection Molding Machine By FCS

2. Precision development of two-component injection molding machine

The hybrid injection molding machine
In August 2001, FCS first introduced the AE series high-speed hybrid IMM, which combines oil and electrical structures. On the one hand, it has electric positioning accuracy and energy-saving features. On the one hand, it retains the high thrust characteristics of the oil structure. In other words, with a cost lower than that of electric IMM, the hybrid injection molding machine can effectively improve the high energy consumption and low accuracy of traditional oil IMM, and greatly reduce the pollution and noise.

To achieve continuous, high-speed and precise injection, the mold clamping unit adopts high-rigidity structure and closed-loop control of German high-response servo valve. The control accuracy of mold clamping force is ±0.5%, the injection speed error is ±0.1%, the injection positioning accuracy is 0.05mm, the time control accuracy is 0.01s, and the weight error of the finished product is lower than 0.1%. To sum up, the overall injection accuracy and stability of the hybrid IMM are equal to those of the electric models, making it applicable to produce super thin parts and fine complex precision products.

This model is equipped with a multi-segment injection compression function, which can independently control the position and speed of each segment and work with the injection action to compress the starting point and the end point. Therefore, it can adapt to the needs of many different injection molds. Due to the hybrid structure, the compounding actions of feeding, accumulating, mode switching and ejection can be carried out simultaneously, which greatly shortens the molding cycle. Basically, the launch of FCS AE series has advanced the high-end injection industry to a new stage.

FCS then applied this technique to the two color injection molding machine, and launched the high-speed closed-loop hybrid two-component IMM (HB-250Y) in the same year, which drives the screw feed through an electric servo motor and is equipped with accumulator and high-speed injection device to form a hybrid multi-circuit system. Its injection closed-loop control, injection compression function (multi-segment low-pressure injection) and 500mm/s injection speed were all extremely advanced at that time. Both injection unit adopt the German high-response closed-loop servo valve with an injection speed of 600mm/s and 400mm/s respectively, and an injection response time of 25ms. In addition, it adopts closed-loop servo control and has the advantages of precise feeding, energy saving, high-speed injection and shortened molding cycle. Moreover, it is the first domestic two-component IMM based on the hybrid structure.

It is used to produce thin CD cases. Combined with servo robot and automatic stacking device, it shortens the molding cycle to only 7s, manifesting high speed and high automation production capacity. It not only breaks through the manual assembly bottleneck of traditional on the traditional CD case production lines, but improves the product and mold quality. In addition, it can complete the work of two machines, which improves the production efficiency and quality, and reduces the investment cost. 

The servo electric feed structure, the injection closed-loop control, the injection compression function (multi-segment low-pressure injection) and the 500mm/s injection speed were all extremely advanced at the time. The mold clamping unit adopts high-rigidity structure and closed-loop control of German high-response servo valve. The model parallelism error is lower than 0.05mm, and the position control accuracy of mode switch is ±0.1mm. Both injection elements adopt the German high-response closed-loop servo valve with an injection speed of 600mm/s and 400mm/s respectively. In addition, the injection response time is 25ms, the injection position accuracy is ±0.1mm, the pressure control accuracy is ±0.5%, the time control accuracy is 0.01s, and the weight error of finished product is lower than 0.1%.

This model also has multi-segment injection compression function, and the injection compression segment is accurate to 0.01mm. This model is the first domestic two-component IMM to adopt closed-loop system with high-speed injection, and has single-color, two-color, homogeneous, heterogeneous and multilayer injection functions, which shortens the process, increases the productivity, reduces the cost, and makes great progresses toward high precision, high quality and multi-function two component molding.

This model was awarded the “Excellence Award” in the “Innovative Product Competition for Plastic Rubber Machinery R&D” at the Taipei International Rubber and Plastics Industry Exhibition in 2001 and the “Taiwan Excellence Award” in 2002. However, the electric screw feed structure (Electric Screw Drive, ESD) was very common in the IMM in Europe and the United States, but still not applied in domestic IMM. Therefore, this high-speed precision two-component IMM enabled FCS to rewrite the technical development of the domestic two-component IMM, and FCS was reputed as the pioneer of high-end precision molding technique in China. (Source: China Plastics Processing Equipment Industry Research Report)

Figure: HB250Y won the “Excellence Award” in the “Innovative Product Competition for Plastic Rubber Machinery R&D” at the Taipei International Rubber and Plastics Industry Exhibition in 2001

In addition to the increased precision of the injection unit, the continuous optimization of the turning structure is also an important progress of the two-component IMM. The turning speed and accuracy of the turntable and the shaft have been greatly improved from the earliest rack structure, to the hydraulic motor drive, to the servo electric drive. In 2005, Ningbo FCS received the order of the CE specification two-component IMM from German electronics manufacturer, which is the first two-component IMM order that Ningbo FCS received from Europe. On the one hand, FCS two-component IMM has been recognized by foreign customers. And FCS two-component IMM has met the European safety standards and reached the international technical level, which has opened the export of domestic two-component IMM to Europe and the United States. At present, FCS two-component IMM has passed the CE certification, offering favorable conditions to enter the European market.

Since 2006, servo power-saving models have become popular. In 2007, FCS launched a servo power-saving two-component IMM to open the high-precision and power-saving path for multi-component IMM. In 2014, in order to meet the new technical requirements of two component molds and customers, FCS introduced the second-generation FB two-component IMM, and upgraded the specifications of the small two-component IMM below 400 tons to optimize structural rigidity and turntable performance, and added more injection unit options, which not only successfully assisted customers in product technology upgrades, but ensured the continued leading advantages of FCS two-component IMM.

3. Professional development of two-component injection molding machine

3.1 Application of two-component IMM in office supplies
In general, the two-component IMM is industry-specific and highly customized, which is significantly different from the general single-color IMM. In December 2001, Ningbo FCS was established. At that time, the ordinary IMM had already been saturated in China. At the beginning of the establishment of Ningbo FCS, the dedicated IMM was the mainline. There was already two-component IMM dedicated for pen-making industry in the Chinese market. However, after investigation and verification by FCS, there were many aspects requiring improvement.

In June 2003, Ningbo FCS launched the “Dedicated pen-making two-component IMM” (FB-200R), which enjoy wider mold space, faster and more precise turntable positioning, movable center distance, shorter molding cycle, and higher product yield. These characteristics make the FB-200R highly popular after its launch. In the beginning, the leading pen-making enterprises in Wenzhou adopted the FCS two-component IMM. Later, the pen-making enterprises in Ningbo and Shanghai also purchased the FCS two-component IMM. Finally, the top five pen-making enterprises in the entire Chinese pen-making industry used the FCS two-component IMM, which increased the popularity of FCS two-component IMM in the mainland market. This machine not only promotes the upgrade of the Chinese pen-making industry, but spurs the development of the two-component IMM in the mainland.

Figure: Second-generation dedicated pen-making two-component IMM in 2014 (FB200R)

3.2 Application of two-component injection molding machine in mobile phone industry
Since 2000, the global mobile phone industry has been booming, and the demand for mobile phones has increased exponentially every year. In the production process of mobile phones, in addition to various electronic components, the production of mobile phone structures, such as housings, buttons and connectors, required high-precision machinery to produce high-quality products. Given this demand, FCS launched the FB-140R dedicated button-making two-component IMM for the mobile phone industry in 2004.

This model has improved the efficiency and accuracy of the original injection elements. After the launch, it not only has been adopted by domestic customers, but well received by a large number of Korean mobile phone manufacturers. In 2004, the sales volume reached nearly 50 sets in a single region. Even in 2018, some Korean customers still purchased the dedicated button-making two-component IMM. The long-term high sales performance of this model once again prove that FCS two component IMM not only meets the customer needs, but creates higher customer profits.

Figure: Dedicated button-making two-component IMM in 2004 (FB140R)

Figure: FCS two-component IMM purchased by electronics customers

3.3 Application of two-component injection molding machine in automotive spare parts industry 
After 2006, the application of the two-component IMM has been extended to automotive spare parts industry (automotive lights and interior & exterior decoration). The FCS models of over 1,000 tons are basically targeted at the automotive light industry, and sold in Changzhou, Suzhou, Taizhou, Kunshan, Shanghai, Wuhu, Baoding, Shenyang, Chongqing, Guangxi and Qingdao. Later, large-size two-color injection machines are applied for large-size interior and exterior automotive parts.

Figure: Tri-color rear lights

FCS large-size two-component IMM focuses on the bearing capacity and positioning accuracy of turntable as well as the plasticizing design of injection element, which promotes the rapid development of multi-color molding technique and multi-component interior and exterior products in the Chinese automotive industry. In addition, since the beginning of 2015, FCS large-size multi-tasking three-component IMM has been developed and applied to solve the problem of complex multi-component process in Chinese automotive spare parts industry, and has advanced the multi-component molding technique of Chinese automotive spare parts to internationally leading level.

Figure: Dedicated automotive light two-component IMM in 2008 (FB1420R)

In the automotive spare parts industry, the sealing performance required for air-conditioning pipe valve systems has generated a high demand for multi-component molding technique. Therefore, FCS launched the two-component IMM with piggyback injection structure in 2009 (FB-350). Since the injection elements adopt a compact up-down configuration, it is suitable for injecting two products with huge weight difference, and automotive parts with seals.

In addition, the piggyback structure of this model can produce single-color products, which expands the scope of use, and creates greater benefits for customers. The W-type piggyback injection structure is more common in the injection machines in Europe and the United States. Many molds that had to be produced by the imported two-component IMM were gradually produced by the FCS W-type piggyback two-component IMM. From then on, FCS two-component IMM started to replace the imported two-component IMM.

Figure: Compact piggyback two-component IMM in 2009 (FB350)

3.4. Application of two-component injection molding machine in cosmetics industry
Among the FCS two-component IMM, FB-260R is the best-selling model, and can be described as the “classic” of FCS two-component IMM. A large part of FB-260R is used in the cosmetics industry, including lipstick tubes, facial cream boxes, eyebrow pencils, razors, hair removers and facial massagers. This model was introduced into FCS Ningbo for mass production in 2004. The model is positioned toward high-performance applications, and especially suitable for cosmetic containers with high precision and appearance requirements.

The market performance shows that FCS two-component IMM has stable performance, high product yield, high injection speed and excellent surface quality. Besides, it provides low-speed stability for thick and highly transparent products. Due to good reputation, many large cosmetics companies in Taiwan, Japan and France have adopted FCS two-component IMM. In 2014, FCS upgraded the model to the second generation, continuing the legend of the classic two-component IMM.

Figure: Classic best-selling FCS two-component IMM, FB series

3.5. Application of two-component injection molding machine in laptop computer industry
In 2008, Apple introduced the thinnest and lightest laptop the world has ever seen (MacBook Air). In 2010, Apple’s iPad raised a wave of tablet computers. Since 2012, China’s thin laptops and tablets have gradually emerged, and the characteristics of thin laptops and tablets must integrate the design of fixtures and seals to reduce the weight and improve the assembly efficiency. Therefore, it is necessary to adopt the two-component injection technique. However, the precision, complicated structure, and high-quality appearance characteristics of the electronic components have higher requirements for the two-component IMM.

Figure: Dedicated laptop computer two-component IMM in 2014 (FB700R)

In view of this, FCS launched the high-precision two-component IMM dedicated for thin laptop computers in 2014, FB-700R and FB-850R. The medium-size high-precision two-component IMM have been greatly improved in terms of turntable speed, positioning accuracy, mold-closing accuracy, and injection speed, making them especially suitable for thin, high flow ratio, and sophisticated electronic products. After the launch, they were widely purchased by a large number of customers, and developed new application fields for medium-size domestic two-component IMM.

Figure: Dedicated laptop computer two-component IMM of FCS purchased by customers

3.6 Application of two-component injection molding machine in medical product industry
As mentioned above, the classic FCS two-component IMM, FB-260R, is widely applied in medical equipment industry in addition to the cosmetics industry, including dual-layer syringes with light barrier properties, breathing masks, and medical packaging covers. In the injection molding field, the medical equipment occupies a certain share. However, the application of two-component molding technique in medical products must consider clean room space, height, production area cleanliness, heat source emission control, waste rate control and other factors.
In order to meet the above special needs, FCS improved this model and launched the two-component IMM dedicated for medical products, which has been adopted by domestic and foreign medical equipment companies. (Note: During the Chinaplas in Guangzhou in May 2019, FCS will exhibit more multi-cavity two-component infusion cap molding system. Welcome to visit, Booth: 3.1 Hall F21)
Figure: Medical products-syringe and infusion cap

In the two-component molding process of medical equipment, the combination of soft and hard rubber is the technical focus, which poses high requirements for the positioning accuracy of the injection element and the rigidity of the mold clamping element. Especially, small deviations in the production of multi-cavity products can lead to defective products. The product that best reflects this technical difficulty is the production of multi-cavity multi-component toothbrush handles. In 2012, FCS worked with related mold manufacturers to introduce multi-component IMM FB-550R dedicated for toothbrush, which was widely applied by the international toothbrush manufacturers.
Figure: Multi-component toothbrush handles

In 2016, FCS launched the upgraded dedicated toothbrush machine FB-600T (including multi-component), in which FB-600T two-component IMM replaces the original nine single-color machines (secondary molding process), which not only saves half of the space, but reduces the manpower (three shifts from 24 persons to 3 persons). More importantly, the yield (from 95% to 99%) and efficiency are improved. The FB-600T multi-component IMM shoulders the responsibility of “import replacement”. Combined with high-precision molds and automation peripherals, it replaces the imported multi-component IMM that customers originally used, and creates higher profits for customers with super high cost performance. The customer compared the FCS multi-component IMM to the Golden Chicken. This is also the mission of FCS two-component IMM: “Continuously promote the development of domestic multi-component IMM, become the best substitute brand for imported machines, and create higher efficiency for customers”.

In December 2018, the FB-600T multi-component IMM of FCS Ningbo (dedicated toothbrush handle multi-cavity multi-component IMM) was selected as the “40th Anniversary of Reform and Opening Up-Outstanding Products of Machinery Industry” organized by China Machinery Industry Federation, which affirmed the advantages of FCS multi-component IMM. (During the Chinaplas in Guangzhou in May 2019, FCS will present a multi-component toothbrush handle molding system. Welcome to visit. Booth:3.1 F21)

Figure: Dedicated toothbrush multi-component IMM in 2016 (FB600T)