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

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

4. Multi-injection development of two-component injection molding machine

As mentioned above, the development of two color injection molding machine starts with two-component IMM. As the product complexity increases, the demand for tri-color or four-color products emerges. In general, there are two types of tri-color IMM: two-station tri-color IMM (commonly known as fake tri-color IMM) and three-station tri-color IMM (commonly known as true tri-color IMM). In fact, the difference between the two does not lies in the number of stations but in the different turntable control methods based on product structure design (two pairs of molds or three pairs of molds). Two-station implies that the turntable is positioned in two positions, which is equivalent to the 180° turntable control mode of the two-component IMM.
In other words, two of three injection elements of the two-station three-color injection machine simultaneously inject at the same pair of mold. Therefore, if the boundaries of the two components in the product are not adjacent (can simultaneously inject in the same pair of mold), only two pairs of molds are needed to produce the tri-component product, which is suitable for the two-station three-color injection machine. The case of three-station is different. The turntable can be positioned at three positions (120°). The three injection elements of the three-station tri-color IMM respectively inject at three pairs of molds. Therefore, if the boundaries of the three components in the product are adjacent, the three-station tri-color IMM is applicable.

Likewise, the four-color IMM can also be divided into two-station and multi-tasking four-color IMM. From a technical point, the control accuracy requirement of multi-tasking turntable is higher than that of the two-station turntable. Therefore, the production cost is relatively higher. Therefore, it is not necessary to blindly pursue the multi-tasking multi-component IMM, but to select the most effective solution according to the product structure requirements.

As early as 2005, FCS had launched the FB-450M tri-color IMM. FCS was one of the few manufacturers that could produce tri-color injection machines at that time. The launch of this model also opened the development path of domestic tri-color IMM. With the increasing complexity of multi-color product design, the demand for multi-tasking tri-color IMM is increasing. Therefore, from 2010 to 2017, FCS successively developed large and medium-size tri-color IMM. In 2015, FCS launched the FB-1900R super large three-station tri-color IMM with a mold clamping force of 1,900 tons and a turntable diameter of 2,250mm, which was the largest multi-tasking tri-color IMM on the market and also an important development milestone of FCS tri-color IMM.

In 2017, FCS developed the electric turntable multi-tasking tri-color IMM with a full range of mold clamping force from 160 tons to 1,900 tons, which are widely used in the market. As mentioned above, since 2015, FCS has introduced and applied large-size multi-tasking tri-color IMM with a mold clamping force of over 1,000 tons, overcoming the difficulties of complex multi-component process in Chinese automotive spare parts industry, and advancing the multi-component molding technique f in Chinese automotive spare parts industry to the internationally advanced level.

Figure 16-1: FB-1420R, Tri-color IMM in 2013 

In terms of four-color IMM, FCS also invested a lot of research and development resources. From 2010 to 2016, FCS launched the development of two-station four-color IMM with a mold clamping force of 1,250 tons to 1,600 tons and put them on the market. In 2018, based on multi-tasking tri-color IMM it introduced the FB-1600R multi-tasking four-color IMM and pushed the large-size multi-component IMM to the technical peak. It has become the main product of FCS large-size multi-component IMM.

Definition of injection pattern of multi-component injection molding machine:

With the development of multi-component injection machines from two-color injection machines, tri-color injection machines to four-color injection machines, and with the changes of the vertical and horizontal turntables, the configuration of injection elements has been diversified. In order to facilitate communication and avoid misunderstanding, FCS summarized the various configurations developed over the years in 2017, and first proposed the definition of multi-component injection pattern.

In the case of two-component IMM, there are five basic patterns including: P-type (two-injection, parallel), L-type (right-angle two-injection, horizontal), V-type (sky-side two-injection, vertical), W-type (back two-injection, piggyback), H-type (opposite two-injection, opposite). Based on the five basic patterns, the definition of injection patterns of tri-color and four-color IMM can be derived, totaling 19 configurations. The above patterns have been verified by the market. According to FCS, there will be 25 injection patterns of multi-component injection machines in the future.

Figure 17-1: P-type (two-injection, parallel)

Figure 17-2: L-type (right-angle two-injection, horizontal)

Figure 17-3: V-type (sky-side two-injection, vertical)

Figure 17-4: W-type (back two-injection, piggyback)

Figure 17-5: H-type (opposite two-injection, opposite)

It can be seen that the technical changes and customization of multi-component IMM far exceed those of single-color IMM. How to quickly meet the diversified product needs is the key to multi-component IMM. Although the external hardware structure design can be easily realized, the inner software needs to be accumulated by experience. FCS has accumulated 35 years of technical development experience on multi-component IMM, sold more than 4,500 sets, developed thousands of industry product application cases and control procedures, and cooperated with multi-component partners (professional molders and trial mold factories) all over China. Such huge database and cooperation network lay the foundation for the strong competitiveness of FCS multi-component IMM. Therefore, FCS sells not only multi-component IMM, but multi-component molding technical solutions.

5. Multi-functional development of multi-component injection molding machine

As mentioned above, the increase of the injection elements in the multi-component IMM and the different configuration modes satisfy the molding requirements of diversified multi-component products. The realization of the injection movement function is the truly key to equip the multi-component IMM with diverse functions and elastic production modes. Since 2014, FCS has deployed the injection movement function in the large and medium-size multi-component IMM with a mold clamping force of 700 tons or higher, enriching the purposes of the FCS multi-component IMM.

For example, equipped with the injection movement function, the LV-type multi-component IMM will be able to realize single-color, P-type two-component, L-type two-component, V-type two- component, L-type multi-component, V-type multi-component, LV-type multi-component and LV-type multi-component functions. For companies with diversified products, the multi-function machine is an excellent choice. In the automotive light industry, the configuration of the injection elements enables one multi-component IMM to simultaneously meet the production requirements of automotive head lights and tail lights.

In the five basic two-component IMM patterns, the H-type dual-colored IMM is a new structure developed in recent years. The horizontal dual-colored IMM with the two-plate mold clamping element and the stack mold can double the production capacity of single-color products. In 2019, FCS launched the HB-2350D super large two platen H-type two-component IMM, which was equipped with full servo power saving system, electric screw drive (ESD) and injection closed-loop control. It is applied to large-scale logistics products, and can complete the production tasks of two single-color machines, which saves energy, reduces floor space, and increases production capacity by more than 70%.

In general, multi-component products are made up of different plastics. Multi-layer molding of the same plastic based on multi-component IMM is a modern technical progress, which applies multi-component molding technique to thick-walled transparent optical products, such as lens and light guide block, thus solving the problems of long single injection cycle and uneven shrinkage.

Multi-component molding technique can be divided into three categories in terms of product combination patterns: multi-component, interval, and sandwich. In 2001, FCS developed a “gas-assisted sandwich co-injection” molding technique, which combined with gas-assisted injection device with the sandwich co-injection processing element to form a gas-assisted co-injection mixing device.

The process is to inject high-pressure nitrogen generated by special gas device instantly to the sandwich co-injection molding plastic to complete the gas-assisted sandwich co-injection process, which can maintain the molding performance, reduce the warpage deformation, improve the yield, reduce the costs and increase the product features. This technique, combined with gas-assisted injection system and sandwich/interval IMM, can produce products of two effects. One is transparent and hollow structure, which forms a special appearance effect, and increases the added value of the product; the other is sandwich and hollow structure, which reduces the weight, increases the strength and lowers the costs.

In addition, in 2017, FCS launched the FB-250C three-component interval machine. The three injection elements inject from single nozzle, which can produce unique patterns. It is applied to sports equipment grips and other products, and is rare in China. 

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