Previously: Special Report On The 35th Anniversary Of Multi-Component Injection Molding Machine By FCS Ⅲ
6. Vertical development of the turning shaft of multi-component injection molding machine
It is well known that the German K Exhibition which is held every three years is the world’s leading plastic molding technique event. In the 2004 K Exhibition, many horizontal turning multi-component molds were displayed, including: small horizontal turning stack mold, horizontal turning four-sided cubic mold, and twin horizontal turning four-sided cubic mold. Specifically, Milacron exhibited a 250-ton two-color injection machine equipped with twin cube turning stack mold, which was combined with two-color + IML (in-mold labeling) + IMA (in-mold assembly) + turning stack mold, and attracted a lot of attention. In the same K Exhibition, Engel exhibited 1,500-ton two platen horizontal two-component IMM with horizontal turning stack mold and injection compression function, and produced automotive sunroof with PC glass technique, which provided an important direction for automobile lightweight development.
In the 2007 K Exhibition, Krauss-Maffei exhibited 2,300 tons two platen IMM equipped with horizontal turning stack mold, which was used to produce automotive door trims. Combined with turning stack mold and reactive injection technique, PC/ABS substrate and tri-color PUR online spraying technique constitutes a four-color leather touch surface layer, and then forms an automated production module for the automobile door trim with laser cutting processing element, which integrated the complicated post-processing and attracted great attention. In the same K Exhibition, Engel exhibited 900 tons two platen horizontal two-component IMM equipped with horizontal turning stack mold to produce the central automotive armrest combined with micro-foaming technique; Milacron exhibited 450 tons two-component IMM with horizontal turning stack mold to produce bathroom linker. Demag exhibited 300 tons hybrid two-component IMM equipped with horizontal turning four-sided stack mold and in-mold assemble technique to produce a double-layer cap. From the above observations, after 2000, the application of horizontal turning mold in multi-color injection machine has expanded from 250 tons to 2,300 tons machines. At that time, there was almost no development record in the localization of related techniques in China.
FCS has long been concerned about the development trend of multi-component molding technique in European and American companies. In view of the application trend of horizontal turning multi-component molds, FCS established a horizontal two-component IMM project team in 2009, and developed the two platen horizontal two-component IMM with mold manufacturers. In 2012, it launched the HB-1900R super large horizontal rotary table two-component IMM with a mold clamping force of 1,900 tons, which was one of the few super large Two Color Injection Molding Machine
in Taiwan at that time.
Figure 19-1: HB1900R, Super large two platen horizontal turntable two-component IMM in 2012
This model has two major features: the first is that the turntable is horizontal, and the mold is mounted on both sides of the central turntable wall. Due to the horizontal turning motion, there is no obvious gravity and mechanism limitation, which enables the mass production of large-scale two-component mold products, and eliminates the inclination wear of the vertical turntable due to the mold weight. The second is that the injection elements are horizontally opposed, and cooperate with the horizontal rotary table structure. Compared with the vertical turntable, the application scope of the mold is larger, and it can cope with the mold design requirements of longer slider stroke. The model integrates multiple techniques, including two platen machine, two-component IMM, horizontal rotary table, stack mold and servo power-saving, which leaves a new record in Chinese’s multi-component injection molding technique.
Figure 20-1: HB-R series, Horizontal rotary table two-component IMM
Figure 19-2: HB350R, Horizontal rotary table two-component in 2014
Compared with the vertical turntable two-component IMM, when the product size is larger and the mold structure is more complicated, the two-component production by the horizontal rotary table can avoid the inertia problem of the vertical turntable production and the influence of gravity, which shows obvious application advantages. Therefore, this model is especially suitable for large-size flat-panel TV frames, automotive interior and exterior trim, automotive sunroof, corner windows, automotive light housings and other products.
Figure 19-3: HB-350R, produces sunroof products
In addition, as the model adopts a two platen mold clamping structure, two horizontally opposed injection elements and stack mold technique, if applied to the production of single-color products, it will double the output, and greatly improve the benefits. The application in deep cavity products also shows great advantages. This model won the Ringier Technology Innovation Award and the Taiwan Excellence Award in 2013 and 2017 respectively.
Later, at the 2014 Taipei Exhibition, the 2015 Guangzhou Exhibition, and the 2016 Shanghai Exhibition, FCS exhibited the HB-350R horizontal rotary table two-component IMM which is used to produce sunroof products. FCS presented the horizontal turntable stack mold technique to the customers. The launch of the model immediately attracted the attention and consultation of many customers, and in 2014, it won the “Special Award” for the Taipei Exhibition R&D Innovation Product Competition.
Figure 19-4: HB-350R won the “Special Award” for the Taipei Exhibition R&D Innovation Product Competition in 2014
In order to meet different customer needs, FCS completed the serialization of HB-R models in 2016, and expanded the mode-locking force from 350 tons to 1,900 tons. In 2018, the horizontal rotary table two-component IMM was expanded to tri-color and four-color models, which broadened the application scope of this series, and received positive feedback from customers.
Figure 20-2: HB-700R, Horizontal rotary table two-component IMM
Figure 20-3: HB-1300R, Horizontal rotary table two-component IMM
7. Future development trend of multi-component injection molding machine
Based on previous K Exhibitions in Germany, in 2004 and 2007 K Exhibitions, combinations of various applications in multi-component molding technique were demonstrated, such as: two-component + IML (in-mold labeling), two-component + IMA (in-mold assembly) , two- component + stack mold, two-component + turning stack mold + IMA, two-component + IML + IMA + stack mold, two-component + interlayer, two-component + Mucell (micro-foam), tri-color + IMA, tri-color + embedded molding, two-component + silicone molding (SIM) , two-component injection + water auxiliary injection, two-component + reactive injection. However, super large horizontal turntables, electric two-component IMM, three-station three-color rotary axis, four-color IMM and other high-tech products also appeared at this stage.
In other words, multi-component molding technique must be combined with other techniques to create higher efficiency, which becomes the challenging target in the next stage. What applications in the development of China’s multi-component IMM for more than a decade have been localized is a question worth pondering.
The key issue is the development of multi-component molding technique and automation peripherals. In-mold labeling, in-mold assembly, horizontal turning four-sided stack mold, micro-foaming and silicone molding all require related molds and peripherals. Therefore, the technical integration and co-development of IMM, molds and automation peripherals is the key to the development of multi-component molding technique so as to form highly automated production elements.
In the future, the two platen horizontal rotary table multi-component IMM will keep developing. In particular, the application of horizontal turning four-sided stack molds, combined with electric drive elements, such as turning elements and injection elements, is also the important basis for high-precision and multi-functional multi-component IMM. With the development of intelligent IMM technique, multi-cavity flow balance, variation control of injection melt, online monitoring of mold clamping and other technical applications advance multi-component IMM towards high performance.
Looking back on its 35-year development process, FCS has launched two-color, tri-color to four-color IMM, from two-station to multi-tasking, from small capacity to large capacity, from vertical turning to horizontal turning, from hydraulic drive to servo drive, and from dedicated machines to multi-functional machines. The core development concept of FCS is to “lead the development of Chinese’s multi-component molding technique, promote the application of multi-component molding technique become the best alternative brand for imported machines, and create higher efficiency for customers”.
In February 2018, Ningbo FCS joined in the Standard Working Committee of China Plastics Machinery Association, and participated in the drafting of the standard for “multi-component plastic injection molding machine”; in July 2018, to support the training of professional talents for the Chinese plastic machinery industry, Ningbo FCS provided experimental demonstration equipment (FB-200R two-component IMM) for Beijing University of Chemical Technology, which was applied to build the “China Plastics Machinery Talent Cultivation Base” in Beijing University of Chemical Technology.
Figure 21: Beijing University of Chemical Technology-Chinese Plastics Machinery Talent Cultivation Base
In October 2018, FCS Group and the National Plastics Machinery Product Quality Supervision and Inspection Center jointly established Multi-component Injection Machine Science and Technology Center, and cooperated in multi-component injection machine technology innovation, standard formulation, detection method research and new product development. The Technology Innovation Building of the Center will be officially opened in May 2019 at the Ningbo Plant of FCS.
Figure 23: The multi-component technology innovation center of FCS Ningbo
As the old saying goes, “Rome was not built in one day”. Things cannot be rushed for success. Instead, only efforts and perseverance can yield success.
In the development of HB-R two platen horizontal two-component IMM by FCS, FCS set up the project team in 2009 and officially launched the product in the market in 2012. After rigorous market technology survey and patent search and analysis, it repeatedly demonstrated the technical solutions and reliability, and finally formed its unique innovative machine. Where the tears are sowed, where the fruits are harvested. It reflects the development history of FCS multi-component IMM. Looking back on the hard-won achievements and development progresses in the past 35 years, FCS hopes that the industrial peers will abandon the counterfeiting competition, strengthen independent technological innovation, improve the cultivation of multi-component technical talents, and jointly make greater contributions to the sustainable development of multi-component molding technique in China.