Injection Molding Innovations Conference (IM TECH)

Steinwall is in attendance at the first annual Injection Molding Division’s three-day conference August 1-3.

Injection Molding – From Art to Innovation Engineering

This full three-day conference includes 36 technical sessions, industry exhibits, plant tours at Chicago area plants and networking receptions. This event also features the latest industry trends, meetings with vendors highlighting their products and services and networking with fellow industry professionals. Students attending receive special reduced rate!

Does Low Constant Pressure Injection Molding Work?

Jan H. Schut, Plastics Engineering

It could be the most unusual new development in injection molding in the past 20 years, developed by household products giant Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, OH (us.pg.com). According to P&G patents, the technology consists of retrofittable controls and software for aluminum injection molds with pressure sensors and special cooling, which P&G claims increase productivity more than 50% on existing injection molding machines. P&G set up a subsidiary, Imflux Inc. (imflux.com), in May 2013 in Hamilton, OH, to develop and build the retrofits and aluminum molds and requires packaging suppliers to use them if they want to mold for P&G.

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Productivity gains are in material savings, not faster cycle time. Imflux U.S. Pat. Applic. # 20160096303 says its proprietary control software and in-mold sensors “deliver a 20-25% average throughput benefit” on existing presses and tools. Using aluminum molds increases throughput another 20-25% because of aluminum’s high thermal conductivity. Imflux patents describe molds made of aluminum alloys like QC-10 from Arconic Inc., formerly part of Alcoa (www.arconic.com), which are 4.5 times more thermally conductive than tool steel (92.2 BTU/ft/hr/ft sq/F for QC-10 vs. 20.2 for P20 tool steel).

Cycle time for Imflux llow-pressure molding is reportedly roughly the same as for hhigh-pressure injection molding, but divided very differently. Where conventional high-pressure injection molding spends about 10% of cycle time filling, 50% packing, and 40% cooling, Imflux technology spends 90% of cycle time filling, only 10% cooling (U.S. Pat. # 882829), and little or no time on pack and hold. P&G touted the Imflux technology loudly four years ago when it was introduced, but has said next to nothing about it since it went commercial.

Imflux says its low constant pressure injection molding with aluminum molds

increases throughput by more than 50% on the same size or smaller press
uses 25% less resin than conventional molding because of thinner walls
reduces cold runner volume by 50% (and doesn’t need hot runners)
can mold non-traditional part designs, not previously thought possible
can substitute lower cost materials in the same mold with better surface quality
uses melt temperatures below resin spec for new co-injection possibilities

THE IMFLUX BACK STORY

Imflux came out of an unusual 10-year period of outside collaboration and growth at P&G under high-profile CEO Alan George “A.G.” Lafley, from 2000 to 2010. Lafley, who has a Harvard M.B.A., brought Harvard-trained innovation consultants into P&G, proclaimed P&G “an innovation factory,” offered “innovation college” courses, and set up a FutureWorks division to incubate new technology. Imflux president and CEO, Nathan Estruth, and V.P. of Customer Operations, Jared Kline, both came out of P&G’s FutureWorks division.

P&G claims Imflux invented its low, constant pressure molding technology, but that’s not strictly true. It’s based on technology invented in the 1990s by Milko Guergov, president and founder of Intellim

old/MGV Enterprises Inc., Ann Arbor, MI, and acquired by P&G around 2010. By 2012 P&G had registered the Intellimold trademark and process in Imflux’s name, but never marketed it as Intellimold. After P&G acquired Intellimold’s intellectual property, Guergov consulted with P&G to adapt his process to thin-wall packaging. Guergov’s name, spelled “Gergov” by P&G, is on several Imflux patents (U.S. Pat. # 8980146 and # 9481119) along with P&G inventors.

Guergov had previously sold his Intellimold patents and process in 2000 to Textron Automotive Co., which Guergov says used it commercially to injection mold parts ranging in size from small components to whole bumper fascia. The patents traveled a lot after that. Guergov’s U.S. Pat. # 6019918, for example, on “Gas-assisted injection molding with controlled internal melt pressure” was assigned in February 2000 to Guergov, then in May 2000 to Textron, then back to Guergov’s M&C Advanced Processes Inc. in December 2001 before Textron’s automotive trim division was acquired by Collins & Aikman Corp. in January 2002.

 

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Imflux also offers retrofits to outside customers in non-competing areas like medical and automotive and gives seminars in Hamilton on the technology – all under non-disclosure agreements. No outside users have been announced. P&G senior manager of global company communications, Jeff LeRoy, says Imflux customers are confidential and that which P&G brands use Imflux technology is considered proprietary.

To read the entire article, click HERE

 

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Famous Engineers in History: Olive Dennis

plastic injection molding minneapolis mnOlive Dennis was the first woman to become a member of the American Railway Engineering Association.

One of the first women to obtain a Civil Engineering degree from Cornell University, she found it difficult to find a meaningful job after her graduation solely on the basis of her gender. She strived hard and eventually began working for the Baltimore and Ohio (B & O) Railroad.

Since half of the railroad’s passengers were women, it was felt that a woman would be better suited to handle engineering upgrades in service. Thus Olive Dennis was made the railroad’s first “service engineer” and assigned the responsibility of improving passenger service.

In a career spanning over three decades, she worked hard to make traveling as comfortable as possible for the passengers. A creative person with an innovative bent of mind, she implemented several new concepts including the railroad’s famous blue and white Colonial dining car china. She also played a major role in making the seats more attractive and comfortable for the travelers. In addition, she suggested that there should be stewardesses, nurses, and other helpers on board to provide services when required. During the World War II, she served as a consultant for the Federal Office of Defense Transportation.

Source: The Famous People

Lina: The World’s First Biocomposite Car Made From Flax

Plastics Insight

When you think about cars, the first word to come to mind is probably not sustainability. While more and more cars are becoming electric, they are still made from metal and plastic. Now, students from the Eindhoven University of Technology (NL) have created the world’s first bio-composite car, called Lina, made from flax.

Photos: TU Eindhoven / Ruptly / NOS

Flax (Latin: Linum usitatissimum) is a great material because it has a very strong structure. When the fibres are stacked crosswise and compressed, these panels have a similar strength to carbon and aluminum, which are materials widely used in the car industry. Carbon and aluminum are lightweight, but use six times more energy to produce than steel, which annuls the energy they save after production.

Flax is, therefore, an interesting alternative. It costs less energy to produce than aluminum and carbon, and it is a renewable material. What’s more, it is lightweight and can be recycled. Flax grows all over Europe, including the Netherlands.

On Wednesday (17 May), Lina the bio-composite car was revealed. The complete chassis, the body of the car and the interior are all made of bio-based materials. The chassis is made of a combination of bio-composite and bio-plastic. The honeycomb structure bio-plastic, or PLA, is used as the core material and is manufactured entirely from sugar beet. It is enveloped in bio-composite sheets that have been composed on the basis of flax. In terms of its strength-weight ratio, the bio-composite is comparable with the familiar fiberglass but manufactured in a sustainable way. The bodywork is also flax-based.

The car is electric-powered and has a total weight of 300 kilograms (661 pounds). Lina is certified by the Netherlands Vehicle Authority as roadworthy and is suitable to carry four people. It is a city car, reaching speeds up to 85 kilometres (52.8 miles) per hour. The car only needs a licence plate before it can drive on public roads.

While the students have shown that it is possible to build a car from bio-based materials, it is unlikely the car industry will pick up the idea immediately. However, there is definitely a future for bio composite cars.

Study compares P20 steel to tooling made via 3D printing

Plastics News, Roger Renstrom

Anaheim, Calif. — A Steinwall Inc. study determined that parts injection molded with additive manufacturing (AM) tools can perform comparably to parts made on a P20 steel tool.

Progress with AM technology allows development of the tools at lower cost and shorter lead time for limited runs.

Jeremy Dworshak, research and development manager for Steinwall in Coon Rapids, Minn., presented the study findings during an Antec technical session in Anaheim.

“Additive manufacturing in injection molding has been around for more than 20 years,” demonstrating limited production advantages and lower expense and making “a business case justifiable,” he said.

Additional research could examine the tools’ thermal conductivity, experiment with cooling and attempt to use alternative auxiliary cooling techniques.

For the recent study, investigators used Stratasys Ltd. machines incorporating PolyJet and Fused Deposition Modeling technologies to make tools of Stratasys-supplied epoxy-based FullCure 720 photopolymer, commonly used Digital ABS photopolymer and heat/chemical-resistant Ultem 1010 polyetherimide.

Each tool sequentially processed acetal, polycarbonate and polypropylene on a 55-ton Toshiba electric press until the tool broke or operators observed part failure from flash, short shots or excess pulling.

Each AM tool ran in the manual mode so an operator could apply Zero Stick E342 mold release agent from Stoner Inc. between cycles. No mold release was used with the P20 tool.

The FullCure 720 tool cost $500 and took six hours to produce. The Digital ABS cost $550 and took six hours. The Ultem 1010 cost $800 and took nine hours. And the P20 tool cost $2,000 and took four weeks.

By material, the Digital ABS tool, for example, molded 250 PP parts, 150 acetal parts and 40 PC parts. The P20 tool molded more than 2,000 parts.

Dworshak said future plans are advancing to blend AM benefits toward meeting injection molding demands.

The study investigated three AM tools with an understanding that many other concepts are available.

In addition to Dworshak, credits for the paper go to Steinwall employees Jake Nelson, James LaValle and Brian Kautzman; Eric Johnson with Deere & Co.’s technology innovation center in Moline, Ill.; Chad Ulven with North Dakota State University’s department of mechanical engineering; and biocomposite material designer and compounder c2renew Inc. of Fargo, N.D.

Deere and c2renew assisted in tool making and mechanical testing.

~Roger Renstrom