Imflux hits the trade show floor at Fakuma

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Photo by Caroline Seidel Ethan Stiefel, left, and Brandon Birchmeier from Imflux at Fakuma 2018.

Friedrichshafen, Germany — Fakuma 2018 marks the first trade show where an injection press manufacturer has exhibited moulding technology from Imflux, part of consumer products giant Procter & Gamble Co.

Milacron Holdings Corp. is moulding a technical part on an all-electric Elektron EVO 155 press running a four-cavity Imflux mould during the show, which opened Oct. 16. Two people from Imflux will be stationed at the machine all week to explain the process.

Six Imflux employees are attending Fakuma 2018 in Friedrichshafen in what the P&G unit considers an important trade show debut. Imflux CEO Mary Wagner is also at the show.

"It's a seamless integration of Imflux in a moulding machine," Gene Altonen, Imflux chief technology officer said in an interview at Milacron's booth 15 Oct, the day before Fakuma began.

The injection press is equipped with Imflux software and pressure sensors inside the mould and nozzle.

Imflux uses constant, low pressure to slowly fill the mould, while simultaneously packing the melt and cooling the mould. Imflux software, linked to sensors, controls the process. Traditional injection moulding uses high pressure and high temperatures, then switches over to the pack-and-hold phase.

Imflux officials say the technology can cut cycle time, reduce moulding pressure by 50%, reduce moulded-in stress and shrink variations and allow a wider range of processing windows and shrink variations inside the mould, among other benefits.

The Fakuma demonstration is designed to show off Imflux's capabilities, such as Auto Viscosity Adjust, which automatically makes adjustments for variations on viscosity.

Altonen said the four-cavity mould is intentionally ​ unbalanced. And the injection press will change materials and colors during moluding, from white high density polyethylene to red polypropylene and back.

Booth visitors can randomly turn off a mould cavity, and rather than flash the mould, Imflux gives constant feedback to make the adjustment and keep moulding good parts, he said.

Photo by Caroline Seidel Small plastic wheels made on Milacron presses at Fakuma 2018.

Andy Stirn, Milacron's director of applications engineering for advanced plastics processing technologies, said the machinery manufacturer is proud to show the first Imflux-enabled injection press.

"We're introducing it as a module of our M-Powered suite of products, and it is unique in that it's integrated into the controller. It's the first time it's been integrated into a machine controller," Stirn said.

M-Powered is Milacron's Industry 4.0 technology that the company launched at NPE2018 in Orlando, Fla. M-Powered is making its European debut at Fakuma 2018.

Altonen said the two companies have worked together to interface Imflux with the Milacron press controller. He said of Imflux: "As a company, we're moving into the direction of trying to simplify the process."

Consumer products giant P&G set up Imflux as a technology company in Hamilton, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. Milacron's headquarters is in nearby Blue Ash, Ohio, and its main assembly plant is not far away in Batavia, Ohio.

Imflux leaders want injection moulding press manufacturers to offer Imflux-enabled machines as a way to spread the technology through the plastics industry. Kevin Wise, the Imflux vice president and chief financial officer, said Imflux is working with several other machinery manufacturers, including Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., Wittmann Battenfeld Inc., Engel Holding GmbH and KraussMaffei Group.

In other injection press news at Fakuma, Milacron's Quantum 180 toggle press is making its European debut. Quantum presses are equipped with Milacron's Endura Touch control interface, which is available in presses with clamping forces from 125-610 tons.

The Quantum machine is outfitted with a Mold-Masters E-Multi secondary injection unit, a TempMaster M1 controller and an indexing rotary table. The press has a two-component mould from Wilhelm Weber GmbH & Co. KG and is moulding a squeegee used in showers and for home window cleaning. The body will be moulded from a polycarbonate/ABS blend, and the E-Multi will inject the flexible thermoelastomer component. The cycle time is 50 seconds.

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