(Munich, June 15, 2016) With the ColorForm process, KraussMaffei has revolutionized the manufacturing of components with a high-gloss finish. The technology combines injection molding and reaction process machinery and enables fully automated manufacturing in a one-step production cycle. Previously, systems have been configured individually and on a project-related basis. Now, with the GXW 650-2000 ColorForm, KraussMaffei will present a new, compact machine at K 2016 in Düsseldorf (October 19 to 26, 2016, Hall 15, Booths B24/C24/C27/D24) in which all components for processing the paint finishing system are completely integrated. Especially for new users, this makes the introduction into the one-shot process easier.
More compact and with greater process stability
"The ColorForm process is used to replace classic lacquering processes, including the up- and downstream working steps for conventional lacquering. This cuts investment costs and boosts logistics efficiency; the scrap rate is lower and parts transport is higher," explains Dr. Hans Ulrich Golz, President of the Injection Molding Machinery segment of the KraussMaffei Group and Managing Director of KraussMaffei. During the ColorForm process, a thermoplastic base body forms in a mold, which is then flow-coated directly in the cavity using a two-component polyurea (PUA) or polyurethane (PUR) paint. The result: a finished component with the desired lacquered color capability and premium quality surface.
The new standardized configuration enables faster project launches and reduces engineering effort. Compared to previous systems, the manufacturing cell is approximately 20 percent more compact, thus requiring less installation space. Shorter media lines also contribute to process stability. The injection molding machine's MC6 control unit with a joint interface is used to operate both the injection molding machines and the paint finishing process. The user no longer has to switch back and forth between different control systems. "This significantly simplifies operation and also minimizes possible sources of error," says Golz.
Fast dye changes
Significant changes can also be seen on the mixing head for the paint finishing system. It is lighter and approximately 30 percent smaller, making it more compact than before. This eases installation on the mold and handling in general. As a three-component mixing head, it now makes it possible to change dyes very quickly. Previously, the dye portion of the paint finish was added directly to the system's A components. Thus, it could be found throughout the entire tank and in the hoses. This made replacing the dye time-consuming and sometimes led to material being wasted. The new mixing head meters the dye directly during the injection process. "This makes it possible to replace the dye quickly, within five minutes. This preserves resources and supports production efficiency," adds Nicolas Beyl, President of the Reaction Process Machinery segment at KraussMaffei Group and Managing Director of KraussMaffei. This flexibility is important primarily for applications in the automotive industry, because end users in this field increasingly demand options for customizing their vehicle, making production batches smaller. Along with plain-colored and transparent systems, various paint finish manufacturers have recently begun providing various paint finishes with metallic effects, which can be used to realize modern and sporty surface designs. The use of multi-cavity molds increases the production volume and the return on investment is achieved more quickly.
Surface coating with PUA or PUR paint finishes is an efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional lacquering. It is free of solvents, softening agents, and heavy metals and does not cause any emissions. Besides that, the integrated process saves up to 30 percent of costs compared to conventional finishing processes.
It also provides advantages in terms of surface quality. The hardness of PUA or PUR systems can be configured as necessary and, for example, be significantly more scratch-resistant than currently available PMMA-based bulk coating applications produced in a two-component thermoplastic injection mold. "The automotive industry especially benefits from this. The high scratch resistance at a simultaneously high level of design freedom and excellent surface quality make the ColorForm process ideally suited for visible components in exterior areas, such as for pillar trims as well as in interior areas, like trim strips or other decorative elements in the center console or instrument panel," says Beyl. Self-healing effects are also possible. Therefore, interest in ColorForm is also extremely high in the consumer area.
"With the new compact ColorForm production units, we provide our customers with a cost-effective solution ready for series production to increase their productivity in the long-term," summarizes Beyl. Partners in development included the Korean mold manufacturer Woosung, Panadur (PUA paint finishing system) and Trinseo (PC/ABS substrate).
KraussMaffei at K 2016, Hall 15, Booths B27/C24/C27/D24