KraussMaffei's 45 years of expertise processing polyurethane

Forerunner in high-pressure polyurethane processing in plastics production

(Munich, May 18, 2012) For more than 45 years now, KraussMaffei has been active in the area of processing polyurethane and has been building premium quality machines and systems for this purpose. The company has led the way along many paths to strengthen its position as the leading technological provider of machines, systems and procedures for reaction process machinery in core markets and to expand activity intensively in growth fields.

Starting machine production at record speed

The kickoff for processing polyurethane (PUR) at KraussMaffei took place in 1967. The company was active on the market as a machine supplier just one year later. "KraussMaffei is a forerunner for using this material in plastics production. Thanks to years of experience, an up-to-date, premium-quality machine portfolio and a large store of technology and procedure expertise, we've developed into a worldwide market leader," explains Nicolas Beyl, the Reaction Process Machinery Division Head at KraussMaffei since February 2012. KraussMaffei focused on high-pressure processing of PUR from the beginning. In close cooperation with raw material manufacturers and processors, new fields of application, machines and methods are still being developed constantly to this day.

Offering customers new and innovative solutions

"We want to strengthen our activity in the area of reaction process machinery globally and to demonstrate additional application and efficiency potential for our customers along their entire value chain. In particular, we want to draw them to us using combinations of machines and methods for injection molding and reaction process machinery and by using new technologies," explains Beyl. These strengths recently received positive feedback at the NPE 2012 trade show in Orlando (USA). The manufacture of an armrest using the SkinForm process was shown. In one machine, the injection-molded carrier was flow-coated with a foamed aliphatic type of polyurethane with pleasant surface characteristics and outstanding UV resistance. "KraussMaffei's extensive Technology3 expertise across the entire process chain was apparent at this machine. The machines, automation, mold technology, and custom solutions were all from our company and unified our expertise," explains Beyl. Furthermore, the company wants to advance new innovative solutions in growth fields, including the areas of lightweight construction and fiber composite technology. "In recent years we have been able to win numerous orders in these areas worldwide. We also have a worldwide one-of-a-kind expertise center in this area, the fiber composite technology TechCenter we opened in Munich in 2011," says Beyl.

Pioneering lightweight construction solution for trains distinguished

Thirteen companies were honored with a JEC Europe Innovation Award this year as part of the JEC trade show. The development consortium headed by the Fraunhofer ICT was able to distinguish itself among the companies. The SCS process (structural component spraying) premiered in the category of production processes. It is a manufacturing process for lightweight structures based on sandwich structures and spray processes for glass-fiber reinforced polyurethane resins. In addition to KraussMaffei, partners Bombardier, Fraunhofer ICT, Bayer MaterialScience DEC, the DLR Institute of Vehicle Concepts, the University of Stuttgart (IFB) and the Institute for Technology in Karlsruhe (wbk) were responsible for the manufacturing process and were distinguished for extensive developments along the entire value chain. Sandwich core materials, cover layer materials, manufacturing processes, fire protection systems, design principles and calculation methods were developed for this sandwich structure demonstration component with a length of 4.5 m and a width of 2.5 m. The innovative design with identical interfaces using glass-fiber reinforced polyurethane sandwich structures makes it possible to reduce the weight of the safety enclosure while simultaneously reducing the number of components. Despite this, all of the requirements of the requirements specifications are met, such as dielectric strength.

Personal details

Nicolas Beyl has been working for KraussMaffei since 2006. After spending three years as Director Corporate Strategy in the KraussMaffei Group, he took up the post of Director Technology in the Injection Molding Machinery Business Unit in 2009. The graduate in production engineering previously worked for nine years as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. The focal points of his consulting work were the mechanical engineering and automotive industries. Beyl also gained a Master's Degree in Business Administration at INSEAD during this period.

An overview of KraussMaffei's performance and innovative strengths in the area of processing polyurethane:

  • First developments and trials for manufacturing polyurethane furniture
  • 1968  First special clamping unit with two rotating axes, called "moon-swing"
  • 1970  Presentation of the first KraussMaffei mixing head in successful production use
  • 1972  First self-cleaning mixing head in the world with a recirculation groove
  • 1973  Export of the first PUR bumper system for an automotive industry customer in theUSA
  • 1974  Delivery of the 100th PUR metering machine
  • 1981  Delivery of the 2000th mixing head
  • 1982  First transfer mixing head in the world and first twin-piston metering machine
  • 1984  First dual-hardness soft foam system
  • 1985  The 4000th mixing head of the families, which included 18 types at that time, is delivered
  • 1985  Delivery of the 50 KK machine with metering outputs of up to 8000 cm³ per second
  • 1989  Largest piston metering machine in the world with up to 16,000 g/s
  • 1991  Development of the PUR recycling process; introduction of continuous gas charging
  • 1992  The in-mold coating process for an undercoat in a foam mold is presented at the K trade show
  • 1993  Systems for CFC-free foams
  • 1994  Series system for carpet back-foaming
  • 1995  Initial presentation of the LFI PUR process unit at K
  • 1996  Start of lightweight design activities, first system for GRP components
  • 1999  LFI production system for the smart roof
  • 2002  Founding of the "white goods" expertise center inAbbiate Grasso,Italy
  • 2005  First skin spray head in production use
  • 2004  The SkinForm method is presented at K for the first time
  • 2005  Start of mold-building activities for PUR, milling and custom solutions        
  • 2006  Development and presentation of the first small-quantity, high-pressure mixing head
  • 2007  Large-scale SkinForm system for manufacturing interior door panel sections at K
  • 2010  Presentation of the ColorForm process at K
  • 2011  Opening of the world's largest TechCenter for fiber composite technology (lightweight construction) inMunich; complete HP-RTM system for manufacturing CFRP components
  • 2012  45 years of KraussMaffei reaction process machinery; first live demonstration of PUR processing at NPE in the USA