Exciting prospects – one-shot process for surface engineering perfection

– KraussMaffei presents ColorForm process for high-gloss surface finishes
– Integrated process steps for more efficient production
– Process combination of injection molding and reaction process machinery
– Appearance at K 2013 trade show under the motto "Trendgineering"
Exciting prospects – one-shot process for surface engineering perfection - Picture Main

(Munich/Düsseldorf, October 16, 2013) Market demand for premium-quality plastic parts with special surface finishes is increasing. ColorForm and SkinForm from KraussMaffei offer an integrated process for parts with finished surfaces. At K 2013 in Düsseldorf (October 16-23, hall 15, B27/C24/C27/D24), KraussMaffei will demonstrate its industry-leading expertise by making a ColorForm sample part for the automotive industry on a GX-series swivel-plate machine – which will be making its world debut.

Coating inside the injection mold

"KraussMaffei is the only manufacturer of plastic processing machines that can boast decades of practical experience in injection molding, reaction process machinery and automation technology. As a leading technology company, we offer our customers optimum process combinations that significantly increase the efficiency and reliability of their production process," says Frank Peters, Vice President Sales at KraussMaffei. The ColorForm process in particular – being a combination of injection molding technology and reaction process machinery – effectively allows customers to produce coated injection-molded parts directly inside the mold without having to pretreat the part being made. At K 2013, KraussMaffei will be demonstrating its industry-leading expertise with an example automotive part produced on the GXW 550-2000/380 multicomponent SpinForm injection molding machine with swivel plate technology. The machine's main injection unit makes a thermoplastic substrate from a polycarbonate blend, which is then flow-coated with two different polyurea coatings. This process does not require any release agent. The coating systems have been certified for use in the automotive industry and create first-class surface finishes. This technology allows openings to be made and the mold surface to be shaped exactly to the part, which produces brilliantly polished and structured surfaces in combination with a precise edge. 3D effects with transparent coatings can be achieved in just one work step.

Reduce manufacturing costs and the installation area by a third

The fully integrated and fully automatic process makes post-mold processing unnecessary. "Our innovative processes reduce the costs of manufacturing premium-quality part surfaces by 30 percent compared with conventional multi-stage processes. Our expertise enables us to provide the process best suited to specific part requirements," explains Peters. The RimStar Nano 4/4 reaction process machine has undergone a complete overhaul and is now equipped with new wear-resistant pumps. The mixing heads mounted directly on the machine meter the polyurea coating into the mold cavity extremely accurately, which ensures that it is distributed completely evenly over the substrate without overspray. Further advantages of the new unit are that its installation area is approximately 30 percent smaller than that of the previous model and that its operability has been optimized for the ColorForm process.

Ready-to-use four-component part in one step

All the plastic parts of the demonstrator will be produced on the SpinForm machine's swivel-plate machine in one step: Upper and lower shell made from PC/ABS blend, the optical waveguide from optical-grade transparent polycarbonate. The upper shell is flow-coated with two different coatings directly inside the mold using the ColorForm process. The very precise impression of the mold cavity creates high-gloss effects without the "orange peel effect" normally produced by spray coating.

Double the output with the same clamping force

The heart of the trade show production cell is the 5500 kN GX injection molding machine, which will be presented with SpinForm technology for the very first time. It boasts remarkably short cycle times and consumes very little energy thanks to the use of electric servo motors in the machine, splitter and spin unit. SpinForm machines are particularly impressive at medium and high clamping forces, and as key components in automated production cells for manufacturing complex multicomponent parts with precision, quick movements and minimal energy consumption. Parts are removed by an IR 900 R2700 F/K industrial robot, which then continues with the subsequent process steps. By the end of the process, the compact machine has produced a fully machined, fully assembled and fully functional part. There is no need for buffer storage and costly logistical follow-up processes. The robot and all other automation components, including the safety housing, are installed on a transportable robot platform. Processors benefit from simple assembly and quick and easy commissioning. They also save money, can start production earlier, and have maximum flexibility in terms of where they use the robot.

Network of partnerships guarantees success

The automotive industry also demands short development cycles when making such complex parts. Reliable supplier partnerships are essential in this respect. Decades of close collaboration with our partners has enabled us to market a complete system today. Hofmann develops and supplies the mold technology for automated manufacturing of plastic components. The required thermoplastics with excellent coating adhesion are provided by Bayer Material Science, while the polyurea coating systems are developed and supplied by Panadur. Weidmann Plastics Technology takes care of part structuring and design. "The close cooperation between KraussMaffei and its partners has proved to be extremely beneficial for everyone involved," emphasizes Peters. "The network improves mutual understanding of goals, technical viability and cost-efficiency, which creates the optimum conditions for bringing a well-engineered product with short development times onto the market."

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