(Munich, April 13, 2015) GF Piping Systems, a division of GF, specializes in developing and manufacturing piping systems made of plastic and metal. At its main location in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, the company is investing in a MXH 3200 – 101.000/101.000 from KraussMaffei. This injection molding machine, the largest ever to be installed in Switzerland in terms of clamping force and shot weight, began production in late 2014. It manufactures large-volume pipe fittings with a diameter of up to 500 mm.
The technical data of the MXH 3200 – 101.000/101.000 alone is impressive: a clamping force of 32,000 kN, a maximum shot weight of 120 kg, a screw diameter of 2 x 265 mm. "A large machine with these values in this combination is unique on the market. This lets us underscore our leading position in the development and implementation of large injection molding machines of the MX series," says Bruno Schleiss, Managing Director of KraussMaffei Schweiz AG. The products made on the machine are just as large and complex—pipe fittings with a diameter of up to 500 mm and a weight of up to 120 kg. These are used as connecting pieces for the public water supply. "The investment and implementation of a new injection molding system on this order of magnitude was certainly a special challenge for us. In addition to the technical parameters such as a high shot weight and high quality at every point, the system had to meet other criteria with regard to the flexibility in selecting materials and geometry. KraussMaffei gives us a professional, reliable partner at our side with whom we succeeded in making this challenging project a reality," explains Claude A. Fischer, Head of Business Unit Utility at GF Piping Systems.
The result of the collaboration is a MXH 3200 – 101.000/101.000 that has been producing since late 2014. Having a clamping force of 32,000 kN and a shot weight from 5 to a maximum of 120 kg makes it the largest injection molding machine in Switzerland. An IR KR500 L340 industrial robot ensures reliable handling of the pipe fittings, which can weigh up to 120 kg. This is another record because—with a maximum payload of up to 340 kg—this is the largest industrial robot that has ever been installed on an injection molding machine.
The size and weight of the pipe fittings as well as high quality at every point were the customer's central requirements for designing a suitable MX machine. Large machines of the MX series from KraussMaffei are ideally suited for these applications: They feature a high melt quality and shot weight consistency, thereby ensuring continuously high product quality.
One special challenge was the high-viscosity polyethylene 100 material to be processed on the large machine. The solution involves optimized screw geometries and drives for the plasticizing unit which are specially designed for processing demanding material. "The controlled melt temperature during plasticizing prevents the melt from overheating during the plasticizing, preventing thermal decomposition of the material as a result. At the same time, a high plasticizing output with outstanding melt qualities is possible," Schleiss adds.
Yet this large machine must do more than just produce large components with high quality. The customer also wants high flexibility with regard to material, size and geometry when producing the pipe fittings. For this reason, the large machine is equipped with two injection units that can be interconnected as needed. "We offer our customer, GF Piping Systems, use of a shot weight they can freely choose from 5 to 120 kg, thereby providing maximum flexibility on a large machine," Schleiss says. Furthermore, each injection unit can be operated independently. This results in high application-specific flexibility in the process control.
The adapter modules of the plasticizing unit provide additional flexibility in the production of pipe fittings. For example, GF Piping Systems can install a smaller SP 33000 injection unit; this makes it possible to quickly change to production with other materials. What makes this so special is that the material and melt geometry are perfectly matched to one another.
The IR KR500 L340 industrial robot used has an additional axis for linear motion (7th axis), provides additional freedom of movement and more flexibility as a result, especially when handling heavy components. The special gripper technology permits precise interaction of removing and gripping. The multifunctional gripper is designed for the various nominal diameters of the fittings. A special padding on the jaws protects the fittings from getting damaged. "The skilled and close coordination with the persons responsible at KraussMaffei, both leading up to the project and during the project phase, made a strong impression on us. The result is an automation solution that is perfectly matched to our requirements," states Fischer.
BluePower Servo Drive Technology from KraussMaffei supports an energy-efficient manufacturing process. For the energy-related optimization of hydraulic drives, it uses the high dynamics of servomotors to adapt the rotational speed of the hydraulic system pump to constantly adapt to the actual requirements. The same dynamics are used to reduce idling losses to almost zero by reducing the speed, such as during cooling times and during demolding. As a result, the energy consumption of the machine can be significantly reduced.
GF Piping Systems, a division of GF, is a leading provider of piping systems made of plastic and metal. The division focuses on system solutions and premium quality components for reliably transporting water and gas in industry, utility supplying systems and housing technology. The product portfolio consists of fittings, valves, pipes, automation and connection technologies and covers all of the applications related to water circulation.