Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Plastics Machinery GmbH, Schwaig - October 2023.
At Fakuma 2023, visitors will get the opportunity to see Sumitomo (SH) Demag’s LSR processing competence in two live demonstrations. On their main stand, the company highlights its exemplary multi-cavity LSR processing competence, including OPC-UA interface compatibility, on an all-electric IntElect 180/570-250 injection moulding machine. Visitors to the Reinhardt-Technik booth (Hall A3, Stand 3313) will have the opportunity to view another market where LSR processing is prevalent, the healthcare sector.
“The market for liquid silicone is growing dynamically, both in terms of applications demanding skills in LSR, as well as volume," observes Rustam Aliyev, the company’s LSR expert and Business Development Director of Automotive & Electronics.
LSR is regarded as a unique material, in that it remains flexible and elastic down to -50°C, yet also retains its properties up to 200°C. As a result, LSR is used extensively in electronic components, cables etc. where insulation is required, as well as in medical and healthcare products and the consumer goods sector. To support these markets, in the last five years Sumitomo (SHI) Demag has made significant investments developing an all-electric LSR package that inevitably delivers the cleanliness and precise shot control required to handle this low viscosity material. This year’s Fakuma exhibits demonstrate the company’s advanced proficiency in moulding high-specification LSR components, exclaims Aliyev.
Technologically-advanced twin-shot automotive single wire seals
The main Sumitomo (SHI) Demag stand (Hall B1, Stand 1105) features a fully electric IntElect 180/570-250 injection moulding machine equipped with an LSR package comprising a twin dosing system, robotics, and vacuum and venting peripheral equipment. In a cycle time of just 17 seconds, this IntElect LSR package manufactures 256 individual 0.059-gram single wire seals with absolute precision and stability. Despite this high throughput, the IntElect machine’s energy consumption remains one of the lowest on the market.
LSR tooling specialist RICO supplies the 256-cavity open tool system. The Elastosil LR 3844/50 material from Wacker Chemie is dispensed via a sophisticated yet compact Industry 4.0-ready LSR eTwin Connect dosing system engineered by another LSR expert - Reinhardt-Technik. This highly efficient metering and static mixing system guarantees the perfect mixing ratio of two additives, ensuring 99.75 percent of the LSR material is processed.
Supporting full connectivity, the OPC UA interface facilitates seamless communication between the IntElect machine control and the eTwin Connect dosing system. During every injection cycle, the intuitive, user-friendly multi-touch 15.6 inch HMI capturing all processing documentation, including material pressure, colouring and additive settings, to ensure high-level transparency and traceability.
The eTwin servo-driven piston pumps save processors up to 80 percent energy compared to air-driven pumps. While the integrated cooling system and pulsation-free volume flow helps to optimise the filling behaviour and prevent the LSR material from curing too soon. The unit also performs automatic venting, purging air from the material before it is fed into the moulding machine and tool. Combined with the IntElect’s high injection dynamics, the repeatable process ensures the highest component quality is achieved time and time again.
Modular by-design, the LSR eTwin Connect allows for quick configuration of programs and instant software upgrades. To support quick drum changes and for ease of maintenance, the system also features a roll in device and automatic drum locks.
Dual-tip nozzles for high-cavitation precision
To support the high-volume production of individual single wire seals, tooling partner Rico Group reveals its proprietary 256-cavitation LSR mould tool. Combining the direct injection system with double nozzle technology with the IntElect machines optimised clamp force, this LSR package successfully achieves the highest number of cavities in the most compact installation space. The turnkey system coordinates every processing step to efficiently manufacture 256 LSR parts every 15 seconds with minimal flash and material waste. “It’s the definition of high-volume sustainable production,” notes Aliyev.
Ensuring the material is exposed to a consistent temperature in all 256 cavities, the Rico tool is designed to run on a cold clamping force. This helps to avoid premature curing of the material before every cavity is filled. As a result, it reduces the risk of component and tooling damage, and consequently expensive machine downtime and costly tool repairs.
“Integrating a high precision dosing system with the IntElect machine and the optimal heat balance attained by the Rico dual tip nozzle delivery system ensures unprecedented distribution of the 15 gram shot weight. The result of the high machine dynamics means that part weight accuracy of 0.059 grams is repeatably replicated in the fastest possible cycle time,” explains Aliyev. Parallel overlapping functions, including automating the demoulding of parts from the tool using a specially adapted gripper plate, play a significant role in maintaining the 15 second cycle time, adds the LSR and automotive expert.
Dynamic, user-friendly automation
All eight Sumitomo (SHI) Demag exhibits at Fakuma feature some form of automation from the company’s extensive three-tiered SAM strategy. For the LSR automotive showcase, the cell features a customised Sepro SDR 22X robot.
Rather than all 256 parts, each weighing 0.059-grams, ejecting from the tool and falling into a box, the Sepro SDR 22X robot extracts the parts, placing them into a separation device. All 256 components are then funnelled into an individual receptacle, feeding into smaller packing boxes. This helps to determine the mould nest each part originated from, with the OPC interface connecting to the IntElect processing data to support full traceability.
This innovative SDR automation solution also gives the option to deposit a seal at defined intervals into a quality control drawer for inspection. The frequency of these deposits are determined by the operative, for example every 10, 100 or 1000 injection cycle.
Demonstrating limitless Healthcare LSR opportunities
Visitors to the Reinhardt-Technik booth (Hall A3, Stand 3313) will have the opportunity to view another sector where LSR processing is prevalent. Manufacturing surgical dental protection covers demands a combination of the thinnest walls and thicker beaded geometries. To accomplish this level of 3-dimensional LSR moulding precision, specialists in healthcare applications EMDE MouldTec supplies the gated 4-cavity mould tool, which fits into the generous tool space of the IntElect 75/420-65.
Given that each dental article weighs just 0.425 grams, and with an LSR shot weight of just 1.7 grams, the exhibit features Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s smallest IntElect injection unit. An LSR eTwin Connect from Reinhardt-Technik delivers material to the needle gate nozzle tool. Material is then injected into each of the four cavities twice. Metering data directly connects to the IntElect processing data via OPC-UA, ensuring a fully traceable and stable production process.
Manufacturing four burr-free dental components every 25 seconds, a Sumitomo (SHI) Demag SAM-C5 robot performs the demoulding task. A special end of arm tool uses compressed air to delicately extract and place the dental covers into containers, ensuring hygiene standards are never compromised.