News | August 21, 2007

Ferromatik Milacron Develops Industry Solution From Prototype To Fully Optimized Production Machine

Malterdingen -- Introduced in the fall of 2006, the first machines are already proving a great success in production: the CAP-TEC from Ferromatik Milacron is one of the new breed of customized machines designed for specific, demanding injection molding tasks. CAP-TEC is built for the beverage industry and produces caps and closures for bottles, cartons, tubes, and bags. It does nothing else, but it does that perfectly and under production conditions that meet the real-world needs of beverage companies. As we have already seen with the production of PET bottles, the production of closures is increasingly being done right at the bottling facility.

Screw closures are a true mass production item. The German beverage industry alone accounts for many millions of these little parts each year. They weigh only a few grams, yet they require precision in their production if they are to fulfill their function reliably. The technical requirements for closures are greater than they may appear and the enormous quantities needed call for an economical and reliable manufacturing solution. Standard injection molding solutions just don't measure up. Ferromatik Milacron will present its CAP-TEC series - "Dedicated Solution for Caps" - at K 2007 in D├╝sseldorf.

Priority Number One: Productivity
The machine, first introduced at the Ferromatik Milacron Open House in September 2006, is built for high output. Along with speed, "high output" means superior reliability: in the just-in-time production systems in use today, downtime means unacceptable delays for the whole production chain.

The machine base comes from the proven K-TEC series, but has been stripped of everything not required for this specialized application. The clamping unit features a special short stroke design for small part sizes. That allows for a smaller overall machine footprint - saving valuable shop floor space. In contrast to standard injection molding machines, which have to accommodate a variety of different applications, the high performance hydraulics of the clamping unit are precisely attuned to the CAP-TEC's dynamics and provide the fastest clamping force build up in the industry. The moving platen on the clamping unit moves on linear guide bearings. This keeps the tie-bars oil-free, a key production advantage in the food industry with its tight hygiene regulations.

"We will demonstrate the performance capabilities of the CAP-TEC machines at the show with a real-world application. I can tell you, the cycle times will turn some heads," says Winfried Stöcklin, General Manager of the K-TEC Business Unit. The electric drive of the high-performance plasticizing unit allows for parallel functions contributing to the overall speed of the machine as well as making it more energy efficient. Visitors to the show can see results of the CAP-TEC's speed optimization for themselves. Using a 72-cavity mold to make typical thin-walled closures, such as those used with bottled water, Ferromatik Milacron anticipates an output of more than 100,000 parts per hour. For larger diameter parts, or parts with greater wall thicknesses, for example for carbonated beverages, output is also extremely high: anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000 parts per hour - depending on the characteristics of the part. If we take 8000 hours of running time for a year, that would mean an annual output of over 600 million parts.

CAP-TEC 300 within the Production Environment - Injection Molding in the Bottling Facility
At K 2007 in D├╝sseldorf a CAP-TEC 300 with a clamping force of 3,000 kN and a Meltstar screw with High-Output-Performance will demonstrate production environment operations. In recent years, more and more beverage companies have moved their PET bottle production right into the bottling plant. For caps and closures the trend is the same.

With the CAP-TEC's shorter base, Ferromatik Milacron has met a key need of bottlers: minimum floor space requirements. By providing a complete system from raw material conveyance to mold cooling, post-cooling and quality control of the finished parts the designers and applications engineers have gone several steps further. The application demonstrated at the K Show presents a real production environment with a 72-cavity mold made by KTW from Austria and an inspection system from IMD, based in Switzerland. Two cameras inspect every single finished closure in fractions of a second, identifying defective parts. This ensures process reliability for all downstream operations in the bottling facility.

Certainty, process reliability, and simplicity of operations are hard criteria in choosing an injection molding machine - all the more so when the operators may have little experience with this technology. Ferromatik Milacron has created a special safe-mode for the MOSAIC touch-screen control panel which brings all of the information and input options necessary for normal machine operations together in a single screen page.

Continuing the CAP-TEC Success Story - New Models Already Planned
The CAP-TEC concept, a custom solution aimed at a specific industry, has proven itself and found a place in the market in short order. The reaction of the first users has been so positive that Ferromatik Milacron is already working on expanding CAP-TEC into a whole machine series. New models with clamping forces of 2,000 and 4,000 kN are planned. While the CAP-TEC 300 is designed for use with 64- and 72-cavity molds, the new machines will typically be operated with 48- and 96-cavity molds respectively.

SOURCE: Ferromatik Milacron Maschinenbau GmbH