NPE2012 Wraps Up Its First Year in Orlando

In the first four days of April, NPE2012 enjoyed the sunny skies of Orlando, FL, with attendees streaming into town from all corners of the globe. With exhibitor numbers that easily surpassed the 2006 and 2009 shows, moving NPE to Orlando proved to be a solid bet, with new equipment and process launches that were the talk of the show.

Husky Injection Molding Systems, Ontario, Canada, showcased its latest hot runner and controller technologies, designed to help eliminate variability in the injection molding process. Husky’s UltraSync-E electric hot runner technology offers precise stem closing by allowing for a minimum nozzle spacing of 18mm. The unique plate actuation mechanism requires the lowest amount of maintenance of any product in its category, and war is eliminated by the use of bearings for moving components. Ultra SideGate hot runner technology allows molders to direct gate parts that traditionally would require gating with a cold runner. It allows for a single-piece cavity in the design of the mold, resulting in easier integration, improved cooling and more consistent parts.

Frigel North America, East Dundee, IL, has introduced the Microgel RCP line of self-contained, water-cooled chillers. The 12 new models are single-zone units ideal for the demanding needs of PET, closure molds, multi-cavity molding, high-speed medical, blow molding and many other applications that need refrigerated high pressure/flow coolant. Available in sizes ranging from 9.2 to 126.7 tons, Microgel RCPs are equipped with shell-and-tube condensers to function with Frigel Ecodry® closed-loop clean water cooling system or a conventional, evaporative cooling tower system, making them an option for nearly any facility.

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, Norcross, GA, demonstrated the new SL (Spiral Logic) screw assembly to the North American market. In traditional molding, shear heat develops due to dragging resistance of the resin between the screw flights and the barrel. This causes fluctuation of the molten resin density and various other problems. The SL screw assembly avoids these problems by eliminating shear heating instability. A Uni-Layer Melting Model eliminates the compression zone of the screw and prevents burn spots and stagnation of the melt in the barrel. The SL screw assembly also allows for fast color and resin changes, and is available as an option on select Sumitomo Demag electric machines.

PolyOne Corporation, Cleveland, OH, in collaboration with Archer Daniels Midland Company, has developed a fast-acting bio-based plasticizer made from rapidly renewable plant-based feedstocks. The reFlex™ 100 is one of the first bioplasticizers to be awarded recognition by the USDA BioPreferred® program with a 94 percent biobased label. The reFlex offers fast-acting (high solvating) performance and is an alternative to conventional plasticizers such as BBP, DDP and benzoates, many of which have come under regulatory pressure. It can be blended into both traditional phthalate and new non-phthalate systems, providing a formulating tool that helps reduce cost by improving productivity, eliminating defects and reducing consumption. The reFlex 100 offers faster setup times and reduced viscosity versus other traditional plasticizers.

The Magna T Servo, from Milacron, Batavia, OH, features a hybrid toggle technology that dramatically improves on the energy efficiency of a standard hydraulic system. The injection molding machine is available in sizes ranging from 55 to 400 tons and achieves higher energy efficiency than a hydraulic machine by using a variable-speed AC servo motor to drive a fixed-volume gear pump. The machine’s servo motor allows the pump to deliver only the required amount of oil for each stage of the process. The servo motor also can reverse the direction of pumping to reduce pressure, if necessary. If no additional flow is required, the pump will stop. As a result, the system requires less energy for oil cooling and ejects less heat into the plant, creating cost savings that provide a faster return on investment compared to a conventional hydraulic system.

IQMS, a manufacturing ERP software developer based in Paso Robles, CA, has released the RTStation for shop floor control. The system offers effortless data input and graphically displays machine monitoring details in real time for various types of operator feedback. The RTStation is powered by the Android™ mobile operating system and is poised for expansion with many other types of machines, such as scanners, card readers and scales. Its flexible architecture allows for custom application and automation development to solve specific business needs.

An upgrade to the FLX material-handling control system from The Conair Group, Cranberry Township, PA, allows the unit to handle up to 128 loaders and 40 pumps. Processors still have the ability to start small, with as few as eight loaders and two pumps. The system offers many high-level functions – such as multi-source/multi-destination loading, purge, ratio loading, ratio loading with purge, reverse conveying for regrind recovery and loader fill sensing – often found on larger, more expensive controls.

Watch this space in early May for even more new equipment launches from NPE2012!