FIPA Develops Gripper with Thermalon® Vacuum Cups for Rapid Demolding

FIPA Inc., Cary, North Carolina, a manufacturer of advanced vacuum technology, gripper systems, air nippers and End-of-Arm-Tooling, has developed a customized gripper with Thermalon® bellows vacuum cups for the rapid demolding of injection molded parts.

Presented with the challenge of creating a gripper for an injection molding machine that would yield extremely fast cycle times to achieve a high output, FIPA experts tailored several components of the company’s gripping systems to develop a cost-effective solution.

In search of a device that would quickly and simultaneously remove and place eight battery covers from an injection molding machine, Franke Kunststofftechnik GmbH & Co. KG, a German manufacturer of injection molding tools for the plastics industry, approached FIPA with the application challenge. Using vacuum cups to remove injection molded parts is difficult because the vacuum cups must be resistant to high temperatures and, in many applications, should leave no marks on the material being demolded.

“After discussing and reviewing Franke’s technology application needs, we realized our Thermalon® vacuum cups would be an ideal solution for this particular project,” said Timo Bendrat, FIPA Sales Manager for Western Germany. “Thermalon® vacuum cups are comprised of a material optimized for the specific needs of the plastics industry, because it is heat-resistant up to 160°C (320°F) and low-marking.”

Combined with the vacuum cups, FIPA created a gripper that weighs less than 2.5kg, has a two-second removal time and provides a cycle time of 19.2 seconds from injection molding to placing, thus enabling a production throughput of up to one million parts per year. FIPA’s latest gripper solution also is a first for Franke, who previously only used tools for demolding parts from 4-cavity molds.

“It was a pleasure to work with FIPA, who responded quickly and worked diligently to ensure that this project ran smoothly,” said Niklas Franke, who is responsible for application technology at Franke Kunststofftechnik GmbH & Co. KG. “The result was a highly effective, cost-sensitive solution that met our application technology requirements.”

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