Engel is showcasing a new process called “Exjection” that combines injection molding and extrusion. The process allows engineers to design long thin-walled plastic profiles that integrate a variety of elements that now require expensive secondary operations. Metals parts can be inserted in the mold cavity. Films can also be applied in the tool. The new process was described at Molding 2008 by Joachim Kragl, manager of processing technology for Engel of Canada, Guelph, Ontario. During the injection cycle, the mold cavity is moved to the machine axis. At the same time, plastic is injected into the cavity.
Applications proposed for the process include:
A water drain channel out of PP with a length of 3 meters
A cable binder made of PEEK, length 1500 mm
A furniture profile with textile decoration or aluminum decor
An entrance ledge with metallic effect pigmentation
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
More and more -- that's what we'll see from plastics and composites in 2015, more types of plastics and more ways they can be used. Two of the fastest-growing uses will be automotive parts, plus medical implants and devices. New types of plastics will include biodegradable materials, plastics that can be easily recycled, and some that do both.
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