A North American manufacturer will be one of the show stoppers at next month’s Fakuma injection molding fair in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Trexel of Woburn, MA, will show how long-fiber reinforced plastics can be used in its microcellular foam process called MuCell. The MuCell process produces lower cost engineering parts with high quality and exceptional dimensional stability in applications where foaming has not historically been deployed. The long fiber technology from Ticona works well for large and complex parts. New parts use an advanced screw design developed jointly by Trexel and Ticona. Hartmut Traut, business director - Europe of Trexel, said several benefits result. “These include potential weight savings of 10 percent, and a 10 to 20 percent cycle time reduction. In addition, customers can get these benefits along with reduced warpage compared to solid injection molding and prior iterations of the MuCell process,” says Traut. One advanced American user of MuCell is fastener maker Soutcho, which uses injection molding machines sized from 55 to 350 tons in clamping force to make MuCell parts.
At the JEC Europe 2015 composites show in Paris last month, makers of composite materials, software, and process equipment showed off their latest innovations. This year's show saw some announcements related to automotive applications, but many of the improvements came in the world of aerospace.
The DuPont-sponsored Plastics Industry Trends survey shows engineers want improved performance in a broad range of plastics and better recycling technology. These concerns top even processing enhancements that improve productivity.
Plastics leader SABIC recently announced a global initiative to help its customers take advantage of additive manufacturing (AM) and also advance 3D printing (3DP) technologies in several application areas. The company's plans go way beyond materials, and also include design, processing, and part performance.
A theme that was reflected in several ways at NPE 2015 was the use of 3D printing to assist in, or improve on, injection molding, as well as improvements in 3D printing materials and processes that are making better functional prototypes and end-use parts.
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