Injection moulding machinery giant KraussMaffei has dropped hints recently about a launch into the additive manufacturing space.Speaking at a pre-K press event in Dusseldorf, where the K show will take place in October this year, Michael Ruf, CEO at the Munich machine maker said
the group would “have something to ‘add’” at K this year, adding that it would be a world premier.
And the firm has now published a page on its website dedicated to additive manufacturing, and although no specific machinery is mentioned, a statement reads: “Production without material waste and infinite design possibilities - we bring these advantages of additive manufacturing from prototyping to the industrial series production of plastic components.”
The last major plastics machinery firm to venture into additive manufacturing was Arburg, which, in 2013, teased its K Show appearance using the advertising slogan ‘Freedom has to be experienced’ – a reference to the freeform additive manufacturing technique.
3D printing has similarities with injection moulding – in that plastic is melted and extruded – and while the technologies have historically been seen as complementary, KraussMaffei could soon be the next major IMM player to enter the fray.
The market for industrial additive manufacturing is reported to be seeing a resurgence, not least due to supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, and other recent challenges (e.g. the Suez canal blockage).
Kathy Bui, product lead, engineering business at 3D printer manufacturer Formlabs, said
of the present-day state of the AM market: “In 2022, we will continue to see AM play a role in the supply chain with 3D printers becoming a manufacturer’s Swiss army knife, an adaptable tool that can keep production lines running. With in-house industrial grade 3D printers, manufacturers can fortify their business against supply chain challenges and mitigate risk rather than replacing traditional manufacturing processes. 3D printers will be used as a risk mitigation tool rather than replacing traditional manufacturing processes.”
Arburg has historically touted the technology as a further in-road into high value markets, with complex medical parts often being demonstrated on the Freeformer at trade events and in-house displays. It remains to be seen which markets KraussMaffei will target. Precision and speed of production are both likely to feature as highlights of the innovation, however. The group’s new AM-focussed webpage
also states: “In plastics processing, the variety of options has never been more in demand. Additive manufacturing systems enable geometric diversity without impacting price or production time. Experience with us the fast product changeover on a machine and the simultaneous production of different products on an industrial level.”
A video from the group (see below) also teases the launch, with the slogan “we have something to ‘add’” following on from a list of the the firm’s existing staples of injection moulding, extrusion and reaction process machinery.
× The official announcement of the launch will be made on the first day of K 2022, October 19, at 4.40 p.m at the group’s stand in hall 15, stand C24 / D24New IMM launches
The group is also planning to launch two new injection moulding machine ranges at this year’s K, dubbed ‘precisionMolding’ and ‘powerMolding’ respectively. Available for US and European customers, the new range will be debuted running applications for the toy and automotive industries. Both have previously been launched into the Asian market.
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The powerMolding machine is a stripped-down version of KraussMaffei's hydraulic GX series
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The powerMolding machine will process 100% recycled polypropylene to produce door modules for the automotive sector
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Parents visiting K 2022 hoping to bring something fun home for the kids will be pleased to know that the precisionMolding machine on display will be producing a soft tennis ball racket (from 100 percent sustainable raw materials – a popular trend in the toy industry).
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The precisionMolding machines are based on the all-electric PX series from KraussMaffei, but feature a reduced number of optional extras, making them suited to high volume, standard part production. Prev Next
The precisionMolding machines are based on the all-electric PX series from KraussMaffei, but feature a reduced number of optional extras, making them suited to high volume, standard part production. Similarly, powerMolding is a stripped-down version of KraussMaffei's hydraulic GX series
"In the basic machine concept, we offer our customers outstanding fast reaction times and thus short delivery times to enhance their efficiency and competitiveness even more. At the same time, of course, this opens up entirely new applications and groups of customers for us we have not been able to serve before,” said Xiaojun Cui, executive vice-president, new machines business, at KraussMaffei.
With shorter supply chains now in high demand, and reshoring taking place in response to the COVID pandemic and other global challenges, the introduction of readily-available, no-frills machines for bringing back high volume, efficient processing to home territories may well prove to be well-timed for many moulders. Add to that the soaring cost of energy, and newer, less expensive but more efficient machines seem an attractive investment.
Options that are available with the new machines include a variety of mould installation heights as well as the integration of automation solutions.
According to its maker, depending on the application, the powerMolding machines can offer a boost in throughput of up to 15 percent over comparable standard injection moulding machines on the market, brought about by short dry cycle times, shot weight consistency and low scrap rates.
"The bottom line is that the investment pays off very quickly for our customers, precisely when compared to other standard machines on the market," said Cui.
Parents visiting K 2022 hoping to bring something fun home for the kids will be pleased to know that the precisionMolding machine on display will be producing a soft tennis ball racket (from 100 percent sustainable raw materials – a popular trend in the toy industry). Based on cane sugar, the biopolyethylene from FKUR ‘binds CO2 during production’ and ‘can be recycled up to 100% after use’, according to KraussMaffei.
The firm’s APC plus function comes with the machine, and is designed to compensate for the process fluctuations – especially useful for running biomaterials and recyclates.
Meanwhile the powerMolding machine will process 100% recycled polypropylene to produce door modules for the automotive sector – and again, will use the APC Plus functions to stabilise material fluctuations. The material itself will come from caps for insulin pens, produced on a KraussMaffei PX 200-1400. The material will be shredded and then prepared on a ZE 28 BluePower twin-screw extruder with different additives such as bonding agents and liquid dye. Back to Search Results