Plastics Technology

DEC 2018

Plastics Technology - Dedicated to improving Plastics Processing.

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IMD ON A ROLL While in-mold labeling (IML) for packaging has become ubiquitous at major trade shows, Fakuma this year was notable for high visibility of the related technology of in-mold decorating (IMD), aimed largely at automotive, appliances, and consumer electronics. As distin- guished from IML, IMD for durable goods frequently involves roll-to-roll feeding of decorative and functional surfacing materials for back molding; paint films on a carrier film, which are deposited via back molding; or functional electronics (e.g., touch sensors) that can be applied in the mold like IML or bonded to the part after molding via vertical or roll-on hot-stamping. At Fakuma, three injection machine suppliers demonstrated varieties of IMD, all in cooperation with Leonhard Kurz (parent of Kurz Transfer Products in the U.S.). Engel, for example, showed off a roll-to-roll system for vacuum forming, back-injecting, and punching out diverse surface structures within the mold. This demo showed off Kurz's new single-step "IMD Varioform" foils and topcoats that accommodate complex 3D shapes—something not available previ- ously, according to Kurz. Possibilities include metalized (brushed or chrome) surfaces; wood, marble, or carbon-fiber look; single-image designs; partial and full-surface backlit designs; and tactile qualities from smooth surfaces to distinctive structures or soft-touch effects. As reported in September Starting Up, KraussMaffei operated a cell demonstrating Kurz's patented dual-IMD technology that indexes two independent heat-transfer foils through a two-cavity mold with the aid of servo motors and optical sensors to detect registration marks on the foil. This reportedly allows, for the first time, deposition of two single-image designs with precise positioning. At Fakuma, dual IMD was supplemented by IML in the same cycle to produce an automotive HMI display with integrated electronics, black decorative frame, and scratch-proof coating (UV cured outside the mold). And Sumitomo (SHI) Demag demon- strated two decorating steps in production of an automotive door sill with day/night design and touch-activated backlighting. Kurz day/night IMD decoration was applied; then, in a post-molding opera- tion at Kurz's own booth, the same parts were hot-stamped with trans- parent touch sensors having silver-based circuitry printed on a PET carrier. Kurz calls this Functional Foil Bonding (FFB). Its elastic PolyTC sensors can be integrated into fashionably curved components. Engel's North American headquarters. TIG also announced several modifica- tions to its product line. One is a new "rental" or subscription model for its authentig standard MES package. Another is a new entry-level package, called TIG 2go, also on a subscription basis. It requires installation of a data- acquisition box on each machine—or one device can collect data from up to 20 machines—to send data to the cloud. Users have access to an online dashboard showing machine operating status in one or multiple plants, as well as OEE performance data, SPC figures, and historical data for up to six months. At the other end of the scale, "TIG big data" is an open system for connecting all machine and plant sensors, ERP, MES, and other business software platforms, along with custom analytics. High- volume data storage can be local on company servers or in the cloud. As a sign of spreading interest in MES, Kistler Group, the Swiss-based maker of sensors, monitors, and controls for injection molding, has taken a further step into Industry 4.0 solutions with the acquisition of IOS GmbH in Aachen, Germany, which develops modular MES software. Kistler's MES offers automatic data acquisition from injec- tion machines via the machine controls or, for older machines, via a web-connected mini-PLC installed on the machine. Kistler offers a full system as well as an "MES Light" version designed as an entry-level product that allows users to get started quickly with minimal setup. At present, this option includes two pre-config- ured modules for data acquisition: • Machine data—cycle times, machine status, good/bad parts production quantities. • Operation data—transfer of production orders directly from an ERP system, starting and stopping of jobs, recording reject reasons, and calculating OEE (overall equipment efficiency). Kistler also offers a full-blown MES system with the foregoing two modules plus modules for batch traceability, maintenance manage- ment, production planning, and workstation-based staff-time logging. Kurz's new Varioform IMD foils and topcoats are said to be the first to accommodate complex 3D shapes. Kurz Functional Foil Bonding (FFB) uses its PolyTC sensors, with electrical circuits printed on a PET carrier and connected to an integral plug. These are applied after molding the part, using vertical or roll-on hot stamping. The flexible sensors conform to curved surfaces. Kurz Duo SI IMD reel-to-reel system feeds two independent single-image foils through a two-cavity mold using servo drives, optical sensors and registration marks on the foils for precise positioning. @plastechmag 17 Plastics Technology FA K U M A 2 0 1 8

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