Arburg takes on high-volume cube molding

Wednesday, Oct 26, 2016

Arburg GmbH + Co. KG is moving into high-volume cube molding, where a revolving four-faced mold spins between two injection units, turning out a multicomponent part.

Arburg has been able to produce parts with cube molds for about five years. But the Allrounder Cube press shown at K 2016 is a major departure into very high-volume molding: Turning out two-component closure caps on a 32-by-32 cavity mold, on an 8.5-second cycle. The clamping force is 290 metric tons. Arburg also is offering an Allrounder Cube in 460 metric tons.

Arburg is running a cube mold from Foboha GmbH in Haslach, Germany, a city less than an hour’s drive from Arburg headquarters in Lossburg in the Black Forest.

The part being molded at K 2016 is a flip-top cap for a bottle of Pril, the popular German brand of hand dishwashing soap. Both components are polypropylene, but the screw-on base is red and the flip-top is blue.

“It’s a typical part where the cost-per-part counts,” said Gerhard Böhm, Arburg’s managing director of sales. “They run such programs for several years. Once they change to such a part, for example, they run it for six or seven years continuously.”

One injection unit is mounted on the machine base. The other rides on the clamp. Shot capacities are eight ounces and 16 ounces.

The machine is a hybrid press that uses electric power and servo-driven hydraulics, with an accumulator for the fast molding of the closures.

Friedrich Kanz, president of Arburg Inc. in Rocky Hill, Conn., said the Allrounder Cube should sell well in the United States, a big packaging market that demands large-volume production.

Böhm said a more aggressive position in packaging helps Arburg diversify — as well as bring an eye-catching demonstration to Arburg’s booth in Hall 13 at K. “It’s something special. And besides, we like to have a mixture on the business sectors we are working in,” he said. “We don’t want to rely on medical. We don’t want to relay on automotive. So packaging is a good opportunity for us to grow, as we are not that deep inside there. So it’s an up-and-coming business for us.”

Arburg officials said they have sold the cube machine on display, but they declined to identify the buyer.

From the 8.5-second cycle time for the flip-top caps, it’s a short walk to a part with a 200-hour cycle time: a Freeformer additive manufacturing machine building a working replica of an Arburg toggle-clamp injection press.

The Freeformer — one of three at Arburg’s K 2016 booth — has been running continuously, night and day, during the show to make a model press that has more than 30 parts. Once the part is finished on the last day of K 2016, and the support material is washed out, the mechanism will be fully functional with moving parts.

Making a single part 24 hours a day?

“The reason that we do that is to show the reliability and the precision of the Freeformer, that we are able to run continuously for 200 hours,” Böhm said. “It shows that also parts are able to be done where you need a long building period.”

K 2016 also marks Arburg’s move to larger tonnage, as the company unveiled its hybrid Allrounder 1120 H, in a manufacturing cell molding and assembling a step stool in Arburg green.


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