A Precision Double Act
IMD Foil Feeding Unit from Leonhard Kurz Enables Exacting Single-Image Decoration in Twin-Cavity Molds
Injection molding and concurrently decorating plastic parts in multi-cavity molds has been possible for some time using the IMD (In-Mold Decoration) process, but was applicable only to the processing of continuous designs or the manufacture of small, flat components. Complex shaped or larger sized plastic parts requiring an entire IMD film web width to decorate could only be provided with single image designs in a single cavity.
The coating specialist Leonhard Kurz Stiftung & Co. KG, Fürth, Germany, is releasing a patent-pending IMD film feeding unit that can be used for single-image decoration of these kinds of components in a twin-cavity mold. The IMD SI DUO device, which is integrated into the injection molding machine, controls the feeding of two independently positionable film webs in a double or multi-cavity mold. It allows two different IMD film designs to be used, and single-image or continuous designs to be combined arbitrarily; furthermore, the cavities can have identical, mirrored or different geometries. High precision film positioning is ensured in every case, even with different feed distances for the two film tracks or with dissimilar plastic components.
Sensor Detection of Film Registration Marks
The precise alignment of the single-image designs is achieved by means of sensors that read the registration marks on the IMD films. Mounted on the outer sides of each of the two film tracks are a pair of sensor blocks for the X and Y directions that enable a positioning accuracy of a few hundredths of a millimeter in both directions. For longer components, an additional sensor can be installed to ensure precise positioning in the Y direction.
Flexible Integration into the Production Process
The IMD SI DUO is equipped with a programmable logic controller and servo control module, touch panel, and memory function for repeat jobs. The parameter sets of 50 jobs can be stored and then recalled in a flash. The compact device can be adapted to suit the structural and technical requirements of existing injection molding machines or constructed to precisely fit into new machines. If required, the device can be reconfigured from dual to single cavity decoration by centrally arranging one of the film tracks. The movable control cabinet and the operating panel can be flexibly positioned to suit the production workflow.
Leonhard Kurz Stiftung & Co. KG
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