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Profoam Process

Lightweight Construction for Industrial Scale Production

The pressure chamber lock for the Profoam process allows the plastic melt to be charged with a blowing agent without expensive machine technology (figure: Arburg)

Over and above the pure machine engineering, Arburg GmbH + Co KG, Loßburg, Germany, is positioning itself as a system supplier for the production of plastic parts. The company has turned a particular focus to the customization of mass-production parts by combining – against the background of the increasing networking by Cyber Physical Production Systems – injection molding and additive manufacturing.

The demand for lightweight construction-optimized products calls for innovative and more importantly cost-effective new process solutions, especially from machine manufacturers for the injection molding industry. The automotive industry, in particular, is promoting lightweight construction technologies offering a significant reduction in the vehicle weight, and hence directly also the fleet fuel consumption and the CO₂ emissions.

Although the thermoplastic structural foam molding process has been known for a long time, its technological potentials are still far from being exhausted. At the Fakuma, Arburg will be presenting the Profoam process that has been developed at the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) in Aachen, Germany, together with Arburg. The benefits of this physical foam molding process will be demonstrated with the example of an automotive application running on an Allrounder 630 S hydraulic injection molding machine.

Users can expect a reduction in the part weight as well as a shortening of the cooling time. In addition, the process minimizes the occurrence of sink marks, shrinkage and distortion, and requires no additional periphery. Conventional injection molding machines can therefore be employed and later used also for other applications.

Of particular note is the fact that the plasticating unit has a normal screw geometry. The plastic pellets are already enriched with a blowing fluid in a pressure chamber lock between storage hopper and material feeder (Fig.). The blowing gas is dissolved in the melt during plastication and escapes again in the form of microcellular gas bubbles only with the pressure relief during the injection process. Further benefits of the Profoam process are the low melt temperature and the melt processing that is also gentle on long fibers because the process requires no shear and mixing sections on the screw.

A micro-production cell based on an electric Allrounder 270 A equipped with a new micro injection unit and a handling device (Type: Multilift H 3+1) for the separation of micro-component and sprue will be on show as a system solution for micro-components. A clean air module with ionization ensures a constant, controlled production environment and prevents sticking of the micro-components in the working area. The micro-injection unit is specially designed for precise control of short strokes, but with high filling dynamics at the same time. The combination of an 18 mm or 15 mm screw for melting with an 8 mm screw for injection allows normal pellet sizes to be processed and very small shot weights to be produced precisely and with short strokes.

On a further eight Allrounders and three Freeformers for additive manufacturing, Arburg will be presenting i. a. applications of multi-component injection molding, exhibits from medical and packaging technology and an example in practice of LSR processing. With a 32+32-cavity mold from Trelleborg AB, Trelleborg, Sweden, an Allrounder 470 A electric two-component machine with 1,000 kN clamping force and electric turning unit produces buttons of liquid silicone rubber (LSR) for car interiors. The membrane of the molding is made from a pigmented LSR with a Shore hardness of 50, the inner disc from a transparent LSR with a Shore hardness of 80. Since, by contrast with thermoplastics, silicones do not suffer from fatigue or yellowing, they enable particularly pleasant haptics and a constant light pattern over the whole life cycle.

Fakuma Hall A3, booth 3101

Company profile


DE 72290 Loßburg
Tel.: 07446 33-0
Fax: 07446 33-3365
E-mail: contact <AT>

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