With Flexflow to Light Center Armrests
Hot Runner Systems from HRSflow Supports Mass Production
The production of a lightweight center armrest for the automotive interior is an example of the use of the Flexflow technology from hot runner specialist, HRSflow, San Polo die Piave, Italy. The multi-step process combines the thermoforming of a composite sheet with the injection molding of two different thermoplastics. Development partners in the implementation of the project included injection molding machine manufacturer, KraussMaffei, München, Germany, as well as US mold manufacturer, Proper Tooling, Warren, USA.
The load-bearing structure of the center armrest was created with the aid of the FiberForm process developed by KraussMaffei in which a thin-wall, fiber-reinforced composite sheet is heated, inserted into the mold and thermoformed. The two subsequent injection molding processes are carried out according to the principle of the swivel-platen technique simultaneously in two opposite parts of the same mold. In one step, the carrier is first encapsulated with polypropylene (PP). This results in the near-final geometry of the part, including the elements needed for subsequent assembly. This PP structure is then overmolded with a thermoplastic elastomer (TPV) in the opposite section of the mold.
With both injection molding steps, a Flexflow hot runner system is used, with two or three hot runner nozzles. Their servo-electric, individually controlled valve pins ensure optimum filling of the cavities in each case.
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