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11-21-2017

Peripheral System for Novel Foaming Technique

High Foaming Pressure during Injection Molding without Machine Upgrade

Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid, Germany, and Linde AG, Munich, Germany, developed a new process of physical foaming. The process combines the easy handling of chemical foaming processes to the high foaming pressure applied with physical foaming. ProTec Polymer Processing GmbH is currently developing a peripheral system that will allow for easy integration of the physical foaming process into existing injection molding plants.

Within the new process, the dried pellets are first loaded with CO2 in a pressure vessel, and then fed to the injection molding machine. External CO2 loading has been tested before on various types of plastics, showing that they remain reproducibly foamable over several hours. Pellet preparation and feeding is done completely automatically, applying the peripheral solution by ProTec, consisting of dryer, autoclave and conveying unit. While this unit is able to feed a number of machines at the same time, manufacturing is efficient with small, as well as large charges. The integrated unit is operated via a network-compatible PLC controller.

  • © ProTec Polymer Processing

    The CO2 -loaded pellets are prepared and fed to the machine completely automatically, via an integrated peripheral solution by ProTec, consisting of dryer, autoclave and conveying unit (© ProTec Polymer Processing)

  • © ProTec Polymer Processing

    Mobile pellet dryer of the RDM series with integrated dry-air conveying, which will be part of the integral peripheral system, along with the autoclave unit yet to be developed (© ProTec Polymer Processing)

  • © Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid

    PC component foamed in the new physical foaming process, with approx. 16% weight saving (© Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid)

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Applying the process of foam injection molding, users will benefit from various advantages in terms of process technology. Thanks to lower viscosities and, thus, to improved flow properties, lower pressures are required for mold filling. Even with thin walls, good foaming results can be achieved, along with considerable material savings incurred. It may be sufficient to use an injection molding machine with a lower clamping force or a less rigid mold, while the process remains the same as before. At the same time, dimensional stability is enhanced, as compared to conventional injection molding, thanks to the fact that foaming reduces anisotropic material shrinkage.

In case high surface qualities are required, a gas-counter pressure process can be applied, for example.

Lightweight Solution for Numerous Branches

The new foaming solution may be especially suitable for automotive manufacturers, who wish to reduce consumption of resources and emissions by applying lightweight components, or for those who aim at stepping up the ranges of electric vehicles. In addition to weight saving, they benefit from improved thermal insulation and noise reduction as a result of the parts’ cellular structure.

The new technique is suitable for other branches, too, that wish to reduce their material consumption, such as electrical, electronics, and furniture industry, or for producers of household appliances and leisure goods. Test series have shown that part weights can be reduced by up to 60 %.

Additional information
  • The New Process for  Lightweight Foaming
    Kunststoffe international 2017/09, PAGE 46 - 50

    The New Process for Lightweight Foaming

    Granulate Is Impregnated with CO₂ in an Autoclave and Processed on Standard Injection Molding Machines

    The e-mobility trend is driving increased efforts in lightweight construction. Now the Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid and Linde AG have...   more

Company profile

Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid

Karolinenstr. 8
DE 58507 Lüdenscheid
Tel.: 02351 1064-191
Fax: 02351 1064-190

Linde AG Unternehmenszentrale

Klosterhofstr. 1
DE 80331 München
Tel.: 089 35757-01

ProTec Polymer Processing GmbH Headquarters

Stubenwald-Allee 9
DE 64625 Bensheim
Tel.: 06251 77061-0
Fax: 06251 77061-500

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