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      1. Arburg launches new hybrid machines

        German injection machinery maker Arburg used its annual Technology Days open house event at its Lossburg facility in March to launch its energy-saving Hidrive hybrid machine line and to invite customers into its newly completed customer centre.

        The Hidrive H series machines feature a five-point toggle clamping unit incorporating the electric clamp system from the all-electric Allrounder Alldrive, the hydraulic injection unit from the Allrounder S Advance, and accumulator power pack technology from the Allrounder S machine range.

        Sales director Helmut Heinson says the new machine has been developed around a limited number of combinations of clamping and injection units for a "combination of high efficiency in production and cost".

        As a result, the Hidrive costs 25% less than an equivalent Alldrive all-electric machine, says the firm.

        The company claims the Hidrive can lead to energy savings of up to 40% over a standard hydraulic machine, compared with 50% for an all-electric machine. Part of the reason for the energy savings is the Hidrive's use of energy recovery during braking and EFF1 motors, says Arburg.

        A comparison of dry cycle times shows that a Hidrive 370H can cycle in the same time as its all-electric equivalent - 0.8s - while a hydraulic machine with dual pump technology takes 1.3s.

        Hidrive reproducibility is said to be similar to that of all-electric machines, due in part to its use of a position-regulated screw (PRS) on the injection unit and planetary roller screw drive positioning of the clamp.

        Part weight deviations over more than 300 cycles illustrate the repeatability.

        Arburg's data shows a hydraulic machine with conventional injection control achieving shot weights in the range of 43.62-43.50g ( a deviation of 0.12g) while the Hidrive with PRS achieved shot weights of between 43.41-43.35g (a deviation of 0.06g).

        Hidrive machines will be available with clamping forces in the 60-320 tonnes range. The new machines were showcased in Arburg's multi-million Euro 10,000m2 customer centre, built over a two-year period on the company's Lossburg headquarter site. The centre houses cleanroom facilities, powder injection moulding laboratory and network integration capabilities. It is equipped with more than 30 injection moulding machines with clamping forces ranging from 12.5 and 500 tonnes.

        Aside from the Hidrive launch, Arburg also announced it is widening the clamping force range for the all-electric Allrounder Alldrive series. This now ranges from the 35 tonne 270A machine at the lower end to the 320 tonne 720A 320 at the upper end. A 270A was demonstrated producing a connector while the 720A moulded a round packaging lid.

        Arburg demonstrated its micromoulding capability on an Allrounder 170S, which was fitted with a size 30 injection unit and an eight-cavity mould from Stamm, of Hallau in Switzerland. The machine was producing 1,580 micron diameter gears weighing 0.001g each. The 170S was equipped with a 12mm diameter screw.

        Aside from micro part production, Arburg also demonstrated moulding of micro surface structures in the form of a diffractive optical waveguide produced in Makrolon DP1265 from Bayer MaterialScience. The 9.5g part was produced in a mould from Muri, Switzerland-based AWM, part of AdvalTech, in a cycle time of 40s.

        Other moulding exhibits included a reel-to-reel application producing hybrid metal and plastic clips on a vertical Allrounder 275V machine. The production system used reel take-up and pay-off devices from Bretten, Germany-based Leicht Stanzautomation, with Kron providing the mould technology. The 1.6g clips incorporated 0.9g of plastic and ran on a cycle time of 30s.

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