If you need big clothes, you go the Big and Tall. If you want to mold really big parts, say in the neighborhood of 200 to 220 pounds, you go to a specialty injection molding machine producer, such as a low-profile company in Germany called Ettlinger Kunststoffmaschinen GmbH of Königsbrunn.
In the Ettlinger approach, an extruder feeds an accumulator/plunger unit tied into an injection system. This overcomes constraints inherent in a single-stage, screw/plunger approach. The extruder does not operate continuously; it is batch just like the injection unit. Large shot volumes can be shot with less clamping force than what would be required in a conventional system.
As a sideline business, Ettlinger has developed a milt filtration technology, which it also describes as unique. Melt loss is said to be reduced through elimination of the screen typically used. Extrudate flows into a drum-shaped filter that is scraped clean with a knife edge. It is used in particular to clean manufacturing scrap contaminated with other materials.
It creates the potential to team the filter with the injection molding machine to feed recycled plastic streams.
There’s change in the wind at Ettlinger and the little German company figures to be a bigger, more important player.
Three years ago, Volker Neuber, a former managing director at GE Plastics and VP at Husky Injection Molding Machines (which also makes some really big machines) bought a controlling interest in Ettlinger from founder Roderich Ettlinger. His partner is the son of the founder, Thorsten Ettlinger.
They have established a U.S. sales and service presence in Wheaton, Ill. Another former Husky executive is running the U.S. business, which is still scaling up. Close to $2 million is now being invested in an expansion of capacity at the Königsbrunn plant.