The plasticating screw, invented in the 1950s, does not usually get a lot of focus at international plastics shows.
But Engel put significant emphasis on the plasticating unit at K2016, calling it the “key to the quality and performance of injection molding machines.”
Engel announced it will develop more specialized designs and is investing $18.7 million to boost capacity.
“The challenge for us is to ensure that even new materials can be processed faster and to a higher quality standard despite the increasing stresses on mechanical components,” said Günther Klammer, head of the newly reorganized Plasticizing Systems Division. The group includes experts in metallurgy, welding technology, rheology, plastics engineering, design, NC programming, and manufacturing technology.
Engel produces 6,000 screws and barrels with diameters from 15 to 170 mm annually – a figure set to double by 2020.
Engel showed several of its new screw designs at its booth at K2016. They included the Universal Automotive Screw G18 (UAS) for a wide range of materials, and the Mixing Barrier Screw G16S (MBS), which targets a high level of homogeneity for master batches in high-performance applications.
The barrier geometry of the MBS was developed in collaboration with the Johannes Kepler University of Linz, Austria, and a customer in Germany. The MBS is available with diameters between 35 and 90 mm. An MBS with a diameter of 90 mm, built into an ENGEL e-speed injection molding machine, molded cartridges at K2016.
To boost capacity, funds will be invested in additional machine tools and heat treating equipment. Engel uses a new laser method for welding metal carbides onto the screw flights.