Automated production processes for molded rubber parts
Automated production processes for molded rubber parts

Automated production processes for molded rubber parts

Injection Transfer Molding in the age of Industry 4.0

Injection Transfer Molding (ITM) has tangible advantages. Assuming the parts are suitable, the ITM press molding system offers a particularly economic return on investment than that of other presses for molded parts and pure injection molding. For many molded rubber parts, ITM allows substantially more cavities in the mold plates than conventional injection molding. Selecting the right process controls for the filling unit, transfer pot, clamping, and demolding unit, provide swift material transferring, and vulcanization yielding better cycle time. The ITM procedure is very economical, particularly for systems with temperature regulated transfer pots. Combining a vacuum chamber into this system virtually assures that you can avoid flaws and burn marks.

Employing the necessary automation solution solidifies the molding procedure while offering advantages in profitability and quality certification to your products. Manufacturing, quality assurance, and documentation processes that perfectly satisfy the automation requirements called for in Industry 4.0 have long since become reality with the hardware and software systems that Wickert offers.

Storage-pump combinations reduce mold evacuation time

A standard injection molding system or configuration has vents but that does not guarantee a flash or burn free finished part. The ITM procedure is very economical particularly with tempered transfer pots, because there are no loss of materials from the transfer pots. Wickert’s system has combined the heated pot with the use of a vacuum chamber that effectively evacuates the entire mold area. Burn marks and defects are things of the past. A storage-pump combination that is optimized with the latest PLC reduces evacuation time, which influences cycle time to a level acceptable to the users. As a rule, this system reduces the fill and overall cycle time to as much as half of a standard molding system.

This filling unit is based on the established principle of first in - first out. The controller ensures that the transfer pot is filled only with the charge needed for the next shot. As a result, the material mixture spends minimal time in the transfer pot, eliminating hysteresis that degrade its properties. Innovative screw geometries allow optimal intake of the strip or cord. A feed guide system allows reliable feeding without tears in the material. Consistent input drives quality output.

New elastomer compounds call for new technology

Elastomer compounds are becoming more sophisticated with more additives in order to satisfy end product properties. These new compounds are increasing base material cost while becoming increasing difficultly to process. These “high-end” elastomers quickly push conventionally produced feed screws and cylinders to their performance limits. The reduced performance comes from the degradation on the feed screw. Wickert uses feed screws that are extremely wear-resistant and that have service lives that, in some cases, are several hundred percent longer than conventional feed screws. Wickert’s ITM feed screw technology ensures that shear-sensitive compounds are treated with special processing. One of these features is the surface finish of the screw and the ability to recondition surface finishes, which saves the substantial costs of investments for new screws. Shear heat, material residence time, and transfer velocity are all critical components to ITM processing. Wickert solutions provide technology to allow fine adjustment to eliminate processing issues.

System solution with intelligent automation components

The automation solution really puts the finishing touches on the economics of the ITM system allowing for optimal processing. In a standard cycle a mold is driven into the automation system via the sliding table. The mold plates are fed onto the automation modules where first a hydraulic mold separator divides the mold plates. These move to the sides; on one side is a device to eject the articles and on the other is a brushing and/or spraying device. A fully automatic system to that eliminates operator touch. Whether the mold plates have to be rotated by 180° into a convenient ejection position or by 90° into a cleaning position, Wickert’s automation team consults with your process team to provide solutions to increase throughput.

System networking (and animation) included

The WKP 5000 S, press system, demonstrated at the 2016 K and on the Rubber Expo in Cleveland, OH 2017show presented the new generation of system operation and system networking. External access to the system which includes real-time tracking of operator actions, material process, and cycle quality data as part of a new control concept. The Wickert Smart Factory concept allows secure plant users access to the complete factory via the Wickert Link. Alerts can be scheduled for preventative press maintenance during service intervals. As in the framework of “Industry 4.0”, Wickert provides complete networking of multiple presses through the network.

Wickert Service team embraces predictive maintenance and proactive service reports for preventive maintenance, driven via remote maintenance and system monitoring through Ethernet/Intranet/Internet. Wickert Link means central formulation management and backup of the formulation data in the Cloud. A Wickert system log includes the backup of the process and production data in the cloud. With process tracking in real-time, and component tracking and mobile data mirroring. Wickert Eco offers energy management monitoring for the entire system, energy use measurements, model calculation, and integrated system networking for factory efficiency.

For further question please contact Mr. Thomas Klimpl, Email: