FRIMO presented innovations

In plastics joining, thermoforming and PU processing at the FAKUMA

10 / 2014 - Under the motto “Ensure Quality - Increase Productivity”, the FRIMO Group presented the latest developments around plastics joining, thermoforming, and PU processing technologies as part of the FAKUMA trade fair show in October in Friedrichshafen.

Plastics joining – New IR welding machine with new camera control system

FRIMO has added two new design sizes to its portfolio of standardized infrared welding systems in the JoinLine IR welding machine series. In addition to the IR-V-ECO-1200 with a maximum clamping area of 1200 x 600 mm, this is the JoinLine IR-V-ECO-800 (800 x 450 mm) which could be seen in operation at the trade fair booth. The two models, each with up to 24 heating circuits, fill the gap between the highly popular models 500 and 1600 that have been available until now.

The FRIMO JoinLine IR systems are specially designed for frequent and thus extra speedy tool changes. A tool change can take less than five minutes, during which it is not necessary to cool off or preheat the tool. A high-performance drive system allows for increased productivity with view to the critical phase of changeover time and joining after heating and at the same time guarantees a high level of joining precision.

The JoinLine IR-V-ECO-800 can be equipped with an innovative thermal imaging system for inline process monitoring and consistent documentation of welding parameters. Compared to conventional products this newly presented infrared camera system is smaller and also stands out from the rest through its high level of user-friendliness and measuring precision. By monitoring the necessary temperature distribution during the welding process, a consistently high level of welding quality and process reliability can be achieved.

Thermoforming - High-class surfaces in foil

The high quality look of surfaces plays an important role in the design of modern automotive interiors. The trend towards an ever increasing variety of different designs and materials in numerous combinations necessitates that suitable modifications and advances are made to processing technologies. For producing decorative surfaces, foils possess diverse properties that make them attractive and economical.

- Optimized processes for complex 3D geometries: Thermoformed parts with demanding three-dimensional contours are especially prone to high degrees of stretching and marked grain distortion. In order to avoid this, FRIMO has developed a number of intelligent process solutions, which also were showcased at FAKUMA. One of these is the so-called bendable chain rail which is an innovative solution for producing contoured molded parts in high-speed inline plants. The foil (rolled material) is heated and then the chain rail is bent to ensure that the foil is directed to the mold cavity in the forming station that precisely follows the contours. This does not stretch the foil as much, which has a correspondingly positive effect on the level of stretching and grain distortion. In order to combat the sagging of the preheated foil sheet, FRIMO uses process optimized chain rails that stretch the foils crosswise as well as lengthwise. This puts more tension on the foil while simultaneously reducing the risk of wrinkling. When laminating components with complex 3D geometry with precut foil pieces, the use of a 3D sliding clamp frame can offset excessive stretching and grain distortion by perfectly combining sliding adjustment and preforming of the foil.

- Weight reduction: On the market for decorative foils, a series of innovations for thermoforming and vacuum laminating are available, which in combination with the FRIMO systems technology, help reduce weight. The new PGF foil from Benecke-Kaliko, for example, is a partially foamed compact foil that allows for reduced weight while also giving an improved surface feel and the ability to achieve tighter radii.

- Increase efficiency, save energy and material: The FRIMO Advanced Cooling System (FACS) will blow off the component after it has been laminated with cooled air traveling at a high speed. Depending on the composition of the decorative foils and adhesive system, this can either reduce the cooling time or drop the demolding temperature by up to 10° C. The latter may be essential in order to make sure that full adhesion is achieved. The FACS can also be installed on existing systems.

In order to minimize foil consumption, FRIMO has developed so-called foil cut optimization, which allows the foil separating cut executed when changing rolls or colors to be set in such a way that the resulting foil waste is minimized and no unusable components are produced. Foil edges are manually cut and automatically welded together using an ultrasonic device. An intelligent machine controller records the number of strokes as well as the feed length and is thus able to determine the optimal positioning for the foil joining line immediately before or after the clamping frame.

Lightweight Construction for mass production with HP RTM

High pressure resin transfer molding (HP RTM) is increasing in importance for serial production of structural components made of fiber composite plastics. On the HP RTM dosing unit from FRIMO (EPOx Mix and PURe Mix), epoxy resins as well as polyurethane can be processed in combination with endless-filament reinforcement to form high-performance fiber composite components. The Institute for Lightweight Construction and Plastics Technology (ILK) at the TU Dresden has just recently commissioned two high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP RTM) dosing units from FRIMO in order to expand its development and service offerings. One of the machines is equipped for an output range of 33 to 166 g/s with epoxide matrix material and the second machine for a range from 10 to 65 g/s with polyurethane matrix material. In equipping the machines, particular importance was given to ensuring that they can be easily operated. This means, for example, equipping them with a navigable visualization system developed by FRIMO. To show all important information at a glance, in addition to a clear display of the main process parameters, monitoring devices are also provided on the machines. The customer thus receives an especially convenient interface that has already proven its worth for various applications many times over. All process-relevant parameters are displayed via this visualization unit and can be seamlessly documented and archived. The data interface provided is adapted to customer requirements in order to make transfer of project-relevant data to superordinate systems easy.

And everything fits - flexible seat cushion production with FRIMO PURe Floor

With PURe Floor, FRIMO has developed a modular and flexible production system that can be set up using a standardized construction kit. The PURe Floor solution has already proven its worth for the automated manufacture of car seats. It can also meet the demands presented by a variety of other applications - headrest production for example.

When manufacturing car seats from polyurethane, there are a series of requirements that must be met. This usually involves the mass production of soft foam formed components, possibly with varying compressive strengths. Foam is applied through mixing heads capable of working on up to 6 components, usually in open molds using robots that move in precise paths. In today’s standard production systems with mold carriers, usually the foam pieces for the front and back seats are produced in the following constellations: Every mold carrier is capable of accommodating two molds for two front seats, two molds for symmetrical or asymmetrically divided back seats, or one form built for the manufacture of the seats or seat backs of a one-piece rear seat. In fast-running production facilities for seat cushions, production cycles as short as 8 s per mold carrier are being achieved, meaning the production cycle per front seat component is 4 s or 8 s per mold piece for one-piece back seats.

The increasing diversity of variations available within the individual car model series added to the fact that seats are most often produced by suppliers and then delivered to the respective assembly lines of the OEM just in time, customers almost always have a need for higher flexibility and faster production adaptability when it comes to system concepts. For mass production only continuous conveying concepts make technical and economic sense. The PURe Floor conveyor system can be configured from a fully standardized construction kit. The mold carriers can traverse right on the shop floor and are guided constantly and precisely in a low monorail (only 40 cm) behind the mold carriers. Besides the precise guidance and elimination of special driving tracks, this also achieves the lowest installation height for the molds. The layout for the mold carrier guide rail can be freely configured and thus be adapted to the existing geometry of the hall.

With the PURe Floor System, the mold carriers each have their own, usually frequency regulated positive drive systems. In addition to offering the option to outfit every mold carrier with its own drive, the system also offers the option of combining multiple mold carriers together in groupings. This means that several mold carriers are each linked with each other using a steering rod, only have one shared drive system, and for production processes carriers only have one steering and common auxiliary set. Individually driven mold carriers make it possible to integrate transverse or divider feed systems into the guidance system.  The PURe Floor System offers nearly free access to the system’s interior so that the common auxiliaries can be easily reached in order to perform necessary maintenance work or adjust settings. Thanks to the individual drives and speeds of the mold carriers, production volume can be flexibly expanded module by module simply by integrating another unit. This makes it possible for the customer to make necessary investments bit by bit. Fully automatic production changes without cycle time loss while simultaneously operating a variety of process steps on parallel railways are just as feasible as performing maintenance and cleaning tasks without negatively impacting production. The higher productivity, optimized ergonomics, optimized operability, as well as flexible and step-by-step expandability of the system are the most decisive factors for success.

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About FRIMO (www.frimo.com)

Additional production and sales locations belong to the FRIMO Group, with over 1,200 employees in Europe, Asia, and the Americas as well as numerous international representatives. The FRIMO Group was again distinguished for excellent service.  FRIMO has received the SPE Awards, known as the “Oscars of the Plastic Industry”, 18 times already. In 2014, FRIMO was distinguished with the JEC Innovation Award in Atlanta for the cooperation project “Street Shark” (www.street-shark.com).The work of the FRIMO Group for the plastics processing industries includes a broad range of technologies from polyurethane processing, flexible trimming, punching, pressing and forming, thermoforming, laminating, and edgefolding, as well as joining and glueing. System solutions for large-series capable processing of fiber-reinforced plastics (composite technology) are also part of the business. For this purpose, FRIMO offers its customers tailored tools, machines, and production systems as individual or complete solutions from a single source.

Contact for further information and documentation

FRIMO Group GmbH
Martina Schierholt
Hansaring 1
49504 Lotte
Germany

Phone.: +49 (0) 54 04 / 8 86 - 1 57
Fax: +49 (0) 54 04 / 8 86 - 51 57
E-Mail: schierholt.m[at]frimo.com

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