Even truck drivers crave for a more comfortable driving environment and molded parts with soft touch-surfaces that can be produced in just a single process step by applying the Dolphin-method are reportedly making an essential contribution to promote this trend.
The first commercial application of the process developed by Engel (Schwertberg, Austria) started this past autumn, with Daimler supplier SOLE S.p.A. (Oderzo, Italy) manufacturing cockpit covers with soft touch surfaces for the new Mercedes-Benz Actros. SOLE is a part of the Prima Group (Torrice, Italy).
The production line, which is operated by SOLE at the Daimler works premises in Wörth, Germany, is composed of an Engel duo injection moulding machine with an horizontal intermediate rotary table system, a multiple-axis industry robot and equipment for physical foaming. First of all, the conventionally molded rigid core layer is injected. This is followed by overmolding of a foamed-in-place thermoplastic elastomer in one total machine cycle. The Dolphin-process is said to represent an economic alternative for the production of hard/soft components in comparison to other conventional multi-component and foaming methods....