Functional surfaces for numerous applications in the plastics industry
Two main themes serve to highlight the performance and innovative features of the injection mould systems presented by Georg Kaufmann Formenbau AG, Busslingen/Switzerland, at K 2010. These themes are:The production of moulded parts with functional surfaces (e.g. self-luminous, transparent, heatable, soft-touch) and/or with integrated capacitive sensors. To this end, Kaufmann has not only further improved its Duo Lamination process for back injection and back injection-compression moulding but also designed and built a demonstration mould for a diversity of applications. The adaptation of production solutions, which so far have been limited to the automotive industry, for similar plastics processing applications in other branches of industry, e.g. furniture, sporting goods and household appliances.
For the purpose of putting these themes effectively into practice, Georg Kaufmann Formenbau AG operates within the international PRIMUS Network for Innovation initiated by KraussMaffei, and on the exhibition stand of this company in Hall 15, Stand 15 / C24, Kaufmann will be present during K 2010. In addition, Kaufmann co-operates with other partners such as raw material producers, lighting system manufacturers and the Technical University of Chemnitz.
The many possibilities of functional surface design will be demonstrated at K2010 by means of specimen mouldings under four surface ambience related themes: Sensor, Touch, Lighting and Surface. Roger Kaufmann, Head of Development and Sales, says: "Plastic components with functional surfaces and integrated capacitive sensors open up a whole new world of applications - not just in the automotive industry but far beyond.
Even when it comes to the production of moulded parts with functional surfaces, all technologies developed by Kaufmann have one thing in common: what used to be separate production steps are now combined into one single, highly automated production sequence, thus enabling the cost-efficient production of high-quality multifunctional parts.
Demonstration mould highlights potential scope and advantages
Kaufmann has developed and - with support from KraussMaffei - built a demonstration mould for visualizing the possibilities offered by the technologies used by the company. In the Kaufmann Tech-Center it serves to produce specimen mouldings that are characteristic of the parts produced with these technologies. These mouldings comprise an outer part, which usually features a decorative fabric material, and an inner part featuring decorative and/or special-function materials that can for the most part be freely chosen. In this way it is possible to produce specimen parts with a diversity of functions and surfaces relevant to planned future applications, thus readily enabling developers and designers to compare and evaluate various possible designs on one and the same moulded part.
For the making of the specimen mouldings, the demonstration mould utilizes Duo Lamination technology as well as other tried-and-tested technologies, thus ensuring that no process or mould related problems can occur later under actual production conditions. Only the usual fine adjustments are necessary before the moulded part is put into production.
The scope of performance and application of the parts produced with the demonstration mould is exemplified by four surface ambience related themes:Ambient Sensors is the term used for the integration of capacitive sensors in a moulded part. One or several sensors are incorporated underneath the decorative fabric of the outer part of the mouldings. Simply by touching the sensors (Photo 1) it is possible to switch on an illuminating system, actuate a window opener or regulate a heater. Such sensors can be used in the household appliance industry for switch-on or switch-over functions. The term Ambient Touch covers all the possibilities of influencing the tactile properties of the moulded part (Photo 2). Besides the differences obtainable between various fabric materials and plastic films, metallic foils feature surfaces that are cold to the touch, while heating foils can render surfaces pleasantly warm. The possible uses for Ambient Touch extend beyond the automotive industry into such areas of application as railway carriage, tramcar and aircraft cabin interiors and also household appliances, furniture and sports and leisure articles, a typical example in the latter case being heated seating for sports stadia. Ambient Lighting stands for electroluminescent (EL) films or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which are integrated as coloured luminous elements in the moulded part. This opens up completely new horizons for the design of displays or touch-sensitive keyboards and similar components in terms of both function and form. Ideal areas of application, besides automotive technology, are entertainment electronics and household appliances. Fast changeover from one decorative material to another comes under the general heading of Ambient Surface. Thus it is possible to produce moulded parts with surfaces of different visual appeal without production interrupt.
Network strategies - the plastics industry's answer to globalization
In order that all potential users in other branches of the plastics industry can also benefit from these production technologies, Kaufmann endorse in the sense of PRIMUS Network an intensive network strategy between, on the one hand, machine manufacturers, toolmakers, producers of raw materials and films and, on the other, users and processors. The goal: Step-by-step processes and the traditional separation of development and production planning must be replaced by the integrated and interlinked optimization of both products and processes. This way of operating will always bring about improved and often innovative, generally applicable solutions. As it is implemented very early on in product development, it considerably broadens the hitherto rarely exploited possibility of utilizing know-how and experience across different branches of industry.
Such a network strategy, that is to say, a systemic approach to development and production is the industry's answer the challenge of globalization: it reaches beyond the boundaries that separate the individual branches of the plastics industry, just as globalization has broken down the geographical boundaries between the countries of the world. And in much the same way as globalization has become the recipe for success in business and industry; this network strategy is the recipe for success in production technology.
It goes without saying that Kaufmann implements this network strategy to an optimum extent. In its own technical centre, the company undertakes complete development projects for its customers, working in partnership with other companies and institutions. For these projects, Kaufmann's experts possess the necessary expertise for every stage of development, from the initial spark of creativity to the process-oriented design and rating of the mould to the customized application of both the mould and the machine technology in the actual production process.
More Information: www.gktool.ch
K 2010, 27.10.-3.11.2010, Düsseldorf, Hall 15, Stand 15/C24