K 2013: Engel puts the plastic pedal to the metal
By K Advisor Staff | August 27, 2013
Engel will have several automotive-related displays at its stand (Hall 15, B42 and C58). The company partnered with ZF-Friedrichshafen to create a plastic brake pedal. Engel will offer visitors a first glimpse into the manufacturing process for the award-winning part. The cell includes a vertical Engel insert 1050H/200 injection molding machine with easix multi-axis industrial robot and an infrared oven, where continuous fibre-reinforced thermoplastic semi-finished products will be heated, preformed in a mold and immediately overmolded with polyamide. The system produces ready-to-fit components, eliminating trim work. The composite pedal weighs 30% less than conventional steel brake pedals without impairing load-bearing capacity. The control unit of the Engel easix multi-axis robot is fully incorporated into the control unit of the injection molding machine, so that machine and robot movements are precisely coordinated.
Also on Engel’s stand will be a v-duo, which was unveiled last year, becoming the largest vertical machine ever presented by Engel at a show. A v-duo 700 will produce latch covers for the KTM X-Bow sports using resin transfer molding. An Engel viper 20 linear robot will handle parts. The company partnered with Wethje, which supplied the components and preforms; Langer, which built the tool; Hennecke, which provided the HP-RTM system; and BASF, which brought the PUR-RTM system. KTM provided component design and the composite-specific construction, including the simulation of the manufacturing process.
The third automotive exhibit combines three production processes in an Engel duo 3550/650 pico combi M injection molding machine. In a single process step, the Varysoft process devised by Georg Kaufmann Formenbau will make dashboards for the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group from a thermoplastic substrate, a decorative overlay and a layer of polyurethane foam. In this process, TPE-foils are preheated in an integrated infrared oven. Once again, the PUR system will be provided by BASF, with polyurethane processing equipment supplied by Hennecke. Varysoft reportedly provides even greater softness while allowing undercuts in the mold design. The integrated production process features an Engel viper 40 double robot and an Engel easix multi-axis robot, for trimming the overlapping foil with an ultrasonic cutting head. To reduce component weight, Trexel’s MuCell technology is used in the injection molding of the thermoplastic substrate structure.