KraussMaffei and NIAR Propel Injection Molded Thermoplastic Composites | Plastics Technology

A 360-degree look at resin conveying systems: types, operation, economics, design, installation, components and controls.

This Knowledge Center provides an overview of resin moisture and the drying process, including information on the best drying practices for your manufacturing facility. 350 Ton Hydraulic Press

KraussMaffei and NIAR Propel Injection Molded Thermoplastic Composites | Plastics Technology

Everything you need to know about plastics compounding technology—from feeding solutions to application profiles and expert advice.

Combat the skilled labor shortage using this comprehensive resource to train your own plastics processing experts.

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While price initiatives for PE and PVC were underway, resin prices had rollover potential for first two months of 2024, perhaps with the exception of PET.

Flat-to-downward trajectory for at least this month.

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Resin drying is a crucial, but often-misunderstood area. This collection includes details on why and what you need to dry, how to specify a dryer, and best practices.

Take a deep dive into all of the various aspects of part quoting to ensure you’ve got all the bases—as in costs—covered before preparing your customer’s quote for services.

In this collection of articles, two of the industry’s foremost authorities on screw design — Jim Frankand and Mark Spalding — offer their sage advice on screw design...what works, what doesn’t, and what to look for when things start going wrong.

In this collection, which is part one of a series representing some of John’s finest work, we present you with five articles that we think you will refer to time and again as you look to solve problems, cut cycle times and improve the quality of the parts you mold.

Gifted with extraordinary technical know how and an authoritative yet plain English writing style, in this collection of articles Fattori offers his insights on a variety of molding-related topics that are bound to make your days on the production floor go a little bit better.

In this three-part collection, veteran molder and moldmaker Jim Fattori brings to bear his 40+ years of on-the-job experience and provides molders his “from the trenches” perspective on on the why, where and how of venting injection molds. Take the trial-and-error out of the molding venting process.

Mike Sepe has authored more than 25 ANTEC papers and more than 250 articles illustrating the importance of this interdisciplanary approach. In this collection, we present some of his best work during the years he has been contributing for Plastics Technology Magazine.

In this collection of content, we provide expert advice on welding from some of the leading authorities in the field, with tips on such matters as controls, as well as insights on how to solve common problems in welding.

Mold maintenance is critical, and with this collection of content we’ve bundled some of the very best advice we’ve published on repairing, maintaining, evaluating and even hanging molds on injection molding machines.

Thousands of people visit our Supplier Guide every day to source equipment and materials. Get in front of them with a free company profile.

Medical-component specialist LightningCath has carved a niche meeting the needs of small to medium-sized entrepreneurs with complex catheter designs … quickly.

Plastics Technology is closing in on its 70th anniversary. Here are some of Editorial Director Jim Callari’s observations to commemorate the occasion.

As with everything else, there are pros and cons, but more of the former. They provide processors higher rates while decreasing the temperature of the extrudate while enabling downgauging.    

The drop in plastics activity appears to be driven by a return to accelerated contraction for three closely connected components — new orders, production and backlog.

Beginning the first of this year, 12 states are following EPA bans on potentially damaging cooling fluids. Chiller suppliers have adjusted equipment designs to accommodate the new regulations. Here’s what all this means to processors.  

Pairing external big picture training with internal job-specific instruction can help your process technicians meet quality expectations as well as production targets.

In less than a decade in injection molding, US Merchants has acquired hundreds of machines spread across facilities in California, Texas, Virginia and Arizona, with even more growth coming.

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There are many things to consider, and paying attention to the details can help avoid machine downtime and higher maintenance costs — and keep the customer happy.

Flat-to-downward trajectory for at least this month.

Topping five other entries in voting by fellow molders, the Ultradent team talks about their Hot Shots sweep.

Serendipitous Learning Opportunities at PTXPO Underscore the Value of Being Present.

Introduced by Zeiger and Spark Industries at the PTXPO, the nozzle is designed for maximum heat transfer and uniformity with a continuous taper for self cleaning.

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technotrans says climate protection, energy efficiency and customization will be key discussion topics at PTXPO as it displays its protemp flow 6 ultrasonic eco and the teco cs 90t 9.1 TCUs.

Shibaura discusses the upcoming Plastics Technology Expo (PTXPO) March 28-30

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Sign up to attend North America’s leading trade show for plastics.  

Offerings range from recycled, biobased, biodegradable  and monomaterial structures that enhance recyclability to additives that are more efficient, sustainable and safer to use.  

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August 29-30 in Minneapolis all things injection molding and moldmaking will be happening at the Hyatt Regency — check out who’s speaking on what topics today.

Get your clicking finger in shape and sign up for all that we have in store for you in 2023.  

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4.0, EUROMAP, OPC, OLE, QC, DSN, SQL, VNC, MES, ERP, FTP, CMS, SPI — are you confused by all buzzwords being tossed around in the plastics industry? Not convinced the data collection is necessary? Or are you unsure of how it could be implemented and improve your molding processes? Wittmann has been on the cutting edge of the data collection push for nearly 20 years. In this webinar, take a step back from the idea of the manufacturing facility of the future and discuss what you can do today to improve your process. Using readily-available technology, Wittmann can help reduce downtime, limit scrap and wasted material, and predict required maintenance. Let the experts at Wittmann help you understand: what data can be collected, what that data can be used for, what systems are used, and how to implement them. Agenda: Demystifying the terminology Tracking the material flow and lot information through the material handling system The data available from various auxiliary equipment, such as: dryers, blenders, mold temperature controls and robots Automating the process through changes in the data collected at the machines during production Adding visualization to increase productivity

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This presentation will explore the in-situ polyurethane (PU) overmolding of injection-molded and composite parts, allowing for direct out-of-mold class "A" surfaces. KraussMaffei will review the process and equipment required. It will also discuss tooling types currently available for PU systems for this process. KraussMaffei will compare the pros and cons of this technology over currently-available coating and painting systems. Agenda: Introduction and evolution of the ColorForm technology Overview of the ColorForm process Equipment required Tooling and PU systems Benefits of the system compared to typical spray-applied coatings Pros and cons of the technology

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The 3D Printing Workshop @ NPE2024 – The Plastics Show, is an immersive, half-day workshop focused on the emerging possibilities for part production via 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Presented by Additive Manufacturing Media, Plastics Technology and MoldMaking Technology, the 3D Printing Workshop will build upon a successful model first introduced at IMTS 2014. Attendees will benefit from a program focused on practical applications of 3D technologies related to plastics processing. This event will conclude with a 3D Printing Industry Reception sponsored by Additive Manufacturing Media.

The Society Plastics Engineers (SPE) Extrusion Division and the SPE Eastern New England Section will co-host the Screw Design Conference-Topcon on June 19-20, 2024 @ UMass Lowell in Lowell, MA.  This highly technical program will focus upon screw design principles for single and twin screw extruders with wide ranging topics relating to screw designs for feeding, melting, mixing, venting and pumping plastics products and parts.   Areas of focus will include screw designs for melt temperature and gel management, gel minimization, bioplastics, recycled materials and foaming.   In addition to the technical sessions, a tour of the UMass Lowel Plastics Processing Laboratories will be integrated into Day 2 of the event.    This program is not just for screw designers, but to help anyone responsible for any type of extrusion operation to evaluate existing extrusion equipment; and also to prepare for future projects. Price to attend:  Less than $1000!  Registrations will be accepted in early 2024. Call for papers – To be considered to give a presentation, please submit a talk title and abstract on or before December 15 to:   Technical Chair: Eldridge M. Mount III, e-mail Corporate sponsorships - A limited # of corporate sponsorships (15) are available on a 1st come basis.  Included is a 6’ tabletop display (must fit on table), denotation in all promotional activities, and 1 no charge registration.  To become a sponsor contact: Charlie Martin, Leistritz Extrusion, e-mail, cell 973-650 3137 General information:   A reception on Day 1 and a tabletop display area will allow the attendees to meet and discuss state-of-the-art screw technologies with industry experts.  The SPE Extrusion Division will issue a “Screw Design Certificate” to all participants who have attended the program.  Students are encouraged to attend and will receive a discounted rate.   For additional information contact:  Program Chair:  Karen Xiao, Macro Engineering,

Debuting in 2010, the Parts Cleaning Conference is the leading and most trusted manufacturing and industrial parts cleaning forum focused solely on delivering quality technical information in the specialized field of machined parts cleansing. Providing guidance and training to understand the recognized sets of standards for industrial cleaning, every year the Conference showcases industry experts who present educational sessions on the latest and most pressing topics affecting manufacturing facilities today.  Discover all that the 2022 Parts Cleaning Conference has to offer!

Presented by Additive Manufacturing Media, Plastics Technology and MoldMaking Technology, the 3D Printing Workshop at IMTS 2024 is a chance for job shops to learn the emerging possibilities for part production via 3D printing and additive manufacturing. First introduced at IMTS 2014, this workshop has helped hundreds of manufacturing professionals expand their additive capabilities.  

The maker of plastics processing equipment has placed a machine and an injection molding expert in NIAR’s ATLAS lab in Wichita, Kansas, to help molding, composites and aerospace take off. 

KraussMaffei (KM) is working to bring its automated, high production-rate, injection molding-based thermoplastic composite technologies to the burgeoning advanced and urban air mobility markets. In partnership with Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) and its Advanced Technologies Lab for Aerospace Systems (ATLAS) operation, KM has installed a 450-ton multimaterial injection molding machine to support high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM), ColorForm polyurethane overmolding and the FiberForm process for infrared oven preheating of composite sheets.

Established in 2019, ATLAS was conceived as a makerspace for industry-scale automated composites manufacturing research, including automated fiber placement (AFP), fiber patch placement for complex geometries, thermoplastic welding, and thermoplastic overmolding for multifunctional integrated structures. In 2023, ATLAS received AS9100D and ISO 9001 certification concurrently to expand its support to industry for automated manufacturing, nondestructive inspections and machining of advanced materials.

The program began within a small lab space at NIAR’s headquarters on the main Wichita State campus, and has since grown to employ more than 100 research engineers and student technicians in multiple laboratory and office spaces, including a new south Wichita facility. In total, the operation covers roughly 150,000 square feet.

“KraussMaffei is delighted to be able to forge this strong partnership with NIAR, bringing these industry-proven automated, high-rate, out-of-autoclave solutions to the aerospace and space industry,” says Nolan Strall, KM’s North American president. “One reason we’re excited about this is because in automotive we see already things like organo sheet thermoforming materials that are bonded in injection molding being utilized, so we know it can be done. It’s typically reserved for the high-end autos, and the volumes just haven’t been there, but as this goes forward, we’re optimistic that we’ll see more and more uses.”

KraussMaffei commissioned a full injection molding cell to support the development of molded thermoplastic composite structures at NIAR’s ATLAS facility in Wichita. Photo Credit: Wichita State University, NIAR, ATLAS.  

Waruna Seneviratne, the director of ATLAS and a senior research scientist for Composites & Structures at NIAR, notes that prior to the creation of this makerspace, many companies interested in investigating new composite structures and processes were forced to go overseas to find lab time and equipment, limiting how many businesses could afford to take on such R&D.

“In automotive we see already things like organo sheet thermoforming materials that are bonded in injection molding being utilized.”

“We wanted to democratize the access to these technologies,” Seneviratne explains. “We have established a world-class manufacturing innovation center where inventors can make ideas reality by converting laborious hand layup manufacturing processes into automated processes using advanced materials without spending a single penny on infrastructure or equipment.”

The KM press, along with a 1,900-ton vertical Engel machine that can also apply HP-RTM and run molds as large as 5.7 × 7.1 feet, is located in ATLAS’s Sector A facility — a 128,000-square-foot space adjacent to Spirit AeroSystems in south Wichita. This area is also home to material supplier Solvay’s Manufacturing Innovation Center.

This particular site has a rich aviation history, dating back to its days as a key wartime production plant for Boeing. On this same site from 1943 to 1946, the facility cranked out roughly 100 B29 bombers/month — more than four airplanes a day — including the Enola Gay. From 1957 to 1963, 437 B52s were manufactured there.

Today, among other technologies, it houses the new 450-ton KM press with dual 1,400 injection units and a rotary table for multimaterial molding. The multifunction press can support high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM) as well as the ColorForm polyurethane coating technology, in addition to the integrated FiberForm infrared oven for preheating composite sheet prior to over or back molding.

“We are looking forward to engaging with the team at NIAR for future development and industrialization of the technology needed to meet the in-situ process and qualification standards of the aviation industry,” Strall says.

A newly degreed engineer will theoretically have much of the book knowledge needed to enter the workforce but typically lack the real-world experience to have an immediate, productive impact. Wichita State’s applied learning model, NIAR, is changing that, according to Seneviratne, who estimates that it typically takes up to 2 years to make a new engineer productive.

As an example, when Plastics Technology visited, student trainees were busy working alongside KraussMaffei experts with more than 20 years of experience developing processes for injection molding. Similarly, in the automated fiber placement labs, students were working side-by-side with experienced staff members and engaging with certification agencies carrying out inspections and completing certification paperwork. These students are mentored by full-time ATLAS researchers and engineers with industry experience. In some labs, students were troubleshooting manufacturing issues to develop guidance materials and process specifications.

Next to ATLAS , experienced mechanics at NIAR  work with students converting multiple passenger aircraft into freighters and special missions aircraft. As part of a three-year training program, the students get hands-on experience as aircraft mechanics.

“We’re set up to create an applied learning environment,” Seneviratne says, “Our technicians are getting more than just a quick 18-month textbook license. They are getting three years of intensive hands-on paid training alongside mechanics with 20 or 30 years of industry experience.”

“We’re set up to teach students and provide critical  support for industry at the same time.”

As those experienced mechanics and technicians age out of the workforce, their decades of knowledge are passed on. “It’s great applied learning and, at the same time, it is a solution to get the next generation of students up to speed with an experience they cannot get from a classroom,” Seneviratne says. It’s a hands-on experience that pays in terms of the pocketbook as well. Seneviratne notes that undergraduate students working in NIAR labs with equipment like the KM press can earn a decent salary to support themselves through school while gaining hands-on experience using cutting-edge technologies.

“These undergraduate students had zero experience with advanced manufacturing technology when they started working here,” Seneviratne says. “None of them came with automation or injection molding experience, and they’re getting trained here. They’re getting paid well; getting hands-on experience with industry-scale advanced machines; and making contacts because they are working alongside  industry partners on-site solving real-world problems.” Seneviratne notes that in 2022, the university paid $28 million in student salaries, not scholarships, to undergraduate students working alongside industry veterans with the very latest equipment and technologies.

In addition to getting work-ready students through the program, it also enables the advanced composite industry to test materials and structures at an otherwise impossible scale. In 2012, NIAR converted an arena into a test lab where strain gauges can run a flight profile on multiple full-scale aircraft simultaneously. “You need three things for success: cutting-edge equipment, talented people and challenging projects,” Seneviratne says, “We’re set up to teach students and provide critical  support for industry at the same time.”

The KraussMaffei system will enable Wichita State students to learn about molded thermoplastic composite parts, while giving industry a production level machine to develop new programs. Photo Credit: Wichita State University, NIAR, ATLAS. 

Processors are often expected to compensate for ill-advised decisions made earlier in the product-development process. In the case of shrinkage, one of the most common ‘fixes’ is to simply reduce the mold temperature.

Blown film processors, many of them small enterprises with a single plant or a single costly line, may have limited resources, in both capital and manpower, to devote to optimizing their productivity. Yet avenues of improvement are open for even the most over-extended entrepreneur. And some of the most effective modifications cost little more than a phone call or a small change in procedures. The 15 tips presented here include ways to optimize areas of your operation from employee training to better customer communications.

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Many attendees in Orlando in a couple of weeks, walking the aisles and seeking out new equipment, materials and services will be taking a break from another very important search that consumes them back at their facilities: the search for people.

Super-flexible lab development machine is equipped for a wide range of processes.

Krauss Maffei's FiberForm technology in an injection molding macine enables the production of fiber-reinforced plastic components.

KraussMaffei and NIAR Propel Injection Molded Thermoplastic Composites | Plastics Technology

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