An 80-employee strong custom mold shop with 13 injection molding machines, GLP Hi-Tech wanted to trim its energy usage, but without going down the all-electric route. “We’ve had all-electric machines in the past, but we weren’t familiar enough with them technically to feel comfortable, and therefore didn’t find enough advantage to continue with them,” said company general manager Christian Boudreau. “For the kind of technical parts molding that we do — including medical, industrial and electrical parts — we prefer the direct hydraulic machine.” The goal, then, was to approximate the low energy consumption of an all-electric unit without giving up the “feel” of a hydraulic.
In an earlier time, GLP Hi-Tech might have been out of luck — but this is a new day. After surveying the latest I/M equipment on display at the K-2007 show in Germany, Boudreau and his colleagues selected a Nissei FNX 140-ton hybrid machine, one of Nissei’s FNX series. Available in a range between 89 and 502 U.S. tons, the FNX units feature the X Pump system, a hybrid pump that combines servomotor drive technology and hydraulic drive technology as the driving source for the molding machine. By controlling the rotation of the servomotor, the motor provides driving power only when required.
The FNX 140 consumes approximately 30 per cent less energy than the standard hydraulic machine that it replaced on GLP’s shop floor, without sacrificing the advantages of a direct hydraulic unit. “The motor runs only when we need all of our flow,” Boudreau said. “When the motor is not turning, no electricity is being used, which translates into a lot of savings.”
And this isn’t all. “With our very thick parts and long cycle times, the motor gives precise packing pressure needed, which wasn’t true with a hydraulic machine,” Boudreau continued. “With the machine’s servo valve, everything is closed loop: it adjusts for the pressure you need, and the motor and pump push exactly the quantity that you need. There’s no leaking, as happens with hydraulic machines, because it’s a closed loop system.”
In other ways, though, the FNX 160 is reassuringly familiar. “Set up and control operation are the same as with traditional hydraulic units, and the machine still has all of the hydraulic valves and hoses, meaning the guys on our shop floor don’t have any difficulties,” Boudrea said.
Part of GLP’s strategy for remaining remaining competitive lies in replacing molding machines relatively frequently — usually within five years of purchase — which means that the company is due to replace another traditional hydraulic machine any time now. Boudreau has no doubts about where they’ll turn. “We’re definitely planning to replace our older units with new FNX machines,” he said. “In fact, we anticipate that the units will be even more effective at higher tonnage, because we’ll have more savings to achieve.”
Nissei Plastics Industrial Co./En-Plas Inc.
By: Mark Stephen, Managing Editor…article graciously provided by Canadian Plastics Magazine