AdvanTech Plastics has taken a huge step toward a green new future with the purchase and installation of the E-Mac 465/175 all-electric plastic injection molding machine.
Made in Europe, the E-Mac 465/175 is a 175-ton manufacturing marvel, which puts it precisely in the middle of Engel’s E-Mac series in terms of size. Engels machines are considered the state-of-the-art in all-electric molding machines.
Heretofore, Advantech has utilized either all hydraulic (using oil as the fluid) or hybrid (electric/hydraulic) plastic injection molding machines. All-electric machines represent the future of our industry because they don’t rely on a fossil fuel to operate.
Brian Jimenez, Business Development Manager, says the new machine can make anything but is especially useful for manufacturing plastic medical devices, like vials and pipettes, which were ubiquitous during the pandemic, due to their use in polymerase DNA testing.
“We don’t see any letup in the demand for plastic medical devices, even though the pandemic seems to be winding down,” Jimenez says. “As this country ages, healthcare related equipment of all types will be needed, and a high percentage of that will be made of plastic.”
There are many benefits from using all-electric molding machines. But the main ones are:
Many of the components that are necessary for hydraulic injection molding machines are eliminated in electric molding machines. For example, hydraulic hoses that can change diameter due to heat or pressure aren’t an issue, by definition. And electric molding machines don’t have the valves — which are prone to breakdowns due to sticking either open or shut — that are ubiquitous on hydraulic molding machines. And, of course, there is no hydraulic fluid to blow hoses through excess heat. Once the process is stable, electric machines can often run without attention for the entire production, even overnight and on weekends. Obviously, this reduces direct labor costs with the added benefit of allowing your molding technicians can focus on their more important tasks and not have to put out as many “fires”.
Electric molding machines are much more predictable in their operation, which means the same processes can be repeated over and over for the entire production run. In fact, once the processes are stable, electric machines can run unsupervised by employees. And that means higher quality parts, because there are fewer steps in the process where something can go wrong.
Many hydraulic injection molding machines still use analog controls. But all-electric machines employ the very latest digital controls and read-outs screens. Digital controls are inherently more precise which leads to great accuracy compared to hydraulic machines. For example, the screw position for filling and packing the mold cavities is controlled digitally which makes it inherently accurate. Because of this accuracy, many issues with molded-in stress and over-packing are drastically reduced.
Finally, electric molding machines frequently have an overall lower per part cost because they can run at faster cycle times. Like the fact that all electric machines have lower labor costs, this is perhaps the greatest benefit of all!