Engel and Heraeus have managed to reduce cycle times by up to 70 % compared with previous production solutions for the processing of amorphous metals in injection moulding. In doing so, the two system partners have opened the door to these alloys with truly special qualities entering large-scale production for a wide assortment of end uses. Engel is presenting the next big step in this development at the K 2019 trade fair in Düsseldorf, Germany, between October 16th and 23rd. Two-component parts made of amorphous metal and silicone are produced for the first time - a process that is taking place in a fully automated manufacturing cell.
Premiere for the two-component AMM process. A silicone seal is directly moulded onto the parts, which are made of amorphous metal
Due to their randomly arranged, non-crystalline structure, amorphous metals are both extremely hard and highly elastic. They have very good elastic recovery, are extremely corrosion resistant and biocompatible according to ISO 10993-5. With this combination of properties, these alloys are superior to steel, titanium and many other materials.
On the basis of its proven hydraulic and tie-bar-less victory range, Engel has developed a new injection moulding machine for processing amorphous metals from Heraeus’ Amloy product range. The Engel victory AMM (amorphous metal moulding) delivers fit-for-purpose parts with a premium quality surface finish within very short cycle times.
Fully automated process
For the production of two-component housing demo parts at the K show, Engel is combining a victory 120 AMM with an insert 60V/45 vertical injection moulding machine, which is equipped with a two-station rotary table. The manufacturing cell is fitted with both an Engel viper linear robot and an Engel easix articulated robot for the fully automated production process.
For the production of two-component housing demo parts at the K show, Engel is combining a victory 120 AMM with an insert 60V/45 vertical injection moulding machine
The first step involves injection-moulding the basic structure for the housing on the victory AMM from a zirconium-based Amloy alloy. To do this, the viper robot takes an Amloy pre-material from the separator and transfers it to the injection unit. After less than 70 seconds, the metal component takes full shape. The viper removes the part and deposits it onto a tray. The easix articulated robot takes over from there, placing the Amloy component on the lower mould half on the insert machine’s rotary table, where a liquid silicone rubber (LSR) seal is moulded on the part. The elastomer component also consistently fills out the seal structure on the bottom of the part through narrow openings on the surface of the housing.
Both of the moulds are made by long-term Engel partners. The mould for the AMM process was provided by Flex, while Starlim Sterner supplied the LSR injection mould for the K show.
Geared for high-volume production
The demo parts combine the needs of portable electronic devices with the innovative properties of the Amloy materials. In addition, two-component injection moulding opens up new opportunities for designing housing frames that are almost indestructible while enjoying better protection from dust, water and radio waves. “Fully automated hybrid production is unlocking huge potential, especially for the consumer electronics industry,” Gerhard Dimmler, Senior Vice President of product research and development at Engel Austria, states. “Our development work has confirmed that, in multi-component injection moulding, it is possible to create stable combinations not only of silicone, but also of other elastomers and thermoplastics with Amloy materials.”
On the basis of its proven hydraulic and tie-bar-less victory range, Engel has developed a new injection moulding machine for processing amorphous metals from Heraeus’ Amloy product range
Zirconium-based and copper-based alloys for large-scale applications are currently available in the Amloy product line, with alloys based on titanium, iron and platinum also in the works. With this variety of materials, Heraeus and Engel cover a huge range of new applications. The list includes portable electronic devices, durable instruments for minimally invasive surgery, stable suspension and wear-resistant drivetrain components for the aerospace industry, premium decor elements for cars, and abrasion-resistant watch components.