New LSR moulding package ‘shines a light’ on high-end optics at K-2019

New LSR moulding package ‘shines…

At  K-2019,  Sumitomo  (SHI)  Demag Plastics  Machinery  GmbH  in collaboration with LSR specialist Nexus is showcasing a full turnkey LSR exhibit, moulding high-end light guidesfor automotive LED matrix headlights.

To mark the launch of the company’s brand new ready-to-use precision IntElect LSR  injection  moulding package, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag  is  producing  probably  one  of  the  most  challenging  top-end  LSR application on the market today -a matrix headlight deliveringadaptive optic distribution for road vehicles. “If  a  company  can  injection  mould  a  high-spec  LSR  component  like  this,  any  engineering,  lighting, electrical  or  medical  LSR  application  is  feasible,”exclaims Thomas Kottler, Project Manager for LSR at Sumitomo (SHI) Demag.

By  selecting  equipment  partners  that  are  entirely  dedicated  to  LSR,  Sumitomo  (SHI)  Demag  is  sending out  a  strong  message  to  the  market.  In  creating  a  fully  operational  and  automated  start-to-end  LSR moulding cell that doesn’t compromise onany  performance  aspect, the company  and its select  partners are setting a new benchmark for precision, part quality and production efficiency.

Best machine for the job

The  injection  moulding  system  on  show  at  K-2019  is  a  specially  configured  all-electricIntElect  130 equipped with a special screw, non-return valve, vacuum system and other LSR-specific options. As the base  unit,  the  IntElect  range  already  stands  apart  from  competitor  LSR  systems,  and  is  especially proficient at handling challenging applications.

Notably, the IntElect’s drive system is geared  towards  top  dynamics,  precision  and  repeatability. Combined  with  the  in-built  mould  safety  system  and  20% reduced  energy  consumption compared to competitor systems, the IntElect machine is integral to  the  processing stability, efficiency and  availability required for handling an optical grade silicone material.

Thomas  explains:   “The  low  viscosity  of  the  LSR  material  requires  high  precision  processing.  This  is exactly  what  the  IntElect  direct  drives are  designed  to  deliver,  ensuring  exact  positioning  of  the  screw during the injection of material. Additionally, LSR acts in the opposite way to a thermoplastic material with regard to heat and consistency. As a result, the cylinder has to be cooled in order to avoid curing of the material before it arrives in the mould.”

Special screws, measuring between 14mm and 45mm in diameter, with a sealing system at the shaft,are adapted to the material. Currently, the LSR package is available on IntElect machinesranging from 50 to 180  tons.  Other  special  features  within  the  LSR  package  include  a  spring-loaded  non-return  valve  to avoid uncontrolled backflow of material, a shut off nozzle specifically designed for LSR, plus a controlled vacuum sequence to extract air from the moulds cavities and to prevent air traps inside the LSR-parts.

Additionally, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s Centre Press Platen ensures high rigidity and uniform distribution of the clamp force to ensure more balanced pressure distribution while the robust linear guidance system controls the highest level of platen parallelism.

As an IntElect system,  the  machine  features  an  advanced  mould  sensor  safety  system  (activeProtect). Additionally,  IntElect  users  can  benefit  from  enhanced  control  of  injection pressure  up  to  ejector  force graph.

Collaborating with LSR Masters

Critical  to  the  entire  processing  cell  is  the  specialist  periphery  equipment.  Sumitomo  (SHI)  Demag intentionally  selected  LSR  partners  regarded  as  the  most  innovative,  who  all  share  a  similar  focus  on precision.

Nexus created the concept and designed the four-cavity LSR light guide mould on show at K-2019. The company also supplied the mixing and dosing unit and full downstream demoulding automation.

Like the IntElect, the latest generation of the Nexus ServoMix (Z200) dosing machine, which is also being unveiled  at  K-2019,  features  a  highly  efficient  servo  drive.  The  continuously  performing  pump  system stabilises the dosing and ensures a precise mixing ratio, irrespective of the dosing volumes. The unit also performs an uninterrupted venting of the LSR raw material using the company’s new Splitnex technology to eliminate air before it is fed into the machine and finally into the article.

To  optimise  the  quality  of  LSR  components, Nexus  also  installed  its  Timeshot  cold-runner  control technology.  Enabling  direct  control  of  each  individual  cavity  via  a  needle  valve  gate,  this  ensures  the filling of each mould cavity is balanced. All controlled via a browser-enabled device for optimal set up.

German  optical  component  expert  Innolite  supplied  the  diamond-machined  mould  inserts.  Innolite’s inserts guaranteed the surface on each lens light was repeatedly blemish and scratch free, ensuring best optical performance of the whole head light.

For  the  exhibit,  Dow  supplied  its  specifically  for  optical  application  optimised  silicone  rubber.  Created especially  for  LED  lamp  and  luminaire  applications,  its  high  thermal  stability  retains  high  transparency, even in harshest of environments.

“Partnering  with  such  companies,  underpins  our  commitment  to  the  LSR  moulding  market,”highlights Thomas  who  was  hired  by  Sumitomo  (SHI)  Demag  to  head  up  the  company’s LSR development  hub based in Schwaig, Germany.

Matrix  LED  automotive  lights  are  just  one  LSR  application  where,  according  to  market  research1, significant  growth  is  forecast.  The  adaptive  headlight  segment  is  expected  to  grow  at  the  fastest  rate between now and 2023, driven by high demand in Europe and Asia Pacific.

Thomas adds: “This is highly sophisticated technology, comprising complex optical surfaces where light is guided through the micro-milled polished surfaces. Connecting a camera control system, individual LEDs are switched on and off to ensure road users aren’t blinded by a fullbeam or to highlight a particular road obstacle.  Right  now  the  technology  is  confined  to  premium  vehicles,  but  in  the  future  these  headlights could become more mainstream.

“To be involved in such an innovative LSR project when this technology is still in its infancy is testament to Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s anticipation of future trends.”

A recent study by Polaris Market Researchihas forecast that the  global silicone elastomers markets  will be valued at USD 9.34 billion by 2026. This rapid growth meansthat LSR is fast becoming the material of choice for specific applications in the digital electronics and automotive segments.

Another Sumitomo (SHI) Demag IntElect LSR moulding machine will be showcased at K-2019, with SMP Moules using an LSR optical material to create a magnifying glass on a key chain. Hall 1, Booth 40.