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M-TECS helps plastic injection moulding company keep cool under pressure


By introducing Hilma magnetic clamping technology from Roemheld, Koziol, the German-based manufacturer of high-quality plastic design products, was able to extend the running time of eleven injection moulding machines by many hours. This universally applicable, rapid mould changing system reduces mould changing time by about 75 percent and is equipped with long pole magnets instead of square pole magnets, thus enabling the safe clamping of very small moulds without additional aids.

Producing an assortment of about 350 plastic items, between 40 and 50 new products per year and with batch sizes of between 150 and a million items, Koziol’s ability to change moulds rapidly means enormous savings in both time and costs. In the case of promotional items for industrial customers, which account for about one third of the sales achieved by Koziol, short production and lead times are of the essence and create an important competitive advantage. The rapid changing of moulds is a crucial part of efficient working. Whether the requirement is for cocktail glasses cooled with dry ice, used as giveaways by a German supplier of industrial gases, snack boxes for a local supplier of savoury biscuits, or coolboxes with an integral accumulator for a global confectionary manufacture in Italy, the plastic products should not only look good, be stable and demonstrate good workmanship, but also be produced at low cost and be available within short lead times. It is not easy to achieve all this.

"In the case of the coolbox for sweets, our customer was overwhelmed by the demand“, said Andreas Creutz, Koziol Works Manager. For Koziol, this meant not only prolonging the production time to seven days, but also extending the production facilities from one to four injection moulding machines. Thanks to the company’s in-house mould manufacture, modern equipment and the rapid clamping technology supplied by Roemheld, Koziol was able to produce the plastic item within two weeks, by working with four machines in parallel. The customer was very satisfied with the service received. For Koziol, this was the biggest job in the company’s history, resulting in one million coolboxes. Mr Creutz said: “A supplier from the Far East would not have been able to handle this order volume within the available time frame and with the required quality".

350 products in up to 500 different shades of colour
Quick production, award-winning design and high-quality are the essence of Koziol’s success. A wide range of colours and variants are another distinguishing feature. The range of 350 products that make up the ‘Koziol Collection’ - high-quality plastic products for kitchen, bathroom and lifestyle - are offered in up to 500 different shades of colour. Every year the company introduces 20 to 25 innovative new products at leading trade fairs.

10,000 injection moulds and one clamping system
The Koziol mould warehouse stores some 10,000 injection moulds with dimensions of up to 1,000 mm in width and depth and 800 mm in installation height, with a weight of between 50 kg and 7,000 kg. With such a large range, magnetic clamping technology really comes into its own as it allows all moulds to be positioned and safely clamped without the need for standardisation.

Before 2009, the machinery consisted of 30 injection moulding machines from various manufacturers, and the possible uses to which each one could be put were limited by the complexity of the mould. Mr Creutz said: "For us, this meant low flexibility with respect to the occupancy and the rate of machine utilisation.” In order to expand further and to increase their efficiency, Koziol invested some million Euros in modernising the moulding workshop. Among other things, the company purchased eleven new Krauss-Maffei injection moulding machines – seven CX 110 and four CX 160, with closing forces of between 110 tons and 160 tons – which were then equipped with M-TECS magnetic clamping systems from Roemheld.

Roemheld offers two different magnetic clamping systems, each designed to meet specific needs. M-TECS 210 magnetic clamping elements are designed for high temperatures of up to 240°C, for use in rubber and TS plastic processing, in die casting, in the production of O-rings and moulded rubber parts. M-TECS 130, the version chosen by Koziol, is a magnetic clamping system for use in TS processing in large component manufacturing, on sample machines and for small series, designed for temperatures of up to 130°C. This version is optionally available with integral heating and is supplied in sizes adapted to customers' needs.

Roemheld Magnetic clamping technology was the best choice
Mr Creutz said: "In the past, we clamped moulds using eight clamping claws, but this was uncomfortable, expensive and slow".
Hydraulic clamping elements or bayonets were discussed as alternatives but rejected, as the adapters for all the moulds required for using bayonets would have been more expensive than magnetic clamping technology. Koziol decided in favour of the magnetic clamping technology made by Roemheld as, unlike the magnetic clamping plates offered by competitors, they are equipped with long pole magnets instead of square pole magnets, thus enabling the safe clamping of very small moulds without additional aids. The concentration effect of long pole technology reveals its true potential.

Reduced set-up times, longer machine running times
"The ergonomy is excellent and the systems are very safe,” said Mr Creutz, explaining how magnetic clamping systems make work easier for the operators, who are delighted to work with the new clamping technology. For him, as Works Manager, high precision, universal usability, low mould wear and economic efficiency are all critical features.

“Shorter set-up times lead to an extension of the machine running times and thus to faster amortisation of the investment" explains Andreas Reich, sales manager of the Hilma die clamping technology division of Roemheld and gives an example: with up to five mould changes in each of the 3 shifts and 250 working days a year a maximum of 3,750 set-up operations are required which can be reduced, compared to the use of clamping claws, from ten to two minutes. This results in potential savings of 30,000 minutes per year, which means 500 hours during which the machines are producing instead of standing idle.

The additional machine running time is a big advantage for Koziol, as the company continues to grow. Seventy percent of the products are exported around the world and the sizeable increase in demand is not only from Asia. According to Mr. Kreutz, 2009 was a very successful year for the company, despite the economic crisis and the first nine months of 2010 can also be seen to be very positive.

For more information, contact Roemheld on 01462 459052.