Innovation Meets Tradition at KOHLHAGE Symposium
2012-07-20 Class:European News
In April KOHLHAGE organised its first Metal-Plastics Symposium, welcoming representatives from 13 plastics molding companies to share five presentations from experts in plastics and inmold metal inserts technology.
Among the speakers were representatives from the renowned Plastics Institute in Luedenscheid, IKV Aachen, and Arburg molding machines. "As it was our first symposium, the big interest in these subjects underlines the opportunities, which our customers have identified in the design of metal reinforcements in plastics molding," explained Thomas Selmer, engineer with KOHLHAGE Fasteners responsible for the metal reinforcements development and business.
Recognising that customers often ask the same technical questions, KOHLHAGE decided to focus on this subject and assist them in achieving maximum benefit from using metal inserts, especially in the inmold process. Using metal inserts requires a lot of experience, Selmer says, as metal and plastic are very different in their mechanical properties and manufacturing environments. Engineering knowledge of metal, plastic, tooling, machine tool and production handling have to be considered, and not uncommonly plastics engineers simply have no idea of the potential and risks they might encounter with metal.
Markus Fedler, from the Plastics Institute in Luedenscheid, presented state of the art research on plastic materials appropriate for molding metal components. He outlined the capability of different materials regarding the strength and durability of metal-plastics molding, especially under conditions of dynamic stress in machines and automobiles. There was also interest in the use of wood and glass in automotive applications in combination with the molding process.
Tooling expenses and quality requirements were the subject for Klaus-Dieter Berens from Lennestadt. The experienced engineer and CEO shared his company's experience with tooling and quality cost. It sounds simple, but purchase and quality cost have to be evaluated together and this experience has to be considered in designing and manufacturing tooling. Like stamping tools, plastic molding tools are essential to the profitability of the product.
Arburg is one of the best-known machine tool manufacturers in the plastics business. They not only provide molding equipment but also handling devices. Participants learnt more about the Arburg philosophy and later saw automation solutions in the KOHLHAGE metal tube assembly production.
IKV engineer Julian Schmidt presented simulation models for metal plastics structural components for automotive applications and expressed his view on cost and time savings based on simulation methods.
Finally, Thomas Semer himself pointed out the importance of creativity and thinking ahead in the design process. A metal insert is worth just a couple of cents but in many cases is crucial to the cost, function and durability of the product. However, too little attention is given to this critical item, as well to its design as to processing and purchasing. He suggested the insert expert should more often be provided the chance to participate in the development process and build into the assembly the maximum of metal force and the minimum of cost at the highest level of process stability.