Arburg, a pioneer in the supply of injection moulding technology to the Ceramic (CIM) and Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) industries, invited industry experts to its headquarters in Lossburg, Germany, from June 5 – 6 to celebrate 50 years of the company’s PIM expertise.
The centrepiece of the two-day event was an international conference attended by more than 200 invited guests from 25 countries. Sixteen presentations were made by eminent PIM experts from Europe, Asia and North America and a high note was the official handover of the 1,000th PIM Allrounder to Swiss PIM company Comadur.
The conference panel was made up of leading international specialists from research, industry and professional associations. The sixteen presentations not only covered applications, technologies, developments and the prospects for the future of the industry, but were also followed up with lively Q&A sessions with the audience.
A broad range of topics was covered at the conference. The PIM industries in Europe, Asia and North America were analysed, as were the research and development prospects for the future. Key areas in which PIM products are used were also presented, including the automotive, jewellery and watch-making industries, as well as the IT and dental sectors.
The presentations also covered all aspects of the value-added chain, with topics ranging from the effect of feedstock preparation on component quality and the complex production of micro PIM parts, to cost-effective component integration and production using complete turnkey systems.
The central venue for the anniversary event was the Arburg Customer Center, which offered a stylish setting for an interesting and varied programme. Between the presentations, guests had the opportunity to experience powder injection moulding at first hand on seven different exhibits. Here, special stainless steel buccal tubes for permanent orthodontic braces, zirconium oxide drill bits for the dental sector, intermediate levers for the automotive industry, precision hard-metal milling cutters with interior threads, intricate moulded wheels for the Märklin “Krokodil” millennium locomotive, triangular ceramic cups and a key chain with two moving parts were manufactured.
With these applications, Arburg demonstrated both the potential of MIM and CIM as well as future developments. While the mould for the buccal tubes was already more than 30 years old the mould for the key chain featured a hot-runner system and was a perfect example showcasing the latest PIM industry’s trends.
Guided tours of Arburg’s production facility were provided in German, English, French, Spanish and Chinese, affording international visitors an insight into how Arburg machines are produced.
Appropriately for the event, the programme not only covered current topics, but also looked back over 50 years of PIM expertise at Arburg. In their welcoming speeches, Helmut Heinson, Managing Director Sales, and Stephan Doehler, Director Sales Europe, who chaired the entire event, recounted a history of successful development. In 1963, the history of PIM processing began at Arburg with the first ever ceramic part produced on an Allrounder 200 S by company Feldmühle. This was a geometrically complex pigtail thread guide for the textile industry. During the evening programme, Hans Jud, a former member of the Executive Board at Ceramtec (formerly Feldmühle), reflected on this period.
Over the subsequent years, demand continuously grew both for the process itself and for new machines for powder injection moulding and Arburg adopted a consistent approach to the development of machines, materials and processes – often in collaboration with other experts. The company also invested in a dedicated PIM laboratory.
Thanks to its comprehensive equipment, the testing of injection moulding, as well as all upstream and downstream production steps such as material preparation, debinding, sintering and part analyses can be conducted under practical conditions. Customers receive all-round support from the PIM Team, comprising Hartmut Walcher (Application Technology Consulting), Marko Maetzig (Process Development) and Uwe Haupt (Sales/Key Accounts).
1,000th Allrounder for the PIM industry: anniversary machine goes to Comadur
Hundreds of machines have been supplied to this sector over the past five decades, making it possible to mark another milestone during the “50 Years of ARBURG PIM Expertise” celebrations: the presentation of the 1,000th PIM Allrounder.
This machine went to Swiss-based Comadur, a company that produces high-quality components for the watch industry. During his presentation speech, Managing Director Technology & Engineering, Herbert Kraibühler explained how Comadur had ventured into the Powder Injection Moulding industry over 20 years ago with the support of Arburg in order to produce chain links for watch straps.
Initial teething problems, it was stated, were ironed out by Arburg, laying the foundations for successful cooperation and joint development. Over the years, Arburg not only acted as a machine supplier, but also as an application technology adviser. Comadur was also one of the first customers to use hardmetal screws in order to achieve a longer service life. Together, the companies further optimised the screws, bringing them to production maturity.
The manufacture of black and white ceramic parts for watch casings and parts for watch straps using injection moulding exclusively uses Allrounder machines. The anniversary machine will bring Comadur’s fleet of machines to 21. Moreover, with the new Allrounder 270 A, the company will be using an electric machine for the first time.
To mark the 1,000th PIM Allrounder, Herbert Kraibühler officially presented Patrice Jaggy, Director of Purchasing at Comadur, with a certificate as well as a hard-metal version of a plasticising unit.
Speaking on behalf of Comadur, Patrice Jaggy thanked Arburg’s Partners and Managing Directors, praised the top-class event, which he believed would give the audience plenty of food for thought regarding new developments. Further official congratulations were offered by Claus Joens, CEO of Elnik Systems, LCC and Bruce Dionne, Vice President and General Manager of Megamet Solid Metals, Inc. and President of the Metal Injection Molding Association (MIMA).
The first evening of the event included an appearance by science-comedian duo “Die Physikanten”, combining spectacular scientific experiments and amazing special effects with comedy. The group even tailored their performance to the topic of powder injection moulding. The international audience was unanimous in its response: “The anniversary event with its varied programme of specialist presentations, practical applications, expert discussions and evening celebration event was simply unrivalled.”
PIM International attended the conference and a full report will be published in the September 2013 issue.