In the modern world, it is not uncommon for people to spend more time in their cars than in their living rooms at home. so the Automotive Car Parts requirement increased year and year. Understandably, demands on in-car convenience and ambient quality have risen sharply as a result.

plastic mold

Touch properties, visual appearance and sound damping performance are major factors in today’s automotive design, giving rise to new surface finishes and Injection moulding standards.

Bare sheet metal or plastic is definitely out of vogue, even in the most thoroughbred off-road vehicles; individualized textile fabric and film decors have become ubiquitous. Combining different materials can not only enhance a component’s visual appearance but also improve its mechanical properties.

Thus, the combination of long fibre-reinforced polymers with decorative surfaces yields high strengths and an improved shatter resistance…a benefit not to be neglected from a vehicle safety viewpoint. Moreover, composites can be produced from identical base materials to facilitate end-of-life recycling.

Advanced manufacturing technology is characterized by the integration of multiple sequential production steps into a single combined process. Compared with traditional laminating techniques, single-stage injection moulding or composite pressing techniques can bring down the cost of production by as much as 30 per cent on average.
Textiles or compact film surfaces are introduced into an integral process with the aid of specially adapted injection moulding methods.

Preserving the properties of the product’s surface components is a priority consideration in this context. An intelligent adaption of normal-pressure injection moulding to low-pressure technology is the answer to this challenge.

Under the TECOMELT product name, Engel offers a complete equipment line-up for the entire range of composite components employed today. Since the technology is cut out for high production volumes, up to 90 per cent of these parts are designed and produced for automotive uses.

A feature common to all processes is that textile materials or films, supplied pre-cut or “off the roll”, are placed into the plastic mold by a manipulator and subsequently coated with plastic.

Decorative surfaces are thus combined with functional parts such as mounting devices or light-guiding structures.

Generally, either of two process variants is employed, low-pressure injection moulding or a low-pressure pressing technique. The choice will depend on the component size and the acceptable level of melt pressure.

The TECOMELT injection moulding process relies on modified conventional horizontal-type injection moulding machines. The method differs from traditional injection moulding in its consistent implementation of low-pressure cavity filling strategies.
In practice, this is achieved through the use of cascade-controlled multipoint gating 
systems (sequential gate opening) or through a combination of conventional injection 
moulding with a subsequent stamping step.

The latter method is particularly suitable for long, slender parts such as passenger car A-, 
B- or C-pillar mouldings.

Engel supplies a broad range of injection moulding machines for the TECOMELT low-pressure injection moulding process. For small-to-medium-size parts with a 2,500 to 6,000 kN closing force requirement, machines with a plastic mould closing unit are available.

These systems are based on the company’s HL series which has sold more than 17,000 units since 1989.

With its unobstructed mould area, this machine concept provides optimum conditions for integration with automation devices such as textile fabric feeders while still leaving plenty of room for manipulator access.

The absence of tiebars greatly facilitates the handling of what are usually bulky or awkwardly shaped products.

Injection Moulding

For larger mouldings with thinner walls or multi-cavity moulds requiring more installation space, Engel offers low-pressure injection moulding machines based on its large-size NGEL DUO machine series. This line covers the 6,500 to 20,000 kN closing force range.

In the pressing method, a vertical press is combined with a horizontal-type dual injection unit of custom design. This system is used to apply plastic melt to the bottom cavity the surface of the open press mould, usually by a contour-following extrusion coating step.
The machine configuration comprises a vertical portal-type mould closing unit (hydraulic press) accommodating up to two moulds side by side. This set-up permits the simultaneous manufacture of two mirror-inverted mouldings, such as a set of door liners (left and right).

The press mould closing unit is combined with two injection units which are each equipped with a slot die for application of the material and can be simultaneously displaced in three axes via servo motor drives.

This design permits a contour-following application of the melt throughout the mould cavity. Once the textile material has been placed on this melt layer, the composite structure is compressed.

An additional high-performance pressure accumulator ensures a high mould closing speed so that even difficult contours such as ribbing or large, complex hooks can be reliably reproduced.

This equipment design creates a large processing window for the production of large composite parts with sophisticated geometries. Typical application examples include automotive door panels and moulded trunk liners.

For this application, Engel offers a standard machine type designated ENGEL TECOMELT 800 VRTM. Delivering a closing force of 8,000 kN, this model can be combined with suitable injection units from a modularised range to suit individual needs.

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