By Bill Bregar, Plastics News StaffMunich, Germany - Krauss-Maffei GmbH and its sister company, Berstorff GmbH, have done process integration before, by bolting a compounding extruder atop an injection moulding machine, dubbed the IMC, for injection moulding compounder.But at K 2007, look out! The unified business, now called "KraussMaffei Berstorff," will show a manufacturing cell that links extrusion, injection moulding and reaction moulding of a new polyurethane material. The part: a multi-component automotive assembly to dampen vibration, for a quieter ride.Officials of Krauss Maffei say this will be the first time an IMC will be teamed up with multi-component injection moulding.A Berstorff extruder will team, IMC-style, with one of Krauss-Maffei's CX injection presses to make the load-bearing part. The body and collar of the part, which handles the load, are injection moulded from nylon.Then the two components are joined using an elastic material made of Elastollan, a new cross-linking thermoplastic polyurethane from Elastogran GmbH.The cross-linking agent is added to the TPU melt as a liquid, and the two materials are mixed on an IMC. The IMC operates continuously, ensuring the cross-linking agent gets steadily mixed into the PU polymer and thoroughly mixed and compounded. The plasticized, homogenous material then gets injected into the mould, through a heated runner and an injection piston.The mould is specially designed so a Krauss Maffei LS-R linear robot can enter and remove the parts with the mould closed, so processing can continue in the other stations during part removal. The new manufacturing process, jointly developed by Krauss Maffei and Elastogran, cuts the cycle time to make one part down to about 60 seconds.The Munich, Germany-based company has demonstrated IMC at trade shows before, running large automotive parts with high throughputs. But the K 2007 display is intended to show how IMC works for small and midrange shot weights - and also for blending additives into the melt.In a restructuring announced 16 March, the extrusion operations of Krauss Maffei and Berstorff were bundled into a new single business structure, under the ownership of parent Mannesmann Plastics Machinery GmbH. The business move did not include any plant closings or personnel reductions. But, by linking Krauss Maffei and Berstorff more closely together, officials want to drive the integration of the technologies of both companies. Krauss Maffei makes injection presses, pipe and profile extruders and PU machinery. Berstorff, of Hanover, Germany, builds compounding extruders.In April, Dietmar Straub became the new chairman and chief executive officer of MPM, and the leader of Krauss Maffei, by far the machinery group's biggest unit. Former top executive Josef Märtl has left Krauss Maffei.Krauss Maffei is developing the clean-room markets of medical, health care and packaging. Also, the company reports strong worldwide demand for extruders for window profiles, pipe, insulated panels and other construction products, and large-tonnage injection moulding machines.Another major focus at K 2007 will be compounding and processing parts using renewable raw materials, including a compounding extruder for running plastic with wood, flax or hemp content.Meanwhile, Krauss Maffei continues to have strong business, officials said at a pre-K press conference held in June in Munich. Straub said sales grew by 9 percent, and orders increased by 8.5 percent, in the first six months of the current fiscal year, a period covering 1 Oct through 30 March.Since 2001, the combined sales total of Krauss Maffei and Berstorff compounding extruders has seen 72 percent sales growth. For fiscal year 2006, ended 30 Sept, the combined operations generated sales of Euros 706 million ($870 million).The company has been pushing its expertise in customised manufacturing cells that combine the benefits of two or more of its core processing technologies. One example at K 2007 will be the SkinForm process for PU coating with injection moulding in a spinning-platen machine, with a high level of automation. The cell will make an interior trim part by moulding a plastic substrate, and overmoulding it with a PU surface layer.In other PU-related news, Krauss Maffei will introduce a small-volume mixing head, offering the advantages of high-pressure technology for low throughput. Another mix head is designed for spraying on skins for complex automotive components, such as instrument panels, centre consoles and interior door trim.Krauss Maffei also has developed a process to spray a heavy, PU-based soundproofing layer on the underside of preformed automotive carpets, using a robot.The Routing Star trims interior trim parts, by mounting the parts on a fast-moving turntable."