Düsseldorf, Germany - KraussMaffei AG launched its ColorForm in-mould coating process, in "an absolute world premier," during K 2010. The Munich-based machinery maker says it gives parts a high-gloss surface inside the mould, in a one-shot process that can be used for mass production.
At the show it was moulding an ABS briefcase with a soft-touch surface of thermoplasticpolyurethane, finished with a high-gloss blue coating (see photo). ARimStar Nano metering system applies the PU coating inside the mould.
ColorForm is also being used for a part for MEKRA Lang GmbH & Co. KG, a supplier of mirrors made ofPlexiglass, in-mould coated with a scratch-resistant and chemically-resistant multicomponent-based acrylate coating system. Such technologycould be used to make plastic mirrors as an "extremely cost-effectivealternative to glass, which is far more difficult to work," said GregorHelze, chairman of Evonik's board, in a company statement.
ColorForm can completely replace conventional painting, including extra steps of pre- and post-painting work, according to Frank Peters, a member of the firm's managing board, speaking in a 27 Oct news conference at the major exhibition.
Peters also noted that the company's order books are full, in a period where its customers are struggling to meet cut-throat demands from the automotive sector and high cost pressure from all sides. And despite or perhaps because of this, innovations such as those offered in processing by KraussMaffei, to aid moulding efficiency and cut development time, are in high demand, Peters added.
And referring to a common theme at the K 2010 event, Peters noted that the surge in demand for electric vehicles, to cut fuel use and reduce emissions will inexorably lead to a rise in use of lightweight plastics composites to replace metal parts in cars. Currently plastics form some 15 percent of a car's weight typically, but experts expert this to rise rapidly to 25 percent in the near future, he added.
Composites will be used not just in automotive body panels, but also in load-bearing structures and in under the bonnet components, Peters noted.