Munich, Germany — KraussMaffei has delivered the world's largest long fibre injection (LFI) system for manufacturing extra-large lightweight components to Romeo RIM of Romeo in Michigan.
Romeo is using this kit, which has a double-shuttle mould carrier system, to manufacture a two-piece roof made of polyurethane for agricultural machinery. KraussMaffei says the long-lasting Class A paint surface is automatically produced directly using IMP (in mould painting).
"The good mechanical properties and the premium-quality surfaces commend the LFI procedure for large-format components in many markets, and especially in the automotive and commercial vehicle industry to meet the increasing demands of the CAFC (Corporate Average Fuel Consumption) programme for a lower fleet consumption," said Paul Condeelis, vice president of Business Development at Romeo RIM.
Condeelis added that KraussMaffei was the only market player able to meet Romeo's requirements for this project.
The complete two-piece roof is enormous, at about 2.5 x 2.1 m with an area of over five sq.m, but weighs less than 23 kg (50 lb). It also meets all requirements for flexibility, durability, low weight, and cost-effective manufacturing. Also valuable, said Romeo, is the option for functional integration on the rear, where the dome and ribs are attached.
Vital to the system is the largest mould carrier built by KraussMaffei. This has a mould clamping area of 3660 x 3660 mm (12' x 12') with weights of up to 36 tonnes.
The22 x 9.5 x 5 m mold carrier unit, and clamping force of 400 tonnes, has a "two-shuttle system," which brings two bottom parts of the mould into the mold clamping unit in alternation. So while the LFI process and the PU reaction are running in one mould, the second unit can be de-moulded and prepared for the new process.
Every 9 to 10 minutes, one of the two elements for the complete roof is formed, alternately.
For precise component thicknesses and reproducible processes, the mould carrier is equipped with hydraulic 4-axis parallelism control, which also ensures parallel closing of the moulds for asymmetric components or off-centre mould clamping, KraussMaffei said.
"The new mould carrier will enable us to produce, for instance, even larger exterior body panels for all of the markets we service like the agricultural and heavy truck markets and to do it in a cost-competitive way," added Condeelis.