THERMOFORMING

Servo Valves Give Smart Air, Oil, Vacuum Control 
    Electronically fired valves that control air, vacuum, or oil supply on a thermoforming unit normally have only two positions: open and closed. But the new Smart Valve from Lyle Industries Inc., Beaverton, Mich., is a servo valve that can be programmed for a continuous range of flow control from 0 to 100%. Microprocessor control of the valves permits saving valve parameters as part of the “recipe” for making a particular part. Lyle offers the Smart Valve as an option on its machines and also offers them for use on other units.

Cups Get Fast Lip Service 
    Roll lips on 500 to 5000 cups/min with the new LR-2000 lip roller from Brown Machine, Beaverton, Mich. The unit uses four curling screws powered by a single AC variable-speed drive. Screw distances can be adjusted for a different size cup (2 to 32 oz) in minutes using a micrometer-type adjustment. Brown says the new model is faster, more reliable, and easier to adjust than units with a single curling screw and helper roller.

Tooling

Tool Insert Degates In the Mold 
    A simple in-mold degating method for edge-gated parts has been developed by Cavity Balancing Systems (CBS) of Kitchener, Ont. The method relies on new Flush Trim Inserts, which are positioned near the gate to form lands encircling the gate region. When the parts are ejected, a nearby ejector pin causes a shearing action that breaks the part from its runner. Made from hardened tool steel, the low-cost inserts and the retaining pins that hold them fit into easily machined pockets and stepped holes. CBS estimates that the inserts will pay for themselves in reduced labor after 25,000 to 50,000 cycles.

New CAD Software Eases Mold Design & Inspection 
    A new suite of CAD/CAM tools for mold design and manufacture was shown at the recent K’98 show in Dusseldorf by Delcam of the U.K. (represented by Delcam International, Inc., Windsor, Ont.). Called Power Solution, the suite includes PowerShape 3D surface-modeling software, which automates injection mold design by generating plates, inserts, and hole layouts, as well as a bill of materials. “PowerInspect” software works with coordinate measuring machines to compare part dimensions with the original CAD model. “PowerMill” provides multi-axis 3D CAM capabilities.