Since 1968 Stork IMM has specialized in the development and production of injection moulding machines (IMM). In the big production hall John Bloem presents us to his impressive quick-change mechanical wizards responsible for producing the finished parts from plastic granulate: The Pot Line produces flowerpots, the Pail Line presses buckets and covers, the Food Line manufactures packagings for the foodstuff industry and the Crate Line creates logistic packaging systems. All machines combine high precision with the highest possible production speed. This also applies to customer-specific special productions with a clamping force of up to 2,000 tonnes. "These are the largest machines we manufacture," Bloem proudly states.
Like a bottle of syrup above a pancake
It is fascinating to see how the plastic granulate is filled on one side of the machine exits on the other side, either as a bucket, as a beer crate or "as whatever our customers want to have". How does this work? The injection moulding machine melts the plastic granulate to a viscous mass. Under high pressure it is injected into a mould with a worm shaft. After cooling down you have the requested moulded part. Bloem: "I like to compare this with a bottle of syrup that is held above a pancake: If you do not do anything, nothing happens. Only if you squeeze the bottle, the syrup pours out. The same principally happens inside the injection moulding machine - the machine just squeezes a little harder!" To be more precise: with at least 2,200 bar. For comparison: The pressure in an espresso machine only amounts to 8 to 9 bar.
For an injection moulding machine the accessories of numerous manufacturers are required - often KTR is the decisive link. "This is what is great", says Bloem: "to see how different brands get together: one gear housing of Knödler, one electric motor of Oswald, linked by a shaft coupling of KTR." Bloem compares this with the human body: "The pump is the heart of the machine, the electric motor is the muscle driving it. KTR components are the tendons and joints transmitting the power. Only if all "body parts" collaborate, the result is decent."
From zero to a hundred in 13 weeks
Injection moulding machines do not only have to generate high pressure, they need to be manufactured with more and more pressure. "Our customers do not only want to have faster machines, they also want to have the machines supplied faster", says Bloem. Two requests that are hard to meet. "Delivery times of 13 weeks for a complete machine have become more and more usual for us in recent times." Even better that the most important linking parts are just 50 km away in Rheine - it takes a little less than one hour to drive to Hengelo.