Powerful, fast, precise and particularly efficient. With these core values, the ELIOS series has successfully established itself in the upper range of the demanding packaging sector since its launch at K 2016.
Netstal is now expanding the lower end of the series with versions featuring clamping forces of 4500 kN and 5500 kN. In addition to their modularity, the two sister models also convince with their extremely robust design, which ensures top productivity through continuous production at record speeds.
High speed with 450 and 750 tons of clamping force
At K 2016, Netstal presented the ELIOS 7500 to a global audience for the first time.
“We are looking back at an extremely successful launch. Our customers from the packaging industry were extraordinarily interested in the ELIOS series. “In the first year, we were able to sell more than twice as many machines as originally projected,” reports Netstal CEO Renzo Davatz.
The Swiss injection moulding machine manufacturer is now upping the ante by adding two smaller variants – featuring clamping forces of 4500 kN and 5500 kN – to the series. That means that within the series, customers can now choose between four main variants with clamping forces of 450, 550, 650 and 750 tons. Thanks to the innovative drive technology of the clamping unit, the smaller sister models are also the fastest machines in their respective class. For example, the ELIOS 4500 with a stroke of 574 mm achieves a dry cycle time of merely 1.5 seconds according to the Euromap norm. The ELIOS 5500 also convinces with a dynamic dry cycle of 1.7 seconds at a stroke of 644 mm.
Top productivity and economic efficiency thanks to the hybrid drive concept for the clamping unit
“Manufacturers of thin-walled packaging know that the shortest cycle times coupled with top availability and quality are the keys to an effective reduction of unit costs. That has been our guiding principle during the development of the entire series,” Davatz explains.
The 5-point dual toggle lever, which is moved via a central crosshead with drive elements that act simultaneously, is the heart of the machine. A dual toothed-rack drive with a highly dynamic, water-cooled servo motor is used for the purely electrical movements. Two synchronous cylinders, which feature a parallel alignment, assist with building up the full clamping force.
“This concept offers many advantages, because the small mass moment of inertia of the motor allows high acceleration values and dynamic movements of the clamping plate. At the same time, the plate is moved very harmoniously while the mould position is controlled with great precision and in a way that is gentle on the mould,” Davatz explains.
Thanks to the optimised toggle lever geometry, the clamping unit of the ELIOS is particularly energy efficient and offers ideal conditions for the recovery of the movement energy. The kinetic energy generated during braking processes flows into the electric motor of the main drive where it is converted into hydraulic energy and stored. That is why, compared to conventional designs, an ELIOS requires approximately 50% less energy.
Robust plate design for continuous and precise production with extreme loads
Thin-walled packaging applications are generally fast and operate over long periods of time. ELIOS machines are perfectly equipped for continuous runs with extreme loads. A high-quality cast iron material with a ferritic structure is used for the plates, which feature a load-optimised geometric shape. The high overall strength ensures an optimal flatness of the clamping plates. The moving plate is supported by four tolerant linear guides in a manner that is particularly solid, and it moves with minimal friction.
“The user benefits from an optimal introduction of force, a lower required clamping force and a very low wear of the machine and the mould,” Davatz emphasises. “What is particularly fascinating is how harmonious and smooth the clamping unit operates. It’s easy to forget that multiple tonnes of weight are being moved back and forth in short cycles,” Davatz adds.
Modular injection unit for dynamic injection and large flow path/wall thickness ratios
The injection side can optimally be configured to the demands of the respective application with different injection unit and plasticising unit sizes. The injection units 1000, 2000, 2900, 4200 and 6000, each featuring two or three different screw diameters, are available for the ELIOS 4500. The user can choose among a total of 12 injection unit-screw combinations.
The selection for the ELIOS 5500 starts with an injection unit size of 2000 with a total of nine combinations. Across the entire series, customers can select from a total of 33 combinations of clamping force, injection unit and screw diameter. The hydraulic injection cylinder of the hybrid injection unit in combination with the two-valve technology ensures a very high injection performance, while the servo-electric drive of the dosing axis contributes to a low electrical energy consumption. The two servo valves respond very quickly with a reaction time of no more than 11 milliseconds and permit dynamic injection with up to 2200 mm/s and an acceleration of up to 20 G. Large flow path/wall thickness ratios of up to 350:1 and over can be achieved effortlessly.
The position and speed-controlled movement of the injection unit with torque-free nozzle contact pressure allows total precision and the best shot-to-shot consistency on the market.
Top media flexibility
The media equipment catalogue provides customers with a wide range of options. The connections for hydraulic mould auxiliary functions can optionally be attached to the fixed (operating side) or the moving plate (operating side or non-operating side). The air valves can also be positioned with great flexibility. It doesn’t matter at which plate or whether the valves are supposed to be accessed up top, on the operating side or the non-operating side.
The pressure regulators can optionally be integrated in the protective cover on the operating side or the non-operating side. Depending on customer specifications, the entire cooling water installation can be done with high-quality components selected because of their longevity. For power connections, socket boxes with integrated circuit breakers can be installed in various locations.
High performance and freely programmable aXos controller
All ELIOS series machines are equipped with the high performance aXos control technology.
“The aXos controller from Netstal allows customers to get the most out of their Netstal machines. Not only because it can be adapted to many applications but also because its operation is very intuitive and comfortable,” explains Davatz.
As opposed to a pure touchscreen controller, the aXos controller consists of two screens. The upper operating panel for the machine function is equipped with a membrane keyboard equipped with a clearly arranged keypad. The noticeable pressure point provides operators with an instant feedback, which allows for the “blind” operation while looking at the clamping unit.
The lower 17″ monitor is available for programming and parametrisation. It is operated with a foldable keyboard with navigational buttons and a trackball. The individually configurable header, which can be expanded into a full-screen dashboard if needed, provides operators with all relevant information at a glance. The dashboard can be adapted to individual needs with various tiles and therefore provides direct access to the individual production parameters.