, a leading manufacturer of high-end injection moulding machines for plastics processing, has been very active in the fight against Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.
A particular example is the multi-functional face mask, which was developed in collaboration with a number of partners and made ready for series production in just 41 days.
Production of face masks made from LSR (liquid silicone rubber) and PP (polypropylene) started in May, initially designed for everyday use. To protect both the wearer of the mask, and those in the surrounding area from the virus, this was followed by the next step — the design and manufacture of a supplementary disposable filter that can be easily attached to the mask opening.
Gerhard Böhm, Arburg’s managing director (sales), said: “It was important for us to not only to develop the mask as a product for everyday use but also to prioritise personal protection with the additional filter.”
Thomas Walther, Arburg’s head of application technology, said: “The mask project clearly shows how the time-to-market for new product ideas can be accelerated in very special cases if all partners pool their expertise, technologies and equipment.”
The companies involved in the project were Sigma Engineering (LSR component and mould simulation), Polar-Form (LSR mould), Foboha and Wilhelm Weber (thermoplastic moulds), Ewikon (cold runner), Elmet (LSR dosing unit), Männer und Günter (hot runner technology), Barth Mechanik (gripper), Wacker und Borealis (material), Karl Küfner (filter design), Herrmann Ultraschall (welding technology) and Packmat (packaging technology).
The mask itself consists of a soft LSR component, which is put over the nose and mouth, and a firm PP holder with eyelets to attach the elastic bands. The LSR masks were injected on an electric Allrounder 570 A with a clamping force of 2,000kN and a four-cavity mould, and removed by a Multilift V robotic system.
The associated PP holder was produced on an electric Allrounder 520 E Golden Electric with a clamping force of 1,500kN and a two-cavity mould. The injection moulded parts were removed by a Multilift Select robotic system.
To prevent infection in everyday life, the mask opening is closed with a cover so that the breathing air can escape downwards. A disposable filter can be placed on the opening to protect the wearer from Coronavirus, as well as people in the surrounding area.
The filter was developed in collaboration with Karl Küfner, a company specialising in the production of filters that has been using Arburg machines in injection moulding production for decades.