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Innovative, energy-efficient injection molding technology for Ackermann

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Ackermann (Hugo Ackermann GmbH & Co. KG), based in Kierspe, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, has supplied the mechanical engineering industry with high-quality plastic products for more than 60 years. From the very beginning, these products were manufactured on BATTENFELD injection molding machines. In March this year, an EcoPower 300 with an insider solution was added to the company’s range of machinery.

1

Ackermann production hall in Kierspe.

Ackermann, a successful medium-sized, family-owned company in the 3rd generation, was founded by Hugo Ackermann as a tool-making shop in 1938. For the first thermoplastics processing machine made by BATTENFELD in Meinerzhagen, North Rhine-Westphalia in 1949, Ackermann supplied the mold. In 1954, the company acquired its first injection molding machine for thermoplastics processing, supplied by BATTENFELD.

Over the following years, Ackermann continuously extended and modernized its range of machinery. Today, Ackermann has 15 injection molding machines installed with clamping forces ranging from 350 to 5,000 kN, of which 14 have come from WITTMANN BATTENFELD. With 23 employees, Ackermann manufactures in two shifts mainly products in small and medium-sized batches for general mechanical engineering, the pump industry and electrical engineering.

2

From the left: Matthias Ackermann, Quality Manager at Ackermann, Christoph Ackermann, the company’s Managing Director and CEO, Frank Höher, Salesman WITTMANN BATTENFELD and Peter Kroczek, Ackermann Production Manager in front of the new EcoPower 300 with insider solution

The company has made a name for itself in the industry, for example with the development of lost core technology to realize complex internal cavities. For this purpose, Ackermann casts melting cores consisting of an alloy with a low melting point and surrounds them with plastic by insert molding. Due to the special attributes of the plastic material used, the metal cores are subsequently melted by induction instead of heat – in contrast to the lost core technology used in the automotive industry.

To make high-quality parts with internal cavities such as handles or telephone receivers, the company has been using the AIRMOULD® internal gas pressure process from WITTMANN BATTENFELD for many years. Multi-component technology from WITTMANN BATTENFELD is also applied by Ackermann.

The company’s products are technical plastic parts to customers’ specifications such as housing components, small parts for pumps and fixtures, and fluid technology parts, primarily made of polycarbonate, polyamide, POM and PBT. Fiberglass- and carbon fiber-reinforced materials are also used.

3

For the core melting process, Ackermann has converted a TM machine model from WITTMANN BATTENFELD (shown on the left).

In 2009, WITTMANN BATTENFELD brought its first machine from the new PowerSeries to market, the all-electric EcoPower. Ackermann was the first customer to buy it. The high precision of these machines and their extremely low energy consumption impressed Christoph Ackermann, the company’s Managing Director and CEO, as well as his brother Matthias Ackermann, who is responsible for product quality. Christoph Ackermann comments: “From the EcoPower, we get products with excellent surface quality, and we have hardly any start-up scrap. Compared to our older machines, the EcoPower consumes just one half of the energy”.

Positive experience with the first EcoPower machines prompted Ackermann to install an additional machine of this type in 2014, this time with 1,800 kN clamping force. And in March of this year, an EcoPower 300/2100 with insider solution was commissioned at Ackermann. In the insider solution, the robot, transport conveyor belt and other peripherals for upstream and downstream processing are integrated in the injection molding machine.

4

Impeller wheel  – manufactured with lost core technology. From the left: metal core, insert-molded plastic, finished impeller wheel

According to Christoph Ackermann, the EcoPower Insider is easy to operate, requires little space and looks good. Peter Kroczek, Ackermann’s Production Manager, is also more than satisfied with the new EcoPower and praises its excellent performance, its low energy consumption and the low noise level of all EcoPower models.

Apart from the machines and process technology supplied by WITTMANN BATTENFELD, ACKERMANN also appreciates the robots and peripherals from the WITTMANN Group. So WITTMANN robots have not only been purchased for the newly installed machines, but also to upgrade some of the older ones.

For Christoph Ackermann, the package as a whole is vital in making investment decisions: “We want a modern, energy-efficient machine with user-friendly robot technology from a single source.” But also service and closeness to the supplier are decisive purchasing criteria for Christoph Ackermann. The many decades of business relations between Ackermann and WITTMANN BATTENFELD are convincing evidence that Ackermann has found in WITTMANN BATTENFELD a partner which meets the company’s requirements in every respect.

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