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Russian injection molder relies on Wittmann Battenfeld

Russian injection molder relies on Wittmann Battenfeld

Сase studies

 JSC Apex is an important Russian supplier of automotive components. Apex is an expert in molding parts of the highest quality using WITTMANN equipment. Dmitry Maksimenko, the Managing Director of the Russian WITTMANN BATTENFELD branch, met some of Apex’s executives. Dmitry Maksimenko

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JSC Apex in Tolyatti, an industrial city in the southeast of the European part of Russia, was founded in 2005. From the beginning, Apex has specialized in the production and assembly of automotive climatic and cooling systems, serving many auto brands. Today, Apex operates a facility with a floor space of 20,200 m², employing a personnel of 117 (45 of whom are engineering personnel). Apex’s production not only required a large number of plastic components, Apex had also received many customer inquiries relating to the manufacturing of plastic parts. Thus, in 2014, the decision was made to start the in-house production of plastic components.

Defining the requirements
In this regard, Irina Markelova, the Apex Director of Business Development, comments: “When we started to look for a partner that could supply us with the equipment we needed – injection molding machines, conveyors, robots, dryers, temperature controllers, chillers, etc. – we strictly wanted to get everything from one single source, and not from different suppliers. Furthermore, all the equipment had to fit into the existing building. We had to deal with restrictions in height (5.3 m), and in width (6 m of free floor space between columns). Such were the conditions of placing all the plastics processing equipment, including the crane. It was clear that we needed complex injection solutions of minimum dimensions. Finally, the finished parts had to absolutely meet our strict technical requirements with regards to the quality as well as the cycle time.”

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Having checked about 10 different equipment suppliers, Apex finally decided to choose WITTMANN BATTENFELD, not least because of their comprehensive technical support, the individual customer service and attention, and – as was known – their very quick response time.

Irina Markelova adds: “The project was realized in the course of 6 months: 2 months of calculation, and 4 more months of work on the ground, comprising the rebuilding of the facility, preparation of floors, installation of the crane and the ventilation system, etc. The first parts were produced for the Calsonic Kansei company.

Gradually expanding the production volume, we became suppliers to Valeo, Erea, and AVTOVAZ-RENAULTNISSAN. Currently, there is still an increase in the numbers of customers and products.”

The WITTMANN Group equipment
The Apex production applies WITTMANN BATTENFELD injection molding machines of the MacroPower and SmartPower model ranges with clamping forces from 300 to 650 tons. All machines are equipped with WITTMANN robots, removing the parts from the machine, and placing them on a conveyor belt.

In addition, all of the peripheral equipment (material dryers, mold temperature controllers, material conveyors, chillers) comes from WITTMANN. Using all production equipment from the WITTMANN Group, JSC Apex fabricates – among many other parts – PP cases weighing 100 to 1,500 grams, components of fans made from either PP or PA weighing 100 to 700 grams, parts of irregular shape made from the same materials (70 to 500 grams), and also solid products made from PA66-GF50 with a weight of 10 to 150 grams.

Demanding part production
Konstantin Uryupin, the Apex Project Manager, refers to some examples of especially demanding parts: “Here, for example, we have one part that is applied in car starters: a gear pinion with inwardly arranged gear teeth. Formerly, this part was made from metal. Today we use PA66-GF50, but still we have to meet the same tolerances: for example only 0.06 mm for the part’s central bore. For the production of such a part, you really need sort of a symbiosis of high-quality processing equipment and the mold itself. Only one weak link in the chain, and it wouldn’t work. Another successful example was the project we did for Calsonic Kansei where we had to revert to the technique of cascade injection. For Valeo and Erea, we produced a group of components for a ventilation device where we had to thoroughly balance the different elements. Another showcase was the production of a radiator tank element for Erea that had to feature a high degree of planeness which also wasn’t easy to achieve.”

Konstantin Uryupin sums up the partnership with WITTMANN BATTENFELD as follows: “In our opinion, the equipment that was delivered by WITTMANN BATTENFELD is of the highest quality, and it perfectly fits our needs regarding the dimensions. WITTMANN BATTENFELD offered us the best price-performance ratio. Above that, the close collaboration with the Russian subsidiary was a huge advantage for us, including the smooth communication.”

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