Wet wet wet!
I’m blogging about water. And before you think I’m running out of ideas, take a minute to read on!
Water is the most commonly found substance on earth - and about 97 percent of it is salt water. Only one percent of it is drinkable. Humans are mostly water - so are trees. And most readers will know all of these facts (stay with me).
But, did you know that injection moulding using water (Water Injection Technology) is fast being picked up by some of the biggest names in the business? I daresay many readers did know that too - but it’s very rare in my job that I get sent two pieces of news about this technology in the same week. I wondered if this could be the start of a new wave (pardon the pun) of innovation.
WIT is not new. It was certainly around long before I joined the industry. But most would concede that until recently it’s been a fairly niche process. Similar to gas-assisted moulding, target applications are usually hollow parts. By flowing water through the part, the concept is that thinner, more uniform wall thicknesses can be achieved. At the same time, energy savings can be made due to the inherent cooling nature of the water on the part.
Engel has teamed up with PMEfluidtec of Germany, a group which has spent 12 years developing and producing systems for fluid-based injection moulding using internal pressure technology. The new partnership means that PMEfluidtec will be responsible for WIT systems and mould technology as well as service for WIT units; Engel will be responsible for adapting injection moulding machines, automation and peripheral units for the process. Entering into this collaboration shows a new committment from one of the industry’s biggest players to this technology - it seems the group is laying the foundations for potential growth into this field.
Similarly, on the materials side, BASF has expanded a line of polyamide grades that it produces specifically for WIT. Named Ultramid A3HG6 WIT Balance and Ultramid A3WG7 WIT, are now available in commercial quantities.
The first grade is suitable for components that carry coolant or that come into contact with water. The fact that a materials supplier has named an entire portfolio after the technology speaks volumes about the potential for WIT.
Anyway, watch this space for more information on water injection technology - I’ve no doubt that more developments will follow. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with one last (and very important) fact:
By the time a person feels thirsty, his or her body has lost over 1 percent of its total water amount.
So make sure you drink enough water today!