Ironjaw system provides boost
A new Portuguese company, Ironjaw, is targeting the U.S. market with its innovative system for boosting the clamping forces of injection molding machines.
In October, the company will open a demonstration center in the RocTool Inc. facility in Charlotte, N.C., for the patented Ironjaw system, which affixes to an injection mold to increase clamping force. Ironjaw units are applied symmetrically to the mold in pairs, to add 30 percent to 60 percent more clamping force than the machine provides. Depending on the size of the mold, a complete system can use two, four, six or even more Ironjaw units.
“The Ironjaw system is like a super hydraulic jack/cylinder, attached to the tool via notches,” said Alex Guichard, a co-founder and member of the board of the new company, which opened in Lisbon in December. “The system limits the opening of the tool under pressure.”
Ironjaw is compatible with all types of injection molding machines, according to the company, and is available in four sizes, providing clamping force boosts from 27.6 tons to 220.5 tons. Tests have shown that much greater forces might be possible, however. In one trial, the company attached 12 Ironjaw systems on a massive tool, boosting the clamping force applied to the tool from about 6,600 tons to about 9,900 tons. “This is a bit extreme, but you can imagine the gain for the molder with the price difference on the machine acquisition and a smaller hourly rate to produce parts,” he said.
The company is touting the savings molders can realize, saying that tests run by customers in Europe have shown an average return on investment (ROI) of six months. Molders can save money on capital expenditures, buying smaller machines than would normally be needed, as well as on operational expenditures, the company said.
The Ironjaw system can reduce or eliminate flash, and the ability to use a smaller injection press than would normally be required saves energy and floor space. The system does not increase cycle time.
According to the company, one molder saw an ROI of four months for an injection molding machine with 176.4 tons of clamping force that achieved a clamping force of 264.6 tons, a 50 percent increase. Material viscosity and other factors affect how much the clamping force increases. Customers already have used the system to mold more than a million parts, mainly large components for the automotive industry, Guichard said.
“The technology can be applied to almost all materials, parts and industries. We should have, in a year or two, a much wider picture of the type of products our technology will help,” he said. “This [system] is very impressive and could become a game-changer in the industry.”
Ironjaw does not require any modification to the injection molding machine and can be applied to existing tooling, depending on the space available on the mold.
CEO Bruno Machet, Ironjaw’s other founder, has been developing the system for the past five years and is in charge of operations and strategy. Guichard, whose responsibilities for Ironjaw include marketing and commercial operations, is the founder and a former CEO of RocTool SA, le Bourget-du-Lac, France, which designs and develops technologies for rapid molding of composites and plastics.
Last month in Stuttgart, Germany, at the Moulding Expo, the company showed the Ironjaw system on a small injection mold, boosting the machine’s clamping force from 176.4 tons to 231.5 tons.
“The U.S. market is one of our primary targets, and we will make sure to have stock, spare parts and support in October to deliver quickly and address this market,” Guichard said. Ironjaw will be selling directly in the U.S., without a distributor.
Kathy S. Hayes, copy editor
Lisbon, Portugal, www.ironjaw.tech