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Dokumentenidentifikation EP0836548 17.02.2000
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0836548
Titel VORRICHTUNG UND VERFAHREN ZUM VERTEILEN VON GESCHMOLZENEN THERMOPLASTISCHEN POLYMEREN IN FORMMASCHINEN
Anmelder Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn., US
Erfinder McLEOD, Ervin, Andrew, Kingsport, US;
HASELTINE, Mark, Douglas, Kingsport, US;
WINDES, Cates, Larry, Kingsport, US;
STRAND, Alan, Marc, Kingsport, US
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 69606178
Vertragsstaaten BE, DE, ES, FR, GB, IT, NL
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 03.07.1996
EP-Aktenzeichen 969243492
WO-Anmeldetag 03.07.1996
PCT-Aktenzeichen US9611278
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 2126
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 23.01.1997
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 22.04.1998
EP date of grant 12.01.2000
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 17.02.2000
IPC-Hauptklasse B29C 31/04
IPC-Nebenklasse B29C 45/12   

Beschreibung[en]
Technical Field

The present invention relates to a process and apparatus for distributing molten thermoplastic material to a plurality of molding machines operating in timed sequence. The invention is particularly applicable to transferring molten polyester (normally polyethylene terephthalate or a copolymer thereof) directly to injection molding machines for producing molded plastics articles.

Background of the Invention

In the production of most molded articles from molten thermoplastic material, it is conventional practice to first solidify and pelletize the material. Pellets may then be stored and used at a later time in molding processes. The present invention is especially useful with respect to condensation polymers such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and the transfer of this material in molten form directly to a plurality of molding machines which are operated in timed sequence such that the flow of material is substantially constant.

U.S. Patent No. 4,470,796 relates to a method and apparatus of making hollow plastic articles in which the preforms or other articles are sequentially molded from a continuous stream of plasticized resin supplied by an extruder. The preforms are formed sequentially in a plurality of molds and immediately transferred from the molds to blowing apparatus where they are blown into plastic articles.

Brief description of the drawings

  • Figure 1 is a diagram illustrating the flow pattern of molten thermoplastic material in accordance with the present invention.
  • Figure 2 is a diagram illustrating the manner in which molten thermoplastic material is continuously fed from a continuous supply through a distributor into a plurality of molding machines.
  • Figure 3 is a sectional view of a distributor for directing flow of thermoplastic material to conduits leading to the molding machines.
  • Figure 4 is a sectional view taken along line 4-4 of Figure 3.
  • Figure 5 is a diagram illustrating the sequence of actuating the molding machines in a sequence to accomplish substantially constant flow of molten thermoplastic material from the continous supply.

Description of the Invention

According to the present invention, there is provided apparatus for producing molded thermoplastic articles comprising

  • a) supply means forming a continuous supply of molten thermoplastic material
  • b) a distributor connected to said supply means for receiving said material therefrom
  • c) means for feeding said material to said distributor under pressure
  • d) conduits connecting said distributor to intakes of a plurality of molding machines (34, 36, 38), said conduits being shaped to allow substantially uninterrupted flow of said material with substantially equal residence time therethrough,
  • e) means for actuating each of the molding machines in a predetermined timed sequence to accept a charge of the material and form it into a molded article such that the flow of material through the distributor is substantially constant,
  • f) means for ejecting said molded article and
  • g) means for repeating steps e) and f) in sequence characterized in that the supply means forms the continous supply directly from melt polymerization.

Also, according to the present invention, there is provided a method for producing molded thermoplastic articles comprising

  • a) supplying a continuous feed of molten thermoplastic material
  • b) distributing said continuous feed to the intakes of a plurality of molding machines through conduits shaped to allow substantially uninterrupted flow of said material with substantially equal residence times therethrough,
  • c) opening the intakes of each of said molding machines in a predetermined sequence to accept a charge of said material, wherein the flow of said material through said distributor is substantially constant,
  • d) molding one or more articles in at least two of said plurality of molding machines, and
  • e) ejecting each of said articles after it is molded, wherein the method is characterized in that the continuous feed of molten thermoplastic material is supplied directly from melt polymerization.

Polymers that are particularly useful in this process included polu(ethylene terephthalate), poly (ethylene naphthalenedicarboxylate), and copolyesters containing up to about 50 mol % of modifying dibasic acids and/or glycols. Modifying dibasic acids may contain from about 2 to about 40 carbon atoms and include isophthalic, adipic, glutaric, azelaic, sebacic, fumaric, dimer, cis- or trans-1,4-cyclohexanedicarboxylic, the various isomers of naphthalenedicarboxylic acids and the like.

Highly useful naphthalenedicarboxylic acids include the 2,6-, 1,4-, 1,5-, or 2,7-isomers but the 1,2-, 1,3-, 1,6-, 1,7-, 1,8-, 2,3-, 2,4-, 2,5-, and/or 1,8-isomers may also be used. The dibasic acids may be used in acid form or as their esters such as the dimethyl esters for example.

Typical modifying glycols may contain from about 3 to about 10 carbon atoms and include propylene glycol, 1,3-propanediol, 1,4-butanediol, 1,6-hexanediol, diethylene glycol, 1,4-cyclohexanediol, 1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol, and the like. The 1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol may be in the cis or the trans form or as cis/trans mixtures.

It is important that the inherent viscosity (I.V.) of the thermoplastic material be suitable for molding. Generally, the I.V. should be within the range of about 0.65 to 1.0, preferably about 0.70 to 0.90. I.V. as used herein is measured at 25°C using 0.50 g of polymer per 100 mL of a solvent consisting of 60% by weight phenol and 40% by weight tetrachloroethane.

Referring to Figure 1, conduit 20 leading to distributor 18 preferably is provided with a line 22 leading through relief valve 24 to a pelletizer 26, which is useful for diverting the molten thermoplastic material from the distribution system during start-up or system upsets. This diverted material may be solidified and pelletized in conventional manner for disposal or later use.

The molten thermoplastic material flows through a mixer 19, preferably a static mixer, construction of which is well known in the art, just prior to entering the distributor 18 to insure homogeneity.

Although the apparatus and method described herein is generally described in reference to a nine station system (nine molding machines), it should be understood that the number of stations is not critical. For example, as few as 2 may be used. However, in Figure 1, only three stations are illustrated with the understanding that the rest of the stations would be of like construction.

From the distributor 18, the molten material flows through conduits 28, 30 and 32 to molding machines 34, 36 and 38 respectively. Static mixing devices (not shown) may also be used if desired as the material enters the injectors 40, 42 and 44 respectively. although not required in this invention, purge lines 46, 48 and 50 may be connected to conduits 28, 30 and 32 respectively to handle waste material after a machine is shut down for maintenance or repairs.

The injectors are operated, or actuated, in predetermined sequence by a hydraulic system which is timed, preferably in a conventional manner by a computer system, to move the rams, or plungers of each to result in a continuous flow of molten material from the distributor 18. The hydraulic system is conventional, and is operated by a pump 52 through a system which forces hydraulic fluid through check valve 54 through accumulator 56 into solenoid-operated, 3-way valves 58, 60 and 62 which serve injectors 64, 66 and 68 respectively. It is the solenoid valves which are operated in timed sequence, preferably by a computer, to allow hydraulic fluid to be supplied to the hydraulic cylinders of the injectors in predetermined timed sequence. Flow control values 70, 72 and 74 are placed in hydraulic lines 76, 78 and 80 which, in combination with bypasses 82, 84 and 86 respectively allow hydraulic fluid to pass under sufficient pressure to force the pistons of injectors 64, 66 and 66 in a direction to force molten thermoplastic material into molds 90, 92 and 94 respectively. Upon completion of the injection stroke of each, the solenoid valves are actuated to allow pressure of the molten material to push the rams back for refilling the cylinders. This is accomplished by the hydraulic fluid flowing back through the flow control valve bypasses.

Referring now to Figures 3 and 4, distributor 18 is shown having an inlet 100 and a plurality of outlets 102, 104, 106, 108, 110 and 112 for directing the flow of molten thermoplastic material to the individual molding machines. Distributor 18 may conveniently be what is sometimes called a distributor block, i.e., a solid block having a plurality of passages leading from inlet 100 to the outlets 102-112. The passages inside the distributor are gently curved to reduce the possibility of eddies occurring therein from the flow of material. Also, all the conduits leading from the supply to the molding machines are either straight or gently curved to reduce the possibility of eddies. Furthermore, the interior of the distributor and conduits is smooth. The distributor 18, as well as the conduits, may be heated if desired by using conventional heating means such as, for example, jackets provided with a heating material to keep the molten thermoplastic material at the desired temperature.

The molding machines may be conventional injection molding machines used to produce plastic parts. These machines are operated in a conventional manner by injecting a quantity of the molten thermoplastic material into the mold cavity, causing the molded article to solidify, and ejecting the molded article therefrom, after which the cycle is repeated. Handling of the molded article may be accomplished by conventional means well known to those skilled in the art, such as by a robot operating in a timed manner.

Referring now to figure 5, a diagram is illustrated wherein the position of the injector ram of each molding machine is shown, whereby substantially constant flow of the material is accomplished. As described previously, the rams are operated in a sequence determined by the hydraulic actuating system, preferably timed in a programmed manner. The diagram on the left and its code is shown for the cycle time of each of the nine molding machines. However, for simplicity, only 5 molding machines, one for every other on the cycle diagram, are illustrated in the diagrams on the right. Cycle time T is calculated from the formula T = (n x W x np) / (Q) where

n
= number of molding machines
W
= weight of each preform
np
= number of preforms per machine
Q
= total polymer flow rate in
when one machine is down, such as for maintenance, T is reduced and the cycle frequency increases to maintain a constant Q.

Typical tines are as follows:
  • Cycle Time = 22 sec.
  • Injection of Polymer into Mold - Ti = ∼ 1 sec.
  • Hold Cycle for Continuous Press During Preform Cooling - Th = ∼ (T-Ti) / (2)
  • Fill Cycle, Refilling Shot Cavity for Next Injection - Tf = ∼ (T-Ti) / (2)

The invention has been described in detail with particular reference to preferred embodiments thereof, but it will be understood that variations and modifications can be effected within scope of the invention.


Anspruch[de]
  1. Vorrichtung zur Herstellung von thermoplastischen Formkörpern, umfassend
    • a) Zufuhreinrichtungen, die eine kontinuierliche Zufuhr von geschmolzenem thermoplastischen Material ergeben,
    • b) einen Verteiler (18), der mit den Zufuhreinrichtungen zur Aufnahme von Material von ihnen verbunden ist,
    • c) Einrichtungen zum Einspeisen des Materials in den Verteiler unter Druck,
    • d) Leitungen (28, 30, 32), die den Verteiler mit Einlaßöffnungen einer Mehrzahl von Formvorrichtungen (34, 36, 38) verbinden, wobei die Leitungen so geformt sind, daß sie einen im wesentlichen nicht unterbrochenen Strom des Materials mit im wesentlichen gleicher Verweilzeit darin erlauben,
    • e) Einrichtungen (52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70, 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82, 84, 86), um jede der Formvorrichtungen in einer vorbestimmten, zeitlich festgelegten Reihenfolge in Gang setzen, um eine Charge des Materials aufzunehmen und zu einem Formkörper zu formen, so daß der Strom des Materials durch den Verteiler im wesentlichen konstant ist,
    • f) Einrichtungen zum Ausstoßen des Formkörpers und
    • g) Einrichtungen zum Wiederholen der Stufen e) und f) in Reihenfolge,

      dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß die Zufuhreinrichtung die kontinuierliche Zufuhr direkt von einer Polymerisation in Schmelze ergibt.
  2. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Zufuhrleitung mit einer Umgehungsleitung (22) versehen ist, die mit einer Pelletisiervorrichtung (26) verbunden ist, wodurch das Material zu ausgewählten Zeiten abgeleitet werden kann.
  3. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Material ein Polyester ist.
  4. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Formvorrichtung eine Spritzgußformvorrichtung ist.
  5. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Leitungen im wesentlichen gleich lang sind.
  6. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, ferner gekennzeichnet durch einen Mischer, der entlang der Einrichtungen zum Einspeisen und vor dem Verteiler angeordnet ist.
  7. Verfahren zur Herstellung von thermoplastischen Formkörpern, umfassend
    • a) Zuführen eines kontinuierlichen Einspeisstroms von geschmolzenem thermoplastischen Material,
    • b) Verteilen des kontinuierlichen Einspeisstroms zu Einlaßöffnungen einer Mehrzahl von Formvorrichtungen (34, 36, 38) durch Leitungen (28, 30, 32), die so geformt sind, daß sie einen im wesentlichen nicht unterbrochenen Strom des Materials mit im wesentlichen gleicher Verweilzeit darin erlauben,
    • c) Öffnen der Einlaßöffnungen (64, 66, 68) jeder der Formvorrichtungen in einer vorbestimmten Reihenfolge, um eine Charge des Materials aufzunehmen, wobei der Strom des Materials durch den Verteiler (18) im wesentlichen konstant ist,
    • d) Formen eines oder mehrerer Formkörper in mindestens zwei der Mehrzahl von Formvorrichtungen und
    • e) Ausstoßen jedes der Formkörper, nachdem er geformt ist,

      wobei das Verfahren dadurch gekennzeichnet ist, daß der kontinuierliche Einspeisstrom von geschmolzenem thermoplastischen Material direkt von einer Polymerisation in Schmelze zugeführt wird.
  8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, wobei die Leitungen im wesentlichen gleich lang sind.
  9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, ferner dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß das geschmolzene thermoplastische Material unmittelbar vor dem Verteilen vermischt wird.
Anspruch[en]
  1. Apparatus for producing molded thermoplastic articles comprising
    • a) supply means forming a continuous supply of molten thermoplastic material
    • b) a distributor (18) connected to said supply means for receiving said material therefrom
    • c) means for feeding said material to said distributor under pressure
    • d) conduits (28, 30, 32) connecting said distributor to intakes of a plurality of molding machines (34, 36, 38), said conduits being shaped to allow substantially uninterrupted flow of said material with substantially equal residence time therethrough,
    • e) means (52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70, 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82, 84, 86) for actuating each of the molding machines in a predetermined timed sequence to accept a charge of the material and form it into a molded article such that the flow of material through the distributor is substantially constant,
    • f) means for ejecting said molded article and
    • g) means for repeating steps e) and f) in sequence,

      characterized in that the supply means forms the continuous supply directly from melt polymerization.
  2. Apparatus of claim 1 wherein the supply conduit is provided with a bypass conduit (22) which is connected to a pelletizer (26), whereby said material may be diverted at selected times.
  3. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said material is a polyester.
  4. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said molding machine is an injection molding machine.
  5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said conduits are of substantially equal length.
  6. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized by a mixer disposed along said means for feeding and prior to said distributor.
  7. Method for producing molded thermoplastic articles comprising
    • a) supplying a continuous feed of molten thermoplastic material
    • b) distributing said continuous feed to the intakes of a plurality of molding machines (34, 36, 38) through conduits (28, 30, 32) shaped to allow substantially uninterrupted flow of said material with substantially equal residence times therethrough,
    • c) opening the intakes (64, 66, 68) of each of said molding machines in a predetermined sequence to accept a charge of said material, wherein the flow of said material through said distributor (18) is substantially constant,
    • d) molding one or more articles in at least two of said plurality of molding machines and
    • e) ejecting each of said articles after it is molded, wherein the method is characterized in that the continuous feed of molten thermoplastic material is supplied directly from melt polymerization.
  8. The method of claim 7 wherein conduits are of substantially equal length.
  9. The method of claim 7 further characterized by mixing said molten thermoplastic material just prior to distributing.
Anspruch[fr]
  1. Appareil pour produire des produits thermoplastiques moulés comprenant
    • a) des moyens d'apport formant un apport continu de matière thermoplastique fondue
    • b) un distributeur (18) relié auxdits moyens d'apport pour en recevoir ladite matière
    • c) des moyens pour introduire ladite matière dans ledit distributeur sous pression
    • d) des conduits (28, 30, 32) reliant ledit distributeur aux entrées d'une pluralité de machines de moulage (34, 36, 38), lesdits conduits étant configurés pour permettre un courant sensiblement ininterrompu de ladite matière avec un temps de séjour sensiblement identique dans ceux-ci,
    • e) des moyens (52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70, 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82, 84, 86) pour actionner chacune des machines de moulage en une séquence cadencée prédéterminée pour accepter une charge de la matière et pour la mettre sous forme d'un produit moulé de manière que le courant de matière dans le distributeur soit sensiblement constant,
    • f) des moyens pour éjecter ledit produit moulé et
    • g) des moyens pour répéter les étapes e) et f) en séquence,

      caractérisé en ce que les moyens d'apport forment l'apport continu directement à partir de la polymérisation à l'état fondu.
  2. Appareil selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le conduit d'apport est muni d'un conduit de dérivation (22) qui est relié à une pastilleuse (26) de sorte que ladite matière peut être déviée à des moments choisis.
  3. Appareil selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ladite matière est un polyester.
  4. Appareil selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ladite machine de moulage est une machine de moulage par injection.
  5. Appareil selon la revendication 1, dans lequel lesdits conduits sont de longueur sensiblement identique.
  6. Appareil selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en outre par un mélangeur disposé au niveau desdits moyens d'introduction et avant ledit distributeur.
  7. Procédé de production de produits thermoplastiques moulés comprenant
    • a) l'apport d'une charge continue de matière thermoplastique fondue,
    • b) la distribution de ladite charge continue aux entrées d'une pluralité de machines de moulage (34, 36, 38) par des conduits (28, 30, 32) configurés pour permettre un courant sensiblement ininterrompu de ladite matière avec des temps de séjour sensiblement identiques dans ceux-ci,
    • c) l'ouverture des entrées (64, 66, 68) de chacune desdites machines de moulage en une séquence prédéterminée pour accepter une charge de ladite matière, où le courant de ladite matière dans ledit distributeur (18) est sensiblement constant,
    • d) le moulage d'un ou plusieurs produits dans au moins deux machines de ladite pluralité de machines de moulage et
    • e) l'éjection de chacun desdits produits après qu'il a été moulé, où le procédé est caractérisé en ce que la charge continue de matière thermoplastique fondue est fournie directement à partir de la polymérisation à l'état fondu.
  8. Procédé selon la revendication 7, dans lequel les conduits sont de longueur sensiblement identique.
  9. Procédé selon la revendication 7, caractérisé en outre par le mélange de ladite matière thermoplastique fondue juste avant la distribution.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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