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Technical Articles

First-hand knowledge

From many laboratory tests and developments over the years, and especially in close cooperation with customers, we know about the high efficiency of PVD coatings in numerous applications. Our technical articles provide you with expert background information on which coatings are best suited for which applications. PVD coatings are the ideal and sustainable alternative to significantly improve the performance and lifetime of precision components and service life of tools for the metal and plastics processing industry.

The patented RotaricE²® technology for injection molding is characterized by maximum compactness and efficiency. Its designer, Braunform, an innovation driver in precision mold making, has combined several production steps for its cleanroom mold, as the production example of pharmaceutical caps shows. Coatings from their long-standing partner Oerlikon Balzers ensure lubricant-free operation with this technology in a small space.

Braunform, based in Bahlingen at the foot of the Kaiserstuhl in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, has made a name for itself as a leading global partner in plastic mold making, particularly with the aim of increasing production efficiency and reducing costs. The RotaricE²® mold concept, which combines two-component injection molding with servo technology and component assembly in a very small space, impressively achieves this goal and saves the customer time, money, installation space and production area. In this way, the ready-to-use tool does the work of two injection molds and machines, as well as an assembly line to put the individual parts together.

What this means in practice becomes clear in the production of Luer connectors, delicate two-component caps for the pharmaceutical industry. Braunform designed a 4+4 cavity mold that was used as a demonstration for later production molds with up to 64+64 cavities. Its special feature is the multi-component injection mold, combining the two-components core-back function, Luer capping and unscrewing with servo-electric drives in a very small space.

Smooth operation with three high-performance coatings
The overall design is cleanroom compatible. The proven MED Mold® concept is therefore used. Since 2010, Braunform has been using and further developing this concept for pharmaceutical customers in its own cleanroom production in nearby Endingen. In cleanroom manufacturing, low friction coatings are an important component for reducing grease and emissions. They help to ensure the largely lubricant-free operation of moving parts in the mold. "Pharmaceutical and medical products must not be contaminated during production under any circumstances. That's why high-performance coatings are essential," says Reinhard Steger, Senior Business Development Manager at Braunform.

The company relies on three coatings from its long-standing partner Oerlikon Balzers: the DLC (diamond-like-carbon) coating BALINIT DYLYN as corrosion protection with its non-sticking properties, especially for the system with sliding elements; the very smooth, scratch-resistant S3p layer BALIQ CRONOS for better demolding, shaping elements and contours; and the BALITHERM PRIMEFORM diffusion process for mold surface hardening.

"A partner who speaks our language"
"We use coatings mainly from Oerlikon for almost every tool," emphasizes Nico Kramer, Head of Production Planning at Braunform. He explains why: "Oerlikon has an extremely broad, FDA-compliant coating portfolio for virtually all applications. Oerlikon is an innovative company and the people we work with are experts and speak our language. And very important, our elaborately manufactured parts are treated with the utmost care. Coating is the last step in the process chain, where all the costs incurred before are at stake. Oerlikon meets all our requirements."

In the pharmaceutical industry, an injection mold must run reliably for up to 15 years, with volumes in the tens of millions. Sometimes an expansion or replacement is required, and it must be 100% identical to the previous tool. With this in mind, Braunform produces between 100 and 130 molds per year, setting the bar at the top of the industry. This is what RotaricE²® stands for. And what Oerlikon stands for with its surface solutions.

Injection mold

Based on RotaricE²®, Braunform offers injection molds with up to 64+64 cavities, shown here an example with 48+48 cavities. / Image: Braunform

Reinhard Steger and Nico Kramer from Braunform and customer consultant Ronald Baumhöfer from Oerlikon

(From left to right:) Reinhard Steger and Nico Kramer from Braunform and customer consultant Ronald Baumhöfer from Oerlikon inspect a guide column coated with the new, rainbow-colored BALINIT MAYURA from Oerlikon Balzers. / Image: Braunform

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    Technical article - Smooth production in the cleanroom


Petra Ammann

Petra Ammann

Head of Communications Oerlikon Balzers

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