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Moulded to perfection

 

Let your eyes wander for a moment. You probably don’t even need to move your head to see a plastic artefact whether it’s a pen, cup, light switch or keyboard. Every day and everywhere we are surrounded by hundreds, maybe thousands of plastic objects and virtually all of them are created the same way: by plastic injection moulding.

The injection moulding process

In short, injection moulding is a process by which plastic granules are heated and then injected under high pressure into a mould cavity where it cools and hardens to the cavity’s configuration. After the part has solidified, the mould opens ejecting the moulded part.

This exacting work is done by dedicated companies like Precical, which is located in the town of Hermalle-sous-Argenteau in Belgium. The company is run by the son of the founder, and specialises in the conception and realization of high precision moulds for plastic, aluminium and magnesium injection. In addition, it manufactures mechanical parts, extrusion dies and special machines, amongst other endeavours. “Using injection moulding we create products from A to Z; from engineering to end product injection,” says Eric Troupin, Precical Director.

Mould making history

Soon after Precical set up its metal stamping workshop in 1975, operations expanded into mould making, which required a whole range of machining tools. “There was only one manufacturer of conical HSS tools at the time: Jabro, a Dutch company, and it became Precical’s main supplier back in the late seventies,” says Lahoucine Akechtabou, Product Specialist for Seco solid end mills.

When Jabro switched to manufacturing solid carbide tools, Precical was eager to take advantage of this breakthrough, which tripled cutting speeds. And another significant step was made when Seco became Precical’s supplier of inserts. In 2002 Seco acquired the Jabro brand, and since then the matter of tooling is a one-stop-shopping affair for Precical. “We have tried others,” says Christophe Cagnina, Technical Engineer at Precical. “But time and again, Seco gives the best value for money.”

Today Precical manufactures products used in a variety of industries including medical and pharmaceutical, electronics, electricity, automotive, aerospace, defence, packaging and food to name a few. While these industries seem diverse and dissimilar, they have one thing in common: they all use products that require high precision moulds.

Seco making hard material cutting possible

Thanks to Seco, Precical also succeeded in implementing high speed machining (HSM) technologies at its facility, allowing the company to machine hard materials with smaller cutting tools and long life times. “Earlier, machining 45-47 HRC hardened steels was a challenge,” says Troupin. “Nowadays, it is normal to machine steels with hardness between 54 and 64 HRC, thanks to the technology evolution and services of Seco.”

It is this dedication that Troupin feels sets his company apart from its competitors: “In this business, it is difficult to compete against emerging countries on pricing matters. Service, quality, proximity, engineering and know-how make the difference. So, in all our activities, we are investing in the best technology, tools and cutting tools required for the satisfaction of demanding customers.”

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