The production of plastic toys requires strict attention to details. Accuracy and precision are essential in order to meet standards and ensure that each output conforms to strict requirements. For toys that are made to resemble real-life models, the design and production processes are as intricate and complex that highly efficient machines are put to task
BRUDER Spielwaren was founded by Paul Bruder, who started producing brass tongues for toy manufacturers in 1926. Today, the company employs 490 associates at its headquarters in Fürth, plus another 120 at its facility in Plzeň, Czech Republic, which was built in 2015. Its first plastic parts were already produced in 1958. Today, BRUDER delivers its high-quality toys suitable for children from 2 years upwards to more than 60 countries worldwide. About 25% of its sales are realised in the Central European German-speaking area, mainly in Germany. Other major markets are France, Italy, the Netherlands, Eastern Europe, Japan and Korea. In the USA, the company operates its own sales subsidiary.
Toy models made by BRUDER are designed to help children understand the functions of real-life objects by playing with them. Special attention is paid to a well-balanced combination of easy-to-handle playing functions with simultaneous model consistency and greatest possible stability. With its high-quality products, BRUDER ranks among the leading manufacturers of toy vehicles for children in Europe.
BRUDER toys stand out by their excellent quality and accurate details. For example, real appliances and vehicles of world-famous brands are reproduced as toy models on a scale of 1:16. The products are mostly assembled without auxiliaries such as screws or adhesives. Only the wheels are pressed onto the vehicle axes by metal rods. Otherwise, only plug-in connections are used. The sturdy wheels of the vehicles are produced partly from TPE by way of 2K injection moulding, which makes it possible to achieve the desired similarity to the original. At the same time, this enhances the play value, since the wheels make considerably less noise when played with than hard plastic tyres.
Apart from innovative strength and plastics technology expertise, BRUDER places great emphasis on resources management in the interest of a sustainable economy. An internal recycling circuit and energy-efficient production processes, combined with a range of about 800 spare part sets for repair to BRUDER toys prove the company’s ecological sense of responsibility. In addition to in-house recycling of sprue and rejects using two granulators operating in the company’s basement to do the job, a continuous search for further opportunities to save energy is ongoing. Another contribution to sustainable management practices is the company’s preference given to cooperation with local partners.
Multi-component injection moulding system
BRUDER uses a great variety of different technologies to make its plastic toys, such as the internal gas pressure process, which offers the advantages of reducing the toys’ weight and saving material input as well. BRUDER also makes use of multi-component technology right up to 5-component injection moulding. This enables the production of parts consisting of several different materials and/or in several colours by a single injection moulding process.
BRUDER’s most important criteria for injection moulding machines are high precision, reliability, stability, energy efficiency and a small footprint as well. Bernd Klemm, Department Manager of Injection Moulding, comments: “Energy efficiency is gaining increasingly in significance; space is another important resource. This is why the machine’s footprint is also such an important buying argument for us.” Apart from the machine itself, the supplier’s after sales service is another vital point, in order to ensure the equipment’s availability at any time.
Since 2020, BRUDER Spielwaren, based in Fürth, Germany, has been manufacturing high-quality plastic toys with injection moulding machines from WITTMANN BATTENFELD. The positive experience of BRUDER Spielwaren with WITTMANN in the area of robots and handling systems, in which the two companies have already been cooperating for more than 20 years, prompted BRUDER to install a first injection moulding machine from WITTMANN’s servo-hydraulic SmartPower series in 2020.
Five more have been added in 2022. Of the six machines, with clamping forces ranging from 600 to 1,600 kN, two are equipped with a WS80 servo picker from WITTMANN, and a SmartPower 60 was delivered as an Insider cell with a WITTMANN Primus 14 robot. In addition to the robot, a conveyor belt and the protective housing are also integrated in the cell, which makes the entire system extremely compact. Moreover, one of the machines is fitted with a hot embossing system.
The SmartPower series has a modular design. The machine is extremely versatile and lends itself to many special processes. The powerful control unit Unilog B8 offers various possibilities of process control and documentation. The machines feature a very small footprint, thanks to their highly compact, extremely rigid 3-platen design. They are space-saving and features low-noise servomotor. A generously dimensioned mould mounting area and low-maintenance linear guides are further highlights of the SmartPower.
In addition to their compact design and user-friendliness, the machines of the SmartPower series stand out primarily by their intelligent, economical use of energy. Their high level of energy efficiency is mainly due to the combination of a fast-response, speed-controlled, air-cooled servo motor with a sturdy constant displacement pump, known as the “drive-on-demand” system. In this system, the drive unit is only active as long as required for movements and pressure generation.
During cooling times and cycle breaks for parts handling, the servo drive remains switched off and consumes no energy.
Production Manager Sönke Haverich confirms: “Our experience with the machines delivered so far has been all positive. The machines take up little space and meet all our demands in terms of precision and speed.”
- This article also appears in the International Plastics News for Asia - October issue. To read the complete issue, click here.
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