All-electric injection molding machines are quickly gaining ground for high-performance and fast running applications in the packaging industry. Along with a high degree of process integration, these are the future of molding for the packaging industry. During NPE2012, ENGEL North America will demonstrate how to use these trends to increase cost efficiency and competitiveness. NPE2012 will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, USA, with machine exhibits open from April 2nd to 5th.
It’s not about individual machines and robots. Intelligent system solutions take center stage at the ENGEL booth 943 in the West Hall. Two manufacturing cells for the packaging industry will be displayed, demonstrating the current industry challenges: highest throughput rate at lowest unit costs on the one hand, and the efficient production of attractively decorated thin-walled products on the other.
Thin-walled lids for newly developed ice cream containers are being produced by an all-electric ENGEL e-motion 740H/310W/200 T US combi injection molding machine using two-component injection molding and in-mold-labeling (IML). Once the label is inserted into the mold, the cover is injected from clear polypropylene. Immediately following, a colored edge – also from polypropylene – is added as a second shot in the same mold. In series production, the color used varies depending on the type of ice cream: a red edge for strawberry ice cream, a yellow one for banana. "The two-component injection molding, combined with IML, allows packaging manufacturers to easily switch from one type of ice cream to another," says Walter Jungwirth, ENGEL Global Business Development Manager at the headquarters in Schwertberg/Austria. "This process makes it possible to produce even small batches in a highly economical way."
The manufacturing cell is fully automated. ENGEL's system partner H. Müller from Conthey/Switzerland is in charge of the IML robot and the mold.
All-electric and energy-saving – a champion to beat accumulator machines
For the second exhibit by the ENGEL Business Unit packaging, it's all about speed. The all-electric ENGEL e-cap 3440/460 US injection molding machine uses a 96-cavity mold, with an hourly production rate of almost 130,000 HDPE water bottle caps. This output is achieved by operating at a cycle time of 2.7 seconds. “All-electric injection molding machines are constantly gaining in importance, above all in the field of high-performance and fast running applications," stresses Walter Jungwirth. “Cycle times of less than 3 seconds and injection speeds of 450 mm per second can be realized.” Until now, this performance class was dominated by energy-intensive accumulator machines, though this will change as the high precision, low energy all-electrics prove themselves.
The ENGEL e-cap is based on the tried and trusted all-electric ENGEL e-motion machines, and developed to address the specific needs of cap and closure production. Designed to achieve maximum output and process stability, the all-electric injection molding machine is able to save energy and cooling water requirements at the same time. The machine bridges this challenging gap thanks to its all-electric drive technology, combined with a series of sophisticated features, such as the latest powerful, premium quality injection unit, increased ejector force and a reinforced clamping drive. Compared to a hydraulic machine, the ENGEL e-cap reduces energy consumption by more than 40 percent. Delivering clamping force of between 100 and 420 tons, the e-cap is available across a comprehensive range of sizes.
For NPE2012, the machine is equipped with a camera and image processing system supplied by IMDvista, Brügg/Switzerland – for 100 percent quality control. Other ENGEL system partners for this exhibit are mold manufacturer Plastisud from Castelnaudary/France and raw material producer Borealis from Vienna/Austria.
A single source to make full use of efficiency potentials
"In the field of caps and closures, plastic material will continue to reign," says Jungwirth, explaining the great potential of the ENGEL e-cap line. "Additionally, an increasing number of new cap and closure concepts will reach the market." To provide maximum support for customers – in existing, newly developed, and future concepts for packaging -- ENGEL has consolidated its packaging industry know-how and project experience in a separate division. ENGEL packaging. The ENGEL packaging team combines engineering know-how and experience, and aligns its machines and system solutions to precisely meet the needs of this high-performance industry.
Throughout the world, ENGEL is a one-stop source for turn-key solutions tailored to the respective industry and the customers' needs – from injection molding machines through to automation, mold project engineering, training and services. "Efficiency potential can be developed only when all system components interlink perfectly”, says Mark Sankovitch, President ENGEL North America in York. For this reason, ENGEL is always responsible for the overall system, including areas implemented jointly with system partners.
ENGEL makes the difference – at NPE 2012: Hall A, West building, booth 943