E-novation: Efficiency & Innovation. This will be the motto employed by ENGEL AUSTRIA at Fakuma 2012, which takes place in Friedrichshafen from 16th–20th October. At the trade fair, the company plans to use 10 highly integrated and automated manufacturing cells to show how innovative technologies and machine concepts can maximise efficiency potentials and secure the greatest possible competitive advantage. For ENGEL, attending Fakuma 2012 will be like playing a home game: the company will open a new site near Stuttgart to serve the southwest of Germany.
ENGEL likes to get close to its customers – and at Fakuma, it will have no less than six points of contact. Visitors to hall A5, stand 5204 at the trade fair will discover five exhibits as well as Expert Corners. The company will also be presenting its new ENGEL e-mac range in the east foyer, with four more exhibits appearing on the stands of ENGEL partners Oni-Wärmetrafo (A5–5103), Lenzkes Spanntechnik (A2–2309), Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT (B2–2104) and Hekuma (A7–7305).
ENGEL e-mac is ENGEL AUSTRIA's latest answer to the maximum precision required for the production of technical parts. The machines in the new range are all-electric and produce ultra-precise results. They are also fully modular and extremely efficient – attributes that will be demonstrated at Fakuma by an ENGEL e-mac 310/100 machine with viper 6 robot, which will produce wine bottle stoppers from polypropylene and liquid silicone at the ENGEL stand in hall A5. The innovative nature of the machine is matched by its range of applications: for the first time, it is possible to process liquid silicone together with polypropylene via multi-component injection moulding. This is thanks to a new low-temperature process that utilises UV vulcanisation, which ENGEL and its mould production partner Elmet of Oftering in Austria have used to pave the way for new multi-component technology applications. Since silicone rubbers generally vulcanise at high temperatures, it has not been possible – until now – to combine them with temperature-sensitive thermoplastics such as polypropylene in a multi-component process. By contrast, new types of silicone (an area in which ENGEL collaborates with Momentive Performance Materials) vulcanise at room temperature with exposure to light in the ultraviolet wavelength range. To make use of this property in the field of injection moulding, Elmet developed cavity inserts in the injection mould that are permeable to light.
UV vulcanisation also enhances the overall efficiency of the multi-component process: the new procedure requires considerably less energy than conventional LSR processing and results in shorter cycle times.
Maximum precision, brilliant results
During Fakuma, ENGEL automotive will focus on energy efficiency and very high finish quality requirements. In partnership with the client Gerhardi (based at Ibbenbüren in Germany), ENGEL will produce trim rings for BMW radiator grilles using an ENGEL duo 2550/500 pico. Gerhardi specialises in high-gloss trim elements for vehicle interiors and exteriors, and operates one of the largest electroplating plants in Europe.
Galvanisation of plastic parts starkly reveals even the tiniest surface defects. Gerhardi has significantly reduced its number of rejects in recent years thanks to the high precision and process stability of ENGEL duo machines. Various machine features contribute towards this, for example, high-precision injection process control for the filling phase, holding pressure and the switchover to holding pressure, temperature control and water distribution (electronically monitored by ENGEL flomo) and a high degree of automation. An ENGEL viper 20 linear robot will remove the components from the mould at the trade fair.
All duo machines used by Gerhardi (and the machine on display at the trade fair) are equipped with ENGEL ecodrive servo hydraulics. The potential for further savings by insulating the barrel will be highlighted as well.
Aside from conserving energy, the manufacturing cell also saves space: thanks to dual platen technology, ENGEL duo machines have a much more compact design than other units with similar clamping force. Moreover, the conveyor belt requires hardly any extra space as it is integrated into the machine's safety gate.
Efficient integration with a small footprint
A striking feature of the manufacturing cell used to produce housings for moisture-proof lamps under the MOLD’n SEAL process is the minimal footprint of the plant. The housings will be injected using polycarbonate on an ENGEL victory 1350/300 tech injection moulding machine, with a polyurethane sealing bead affixed immediately afterwards. In this application, an ENGEL easix multi-axis robot will showcase the high stability and reproducibility of its movements by affixing the sealing bead on the root of the sealing groove, which is just millimetres wide. The robot will then place the housing on a discharge belt. The entire manufacturing cell – including the PUR system, robot and conveyor belt – occupies an extremely compact space of just 24 square metres, which is not much bigger than the injection moulding machine itself. The robot operates above the conveyor belt; thanks to the tie-bar-less clamping unit, it can be placed very close to the machine, accessing the mould room directly and without hindrance.
ENGEL will also realise this exhibit through collaboration with system partners: the mould is from Zumtobel Lighting of Dornbirn in Austria while the MOLD’n SEAL process, which combines injection moulding and foam sealing (two previously separate processes) into a single production stage in the interests of efficiency and product quality, was developed by Sonderhoff of Cologne/Germany. Thanks to the very short hardening times of the Sonderhoff Chemicals sealant (2-3 minutes), components can then be processed very quickly. Integrating the two processes precludes the need for expensive intermediate storage of injection moulded parts and also reduces investment costs. The foam sealing takes place during the injection moulding process in tandem with the phases of the injection moulding machine. A total of 523 lamp housings will be produced over an eight-hour shift with a cycle time of 55 seconds.
The ENGEL victory 1350/300 tech injection moulding machine is equipped with the ENGEL ecodrive energy saving servohydraulics Depending on the application and machine type, hydraulic ENGEL victory injection moulding machines fitted with an ecodrive offer energy savings of up to 70 percent compared to conventional machines without an energy-saving option. As a result, they achieve consumption levels on a par with those of all-electric machines, mainly thanks to reductions in energy loss: drives are only active when the machine is actually required to move.
Barrier function for a significantly longer food shelf-life
The focus of the Packaging section of the exhibition is on innovative thin-wall technology with a barrier function thanks to multiple component injection moulding. ENGEL is using an all-electric ENGEL e-motion 310H/50V/180 T combi injection moulding machine to demonstrate the production of food packaging with very thin wall thicknesses.
The special feature here is that the intermediate layer of EVOH acts as a barrier to prevent oxygen entering the centre of the packaging. This allows for huge increases in food shelf-life of up to ten times the normal shelf-life. The high-precision, all-electric injection units in the ENGEL e-motion model range guarantee that the barrier layer is reliably implemented up to the edge; an additional camera system ensures 100 percent quality control. Another major benefit of this system is the fact that the container is manufactured in a single process without requiring any finishing steps.
The 2-cavity mould by Otto Hofstetter (Uznach/Switzerland) in this application is provided by ENGEL customer ZAO Mir Upakovki, which is based in Sertolovo near St. Petersburg/Russia. Part take-off is handled by a speed model of the ENGEL viper 12 robot, the fastest robot in its load bearing class in international benchmarks. The extremely fast take-off times help the plant to achieve maximum productivity.
Higher throughput, lower unit costs
Medical technology applications demand a particularly high level of expertise in system solutions. With its own clean room (and thus a range of clean room machine concepts), ENGEL medical has amassed many years' experience and a great deal of clean room expertise. System solutions for the sector are thus supplied inclusive of full GMP documentation on request.
At the Fakuma fair, an ENGEL e-motion 80H/80W/180 T WP combi featuring a clean room design will produce parts for auto-injectors via two-component injection moulding in a servo-electric 16+16-cavity index plate mould from Hack Formenbau of Kirchheim unter Teck in Germany. An ENGEL easix multi-axis industrial robot fully integrated into the injection moulding machine's CC 200 control unit will remove the parts and place them on a GMP-compatible conveyor belt. The project partner for the application is the Swedish medical device manufacturer SHL (Scandinavian Health).
Multi-component applications and highly integrated processes in medical technology have been the exception until recently, but the sector is making up ground fast as pressure on costs increases. For the same reason, there is also a trend towards larger, electric injection moulding machines that can accept moulds with more cavities.
ENGEL e-motion in new clamping force ranges
To tailor the machines in the all-electric ENGEL e-motion range even more closely to the requirements of its customers in future, ENGEL is expanding the series in the mid-sized machines segment. The machines will be available in five rather than four sizes: 55, 110, 160, 220 and 280 tons of clamping force. Machines with 220 tons are already available, with a version offering 160 tons of clamping force deliverable from the end of 2012. With immediate effect, the e-motion 110 will replace the 100-ton version.
For clients requiring higher clamping forces, ENGEL offers hybrid injection moulding machines with electric injection units. ENGEL is the only European producer of injection moulding machines that supplies electric machines with clamping force of up to 700 tons to address the various needs of specific sectors.
From excellent-value standard to custom tailoring
All manufacturing cells at the ENGEL stand will be equipped with conveyor belts developed and produced in-house. The new generation of XFB conveyor belts will also be unveiled for the first time. A high degree of modularity and standardisation has enabled ENGEL to improve the price-performance ratio of its standard conveyor belts. As part of a system solution, conveyor belts are fully integrated into the guarding of an injection moulding machine; as a result, hardly any extra space is required.
GMP-compatible conveyor belts, which significantly enhance process reliability in medical engineering, are also new to the ENGEL range. Until recently, many conveyor belt systems for clean rooms had been based on standard solutions. Although these systems meet the visual needs of manufacturers in the medical engineering sector with their stainless steel frames and white belts, they are often identified as causing contamination; angled conveyors, where the belt changes direction several times, are especially problematic. Rather than have a single belt that redirects in this way, ENGEL solutions combine several straight conveyor belts to minimise abrasion and particulate emissions. The drive rollers are constructed in such a way that the conveyor belt automatically centres itself with no additional fittings. Only enclosed drum motors in stainless steel are used in the premium version.
ENGEL developed the GMP-compatible conveyor belts available in the premium and economy versions in partnership with clients in the medical technology field before testing and verifying the new concept in its own clean room. The company thereby demonstrated that abrasion was minimal and particulate emissions were well below the acceptability level, even during prolonged use.
ENGEL offers a wide range of accessories for its conveyor belts, including funnels, parts monitoring and speed regulation systems. Custom-made conveyor belt solutions are also realised for specific applications.
Successful ENGEL viper range expanded
All of the manufacturing cells presented at Fakuma will feature high levels of process integration as well as automation. Both ENGEL viper linear machines and ENGEL easix multi-axis robots will be used. In the case of easix – for which the system partner is Stäubli Tec-Systems of Bayreuth in Germany – ENGEL is heralding a new era in user-friendly robot operation: full integration of the robot control unit in the CC 200 control unit of the ENGEL injection moulding machine means that even multi-axis industrial robots can now be operated using the familiar simple commands of the injection moulding machine control system. Many tasks that previously required the involvement of a programmer can now be performed by the machine operator, which speeds up commissioning and mould changes and increases the availability of systems.
The top end of the ENGEL viper range is being extended at Fakuma. The fair sees the launch of the ENGEL viper 120, representing a new dimension in linear robotics with a mould take-off stroke of 3000 mm and a reach of 3550 mm. The robot, with its nominal load bearing capacity of 120 kg is the largest in its competitive field.
ENGEL comes to Baden-Württemberg
Those visiting the Fakuma trade fair from Baden-Württemberg will also be informed about ENGEL's new branch in Wurmberg. The ENGEL Deutschland GmbH Technologieforum Stuttgart will be ENGEL AUSTRIA's fourth location in Germany after Nuremberg, Hagen and Hanover, although its focus will distinguish it from the other subsidiaries. “As a technological forum, we will be concentrating on innovations and the trends of the future”, emphasises Claus Wilde, who will switch from ENGEL’s base in Nuremberg to head the new site in Stuttgart. “As well as providing customers with a technical and training centre in their vicinity, we will aim to act as an information and communications hub for the injection moulding industry in the south of Germany.” In this vein, the ENGEL Germany Technologieforum in Stuttgart is launching a series of events in January that will continue the Fakuma "E-novation" motto. Besides hands-on training on the topic of energy efficiency, tooling workshops, multiple-component forums and a medical technology conference are planned.
Germany is the most important market for ENGEL, and market share has risen steadily over recent years. The new structure in Germany will enable ENGEL to keep pace with expansion while serving its clients in the southwest of the country even more effectively.