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We have put together a selection of impressions from this year's trend.scaut. More than 500 participants accepted the invitation to attend the international automotive conference in Linz and St. Valentin at the end of June.
The list of attendees at the ENGEL trend.scaut 2017 reads like a who’s who of the international automobile industry. More than 500 development and production managers, managing directors, and market analysts accepted the invitation to attend the international automotive conference in Linz and St. Valentin at the end of June. They discussed trends and challenges, were introduced to innovative technologies, and jointly developed new visions of the future. For some time now, trend.scaut has held a leading position among the networking events for decision-makers in the automotive industry.
Electromobility, autonomous driving, connectivity and car-sharing are among the major trends that are set to fundamentally change demands on vehicles and consequently on how they are manufactured in the coming decade. All the speakers and guests at ENGEL trend.scaut 2017 agreed on one thing: It will only be possible to meet the new challenges successfully if companies at every stage of the value chain start to work together even more closely, combining their know-how. From raw materials to processing to subsequent recycling, this is the only way to allow the most diverse technologies to seamlessly dovetail into each other.
The talks and panel discussions on the first day of the event in the Design Centre in Linz reflected this interdisciplinary approach. The speakers came from Audi and Volvo, Sabic, BASF and voestalpine Metal Forming, Kreisel Electric and ENGEL, Magna, Continental and Yanfeng, McKinsey and LMC, among others.
The second day of the event in the ENGEL large-scale machine manufacturing plant in St. Valentin had a very practical focus. Interior components, instrument panel carriers and composite components were produced in five highly integrated and automated production cells. Together with its partners, ENGEL used these parts to demonstrate innovative technologies that have great future potential. DecoJect, in-situ polymerisation, highly automated HP-RTM or injection-compression moulding – all the example applications showed how the highest standards of component quality and stability can be combined with great efficiency for automotive series production. In lightweight construction in particular, cost pressure is one of the biggest drivers behind the development of new processes. The ENGEL Centre for Lightweight Composite Technologies at the company’s site in St. Valentin intends to reduce the time it takes to introduce innovative technologies on the market. A good example is in-situ polymerisation of ε-caprolactam to produce thermoplastic fibre-reinforced carrier structures with subsequent functionalisation by injection moulding. With the automated production cell presented during the event, ENGEL and its partners have created the basis for automotive series production.
Since 2009, the injection moulding machine manufacturer ENGEL has regularly invited the automotive and its supplier industry to trend.scaut, and for the past three years the conference has alternated between different continents. The next dates are 2018 in Shanghai, China, and 2019 in Detroit, USA, before it will return in 2020 to be hosted in Austria.
DecoJect® - Moulding and designing in one step
One of the innovations we will be presenting on the duo 1000 is the process integration for working with DecoJect® foils: The combination of injection moulding with IMG (in-mould graining), straight from the roll to the mould. In contrast to the conventional IMD process, the formed foil remains in the mould and can be directly injected. The use of a vacuum-capable nickel bowl allows for beautifully designed grain surfaces. At trend.scaut, you will witness how efficiently the continuous process integration can produce an interior car door panel, with all its advanced product characteristics, in only 70 seconds.
The integration of MuCell® technology is another important efficiency factor. Foam injection moulding reduces the weight of components as well as the consumption of raw materials and energy, while still delivering low-warpage, dimensionally stable parts.
At trend.scaut, the exhibition application will run on an ENGEL duo 5160/1000 injection moulding machine with a roll-to-roll unit. With its competence in the area of automation, ENGEL is making a significant contribution to the high efficiency and flexibility of the procedure. An ENGEL viper linear robot and an ENGEL easix six-axis robot will be handling the components. Together with the laser station for the fine-trimming of the foil, the ENGEL easix has been integrated into an extremely compact area within an ENGEL easicell.
Manufacturing of a hollow component using HP-RTM
In cooperation with Hennecke and KTM Technologies, ENGEL is showing samples from the automated production of a motorcycle license plate frame for the KTM 1290 Superduke R. The complex shape of the fibre-reinforced hollow component achieves a significant increase in performance, with extremely impressive weight savings of more than 60 percent compared to the current production component. As part of "Project R.A.C.E." (Reaction Application for Composite Evolution), various industry partners have made a decisive step toward the industrialisation of the so-called CAVUS technology by KTM Technologies, which will allow, in future, even complex fibre-reinforced hollow components to be manufactured using an automated high-pressure RTM process. These components can be utilised in many other integrally produced fibre-reinforced hollow components such as structural parts, or even monocoque geometries. CAVUS refers to the process chain from the production of the core and manufacturing of the preforms using carbon fibres in braided technology, to the HP-RTM process and the release of the core material.
The HP-RTM process is shown. It begins with the automated insertion of the prefabricated preform into the HP-RTM mould by a robot. Next, the ENGEL elast 400 closes the mould and the injection process begins. The dosing machine plays an important part in this. The Hennecke STREAMLINE allows for the precise and rapid injection of the raw material. The entire curing process requires only 125 seconds. The robot then removes the component from the mould.
From dry fibre preform to fully functionalised, thermoplastic fibre-reinforced component
In situ polymerisation of ε-caprolactam opens up new opportunities for the production of fibre-reinforced plastic parts with a thermoplastic matrix. It enables highly efficient processes and the flexible design of composite components.
Starting with dry, pre-formed reinforcement fabrics (preforms), the in-situ process combines the polymerisation and shaping processes in one injection moulding machine. Since the presentation of the first prototype machine four years ago, ENGEL has continually optimised the system components, and has developed a completely new reactive unit that can be combined with various types of ENGEL machines. In terms of technology, the new unit is also significantly different from the prototype introduced in 2012. As the first supplier in the market, ENGEL can melt and process the hard monomer as required. The advantages are a significantly shorter dwell time of the material, reduced thermal impact, and thus improved product quality.
ENGEL sees great potential for the automotive industry as well as other applications, for example in the field of technical injection moulding. In cooperation with the project partners Schöfer (Schwertberg, Austria) and Lanxess (Cologne, Germany), ENGEL is presenting the almost production-ready production cell for the manufacturing of thermoplastic fibre-reinforced components. Representative of the broad range of applications, and as an example of a load bearing structure, fibre-reinforced shovels are being produced on an ENGEL v-duo 1560/700.
Realize dimensionally stable parts with little material: For manufacturing luggage compartment covers, Daimler and Georg Kaufmann Formenbau (mould-makers in Busslingen, Switzerland) developed a process based on the ENGEL coinmelt injection-compression moulding technology. The ENGEL duo 11050/1700, featuring an integrated ENGEL viper 60 linear robot, will be producing ready-to-install components with a highly complex, three-dimensional geometry.
Injection-compression moulding allows for distortion-free parts featuring high-quality reproduction of surface details and thinner wall thicknesses compared with compact injection moulding, thus saving weight and reducing the material costs.
Automotive plasticising technology solution
Requirements in the automotive industry demand a screw concept that delivers high performance across a broad range of applications. The UAS (universal automotive screw) was developed specifically for these requirements. At the trend.scaut 2017, the double-flighted screw with G18 mixing head will be presented for the first time for the production of a rear spoiler on a duo 1500 combi M machine. With the double-flighted screw concept, the large screw surface transfers energy into the plastic in a targeted fashion. The subsequent mixing and shearing sections very gently homogenize the molten material. This results in very high throughput across a wide range of applications, especially in the automotive sector.
Intelligent production of a carrier part
Key to this exhibit are two software solutions provided by the iQ assistance systems. Here you will witness the first presentation of iQ clamp control on the duo series. The clamping force is adjusted to the current process conditions based on the mould breathing. Improved mould breathing, prevention of burrs, and calculation of the mould breathing signal without additional sensors are just some of the many advantages. Meanwhile, the iQ weight control software ensures the necessary process stability. On this exhibit, a mould with 3 needle-type shutoff nozzles is in operation, which are opened and closed via the cascade control. In addition to the switchover point, injection profile and post-injection pressure, opening and closing of the needle-type shut-off nozzles are also adjusted to the actual injection volume, ensuring consistent component filling even if process fluctuations occur.