Faster mould set-up – more efficient production
Increased productivity in injection moulding process translates to lower unit costs, a stronger competitive position, and more profit. To achieve this goal, optimising product changeover times is right at the top of the agenda. But this is a complex topic. Many different measures can help to save time and not all of them are equally suitable for every operation. Add to this the fact that the short-age of skilled workers often slows down optimisation projects. ENGEL supports processors with customised training offers, helping to find the right measures and implement them in an efficient way.
A survey conducted by ENGEL among its customers clearly shows the massive time-saving potential that mould set-up holds. 73 percent of all injection moulding processors surveyed say that they take more than an hour to change products, and more than half of the respondents need to set up moulds at least once a day. “With the right measures, machine downtime caused by mould changes can be reduced by 50 to 80 percent,“ says Mario Wilke, consultant and trainer at ENGEL headquarters in Austria.
ENGEL offers a wide range of technologies for simple and fast mould changes. This includes magnetic clamping platens and quick couplings, intelligent assistance systems, the famox mould changing system for complete automation of the set-up process, and training offers that support the optimisation of the product change strategy.
ENGEL consultancy starts as early as in the selection of the appropriate training package. Three different courses are available, each tailored to the different requirements of the processors, the conditions in the company and the know-how of the production staff. Basics, Advanced and Expert differ in terms of the depth of knowledge taught and the mould change methods covered. While Basics provides an introduction to the topic and demonstrates the potential using a pilot machine in the ENGEL training centre, the two more advanced courses take place on site at the processor's facility. Together, the mould set-up processes are analysed and the various methods for product change optimisation are evaluated. Starting with magnetic rapid clamping systems and multiple couplings, through mould positioning and preheating, to the use of a Setup wizard in the Expert course. In all three courses, ENGEL collaborates with Stäubli and other partner companies. This means that participants are given valuable information and practical tips beyond the scope of the injection moulding machine.
“In view of the shortage of skilled workers, Wizard based mould set-up is increasingly shifting into the processors' focus,“ as Wilke emphasises. “Standardised menu-driven mould changes not only save time, but also reduce the risk of errors.“
The Setup wizard is a kind of checklist that interactively guides the machine operator through the individual steps required for the mould change. To the extent possible, the Setup wizard handles the program steps automatically. Manual steps need to be confirmed on the control unit. This empowers less experienced employees to set up moulds safely and without errors. For experienced mould set-up teams, the Setup wizard further boosts efficiency.
One key component of the ENGEL offering is the training of employees who support the implementation of optimisation measures at the processing facility.
In all phases of product change optimisation, the processor benefits from the ENGEL trainers' in-depth understanding of injection moulding. “This sets us apart from many other seminar providers on the market who do not focus on the injection moulding industry,“ as Wilke emphasises. “We make sure that our customers leverage the injection moulding production cell to the max – and with as little overhead as possible.“
ENGEL is offering the new product change optimisation courses in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. The courses are available in other countries on request.