The one stop shop for digital solutions: ENGEL integrates software company TIG
Digital solutions by ENGEL support injection moulders along the entire value added process in their production. To provide a holistic experience, the e-connect customer portal is gradually being extended to a production portal. To allow this to happen, ENGEL is relying – among other things – on the know-how of software vendor TIG GmbH. Following the takeover in 2016, the company is now being fully integrated with the ENGEL group.
The vision is clear: "We want every injection moulder to use our e-connect portal as their default start page one day and we want them to find everything they need for their day-to-day production," as Gerhard Dimmler, CTO of the ENGEL Group, explains. ENGEL is deriving its inject 4.0 strategy from this vision. Already introduced at the K show 2022, the strategy envisages expanding the previous customer portal to provide a production portal. The production portal will then be compatible with all manufacturers, giving injection moulders the ability to map all the value-added stages of their production on the portal.
ENGEL acquired software vendor TIG, which developed the authentig MES solution, among other products, back in 2016. Some years later, the distribution of authentig was brought into the ENGEL fold and assigned to the Digital Sales department, headed by Hannes Zach. En route to becoming a one-stop shop for digital solutions, the injection moulding machine manufacturer is now fully integrating TIG know-how into its existing structures. The company will be merged into the ENGEL Group on 1 January 2024. ENGEL will take over all the employees, and the headquarters in Rankweil, Vorarlberg, Austria, will also be retained. Hannes Pils, previously the company's CEO now has the role of Head of Service & Consulting in ENGEL Customer Service.
ENGEL is also presenting another innovation for the design phase at Fakuma – the first of the four phases along the injection moulding process.
sim link, a solution from the inject 4.0 family for a bidirectional exchange of data between the simulation and the injection moulding machine, is being expanded and is now also compatible with MOLDEX3D. In product development, the question of the manufacturability of a part is key. Simulation delivers the answer for the injection moulding processes here. Despite this, a survey shows that many injection moulders fail to integrate the expertise from simulation into production and, conversely, that actual parameters from production rarely find their way back into the simulation either. The result is time-consuming and cost-intensive iteration loops to optimise the mould and the production process. At the Expert Corner Design of the ENGEL stand at Fakuma, ENGEL is showing how the ENGEL sim link data interface accelerates sample inspection of injection moulds and pushes the optimisation of injection moulding processes forward, resulting in significant productivity gains.
ENGEL presented sim link for the first time at the K show 2019. Thus far, the tool has been available for Moldflow (Autodesk) and CADMOULD (SIMCON). Release 1.2 saw the application spectrum expanded to include the MOLDEX3D simulation software.
Using sim link is an intuitive and efficient experience. Users can already store the physical dynamics and performance data of the machine intended for sampling the mould and for production later on, along with the material data, before simulating injection moulding.
In a second step, the process settings determined in the simulation are transferred via sim link to the control unit of the injection moulding machine as an initial setting data set. This makes it possible to produce high quality parts in the shortest possible time.
In a third step, the processing settings, process parameters and measurement results from the machine, optimised during operation, can be stored and fed back into the simulation program. This leads to more accurate data and optimised simulations.
"sim link facilitates the cooperation between the simulation experts and the process engineers," as Alfred Angerer from Digital Injection Moulding Development at ENGEL explains. "This is how we create a basis for ensuring that the lessons learned from the simulation are actually used in the real world."
All told, sim link improves the quality of the simulation with real-world data, accelerating the sample inspection process and process optimisation, while reducing costs and boosting productivity.