ENGEL at PLASTIMAGEN 2022 in Mexico City
Precision, flexibility, efficiency – combine these success factors takes more than just reliable machines. Having a competitive edge relies on worry-free cooperation between the injection moulding machine and the process technology, automation and digitalisation. ENGEL, the injection moulding machine manufacturer and system solution provider, is demonstrating what this can look like hands on at Plastimagen 2022 from 8 to 11 March in Mexico City with two sophisticated injection moulding applications.
Flexibility and efficiency were the focus in the development of the reel-to-reel IMD application which ENGEL is presenting at its stand in Mexico City in collaboration with system partners Leonhard Kurz (Germany), Schöfer (Austria) and Isosport Verbundbauteile (Austria). To manufacture complex, three-dimensional sample parts, the duo 1060/350 injection moulding machine with an integrated viper 20 robot uses two process technologies at the same time: foilmelt and foammelt. foilmelt stands for flexibility more than anything else here. Different decorative foils are thermoformed, back-injected and punched from reel-to-reel in the mould in quick succession in a one-step process.
foammelt structural foam moulding – the MuCell physical foam injection process is used here – stands for the highest possible material and energy efficiency. In foamed parts, a porous core is embedded in a compact cover layer. This sandwich design reduces the use of material and correspondingly the weight of the parts. At the same time, the gas load reduces the viscosity of the molten plastics, which offers the ability to use smaller injection moulding machines in many applications as less clamp force is required.
The wide range of applications for the production-mature process combination is remarkable. It is suitable for visible components in the vehicle interior, in electronic devices, and for household appliances, among other things. Both multi-layer film systems with paint film surfaces and structured, back-lighting capable or open-pored systems such as wood, and also functionalised films with capacitive electronics, can be processed off the roll. To change the decor, the surface structure and the functionality, only the roll has to be changed, not the mould. Besides PP, ABS, PC or PC/ABS and recycled materials can be used for back injection.
The requirement in manufacturing safety needle holders is maximum moulding precision. The filigree polystyrene parts have a single shot weight of just 0.08 g, but still have a complex structure with changing wall thicknesses. They are designed with a predetermined breaking point that makes it impossible to use disposable syringes multiple times.
Fluctuations in the injection moulding process immediately lead to rejects. To prevent this, the ENGEL e-victory 170/80 injection moulding machine is equipped with two smart assistance systems. One of them is iQ weight control, which autonomously detects fluctuations in the melt volume and material viscosity and compensates for them in the same shot. And the other is iQ flow control, which ensures constant temperature control conditions by automatically adjusting the temperature differences in the cooling water manifold circuit.
On top of this, the excellent parallelism of the mould mounting platens on the e-victory machine's tie-bar-less clamping unit ensure great process consistency. The patented force dividers make sure that the parallelism is also reliably maintained during clamping force build-up and injection and that the clamp force is uniformly distributed across the mould mounting platens.
Because there are no tie bars in the way, the mould mounting platens can be fully used up to their very edges. This means that the large 16-cavity mould by Fostag Formenbau (Switzerland) fits on a relatively small injection moulding machine with a clamp force of 800 kN. This keeps the machine footprint, the capital expenditure and the operating costs low.
The e-victory on show at Plastimagen is equipped with an ENGEL viper 12 linear robot that transfers the needle holders to an integrated pipe distribution system. The small moulded parts are packed in bags separated by cavity in a fully automated process to support batch tracking right through to the level of individual cavities. The pipe distributor developed by ENGEL is made entirely of stainless steel and contributes towards reducing particulate emissions in the cleanroom.
At the numerous Expert Corners at the ENGEL stand, trade fair visitors can also experience how digitalisation can enhance quality and efficiency in production planning and service, too. The focuses there include authentig, e-connect.monitor and e-connect.expert view.
TIG authentig, the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) by ENGEL subsidiary TIG, networks all injection moulding machines and production cells within a company to ensure a high degree of transparency. This means that, for example, the machinery capacities can be optimally utilised or productivity indicators very easily correlated with economic objectives. The biggest strength of TIG authentig: the software is tailored to the specific requirements of the injection moulding industry down to the last detail.
e-connect.monitor makes it possible to monitor the condition of critical components in injection moulding machines during on-going operation, and calculate the remaining service life. The aim is to prevent unplanned system shutdowns and minimise downtimes in the case of planned work such as the installation of spare parts. ENGEL is bringing two modules from this solution to Plastimagen: condition monitoring for plasticising screws and the hydraulic oil.
e-connect.expert view enables the use of live videos in online support and remote maintenance. ENGEL supports video telephony both via smartphones and tablets and using augmented reality (AR) glasses. The only pre-requisite is an internet connection. The ENGEL service technician sends the customer a link to the e-connect.expert platform to start the collaborative work immediately. Some three quarters of all urgent service cases can be resolved remotely with the help of live videos. Troubleshooting times are reduced by 70 percent.