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ENGEL began to focus on the trend towards networking and digitalisation of production processes very early on, and has developed an integrated digitalisation strategy for its own production as well as for its customers. "Many of our products and solutions have been successfully used by our customers for several years", says Kapeller. "At the same time, we are consistently developing the programme further."
The modularity of ENGEL’s inject 4.0 approach makes it especially easy for plastics processors to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Industry 4.0. Even small isolated solutions provide huge benefits. From the optimisation of individual machines to the complete networking of a worldwide production pool, ENGEL is accompanying its customers on the road to the smart factory, and is continuously expanding its global sales and service teams to support the programme. "Industry 4.0 projects require very close collaboration", states Kapeller. "Short paths are an important factor in their success."
By networking production systems, the systematic use of machine, process and production data, and the use of intelligent assistance systems, the manufacturing processes in a smart factory can continuously optimise themselves. The productivity and quality of production are increasing, and at the same time, processors can respond very flexibly to ever faster changing requirements.
ENGEL categorises it’s inject 4.0 in three operational areas of the smart factory: smart machine, smart service and smart production.
With production cells becoming more and more complex due to increasing process integration and automation, steering and controlling them must become that much more simple and intuitive. This is an important goal in the smart machine area. Self-adapting assistance systems play a decisive role in this. They increase process consistency and quality without requiring the machine operator to acquire special expertise.
To clearly demonstrate the functionality of these solutions, during the five days of the exhibition ENGEL will be producing inject 4.0 logos on an ENGEL emotion 80 TL injection moulding machine at its booth. The CC300 machine control is capable of simulating process fluctuations; the automatic readjustments by the intelligent assistance systems can then be tracked on the display of the machine. While iQ weight control maintains consistent injected melt volume throughout the entire injection moulding process, iQ clamp control monitors the mould breathing in order to calculate and automatically adjust the optimal clamping force.
iQ weight control was the first of the ENGEL iQ systems to enter the market five years ago. To date, it has been sold more than 1,500 times worldwide. Initially, the software was only available for injection moulding machines with electric injection units, but now hydraulic machines can also be equipped with iQ weight control. "The response in the market is excellent", says Kapeller. "iQ weight control significantly increases reproducibility in the hydraulic victory and duo machines."
How well iQ weight control can improve reproducibility depends on several factors. Naturally, processes which are already very stable can only be optimised to a small extent. To determine additional potential, the iQ weight monitor software calculates the improvement potential attainable with iQ weight control. As of Fakuma 2017, iQ weight monitor will be standard on all new ENGEL machines. In every cycle, the software compares the injection pressure profile with a previously defined reference curve, and simultaneously records viscosity changes as well as the injection volume. In this way, it provides especially accurate performance indicators for the continuous monitoring of processes.
ENGEL is also continuing to expand the range of applications of the iQ clamp control software. New for Fakuma 2017 is a version for the large hydraulic machines of the duo series. "For large surface components, iQ clamp control provides an especially high potential for optimisation", clarifies Kapeller. "The software can be a crucial contributing factor in preventing rejects and reducing mould wear."
iQ flow control, the third assistance system presented at Fakuma, connects the injection moulding machine, which is equipped with the e-flomo electronic temperature control water distributor, to the temperature control unit, thus enabling the pump speed to automatically adjust to the actual requirement. This results in higher energy efficiency. Together with its partner HB-Therm, ENGEL has developed its own line of temperature control units called e temp. The new solution was presented for the first time at the K 2016. Demand was huge from the beginning. Many processors are already successfully using iQ flow control.
With this project, the partner companies ENGEL and HB-Therm have achieved a milestone on the road to the smart factory, as the temperature control unit is integrated into the injection moulding machine via OPC UA. This industrial communication model is becoming more and more established as a common language in the plastics industry because it allows for platform-independent, high-performance, and above all, secure communications both within the shop-floor level and with higher level control systems such as MES and ERP. "Together with leading market partners, ENGEL is working on establishing a general standard for communication models in injection moulding applications based on OPC UA", says Kapeller. In the meantime, several Euromap recommendations on the basis of OPC UA are already in process.
In order to increase the availability of machines and production cells, smart service relies on online support, remote maintenance, and predictive, condition-based maintenance. As of the Fakuma 2017, all ENGEL’s smart-service products will be integrated into the e-connect customer portal. This simplifies and accelerates the communication between the processors and ENGEL, and provides a time- and location-independent overview of machine status, the processing status of service and support orders, and the prices and availability of spare parts. To meet the new demands of Industry 4.0, ENGEL has redesigned its customer portal from the ground up. The new version will be launched for the German, Austrian, Swiss and UK markets at Fakuma 2017. The next steps will be the other European countries and the USA.
e-connect.monitor is now also integrated with the platform. This allows the processor to easily, and at any time, obtain an overview of the condition of critical machine components, and plan ahead for maintenance work such as the installation of spare parts. For the first time, e connect.monitor is making it possible to monitor the condition of critical injection moulding machine components in real time, and to calculate their remaining useful life.
ENGEL has already introduced two modules of this solution; one for the condition-based, predictive maintenance of plasticising screws and one for spindles. At the Fakuma, ENGEL will demonstrate how, with the help of e-connect.monitor, the condition of plasticising screws can be determined through the barrel wall. In the automotive industry, this solution is already being used on large machines.
The second module for the online monitoring of injection and clamping spindles was developed specifically for all-electric, high-performance applications in the packaging industry. Through the new e-connect customer portal, test customers already can use e connect.monitor daily to get current information on the condition of the spindles.
In the Expert Corner for smart production, the focus is on MES authentig. The Manufacturing Execution System was developed by T.I.G. Technische Informationssysteme GmbH, which has been part of the ENGEL Group for close to a year. With the integration of T.I.G. into the ENGEL Group, both companies have combined their MES know-how and their many years of experience with MES projects worldwide, thereby achieving innovation at an even faster pace.
Tailored to the specific requirements of the injection moulding industry, authentig offers particularly deep vertical data integration, down to the level of individual cavities. The software creates transparency in order, for example, to optimally utilise the available capacity of a machine park, or to correlate productivity ratios with economic goals. The MES has a modular structure and can be precisely adapted to the individual requirements of the processor. New for Fakuma is a certified SAP interface, which simplifies data integration between MES authentig and SAP's ERP system.
"Energy" is the most recent authentig module, and is being presented live at the Fakuma. Not only does it make the energy consumption of individual consumers in the injection moulding operation transparent, but it also reliably caps peaks in the power demand. This is made possible by defining situational consumption limits for each individual consumer, and then dynamically allocating the pre-defined power amounts to the consumers. This intelligent hall management can thus help to significantly reduce the energy costs for the machine pool. The module supports processors in the certification of their energy management system according to ISO 50001.
At the Fakuma, all of the injection moulding machines at the ENGEL booth will be networked through authentig. ENGEL will also demonstrate how easily MES can ensure the seamless traceability of process parameters. All of the inject 4.0 logos produced during the trade fair will be marked with a QR code. Even long after the Fakuma, trade-fair visitors will be able to use this code to retrieve the process data stored by authentig for each individual part.