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“K 2016 confirmed the very good mood in the plastics industry,” says Dr. Christoph Steger, Chief Sales Officer at the ENGEL Group. “In Düsseldorf we found that the investment climate was extremely positive. On the basis of discussions with our clients, we are confident that the trend will continue in the months ahead. We are encouraged to see that a positive impetus is coming from every region – things are even looking up in Russia.”
ENGEL noticed the rise in visitors numbers compared to K 2013, which itself was very well attended: the company’s stand attracted a stream of visitors throughout the event. However, Steger emphasised that the quality of dialogue – which was generally excellent – was more important than the actual number of visitors. “During the fair we discussed numerous new projects and got them moving. The number of agreements we concluded was far in excess of our target, which was an ambitious one,” concludes Steger.
Industry 4.0 – the core theme of K 2016 – was strongly in evidence at the ENGEL stand, which was designed to resemble a smart factory. With concrete products and solutions for all three areas of the smart factory – smart machine, smart service and smart production – ENGEL is already offering customers a coherent concept known as inject 4.0. Many products and solutions are firmly established in practical situations, while other new solutions were premiered at K. With its modular structure, inject 4.0 promises plastics processors a very straightforward, step-by-step introduction to digitalisation. “Processing businesses used the trade event to find out how they can make the most of the opportunities presented to them by Industry 4.0,” says Dr. Stefan Engleder, Chief Technical Officer and designated CEO of ENGEL. “A lot of visitors to the fair were amazed to find that even individual, small-scale solutions can make a big difference in terms of optimising production processes.” Just like process technology and automation, Industry 4.0 calls for tailored solutions – another point underlined at the ENGEL stand.
All machines exhibited were equipped with the inject 4.0 products best suited to their particular application. At the same time, ENGEL demonstrated how to maximise the potential of smart machine in practical situations by manufacturing inject 4.0 logos on an ENGEL e‑motion 80 TL injection moulding machine. Fluctuating process conditions were simulated in the machine’s CC300 control unit, while visitors were able to monitor the automatic readjustment of the iQ weight control and iQ clamp control assistance systems live on the machine display.
be the first: the ENGEL motto is both an aspiration and a promise to customers. ENGEL demonstrated its technological pre-eminence yet again in Düsseldorf – not just with its inject 4.0 range, but also its machine exhibits. Through a wide array of demanding applications, ENGEL presented innovative process technologies for the target sectors of Automotive, Teletronics, Technical Moulding, Packaging and Medical.
The DecoJect process emerged as a magnet to visitors. ENGEL unveiled the film solution for high quality parts visible in car interiors (developed with system partners) using fully automated manufacturing cell. One special feature of the technology is the combination of injection moulding and in-mould graining in the roll-to-roll process on an ENGEL duo injection moulding machine. Surface structures, colour and haptical features are created through the film. By using different base materials, DecoJect simplifies the harmonisation of interior components. The application presented in Düsseldorf also incorporated MuCell technology to save raw materials as well as component weight. Trade fair visitors were impressed by the high degree of process integration and the extremely compact footprint of the manufacturing cell.
In-situ polymerisation also attracted a great deal of attention as ENGEL showcased an integrated manufacturing cell ready for industrial use for the first time. Over the eight days of the fair, thermoplastic-based, functional composite components were produced from dry reinforcing fabrics in a single work step. To achieve this, polymerisation and the injection moulding process take place in parallel in the ENGEL v-duo machine. The fibre fabrics are inserted into the first cavity of the mould and infiltrated with ε-Caprolactam. After polymerisation to polyamide 6, the preform is transferred to the second cavity in order to inject reinforcing ribs directly, for example. This kind of process integration guarantees cost effective composite processing, which is particularly important to the automobile industry. Visitors to the event were also impressed by the new reactive aggregate, which reduces thermal load by melting and processing monomers according to need.
ENGEL staged the world premiere of the new hydraulic injection units for its ENGEL duo and ENGEL victory injection moulding machines at K 2016. The units are based on years of development work that focused on precision, ergonomics and efficiency. “The new injection units enable even more precise injection and generally improve process stability,” says Engleder. “We have also enhanced energy efficiency and ergonomics. The new ENGEL duo and ENGEL victory machines are fitted with the ENGEL servohydraulic ecodrive as standard. Energy efficiency remains an important issue to our customers.”