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"We invite fair visitors to get to know our smart factory products at our booth and to see for themselves what a huge impact even smaller individual solutions can have", announces Walter Jungwirth, Managing Director of ENGEL de Mexico in Querétaro. 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. As a result, the productivity and quality of production increase, and at the same time processors can react with great flexibility to rapidly changing requirements.
ENGEL committed to this trend early on, and today, under the name inject 4.0, offers numerous sophisticated products and services for all areas of the smart factory – smart machine, smart service and smart production. All of the products provide a tremendous benefit, individually as well as in the context of a high-level digitalisation strategy. With this modular approach, ENGEL is making the entry into digitalisation and networking especially easy.
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. 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 four days of the exhibition ENGEL will produce inject 4.0 logos on an e-motion 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 live 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. Fluctuations from the target values are automatically detected and compensated for within the same shot, thus preventing rejects.
iQ flow control, the third assistance system presented at the Plastimagen, will connect the injection moulding machine, which is equipped with an e-flomo electronic temperature control water distributor, to the temperature control unit, 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.
In several Expert Corners, visitors can dive even deeper into the subject of inject 4.0. Some of the topics included will be the online-support and remote maintenance tool e-connect.24 and the MES authentig. This manufacturing execution system was developed for the specific requirements of the injection moulding industry and therefore achieves an especially greater depth of vertical data integration, down to the level of individual cavities. authentig creates transparency, for example to optimise the utilisation of a machine pool's total capacity, or to correlate key productivity indicators with economic objectives.
The MES has a modular structure and can be precisely adapted to the individual requirements of the processor. "Energy" is the most recent of the authentig modules. 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 help to significantly reduce the energy costs for the machine pool.
MuCell injection foam moulding will be the main focus of the automotive exhibition area at the ENGEL booth. "MuCell offers the opportunity of combining resource-efficient lightweight design with a high degree of cost efficiency and excellent component properties," emphasises Jungwirth. "This combination means that the process is continuing to rapidly gain significance." During the trade fair, ENGEL will produce passenger car cooling radiator components on an ENGEL duo 2460/500 injection moulding machine using the MuCell process.
During physical foaming, nitrogen is injected into the plastic melt as a propellant and homogeneously distributed. Following the injection into the form, the gas separates from the melt again, forming a fine-cell foam structure. In comparison to the standard injection moulding process, this method reduces the raw material consumption and the weight of the component. At the same time, MuCell-produced components do not display any distortion or shrinkage.
MuCell is a brand of the Trexel company, based in Wilmington, MA, USA. As a systems provider, ENGEL imports MuCell systems for its customers, also managing the integration of the controls and safety measures into the injection moulding machine, making it particularly easy to implement the technology.
Burr-free, zero-waste, rework-free, and fully automated – these are the key elements in the economic injection moulding manufacturing of sophisticated components from liquid silicone. At the Plastimagen, ENGEL will demonstrate how this can be put into practice by manufacturing coasters in a 4-cavity mould on a hydraulic victory 200/120 injection moulding machine. Due to its tie-bar-less clamping unit, the victory provides advantages for many liquid silicone applications. For example, the patented Force-Divider allows the moving mould mounting platen to follow the mould precisely while clamping force is building up, and ensures that the clamping force is evenly distributed across the platen face. This allows both the outer and inner cavities to be kept closed with exactly the same force, ensuring consistent compression of the mould and a consistently high product quality.
Further advantages of the barrier-free clamping unit are fast changes to the mould set-up, optimal automation concepts and particularly compact production cells. Without any tie-bars in the way, the mould mounting platens can be utilised fully, right up to the edge of the platen, so that even large and bulky moulds can be fitted on comparatively small injection moulding machines. This reduces the system footprint, for example, in the case of multi-component applications or multi-cavity moulds.