ENGEL is making its customers more competitive with flexible and efficient machine concepts along with automation from a single source.

The system expert based in Schwertberg, Austria, will demonstrate what this means in practical terms by presenting two technically sophisticated applications at Interplastica 2018, which takes place from January 23 to 26 in Moscow, Russia. At the same time, the company will highlight the new opportunities that digitalisation and networking are opening up for plastics processing firms.

In many cases, wristwatches require sales packaging that is not just high quality, but original – in the form of globes, for instance. Over the four days of the trade event, ENGEL will use a mould supplied by its customer Betar to produce base bodies for globes on an ENGEL victory injection moulding machine. Hemispheres that can be put together will be moulded. Based in Chistopol (midway between Moscow and the Urals), Betar manufactures numerous products for gas and water metering and a great many plastic articles for customers.

Flexibility is an essential characteristic of the company’s production equipment, which is why the company mainly invests in tie-bar-less injection moulding machines from ENGEL’s victory range. “Free access to the mould area makes it much quicker to install and remove moulds,” stresses Olaf Kassek, Managing Director of OOO ENGEL in Moscow. “Thereby, tie-bar-less technology significantly improves the availability of injection moulding machines when producing small batch sizes.” Tie-bar-less technology also enables compact manufacturing cells, which is especially advantageous when producing complex, three dimensional parts and using multi-cavity or multi-component moulds. In such cases, the moulds have a large volume and the injection moulding process tends to require relatively small clamping force thanks to rather short flow paths. Tie-bar-less technology makes it possible to choose the machine size on the basis of the clamping force actually required, rather than the mould size. Given that mould fixing platens can be used to the hilt, even small injection moulding machines can be fitted with large moulds.    

Consistent processes despite variable pellet quality

The victory machine on show in Moscow will have a new generation injection unit. On the basis of its extensive experience across the many different application areas for its injection moulding machines, ENGEL has restructured the sizes of the hydraulic injection units and further optimised performance data such as injection pressure, injection speed and plasticising performance. The long established ENGEL servohydraulic ecodrive is standard equipment in the new machine models. Depending on the type and size of machine and the application, this cuts the energy requirement by 30 to 70 percent. Key to this is needs-based pump capacity. When a machine is idle (for example, during cooling phases), the engines also close down and consume zero idling energy. As positive side-effects, the machine runs much quieter and the hydraulic oil is not heated as much, which reduces the amount of energy needed for oil cooling. 

Visitors to the trade fair will also be able to track the workings of iQ weight control live on the control panel of the victory machine. During the injection process, the software analyses the pressure profile in real time and compares measured values by means of a reference cycle. For every shot, the injection profile, switchover point and the holding pressure profile are automatically adapted to current conditions and the injected melt volume is kept consistent throughout the production operation. This compensates for fluctuations in environmental conditions or moulding compound before rejects can be produced. 

ENGEL uses the iQ prefix to denote the expanding number of intelligent assistance systems in its inject 4.0 range. These enhance the quality and efficiency of production without requiring machine operators to acquire specialist knowledge. Five years ago, iQ weight control became the first iQ system to be launched; since then, more than 1,500 of the systems have been sold worldwide. Initially, the software was limited to use with injection moulding machines with electric injection units; now iQ weight control is also suitable for hydraulic machines. “Feedback from the market has been excellent,” says Kassek. “iQ weight control significantly increases reproducibility in hydraulic victory machines.”    

Maximum integration with a minimal footprint 

ENGEL will bring a second exhibit to Moscow to demonstrate how to maximise the efficiency potential of tie-bar-less technology in the field of medical technologies as well. Compact manufacturing cells are particularly beneficial in the cleanroom environment. Two years ago, ENGEL developed a stainless steel pipe distributor for the cavity-specific handling of small injection moulded parts; this will be presented at Interplastica with a totally new and more compact design. Thanks to tie-bar-less technology, it is situated next to the clamping unit of the ENGEL e-victory 80 injection moulding machine and completely fits into the machine’s widened safety gate. At the trade event, the highly compact manufacturing cell will produce needle holders for 1ml safety syringes using a 16-cavity mould. An ENGEL viper 12 linear robot will remove the delicate polystyrene parts from the mould and transfer them to the distributor system. To ensure batch traceability to the level of individual cavities, the injection moulded parts will be packed in cavity-specific bags. For this purpose, 16 bags will hang in a cart directly beneath the pipe distributor. Individual shots can be extracted for quality control purposes. 

For unmanned cleanroom operation – for example, during night shifts – two carts can be alternated in sequence, with a buffer system enabling the fully automated exchange. The entire periphery for this is integrated into the CC300 control unit of the injection moulding machine. Thanks to shared data storage, the CC300 can precisely coordinate the movements of the machine and the robot with each other, thus optimising overall efficiency. The total cycle time for this application is just six seconds. The delicate needle holders, which have a shot weight of just 0.08g and varying wall thicknesses, require extremely precise process control. ENGEL guarantees this through the electric injection unit of the hybrid e-victory machine and iQ weight control.    

Immediate response, 24/7

The two machines at the ENGEL stand will be linked so that machine statuses and process data can be tracked in real time via a central computer. In this way, ENGEL will be able to showcase other products from its inject 4.0 range in Moscow. For example, e-connect.24 enables remote maintenance of injection moulding machines and production cells, even at distant production locations. Qualified ENGEL service engineers can be contacted directly 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As soon as they receive a service request, they use a secure remote connection to start troubleshooting and providing specific online support. “In many cases, faults can be resolved over the internet,” says Olaf Kassek. “Users benefit from the fact that they don’t need to call out a service technician, which is expensive and time-consuming, and from the greater availability of their production system.”    

Keeping an eye on production

At its stand, ENGEL is dedicating an individual expert corner to the MES authentig. The Manufacturing Execution System was developed by T.I.G. Technische Informationssysteme GmbH, which has been part of the ENGEL Group for one 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. 

"Energy" is the most recent authentig module. 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. 

ENGEL at Interplastica 2018: Hall 2 (level 1), stand B23 

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