ILLIG Maschinenbau showcased several technological world premieres and numerous sustainable packaging solutions at K 2019 in Düsseldorf. 'Circular Thinking by ILLIG – The safe choice!' was the motto of its trade fair presentation.

For the first time ILLIG presented the RDM 76K 4G thermoforming system which was developed into the 4th Generation with a completely new drive system and a considerably higher level of performance. At the trade fair the line produced drinking cups from rPET. A further innovation was IC-RDKL, the IML-T® unit, suitable for the decoration of thermoformed lids. The corresponding IC-RDK 80 production line with integrated IC-RDKL unit and interlinked product handling produces round rPET lids with applied paper labels.

Presentations on Design4Recycling solutions and cooperation projects were given at the packaging lab integrated in the trade fair stand. ILLIG also used the trade fair as an opportunity to present Toolsys, joined-up expertise regarding tool systems. Moreover, the company pointed the way to digital transformation in thermoforming by offering several products in this area.

4th Generation Therformance – Performance in Thermoforming

By presenting the 4th Generation RDM 76K automatic roll-fed machine with the newly designed PH 76 and end packaging solution – a world premiere at the K 2019 – ILLIG demonstrated a further significant stage of development.

The completely re-designed double servo drive of the production system ensures shorter movement times and thus faster cycle times. By using a centre support for the lower machine table, ILLIG increased the closing force by 50 percent to 900 kN. As a result, the available cutting length can be increased by up to 50 percent, the service life is extended and productivity is increased. In this 4th Generation system ILLIG also facilitated the material handling. The electronic parallelism setting of upper and lower table reduces secondary times which adds to higher availability. The integrated tool block change system reduces tooling times to less than one hour. In spite of the extended material heating device the total length of the line is reduced compared to the previous series, due to the integration of the newly designed PH 76 product handling device which allows direct interlinkage with different end packaging solutions. At the trade fair the machine produced U-rim drinking cups, 75 mm diameter, 100 mm high, on a 60-up tool of lightweight design, out of 1.3 mm rPET, approved for food contact.


Brilliant lid decoration with IML-T® for the first time

The expansion of the IC-RDK 80 thermoforming system by the new IC-RDKL in-mould labeling unit is a further technological milestone in thermoforming. On this IML-T® production line round labels, 92 mm diameter, are manufactured on a 30-up tool. The lids are brilliantly decorated with paper labels. The labels are made out of 0.35 mm rPET. According to the company, the manufacturing costs of decorated thermoformed lids are 20 percent lower than costs for injection-moulded lids since the weight is substantially lower, the output is higher and machine investment is lower. With IML-T® systems the operator benefits from high flexibility due to fast format and tool changes with low tool costs at the same time. 

Design4Recycling in the packaging lab

ILLIG says it is constantly pushing the principles of Design4Recycling within the context of Pactivity®, its 360° tailor-made packaging development in thermoforming. In order to make it possible to experience this, ILLIG integrated a packaging lab at the trade fair stand where it demonstrated sustainable solutions in response to market demand. Among them was the  IML-T® Cardboard, a plastic-cardboard combination pack. It consists of a thin plastic inlay and a cardboard that can be decorated on both sides. The application can be manufactured on all ILLIG IML-T® lines and provides new possibilities for decoration technology in thermoforming. A further IML-T® premiere was PET cups decorated with paper labels. After being heated up to 60 degrees Celsius, the labels can be easily separated from the cup. 

ILLIG Toolsys – perfect tool systems

The 'Toolsys' tool systems, which were introduced to the public for the first time at K 2019, are an increasingly important facet of ILLIG production systems. In the Pactivity process the multitude of tool types required in a production system are 'perfectly matched'. According to ILLIG, this is a USP compared to its major competitors in the tool sector. The integrative and coordinated development of tool and thermoforming systems from one source creates synergy effects which can result in longer service lives of machines and tools. In the ILLIG tool system all process steps are synchronised. The decisive advantage for customers is the holistic design of the tool system – from cavity, forming tool, label feed (decoration tool), hole punch tool to steel rule and cutting tool. Subject to application and complexity of the process this also includes the sealing tool, stacking tool and part handling system, through to tool change concepts and quick change of forming tools.

Digital transformation in thermoforming

At K 2019 ILLIG also showcased developments in digital transformation in thermoforming that aim to significantly increase the overall availability and thus also the productivity of ILLIG systems. ILLIG Connectivity connects the production systems into the customer's networks. Connectivity optimises order and process control, and facilitates data exchange, data processing, logging and archiving. According to the company, the objective is to support and accompany the customers to Industry 4.0. ILLIG Assist, a support system for operators, is a further step from Connectivity to Industry 4.0. 

The concept of digital tool administration is also a new feature. A readable RFID tag which is attached to the tool saves the specific data and supports setting of the required tool parameters on the machine for tool changes. Moreover, the digital identification facilitates tool administration.