ENGEL has expanded its range of all-electric e-motion injection molding machines to include a tie-bar-less 30-ton version. The new ENGEL e-motion 30 TL combines maximum precision and energy efficiency with low machine weight and a compact design.
ENGEL has been constructing tie-bar-less, all-electric injection moulding machines for the small clamping force field for more than 12 years. The machine concept has now taken a major step forward with the expansion of the series. The experience of selling more than 60,000 tie-bar-less machines in the ENGEL victory and ENGEL e-victory series and the findings of extensive analyses have led to optimisation of the mechanical properties of the machine components along with a reduction in the weight of the new machine.
The most striking innovation is that the ENGEL e-motion 30 TL has a new kind of 'intelligent' frame concept in place of the double machine frame. This guarantees very high platen parallelism together with an even distribution of clamping force across the entire mould fixing platen. The sealed three-point toggle lever with maintenance-free crank mechanism works with a servomotor to facilitate very short dry cycles of well under one second.
The servoelectric ejector and mould height adjustment are integrated into the moving mould fixing platen. As with all ENGEL e-motion machines, the main movements are servoelectric; this makes it possible to synchronise parallel movements.
As far as injection is concerned, the ENGEL e-motion 30 TL is equipped with the established in-line injection unit 50, which now delivers an injection speed of 800mm/s. Three barrel diameters are available as standard: D15, D18 and D20.
With a length of just three metres, the new all-electric tie-bar-less machine offers a highly compact design that saves valuable floor space. Thanks to tie-bar-less technology, it is possible in many applications to use a smaller machine than mold size would normally dictate. With no tie-bars in the way, mold fixing platens can be used to the hilt. Tie-bar-less technology also makes mould changes easier and speeds up automation as direct parts handling is possible from the side.
Promising high precision, efficiency and flexibility, the ENGEL e-motion 30 TL is ideal for manufacturing high quality optical components and electronic parts such as connectors for mobile devices. At the same time, the high performance level of the new tie-bar-less machine offers advantages to producers of other components requiring a low clamping force.
For more information, visit: www.engelglobal.com/engel_web/global/en/126.htm
Poly-Nova Technologies has chosen ENGEL as the injection molding machine supplier for the transformation of their manufacturing facility in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Poly-Nova Technologies has completed Phase One of their facility transformation. The transformation supports their new corporate philosophy: to bring higher efficiencies and quality to their customers through standardization and automation. To meet the corporate technical standards used globally, Poly-Nova chose ENGEL injection molding machinery. “The new high efficiency ENGEL machinery meets the high technological standards required of our existing molding processes” states Geoff Valeriote, Sales & Marketing Manager of Poly-Nova. “The energy saving benefits of these machines further supports our efforts to increase the energy savings of our production processes.”
The new injection molding machinery will be used for the molding of both homogenous rubber parts and insert over-molded parts. All molding technology used in conjunction with these machines will be wasteless / flashless – a specialty of Poly-Nova’s. Flashless molding is extremely valuable when working with high performance elastomers such as the fluorosilicones and fluorocarbons that are a large part of Poly-Nova’s business.
Supporting production and energy efficiencies
All machines purchased have been equipped with dual material feed systems, eliminating downtime for material changes and increasing flexibility in production. One of the feeding systems chosen was the all-electric ENGEL roto feeder – a rotary hopper for continuous feeding of high consistency rubber (HCR) / solid silicone – which allows these materials to be used much more cost-effectively.
Creating a foundation for Poly-Nova‘s energy saving goals, all the new machines include ENGEL’s servo-hydraulic eco-drive which provides energy consumption rates similar to those of fully electric injection molding machines – by up to 70 percent in comparison to conventional hydraulic injection molding machines.
It’s all about control
ENGEL’s machines meet the high technical standards required by Poly-Nova thanks in part to the flexible and powerful CC 200 controller. Special controller options are easily incorporated and multiple interfaces for auxiliary equipment allow their third party equipment to be seamlessly interfaced and operated through the machine controller.
“The new molding equipment, enables us to standardize our processes and improve overall cost effectiveness,” says Valeriote. “And allows us to be even more competitive in the global market.”
“Poly-Nova have set themselves up to be a state-of-the-art rubber molder” says Steve Elliott, General Manager of ENGEL Canada Inc. “The way they have set up their facility there are few, if any, processes or applications in rubber molding that they cannot accommodate.”
In business since 1996, Poly-Nova services the North American automotive, appliance and energy technology markets as a custom designer and manufacturer of precision rubber products. Proven experts in state-of-the-art precision rubber molding, as well as material development and engineering, they deliver on both quality and reliability -- creating solutions specifically tailored to the application needs of their customers. In their commitment to continuously streamline systems, Poly-Nova has developed multiple proprietary molding processes, providing significant quality improvements and cost savings benefits to customers.
For more information, visit: www.poly-nova.com
ENGEL AUSTRIA handed over its 1500th injection moulding machine to the LEGO Group at the beginning of December. LEGO® elements in many shapes and colours are produced on ENGEL injection moulding machines at the LEGO sites in Denmark, Hungary and Mexico. ENGEL and the LEGO Group have enjoyed a good working relationship for over 40 years now and have driven many new developments forward together over the course of this period.
Excellent performance combined with maximum efficiency and sustainability are what ENGEL injection moulding machines and system solutions stand for in markets all over the world. "Like the LEGO Group, we are a family business and decisions are made swiftly and efficiently," says Christian Pum, ENGEL AUSTRIA's Sales Director. "This allows us to respond to new challenges very quickly and develop individualised solutions to meet the specific needs of each customer. Our close relationship is constantly giving birth to completely new ideas and impulses – from both sides. That's what makes our relationship special.”
Investment in energy efficiency
One of the main contributors to the relationship is the interest of both companies in sustainability. "It is our ambition to have a positive impact on the environment," stresses John Hansen, Senior Vice President and Head of Quality & Engineering at the LEGO Group. "We are in the business of play, and children are our vital concern. They inherit both the future and the planet, and they have a right to a healthy and rich environment. That's why we have devoted ourselves to sustainability and place so much emphasis on it. This means that with regard to injection moulding, we invest exclusively in energy-efficient machines. ENGEL technologies are part of this.”
The LEGO Group works out which drive system and process technology is the most energy-efficient solution to meet its needs in conjunction with its supplier in each individual case. ENGEL supplies LEGO factories with both servo-hydraulic and all-electric injection moulding machines.
Just under half of the 1500 injection moulding machines supplied by ENGEL in the last four decades are in use at LEGO Group factories today. The demands on the machines have grown continuously throughout this period. Christian Pum says: "We always look forward to new challenges with the LEGO Group. I am sure our partnership will be making an important contribution to the continuous development of both companies in the future as well.
For more information, visit: www.engelglobal.com
With edge lengths of 3.5 metres and a weight of 95 tons each, the mould clamping platens of the ENGEL duo 80000H/80000H/5500 injection moulding machine which Sulo Umwelttechnik uses to make four-wheel rubbish containers are the biggest and heaviest ENGEL has ever built. The model has set another record too: There is no other machine of this size on the market which achieves comparable energy efficiency.
Sulo Umwelttechnik is among the world's leading suppliers of high-quality rubbish and recycling collection containers. 40 years ago, the company launched the first plastic fourwheel rubbish containers onto the market. The vast majority of steel containers have now been replaced by plastic successors. By investing in this new large-scale machine, Sulo has increased the capacity at its Herford site and is now able to produce four-wheel containers with capacities of 660, 770, and 1100 litres.
Tie bar space of 2580mm by 2800mm
The largest rubbish containers are 1200mm x 1000mm x 1000mm. The space between the large machine's tie bars is 2580mm in width and 2800mm in height, and therefore allows its mould, which weighs 112 tons, to be inserted and removed without any problems.
Two barrier screws with a diameter of 215mm and a length/diameter ratio of 24:1 feed in the material (HDPE), while the narrow design of the injection units means the nozzles can be 2050mm apart. The injection pressure is 2100 bar.
Lost energy reduced drastically
As a pioneer in the particularly dynamic waste disposal sector, Sulo also has its own measures in place to ensure that maximum sustainability is always achieved. The energy efficiency of its injection moulding machines plays a major role here, which is why, as the world's first IMM of this size, its new ENGEL duo has been fitted with the ENGEL servohydraulic system, ecodrive. "No drive when idle" is the key to ENGEL drastically reducing the energy consumption levels of its hydraulic machines. During cooling phases for example, the idling and flushing energy consumed by conventional hydraulic systems is saved completely. This lowers Sulo's annual electricity consumption by more than a million kWh, the equivalent to the annual consumption of 220 four-person households.
Indvidualised and made to measure
Sulo's record order was not just a special challenge for ENGEL because of the huge mould clamping platens: as XXL class machines are actually planned around the mould or the product to be manufactured. Although the ENGEL business unit Packaging (in conjunction with ENGEL Hanover and the ENGEL large-scale machine factory in St. Valentin, Austria, in this case) is able to provide long-term machine stability as well as extremely high quality and availability from a wealth of tested option packages for this, every new XXL machine is individualised and made to measure. Ultimately, the close cooperation between Sulo, ENGEL Packaging, ENGEL Hanover, and St, Valentin also made a crucial contribution to enabling the project to be completed successfully within a relatively short period of time.
For more information, visit: www.engelglobal.com
An idle machine becomes expensive very quickly. The problem needs to be identified and solved promptly and competently. ENGEL accomplishes this by linking a customer’s injection molding machines with more than 300 service engineers and its worldwide production plants via the ENGEL e-service.24 service package. This ensures the shortest response times – around the globe and around the clock.
ENGEL never sleeps. Eight production facilities on three continents means the service team of ENGEL e-service.24 are available 24/7. Using a remote connection, ENGEL’s injection molding specialists can start looking for the cause as soon as an error message appears. The highlight: the injection molding machine will request help on its own. In the event of a failure, or for service purposes, the system will automatically inform the qualified personnel and machine operating staff by e-mail. The error or service message can be forwarded directly to the experts at ENGEL as a service request.
The ENGEL service engineers will give the customers instructions and explanations by audio, video or text conferencing as necessary. Document sharing functions and red-lining tools make it possible to work together efficiently across thousands of miles. The original screen pages of the machine controller can be viewed over the Internet, and because data access is done in real-time, the current state of the machine can be displayed whenever needed. VNC conferences and remote desktop provide access to the remote systems. Many problems can be resolved easily over the Internet with this method, and the plastics manufacturers avoid the higher-cost and more time-consuming on-site service visit, which results in higher machine availability and greater productivity in manufacturing.
Status reports in real-time
An integrated analyzing tool provides status reports and measurement results. The machine operator can even carry out software updates quickly and safely using the online data link.
The remote functions can also be used in-house at the customer facility, by the on-duty service staff or for maintenance work.
All service activities and their results – such as maintenance, repairs, software updates, measurements and notes – are stored in a logfile, to allow the retracing of modifications and updates.
In addition, the system includes documentation management for storing manuals and internal instructions. This makes all documents readily available at all times. The information can also be kept current through on demand updates.
ENGEL e-service.24 provides a quick fix on machine failure as well as transparency for the operating and service staff on-site at the injection molding plant.
For more information, visit: www.engelglobal.com/engel_web/global/en/3308.htm
With ENGEL e-factory 2, ENGEL sets new standards in production data acquisition. Thanks to the enhanced set of features, the new release of ENGEL's MES solution can be connected directly to ERP systems such as SAP – even injection molding machines of different brands can now be integrated. This results in higher productivity and efficiency in the injection molding production.
Manufacturing Execution Systems – MES for short – make operations more transparent. Production figures can be observed conveniently -- in real time -- from the desk in order to immediately counteract deviations.
At present, the ENGEL e-factory 2 includes the following modules:
ENGEL continues to enhance its MES solution, and additional functionality is currently under development. Additional modules – such as the detailed order planning and maintenance management of machines and molds – will soon complement the newly released ENGEL e-factory 2.
For more information, visit: www.engelglobal.com/engel_web/global/en/172.htm
ENGEL North America will exhibit a wide range of injection molding technology at the upcoming MD&M Minneapolis 2012 show in Minneapolis, MN. The exhibit starts with an ecodrive equipped, 55 ton ENGEL e-victory hybrid tie-bar-less machine molding an LSR application, and adds an ENGEL viper 6 robot. The system features the new ENGEL flomo -- an extremely compact temperature controlling water distribution system with electronic monitoring, and finishes with ENGEL e-factory 2 remote monitoring system.
ENGEL North America, member of the ENGEL group, a world leader in the design and manufacture of injection molding machines and parts-handling automation, will exhibit a hybrid tie-bar-less injection molding machine – the ENGEL e-victory 200/55 US -- running a 4-cavity LSR mold, producing a medical umbrella valve for suction device. Automatic part removal will be handled by the ENGEL viper 6 linear servo robot.
ENGEL e-victory with ecodrive for increased energy efficiency:
The ENGEL e-victory machine series is characterized by a high-precision, servo-electrical injection unit and a tie-bar-less, hydraulic clamping unit. For added efficiencies, ENGEL’s ecodrive has been installed – reducing energy consumption by up to 70 percent compared with standard hydraulics, providing savings similar to comparable fully electric machines.
Benefits of the ecodrive are particularly great when it comes to the tie-bar-less ENGEL victory and e-victory machines. In contrast to standard hydraulics with asynchronous drives, ecodrive does not consume flushing or idle energy when the machine is not in motion. Legacy hydraulic drives continuously pump the hydraulic oil through the system.
Using all-electric injection units along with servo-hydraulics has an additional positive effect on energy management, as no energy is consumed while the hydraulics are idle, which leads to vastly improved energy utilization. In addition, clamping pressure lock-in, a standard feature, improves ecodrive’s efficiency. This means that the clamping pressure is locked into the sealed hydraulic clamping system by means of a non-return valve which removes the need to consume energy to maintain clamping pressure.
The ENGEL viper
Maximum stability, impressive dynamics and maximum user-friendliness. The ENGEL viper combines all of these things with ease: it saves weight thanks to its innovative design using laser-welded steel sections which keeps the dead weight of the robot low and provides users with a substantially higher load-bearing capacity.
Thanks to clever software such as vibration control and mass identification, it automatically reduces structure borne vibration, even with longer axis dimensions, and optimizes its movements and dynamic values to achieve better efficiency. The impressive results: ultra-fast cycle times and maximum productivity accompanied by low energy consumption.
The ENGEL viper 6 has a load-bearing capacity of 6 kg/13 lbs.
Mold maintenance directly on the machine
The new ENGEL flomo is one of the smallest adjustable water manifolds on the market with electronic monitoring. As the world’s first system of its kind, the ENGEL flomo can be either machine mounted – with the user interface fully integrated into the ENGEL CC200 control unit, or as a stand-alone unit equipped with its own control unit.
For the MD&M Minneapolis show, the extremely compact ENGEL flomo manifold has been mounted very close to the mold, minimizing heat loss. The fully integrated user interface provides permanent electronic monitoring of all cooling circuits, and for show purposes will be monitoring the cold runner manifold (temperature and pressure of return water).
ENGEL e-factory 2: the new dimension in transparency
Fully redeveloped and enhanced, the new ENGEL e-factory 2 has been designed to better improve efficiencies, reduce costs and enhance service. This complete modular software solution assists with the central acquisition of operation and process data as well as the setting data to the ENGEL injection molding machines.
ENGEL e-factory 2 serves as the interface and the communication gateway between injection molding production and an organization’s network. The software package records detailed data from a facilities injection molding machines, which means the customer is informed even more quickly about what‘s happening across their production operation - even when things aren‘t quite running as they should. Now customers can draw conclusions concerning the susceptibility to failure, utilization and productivity of the machinery and see where to start making further improvements.
At MD&M Minneapolis 2012, an ENGEL e-victory press will be running a 4 cavity, cold-runner medical umbrella valve mold. Partners in the exhibit include MR Mold (mold), Fluid Automation (material feeding system), Dow Corning (material) and Gayson SDI (colorant).
What are today’s latest trends in thermoplastics and liquid silicone medical molding technologies? What innovative injection molding solutions will help you to maintain your competitive advantage in the future? These questions and more will be answered at ENGEL’s upcoming medical symposium being held October 2nd through 4th at ENGEL’s Technical Center in Corona, California.
ENGEL North America, member of the ENGEL group, a world leader in the design and manufacture of injection molding machines and parts-handling automation, is hosting a three day symposium focused specifically on new developments in both thermoplastic and liquid silicone molding for the medical industry. The event will be held at ENGEL’s Technical Center in Corona, California.
ENGEL’s symposium has been designed as three separate programs: day one focuses on thermoplastic medical molding processes, day two centers on liquid silicone rubber medical molding processes, and day three is an in-depth, hands-on training in liquid silicone rubber. Attendees are welcome to attend one day, or all three, based on their interests.
The programs for days one and two will include a diverse mix of interesting and informative presentations by professionals, for professionals, relating to all aspects of the medical molding industry. Some of the technical sessions include:
The third day of the event provides in-depth, hands-on training in liquid silicone rubber. This training includes:
Throughout the symposium, demonstrating ENGEL’s competency in both thermoplastic and liquid silicone rubber areas of the medical technology field, three injection molding systems will be running, providing visitors with a first-hand look at some of today’s latest molding processes and technologies.
An ENGEL hybrid tie-bar-less injection molding machine – the ENGEL e-victory 200/55 US -- running a 4-cavity LSR mold, producing a nasal prong. Automatic part removal will be handled by the ENGEL viper 6 linear servo robot. The system also features the new ENGEL flomo -- an extremely compact temperature controlling water distribution system with electronic monitoring. For added efficiencies, ENGEL’s ecodrive has been installed – reducing energy consumption by up to 70 percent compared with standard hydraulics, providing savings similar to comparable fully electric machines.
An all-electric ENGEL e-motion 310/110 T US machine will run a 16 cavity thermoplastic syringe mold. The syringes, with extremely long and thin mold cores, require exceptional process control of high speed injection to meet the demanding levels of product quality. The ENGEL e-motion press not only delivers the level of process control required, but does so with a cycle time of 5.5 seconds. The mold, provided by Tech Mold, provides a side-gated / close-pitch solution for customers that need to optimize their production footprint.
Another fully electric injection molding machine – an ENGEL e-motion 200/60 US equipped with an ENGEL viper 6 robot – will utilize the ENGEL x-melt process to mold a thin-walled device cover. The extremely thin-walled design of this part (0.3 mm) makes this a perfect application for demonstrating the ENGEL x-melt process. The ENGEL x-melt process provides a cost-effective method of producing thin-walled and micro parts – accumulator free – without the need to invest in special purpose capital equipment. As well as the ability to produce extremely thin-wall parts, the x-melt process also provides unsurpassed repeatability. Several studies have shown that x-melt can improve part weight consistency by up to a factor of 10 when compared to conventional molding.
For more information, visit: www.engelglobal.com/engel_web/ena/en/2723_4168.htm
ENGEL has equipped a growing custom-molding and moldmaking operation with an advanced vertical press for manufacturing a life-saving surgical component housing -- an insert molded needle nearly five inches long.
ENGEL North America, member of the ENGEL group, a world leader in the design and manufacture of injection molding machines and parts-handling automation, recently delivered a new molding system built-up around a 45-ton ENGEL insert 80V/45 vertical injection molding machine to Matrix Tooling, Inc./ Matrix Plastic Products of Wood Dale, IL.
Equipped with ENGEL's sturdy C-frame clamping unit, key features of the new Matrix press include dual core-pulls, a two-station rotary table, and a highly accurate and repeatable servomotor-controlled injection unit that incorporates a high-temperature barrel package. Matrix uses its new ENGEL vertical press to insert mold TPE surgical catheter tubes with stainless-steel needles that are nearly five inches long.
“It's a pretty complicated job,” says Andy Ziegenhorn, Molding Accounts Manager at Matrix. “One of the reasons we chose the ENGEL was the flexibility of the controller. It allowed us to handle the mechanics of the tool and also allows for future improvements to the process, such as cutting the catheter tube to length within the mold."
“Although we're still in the initial stages with this project, and we are hand-loading the inserts at the present time, we have realized there are many automation possibilities. We plan to automate this process with a side-entry robot as the production volumes ramp up.”
A Flawless Start-Up
According to Patrick Collins, the Molding Operations Manager at Matrix, “The start up on this complicated mold—a mold with removable core mandrels—was flawless. The mold has two ejector halves that rotate on the turntable. As the one side is being injected with plastic, the other is being ejected and loaded.
“At this time, we have three sets of core/insert mandrels that we are hand loading. The core/insert mandrels have been designed to hold the stainless-steel needles with a detent that can be actuated by a lever on the mandrel. This allows the inserts to be held in place as they are being molded.”
“We have a great team here at Matrix,“ Collins continues. “Tom Ziegenhorn, one of our Design Engineers, and I met this new customer while working a trade show. Tom was able to visualize that the customer needed to replace a costly manual process with a more cost-effective insert molding process.
“The mold he designed was built by our team of skilled tool builders led by Mike Martin and Gary Eckman, and our inspection team led by Gary Johansson qualified everything to exceed our customer’s expectations.”
“When choosing the machine vendor for this project – especially as we were bringing a new technology into our facility -- we wanted to limit our risk/exposure as much as possible,” says Ziegenhorn. “ENGEL's reliability and service have always been top notch in our experience, so even though the machine was a little more expensive upfront than some of their competitors, we felt that quality of the end product and service justified the investment.”
“Personally, I think you can tell the difference just by looking at the machines. Our ENGELs appear to be more solid / well built. But more to the point, we end up requiring fewer service calls on these machines than some of the others on our floor.”
A One-Stop Shop
At its 30,000-sq. ft. facility in Wood Dale, IL, Matrix employs about 50, working three shifts. The company designs and builds its own molds, and has done so for more than three decades. It operates a combination of 14 electric and hydraulic molding machines ranging from 5-to-300 tons, including two presses in a Class 100,000 cleanroom. Matrix specializes in running engineering resins, such as PEEK, PEI, LCP, PC, and nylons to produce some 20-million parts per year for its medical/surgical, electronics, military and consumer products customers.
And, since it also processes expensive resorbable materials—like PLA, PLG, and PLC—Matrix understandably makes a consistent effort to minimize shot sizes, and reduce material waste.
Matrix also adds value to the full range of services it provides its customers with such in-house secondary processes as assembly, sonic welding, laser marking, and project-specific labeling. Although pad printing and other secondary operations may be outsourced to approved suppliers of such services, Matrix oversees and manages all projects. Its state-of-the-art quality assurance lab facilitates customized inspection reporting and full qualification services. Matrix is both ISO 9001- and ISO-13485-certified.
For more information, visit: www.matrixtooling.com
Thanks to its unique tie-bar-less technology, the ENGEL victory spex injection molding machine offers several efficiency advantages at once: lower costs by using large molds with moderate clamping forces, better machine utilization through faster tool change, and more convenient automation through the barrier-free access for robots. Topped off with ENGEL’s ecodrive, providing energy savings of up to 70% less than a standard hydraulic machine.
The ENGEL victory spex machine features tie-bar-less technology, which stands for unbeatable mold dimensions. The barrier-free mold area can easily accommodate large molds, even with bulky core-pulls, as the generously dimensioned platens can be utilized to their limits and beyond. It is no longer the mold size that dictates the size of injection molding machine necessary, but the required clamping force – a fact that cuts investment and operating costs in addition to reducing the footprint of the manufacturing cell. Exceptionally high molds may even extend down into the machine frame thanks to the extra wide design of the delivery chute.
The tie-bar-less technology allows the quick changing of even tall and bulky molds. Here, the barrier-free access to the mold area is made easier, especially for manual intervention, as production employees no longer have to lean through tie-bars.
Robots also have free access to the mold area: They can enter from the side, thereby reducing the cycle times. This also allows automated processes even in production halls with a low ceiling.
Highest platen parallelism even at higher speeds
The tie-bar-less ENGEL victory spex injection molding machine provides excellent platen parallelism, at rest as well as in motion. On the one hand, this is a result of the 3-point platen guide with double-sided precision guidance and the central clamping unit; on the other hand, the massive frame construction prevents the clamping unit from flexing. The stationary platen's extremely stable mounting to the frame ensures that it does not sway from its vertical position – even for fast movements This robust, low-friction design directly affects the life of the molds – for less wear and tear, and consequently less maintenance.
Servo hydraulics for maximum energy efficiency
Equipped with the energy-saving option ecodrive, the ENGEL victory spex features consumption rates similar to those of fully electric injection molding machines.? Depending on the application, the servo hydraulics reduce the energy consumption by up to 70 percent in comparison to conventional hydraulic injection molding machines.
The ENGEL victory spex line, with clamping forces from 55 to 560, is designed for producing technical parts and offers the best price/performance ratio in this market segment.
For more information, visit: www.engelglobal.com/engel_web/global/en/2352.htm
Ambitious climatic goals, electromobility and changes in consumer behaviour see the automotive industry facing major challenges. To provide improved support in coping with these toughening challenges to customers in the automotive industry in future, ENGEL AUSTRIA has founded a technology centre for lightweight composites at its St. Valentin large-scale machine production facility.
"Our goal with this lightweight construction centre is to intensify cooperation on developing composite fibre technologies with our partners", emphasizes Peter Egger, Head of the Technology Centre for Lightweight Composites with ENGEL in St. Valentin. "The focus is on creating highly-integrated and automated system solutions that guarantee our customers a high degree of efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the production of innovative composite fibre components, thus securing a competitive advantage."
Lightweight construction and injection moulding have long since been key concepts for meeting the increasing demands of the transport and mobility sectors. Due to their excellent specific characteristics as lightweight materials, plastics are absolutely indispensable, and injection moulding supports both a high degree of component design freedom and reproducible, functionally-integrative, cost- and resource friendly production. ENGEL continually invests in the future market of lightweight construction and has already defined an important milestone with the ENGEL organomelt process for manufacturing composite fibre components in a single process step, as well as introducing new concepts for in-situ polymerisation.
For many years, ENGEL has been collaborating closely with research institutes and business partners in the field of lightweight construction. The foundation of the technology centre will serve to extend this network. "The precondition for successful lightweight construction concepts is optimum meshing of the material, the design and the production process. This makes close collaboration with partners along the value added chain particularly important for this future-defining topic", says Egger.
For more information, visit: www.engelglobal.com
The interior is one of the key differentiating features of modern cars. Besides the design, special attention is also paid to the quality of the surfaces. ENGEL is an innovative technologies leader when it comes to combining excellent surface quality with a high degree of cost-efficiency. This explains why the Dolphin process, which ENGEL featured in a technical seminar at NPE2012, aroused such great interest. It enables the production of molded parts with a soft touch surface in a single process step.
The Dolphin process combines two-component injection molding with physical foaming (MuCell®) and reverse compression technology. Capitalizing on the features of an ENGEL combi M machine with horizontal rotary-platen and opposing injection units, the initial conventional molding of a thermoplastic substrate takes place in the first injection station – e.g. from PC+ABS – utilizing a valve gated hot-runner system. After cooling, the part is transferred to the second injection station by rotating the center mold stack. During the overmolding of the substrate the wall thickness is held to a defined dimension -- typically 2mm -- to prevent the gas from foaming. The inert gas (typically nitrogen or CO2) is introduced during recovery, in a supercritical state, and creates a gas-saturated melt. The MuCell® injection unit is mounted on the moving platen of the ENGEL combi M machine.
Two-component injection molding, MuCell® and compression technology combined
During a short cooling phase, the melt solidifies on the mold wall and forms a skin layer, which duplicates the grained surface of the cavity. Immediately afterwards, the clamping unit is opened by a defined reverse compression stroke to allow the dissolved gas to expand. Since the pressure within the cavity now decreases with a gradient that is equal across the cavity, particularly fine and uniform foam cells form – the prerequisite of a highly uniform and good cell structure within the part which creates a uniform density throughout the part. The cavity is held in the extended position until the TPE has cooled completely and crystallized.
Since the next substrate is already being produced on the other side of the mold -- simultaneous with foaming -- the clamping force must not decrease during the precise opening movement required to create the foam layer. This is ensured by a blocking system on the second mold side. Another special feature of the mold design for this process is the requirement of a surrounding spring loaded frame or similar mechanism that reliably seals the 2 mold halves during the opening stroke so that neither melt nor foam can escape. The Dolphin process therefore requires particularly stable and high-precision molds. The tolerance in the temperature-controlled and movable elements is 0.001 in. The cooling is just as big a challenge. To generate parts of the best quality, the 2 mold halves must be held at different temperatures. The substrate requires a temperature that is 95 °F higher than the overmolding of the soft component.
Mercedes-Benz Actros First series production
In the fall of 2011, the first series application started. The Italian Daimler supplier SOLE (Oderzo/Italy) uses the Dolphin method to produce cockpit covers for the new Mercedes Benz Actros at the Daimler facility in Wörth/Germany. The production line is composed of an ENGEL duo injection molding machine with a horizontal intermediate rotary table system, a multiple-axis industry robot and equipment for physical foaming. Besides ENGEL, mold maker Georg Kaufmann, Busslingen/Switzerland, and raw-material supplier SO.F.TER Tecnopolimeri, Forlì/Italy, are participating in the Actros Project.
Negotiations with clients to start further series applications are currently in progress. In contrast to other methods of manufacturing molded parts with a pleasing tactile experience, Dolphin requires only a single process step, thereby substantially reducing both time and cost overheads. At the same time, the Dolphin process gives designers a huge amount of freedom as it allows easy implementation of complex geometries and undercuts.
For more information, visit: www.engelglobal.com
GW Silicones, a division of international custom precision injection molder and contract manufacturer GW Plastics, Inc., is in the final stages of a three million dollar expansion of its Royalton, VT Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) molding operation, adding both cleanroom manufacturing space and new ENGEL injection molding equipment.
Established in 2008 to support the needs of existing GW Plastics customers, GW Silicones has quickly outgrown their original class 8 cleanroom molding and assembly facility, and is undergoing a 15,000 square foot expansion that will provide space for up to 18 new injection molding machines. The entire facility (scalable up to 25,000 sq ft) is devoted to cleanroom LSR molding and assembly.
“Having reached our current manufacturing capacity, we needed to add additional injection molding systems to meet new business demands. This meant expanding our facility to match the growth of our LSR business,” states Mark Hammond, General Manager of GW Silicones.
In keeping with their parent company philosophy, GW Silicones also plans their machinery purchases to maintain open capacity in order to take on new business with no delay to the customer.
GW Silicones dedicated to Engel machines
GW Plastics believes that standardization of equipment across all locations is the best way to meet customer and market requirements. Molds can be moved from machine to machine, facility to facility, and within hours they can be producing precision parts.
At GW Silicones, the machine of choice is ENGEL. GW Silicones’ current cleanroom is equipped with ENGEL machines ranging from 50-200 tons – the sweet-spot for LSR molding -- with additional machines and robots scheduled for delivery by the end of March. The new cleanroom will be equipped with all-electric, hybrid and hydraulic machines, giving GW Silicones the ability to match the best machine to each prototype and production molding application. Multiple screw/barrel assemblies for each press will allow for the molding of parts from fractions of a gram to larger pound shots, providing an extremely wide range of molding capabilities, encompassing the size range of most LSR product requirements.
“The ENGEL machines provide accuracy with the all-electric equipment, production flexibility with the tiebarless clamp design, ease of set up with integrated robotics, and the proven ENGEL technology and reliability,” says Hammond.
GW Silicones frequently incorporates automation into their injection molding cells. For example, a current cell at GW Silicones includes a 6-axis robot, that operates within the machine envelope, enabling both insert-loading and molded-part extraction. Two of the new ENGEL systems being added to the expanded cleanroom will include ENGEL viper servo robots.
LSR materials challenge molders
The field of LSR molding is a challenging one. From the perspective of GW Silicones, there are very few LSR molders capable of manufacturing precision, flash-free componenets and assemblies. Most are equipped to manufacture only the most basic LSR products, not the high precision, close-tolerance, complex LSR applications that require a specialist like GW Silicones. GW Silicones customers know that it takes a unique combination of capabilities, expertise and resources to get the job done quickly, effectively and successfully the first time.
When planning their expansion into LSR molding, GW Plastics sought to extend their industry-leading design and manufacturing capabilities to seamlessly integrate GW Silicones into their robust portfolio of full-service customer offerings. To accomplish this goal, they hired highly-experienced technical and commercial specialists to launch and grow GW Silicones and to ensure that the new division would meet the high standard of expertise and service its customers expect. This includes in-house LSR mold design and construction as well as niche process capability.
The ability to mold multimaterial (thermoplastics and LSR) components such as 2-shot, insert- or overmolded parts is a specific skill of GW Silicones, and one that gives them a particular niche in the molding marketplace. LSR can be used to create complex molded parts with finer detail and tighter tolerances than are often possible with other materials. When molded onto thermoplastic substrates, the resulting multi-material performance options are numerous. Their familiarity with the demands of LSR processing and their knowledge of material properties, allows the staff at GW Silicones to assist their customers in ways most LSR molders cannot.
The future of LSR molding
Hammond sees exciting growth opportunities for LSR in healthcare, automotive and industrial/consumer markets. Among the most tested biomaterials, silicones are increasingly desired based on their unique combination of biocompatibility and performance properties:
• Chemically inert, odourless, tasteless and stainless
• Bacterial resistant and easy to clean and sterilize
• Biocompatible and short/long-term implantable
• Lubricious for less invasive biological applications
• Temperature flexible – 180ºF to 600ºF
• Fatigue and compression set resistant
• Chemically resistant
• Elongatable – 100 to 900%
• Dielectric with superior insulating characteristics
Because of these unique properties, LSR is particularly applicable to high-growth healthcare and medical device market segments like cardio- and peripheral vascular, aesthetic surgery, minimally invasive and micro-surgery, in-vitro diagnostics, drug delivery, wireless monitoring, neurostimulation and neuromodulation.
The vision of a vehicle interior without buttons and switches is becoming increasingly real. Visitors to NPE 2012, being held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, can stop by the ENGEL booth and sit in the driver’s seat of the future to experience the reality of cutting-edge automotive control functions. The NPE 2012 exhibit halls will be open to guests April 2-5, 2012. ENGEL North America will be located at Booth #943 in the West Hall of the convention center.
Activating control functions through the center console of the simulation cell is as simple as lightly touching one of the functional elements of the completely enclosed surface. Thanks to ENGEL clearmelt technology and the integration of a capacitive foil using in-mold labeling, vehicle controls will be just as elegant as smartphone controls in the future.
"This trend not only gives automotive interior designers a new level of freedom, it also reduces the cost of producing functional elements," stresses Mark Sankovitch, President of ENGEL North America. "We are already talking to various OEMs and automotive companies. In four to five years, the first vehicles will be equipped with this sensitive surface technology," adds Franz Füreder, head of ENGEL Automotive at ENGEL Headquarters in Schwertberg, Austria.
ENGEL is presenting this exhibit in cooperation with various system partners. Magna Exterior & Interior Systems from Munich, Germany is supporting the processing technology side of the project.
ENGEL duo range expanded
At NPE, an ENGEL duo 350 injection molding machine will be producing the piano black center consoles. This is the first showing of this new machine size in North America, which brings the power of the duo large-scale machines – maximum power on a small footprint – to the lower clamping force range.
Using spin-stack technology, the thermoplastic center console top carrier made of ABS-PC is injected while the pre-molded part created in the previous cycle is overmolded with polyurethane in the second half of the mold. This process is based on the ENGEL combi M method but with a polyurethane system connected to the mold, instead of a second injection unit. The capacitive foil is insert-placed into the mold before injecting the first component. ENGEL viper 20 and ENGEL viper 40 linear robots take care of component and part handling.
In the ENGEL clearmelt process, the layer of PUR fulfills multiple functions at the same time. The primary task is that of protecting the part's class A surface against chemical and mechanical exposure. The coating's excellent degree of glossiness and the 3-D effect that it creates provides added value to the part's appearance.
Servohydraulics save costs
This exhibit not only has a high level of technology but it is also extremely energy efficient in its operation. The ENGEL duo machine is equipped with the servohydraulic ENGEL ecodrive which reduces energy loss to such an extent that hydraulic machines can achieve consumption values that can compete with fully electric machines. The key to this impressive level of efficiency lies in reducing loss of energy through the full molding cycle. While the machine is idle during cooling phases, for example, no energy is consumed. Additionally, ecodrive reduces – and in some cases even eliminates -- the requirement for oil cooling. With most hydraulic machines, the supplied electrical energy not used for various machine movements in the form of kinetic energy is usually converted into heat, and this heat energy is supplied to the hydraulic oil. Therefore, a key indicator of energy efficiency in hydraulic machines is the oil temperature.
Complimentary seminar during NPE
ENGEL in Florida with a total of seven manufacturing cells
ENGEL will prove its great system-solution competence at the NPE 2012 with a total of seven highly-integrated and automated manufacturing cells, demonstrating a wide range of applications. Apart from the automotive industry, ENGEL will have exhibits that focus on the Packaging, Medical, and Technical Molding, industries. “At ENGEL it’s not just about equipment,” says Mark Sankovitch. “It’s about helping our customers bring their ideas to life – discovering new approaches, engineering innovations, developing new process technologies. By doing so, it is possible to achieve long-term cost advantages and to increase competitiveness.”
Sterling Manufacturing Co., South Lanchaster, Mass., has taken delivery of an ENGEL insert 200/60 US injection molding machine, which was installed in their recently completed Class 100,000 cleanroom.
Shortly after purchasing Sterling, the current ownership invested in a new molding machine and cleanroom facility to pump up its medical and aerospace molding business. The vertical clamp ENGEL insert 200/60 US, which has a 60 ton vertical clamp and 200cc injection unit, will operate in Sterling’s recently constructed Class 100,000 cleanroom. The new machine and cleanroom are the first of many planned investments for the precision custom molder.
Sterling is now owned by John Gravelle, molding business veteran, and Stan Bowker, co-owner and President, who together acquired Sterling in early August 2011. Michael Gravelle, Director of Business Development, says, “The management team is looking to expand Sterling’s existing customer base by investing in new technology and equipment.” Sterling’s plant measures 35,000 sq ft and employs a staff of 45. “Sterling’s employees have significant experience in molding and value added processes, and are fully committed to our expansion plans,” says Vice President of Engineering, Bob Clinton.
The new ENGEL machine is a part of Sterling’s growth plan, which calls for increased use of automation. Machine and automation investments will help Sterling compete for high volume work with existing customers as well as in expanding their customer base.
Sterling currently specializes in high-value medical, aerospace, and military parts. Medical applications include fluid-delivery devices, stents, implantables and medical device housings, as well as diagnostic, endoscopic and sports medicine equipment. Military and aerospace applications include audio headset components and pilot helmets for the United States Air Force.
Sterling makes a point of providing superior technical support in order to meet client needs. For example, if a client needs to change a particular specification for a product, Sterling seeks to meet that need with high-end engineering services. “Engel’s responsiveness to our technical needs aids us in keeping the level of responsiveness we provide our customers,” states Stan Bowker.
“Sterling will be a mid-size manufacturing company with large company capabilities. We will compete with China and Mexico by taking labor costs out of the equation with automation for high volume applications. At the same time, we will remain flexible enough to continue our current business model of doing short run, high margin jobs that large molders, with large overheads, can’t afford to go after,” according to Michael Gravelle.
Stan Bowker notes that Sterling has an excellent energy-efficient manufacturing facility. The building is partially underground, so it is naturally well insulated. Sterling also considers energy savings when purchasing new injection machines. Bowker also notes “ENGEL offers a variety of choices when it comes to drive technology. We can choose between all-electric, servohydraulic and hybrid technologies. We will take advantage of whatever technology is best for a given application.”
ENGEL North America will exhibit a micro-shot molding solution at the upcoming MD&M Minneapolis 2011 show in Minneapolis, MN. On display will be an ecodrive equipped, 30 ton ENGEL e-victory hybrid tie- bar-less machine, molding an LSR application using ENGEL’s x-melt (expansion molding) technology.
ENGEL North America, member of the ENGEL group, a world leader in the design and manufacture of injection molding machines and parts-handling automation, will exhibit a hybrid tie bar-less injection molding machine – the ENGEL e-victory 80/30 US -- running a 2-cavity LSR mold with automatic part removal. The extremely small shot size of these parts (0.03 grams each) makes this an excellent application for demonstration of the ENGEL x-melt process.
ENGEL's x-melt expansion injection molding technology dramatically increases the range of possibilities for manufacturing ultra-thin-wall components and micromolded parts by allowing the production of such products on conventional injection molding machines. In addition to enabling the accumulator-free, cost-effective production of parts with wall-thicknesses significantly less than 0.5-mm, ENGEL x-melt also provides molders with the ability to produce microparts with unprecedented repeatability, but without an unprecedented investment in special-purpose capital equipment.
In ENGEL’s x-melt process, the screw pressurizes the melt in front of the screw tip against either a closed shut-off valve, or a closed valve gate, to pressures as high as 43,000 psi. Once the appropriate pressure is reached, and following a brief time delay to allow the pressure to equalize throughout the system, the shut-off nozzle or valve gate opens and the melt instantaneously expands into the cavity. Melt flow front speeds can exceed 100 in./sec. And fill time—typically in the 0.02-to-0.05 second range—can be as quick as 0.005 second.
During this entire split-second filling process the screw is stationary and does not assist the filling of the cavity. Once the filling is done, the residual pressure in the system acts like conventional holding pressure. However, if necessary, a traditional holding pressure profile can be run.
In addition to its ability to produce extremely thin-wall parts, another equally important advantage of the x-melt process is the unsurpassed repeatability it provides. Several studies have shown that x-melt can improve part weight consistency by up to a factor of 10 when compared to conventional molding.
ENGEL e-victory with ecodrive for increased energy efficiency:
The ENGEL e-victory machine series is characterized by a high-precision, servo-electrical injection unit and a tie bar-less, hydraulic clamping unit. With the addition of the new ENGEL ecodrive, this machine has become as energy efficient as an all-electric machine.
Benefits of the ecodrive are particularly great when it comes to the tie bar-less ENGEL victory and e-victory machines. In contrast to standard hydraulics with asynchronous drives, ecodrive does not consume flushing or idle energy when the machine is not in motion. Legacy hydraulic drives continuously pump the hydraulic oil through the system.
Besides the increased energy consumption due to constant motor/pump activity, the cooling water requirements of standard systems are also higher because the hydraulic oil is heated by the constant movement. Heating of hydraulic oil in particular is a key indicator of energy efficiency. With ecodrive, some ENGEL victory machines will no longer need oil cooling. The use of ecodrive also offers the benefits of low heat impact thereby keeping heat-related air turbulence to a minimum. This makes the machine perfect for cleanroom applications.
Using all-electric injection units along with servo-hydraulics has an additional positive effect on the energy household, as no energy is consumed while the hydraulics are idle, which leads to vastly improved energy utilization. In addition to this, clamping pressure lock-in, a standard feature, improves ecodrive’s efficiency. This means that the clamping pressure is locked into the sealed hydraulic clamping system by means of a non-return valve. This removes the need to consume energy to maintain clamping pressure.
In total, the use of ecodrive with ENGEL victory machines can save up to 70 percent of energy consumption compared with standard hydraulics, providing savings similar to comparable fully electric machines.
At MD&M Minneoplis 2011, an ENGEL e-victory press will be running a 2 cavity, cold-runner duck bill mold with a cycle time of 15 seconds, and a shot size of only 0.062 grams (0.0035 cubic inches). Partners in the exhibit include Roembke Mfg & Design (mold), Design Facts / Kuka (part removal), Fluid Automation (material feeding system), Wacker Silicone (material) and Gayson SDI (colorant).
For more information, visit: www.engelglobal.com/engel_web/global/en/2131.htm or www.canontradeshows.com/expo/minn11
Uncompromising quality, complete traceability, and accuate documentation. The medical and automotive industries are regulated by standards, guidelines and laws governing the design of production lines and processes, as well as proof of conformity to regulations. An important prerequisite in qualification is the calibration of the processing machines. With Ever-Q, ENGEL offers their expertise in the calibration and conformance of your injection molding machine.
From the barrel temperature to the clamping force, injection speed and holding pressure to repeatability of the cycle time: the Ever-Q documentation ensures that all machine parameters conform to the required specifications. The ENGEL technician will perform over 20 series of measurements using independent calibrated devices, log the results and ensure that any deviations are within the acceptable tolerances.
Ever-Q allows plastics manufacturers to benefit from the over 15 years experience of our ENGEL experts in the factory calibration of injection molding machines. This extensive knowledge and experience represents security. It guarantees that suitable calibration methods and measuring instruments are used, and the tolerance limits are defined according to industry specifications. External calibration laboratories, which usually work for several different branches of industry, have difficulty with this. A further advantage of the ENGEL service: the wide range of injection molding machines installed enables ENGEL to offer the Ever-Q calibration at a relatively low price.
Calibration is performed to a variety of international standards: in the automotive industry, the requirements for quality management are defined, amongst others, by ISO 9000 and ISO 9001; in the medical industry, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is the accepted set of regulations.
In addition to Ever-Q calibration saving time and costs in advance of start-up, ENGEL can also perform a periodic check, at the customer’s facility, of the relevant parameters for any requalification requirements. In this way, Ever-Q calibration can support the yearly evaluations required for GMP certification and Operation Qualification (OQ).
For more information, visit: www.engelglobal.com
More and more high quality optical components are being produced using polymers. Two factors are driving this trend. Firstly, glass is being replaced by lighter polymers that can be processed more cost effectively; and secondly, plastics offer greater scope in terms of product design. The challenge now is to strike the right balance between superior optical quality and high cost effectiveness – and this can be achieved thanks to multi-layer technology.
Manufacturing optical components in the injection moulding process entails additional challenges that cannot be resolved by standard processes in many cases: microstructures on the surface of light guide elements must be precisely moulded across the entire flow path; residual stress in moulded parts linked to manufacturing must be minimised, especially where a subsequent coating will be applied; and the optically effective surfaces on lenses with large differences in thickness must be accurately contoured.
Having taken these requirements into consideration, ENGEL AUSTRIA can now present its solution. Developed for the fields of mechanical and process engineering, ENGEL optimelt is a range of solutions aimed specifically at the production of optical components: in addition to plasticising unit components optimised for the processing of transparent polymers, the solutions incorporate various special technologies.
One of the ENGEL optimelt processes is multi-layer injection moulding, also known as overmoulding: This process starts with the production of a pre-moulded part which is recoated with more layers (usually of the same material) in one or more subsequent stages. The main advantage of this over the single-layer process is that the recoating covers sink marks and other defects on the surface of the previous layer, thereby ensuring high optical quality. This benefit makes the process particularly attractive to manufacturers of thick-section components such as LED lenses. Studies on multi-layer components in the area of lighting technology have shown that boundary layers between coatings have no effect on the function of illumination optics.
Thermal simulation of the cooling process proves that the multi-layer process also offers benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness. This was demonstrated by comparing three different triple-layer variants and the conventional single-layer process in the production of a lens with a thickness of 30 mm.
Cycle times reduced
In the first multi-layer variant, the three layers were applied in turn at three stations of a rotary table. For the second variant, two thick outer layers were injected into separate cavities; in a subsequent step, these layers were brought together in a single cavity and connected by means of a thin layer of plastic. For the third variant, the inner layer was produced first in an index platen mould; this was followed by two outer layers that were produced simultaneously.
To enable an objective comparison, the number of cavities was identical for each of the four processes examined. In the multi-layer variants, layer thicknesses were chosen so as to ensure the same cooling times for the individual layers in each case.
A lower mould temperature was set for the inner surfaces in each case, i.e. poorer surface quality of the pre-moulded part was deliberately accepted. This was possible because these surfaces are covered by the next layer anyway in the following step. The reduction in mould temperature was found to significantly reduce cycle times in multi-layer injection moulding.
The triple-layer process with index plate, whereby a middle layer is injected followed by two outer layers, performs best in the overall view. Since two layers are produced simultaneously in one station in this variant, the productivity of the process compared to conventional single-layer injection moulding amounts to 180 percent in the case examined. Another advantage is the fact that sink marks can be remedied on both sides.
Comparing these processes proves that high component quality and cost-effectiveness are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary: the process with the shortest cycle time actually produces the highest component quality.
Having made significant advances in multi-layer technology, ENGEL has applied for patents in relation to several process variants. In this way, ENGEL is giving its customers a competitive advantage on the promising market for plastic optical components.
For more information visit: www.engelglobal.com
ENGEL was able to draw an extremely positive balance after this year's Chinaplas in Guangzhou, PR China, at the end of May. Almost all showcased machines had already been sold by the end of the trade fair. Never before had the injection moulding machine manufacturer and automation expert recorded more visitors at its stand than this year.
"Chinaplas 2011 was a record event for us," says Gero Willmeroth, Sales Manager at ENGEL Machinery (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. "It was a clear signal that we are pursuing the right market strategy in Asia. Over the past few years we have continuously expanded our market shares in Asia, and we want to continue this trend." As the sole European injection moulding machine manufacturer, ENGEL displayed only locally produced machines at its stand. A total of six applications were presented at the trade fair. "Decentralised production guarantees short delivery times to our customers, short time-to-market and the ability to adapt our machines, automation and technologies to the specific requirements of the Asian market," Willmeroth points out. In order to satisfy growing demands in Asia, ENGEL is currently doubling the capacity of its large-scale machine production facility in Shanghai to 200 machines per year. Small to mid-range machines for the Asian market are built in Korea.
Besides the increased number of visitors, a further trend was identified at Chinaplas: an increasing portion of visitors are from abroad. This year many decision-makers from other Asian countries, but also from the Middle East and South America, called at the ENGEL stand to obtain information. There was a conspicuously strong interest in system solutions for medical technology.
Highest level of precision for medical technology
For this industry ENGEL demonstrated the manufacture of cylinders for 2 ml syringes on an ENGEL victory 1050/160 in a 32-cavity mould of Swiss mould maker Schöttli, thus showing that high-precision, thin-wall applications are also possible with ENGEL standard engineering technology. A substantial reduction in wall thickness compared to legacy syringes guarantees a considerable reduction in material use and cycle times. Fitted with the servo-hydraulic ENGEL ecodrive, the showcased ENGEL victory machine thus achieves energy consumption figures which can compete with those of fully electric machines.
The conservation of scarce resources is fast gaining importance in China. Energy efficiency was one of the top themes at the trade fair. The ENGEL duo 5550/700 large-scale machine, which produced engine covers at the ENGEL stand, was fitted with an ecodrive. With the servo-hydraulics, available as an option for all hydraulic machines from the ENGEL production programme, the energy consumption of the machines – depending on application and machine type – can be reduced by up to 70%. The servomotors operate with a fixed displacement or variable capacity pump, instead of a permanently running asynchronous motor, so that the speed of the machine is directly related to the rpm. During standstill times, cooling phases for example, the machine does not consume any power at all. In addition, cooling water consumption on the oil cooler is reduced to a minimum, in many cases to zero. The oil temperature is an indicator of the energy efficiency of the machine.
Energy-efficient system solutions in demand
The ENGEL duo machine was presented in Guangzhou as a complete manufacturing cell including automation. An ENGEL viper 40 type linear robot removed the engine covers from the mould. Thanks to new software features, the ENGEL viper robots operate with the highest degree of efficiency and productivity.
Furthermore, at its trade fair stand ENGEL demonstrated the manufacture of LED leadframes on an ENGEL insert 80V/60 injection moulding machine, as well as the production of sealing rings of liquid silicone on a fully electric ENGEL e-max 200/100. Another ENGEL e-max machine was on display at the stand of ENGEL partner Max Robot of Yuyao City, Zhejiang, China. Here mobile phone shells were manufactured by thin-wall technology with insert parts. A second ENGEL partner, Hi-More Pte. Ltd., Singapore, demonstrated the manufacture of cups on an ENGEL e-max 100. The machine was equipped with in-mould labelling.
With a total of six exhibits, ENGEL once again demonstrated its system competence in Guangzhou. From the machine, automation and process technology to training and service, ENGEL covers the entire spectrum of injection moulding technology worldwide. ENGEL maintains three sales and service subsidiaries in China: in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen.
For more information visit: www.engelglobal.com or www.chinaplasonline.com
ENGEL couples innovative injection moulding technology with peak efficiency and cost effectiveness. The injection moulding machine manufacturer and automation expert will once again be demonstrating its high level of system solutions competence at Plastpol in Kielce/Poland from 24 to 27 May. A special emphasis will be placed on elastomer processing, a brand new topic at Plastpol.
At Plastpol 2011, International Fair for Plastics and Rubber Processing (as the fair is to be called in future) ENGEL will be presenting itself for the first time with the ENGEL elast business sector and ENGEL LIM for the processing of cross-linking and thermoplastic elastomers. The injection moulding machine manufacturer and automation expert will be producing pens at Stand F3 in Hall F. For this purpose it will be using a vertical ENGEL elast 750/250 V type machine and a 4+4 cavity mould from ORP Stampi in which two pen casings and caps are produced in one cycle each. They will be moulded from type HTV-80ShA hard silicone from PMG.
Further highlights at the ENGEL booth this year will be energy efficiency and automation. For example, the ENGEL duo 3550/500 pico consumes significantly less energy for the production of crates made of polypropylene than conventional hydraulic injection moulding machines. The economical working method of the 500-tonne machine, operating at the trade fair with a Haidlmair mould, is attributable to the servohydraulic ENGEL ecodrive, which can be supplied as an option for all hydraulic machines from the ENGEL product programme.
Saving energy and cooling water
ENGEL ecodrive consists of a servomotor with fixed displacement, or variable capacity pump, instead of a permanently running asynchronous motor, so that the speed of the machine is directly related to the rpm. During standstill times, cooling phases for example, the machine does not consume any power at all. This enables the ENGEL hydraulic machines to achieve energy consumption figures that can match up against those of all-electric machines. Energy consumption is reduced – depending on the application and machine type – by up to 70%.
At the same time cooling water consumption on the oil cooler is reduced to a minimum, in many cases to zero. In conventional hydraulic drive concepts the portion of electrical energy that is not used for movement is converted to heat and fed, for the most part, to the hydraulic oil. ENGEL ecodrive reduces energy losses to such a high extent that – with the exception of high performance applications – only minimal heating of the hydraulic oil occurs. The oil temperature thus becomes an indicator of the energy efficiency of the machine.
Powerful and highly dynamic
At the trade fair the crates will be demoulded by an ENGEL viper 20 type robot and deposited on a conveyor belt. The new ENGEL linear robot generation stands for peak efficiency and productivity. This is mainly attributable to three new software features:
• "mass identification" identifies the currently manipulated mass, adapts the dynamic values to match and thus ensures optimum acceleration.
• "vibration control" reduces vibration even with long axis dimensions, for improved tracking and positioning accuracy, thus ensuring shorter cycle times.
• "efficiency control" optimises robot movements for maximum productivity while consuming very little energy.
Since the K Fair last October viper robots have been available in five sizes with nominal load-bearing capacities of between 6 and 60 kg.
Hybrid machine for top efficiency
The third fair exhibit, an ENGEL e-victory 310/90 which will be used to manufacture ice scrapers made of polypropylene at the stand, likewise achieves maximum efficiency. The standard ENGEL e-victory hybrid machine is fitted with an ecodrive, making it ideal for applications with hydraulic components, e.g. core pulls, since despite the electrical injection unit the hydraulics stay on board.
For more information visit: www.engelglobal.com
The Austrian injection moulding machine manufacturer and automation expert, ENGEL, anticipates the highest turnover ever since moving into the Germany market for the current business year. To keep pace with the increasing demand for machines, robots and system solutions, ENGEL has added new members to its sales team in Baden-Württemberg and now looks to expand the Hagen facility with an Automation Centre for Germany.
Thanks to a turnover of 123 million Euros and orders totalling 162 million Euros in the business year 2010/2011, ENGEL Germany recovered far more quickly from the credit crunch than anticipated. Record turnover is on the cards for the current financial year, 2011/2012. The main growth driver is the automotive industry, which has returned to its full strength, say the managing directors of the three sales and service subsidiaries in Germany, Ralf Christofori (Nuremberg), Rolf Sass (Hagen) and Christopher Vitz (Hannover). "Efficient and economic production systems are in demand in high-wage countries like Germany", emphasises Ralf Christofori. "We established our leading position here due to our innovativeness, technological competence and enormous system know-how." ENGEL Germany's customers include major corporations and OEMs as well as mid-caps and smaller suppliers, where ENGEL scores bonus points due to its geographical proximity and individual industry and application-specific solutions. Injection moulding machines and automation, mould design engineering and process technology, service, training and financing solutions all mesh perfectly with ENGEL, thus ensuring a high degree of efficiency and future-proof investments in the automotive industry, medical technology, packaging and technical moulding.
Because many international purchasing decisions are made in Germany, the market is also extremely important for the machine manufacturer from the point of view of strategy. In recent years, for example, ENGEL Germany has generated around 20 percent of its turnover through the expansion of German companies into Eastern Europe.
New team members in Baden-Württemberg
In this dynamic market, ENGEL is continuing to expand its presence. The latest action was to expand the sales and consultancy team in Baden-Württemberg to reflect the increasing number of projects in this region. In Uwe Handschuh and Jürgen Bereswill, ENGEL secured two experienced injection moulding experts for the sales area in Germany's southwest. Uwe Handschuh took up his new position on 1st October 2010, with Jürgen Bereswill following on 1st March 2011. Both bring many years of experience in injection moulding technology to their new offices.
Investment in Hagen
Hagen has operated a separate automation centre for German plastics processors since 2003. This year will see around 1000 square metres of floor space added to the facility. "ENGEL's market share in automation technology just keeps on growing. And we are gradually reaching our capacity limits", says Rolf Sass, the managing director of ENGEL Hagen and ENGEL Automation Technology Germany. Two major factors contribute to this development. On the one hand, single-source system solutions are becoming increasingly important. Almost every second automated manufacturing cell sold by a European injection moulding machine manufacturer is supplied by ENGEL. This makes ENGEL the clear global leader in injection moulding machine automation. On top of this, ENGEL has sold an increasing number of robots, including robots for deployment on third-party machines, since the introduction of the ENGEL viper linear robot series. One in four robots supplied to the injection moulding industry in Europe comes from ENGEL.
750 square metres of the new floor space in Hagen will be dedicated to assembling robots and other automation solutions. And 120 square metres will provide new office space. Parallel to the expansion, the number of staff in automation will also increase from the present 41 to 60. All told, a staff of 90 will work at the Hagen facility in future. This takes ENGEL Germany's total number of staff to more than 180.
High level of stability for successful projects
"Customer proximity, quality and reliability are our most important guidelines", emphasises Christopher Vitz, the managing director of ENGEL Germany in Hannover. "This is the only way we can improve our customers' ability to compete." Plastics processors in Germany benefit not least from the high level of management stability at the ENGEL subsidiaries. All three managing directors in Germany have held office for more than ten years, and the local sales and consultancy team is characterised by a high level of continuity. Many sales consultants can look back on more than ten years of experience with ENGEL products in customer projects.
All three German sales and service subsidiaries have their own showrooms and training centres. This means that plastics processors in Germany can get to know ENGEL's machines, robots and technologies in their own region, perform tests with their own moulds and gain experience in efficient handling of ENGEL solutions through training.
For more information visit: www.engelglobal.com
What are today‘s latest trends in medical technology? What innovative injection molding solutions will help you to maintain your competitive advantage in the future? These questions and more will be answered at ENGEL’s upcoming medical symposium being held June 15th & 16th in York, PA.
ENGEL North America, member of the ENGEL group, is hosting a two day event focused specifically on new developments in medical molding. The event will be held in the Technical Center of ENGEL’s North American headquarters, York, PA.
The program will include a diverse mix of interesting and informative presentations by professionals, for professionals, relating to all aspects of the medical molding industry. Some of the technical sessions include:
• Preplan and Verify - Injection Molding Machine Concepts for the Medical Industry
• Fundamentals of Particle Counting
• Precision Automation Solutions for the Medical Molding Industry
• Advanced Processes and Technologies for Medical Device Manufacturing
• Authentication Features for Medical Devices and Packaging
• Functional & Economical Considerations for Plastics in Human Diagnostics
• Multivariate Closed-Loop Control for Parametric Release in Injection Molding
To demonstrate ENGEL’s competency in the medical technology field, three injection molding systems will be running during the event, providing visitors with a first-hand look at some of today’s latest molding processes and technologies.
* An ENGEL e-motion 1340/280 T will be demonstrating fully automatic, fully electric production of a polystyrene petri dish with a cycle time of 3.7 seconds, using an 8 + 8-stack mold. The system supports fully automated takeout, quality assurance sampling without interruption in production, assembly, and stacking and bagging of the parts. The 3.7 second cycle time is almost a full second faster than existing hydraulic machines and makes this the fastest, most energy efficient petri dish system in the world.
* A fully integrated system for the manufacturing of PP pipette tips will be shown on a 110 ton ENGEL e-max all-electric machine. In a cycle time of just 6 seconds, the parts are molded in a 32 cavity precision mold, extracted by a side entry robot, inspected by a vision system and deposited on racks sorted by cavity. The pipette tips, with extremely long and thin mold cores, require exceptional process control of high speed injection to meet the demanding levels of product quality.
* The hybrid ENGEL e-victory 80/30 US will run a 2-cavity LSR duck bill mold with automatic part inspection and removal. The extremely small shot size of this mold (0.062 grams / 0.0035 cubic inches) makes this an excellent application for demonstration of the ENGEL x-melt process. Use of the ENGEL x-melt process enables the accumulator-free, cost-effective production of parts with wallthicknesses significantly less than 0.5-mm, and provides molders with the ability to produce microparts with unprecedented repeatability, but without the need to investment in special-purpose capital equipment. The ENGEL e-victory machine series is characterized by a high-precision, servoelectrical injection unit and a tie bar-less, hydraulic clamping unit. With the addition of the new ecodrive, this machine has become as energy efficient as an all-electric machine.
For more information visit: www.engelglobal.com
"Plastics meet Electronics" is the motto of the first international Smart Plastics Trade Congress on 7th and 8th June 2011 at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz/Austria. The organiser of the congress is the Smart Plastics Initiative, which was founded at the beginning of this year and whose goal it is to make Upper Austria a one-stop shop for intelligent electronic plastic products.
Dashboards without switches and buttons, flexible solar cells or medical diagnostics systems integrated in plastic products: Smart Plastics prepare the way to help these visions become reality. The combination of plastics technology, mechatronics and design not only allows for new product ideas, but opens up enormous market potential at the same time. How to leverage this with the help of new technologies will be the topic of discussions in the scope of the event.
The congress starts in the evening of 7th June with a keynote by Prof. Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci, the Head of the Institute for organic solar cells at the Johannes Kepler University of Linz. The second day features an all-days programme with talks and an open innovation workshop. The speakers include Mathew Gardiner (Orobotics AEC-Future Lab, Austria), Jaap Lombaers (Holst Centre, Netherlands), Thomas Müller (Chair of Plastics Technologies, University of Erlangen, Germany), Roland Streule (Sefar Holding, Switzerland), Dirk W. Pophusen (Bayer MaterialScience, Germany) and Dr. Markus Riester (maris TechCon, Austria). The conference language is English.
Bundling expertise along the entire value-added chain
The important thing for the initiators and organisers is the mutual exchange and the ability to network with new contacts. Nowhere else in the world are the companies and the infrastructure required for Smart Plastics represented in such large numbers and geographical proximity as in Upper Austria; and this is what prompted the founding of the Smart Plastics Initiative. Companies and research institutes are now invented to join the network.
"Our aim is to promote cooperation between companies along the value-added chain in this field", emphasises Prof. Georg Steinbichler, Senior Vice President of Development Technologies with ENGEL AUSTRIA and Programme Chair of the event. "After all, the opportunities and challenges that this discipline presents require very different fields of expertise, which should preferably be accessible to partners via an efficient network."
Initial prototypes created in cooperation with partners
The network currently includes Hueck Folien, Schöfer, STIWA Automation, KEBA, Brands and Friends, ENGEL AUSTRIA, plastic electronic and formquadrat among others. Prior to the founding of the initiative, the companies had already started cooperating in the field of intelligent electronic plastics. For example, ENGEL exhibited trims with integrated switches for vehicle interiors during the Symposium 2009. The development partners were Schöfer and plastic electronic. Touching the surface of the trim activated specific functions. This was made possible by a foil with capacitive sensors which were back injection moulded with thermoplastics and covered with polyurethane in a single step. With its many years of experience and extensive competence in the fields of foil back injection moulding, surface decoration and process integration, ENGEL already plays a leading role in the young market segment of Smart Plastics.
For more information visit: www.smart-plastics.com or www.engelglobal.com
In line with the slogan, „Smart Ideas for Smart Phones & More“ ENGEL has invited plastics manufacturers in the telecommunications and consumer electronics industries to Mexico for its Teletronics Days on 11 and 12 May. At its subsidiary in Querétaro ENGEL and its technology partner Roctool will be demonstrating the efficient production of thin-walled components with a high-quality finish.
"Mexico is a key market for the telecommunications and consumer electronics industry," stresses Heinz Rasinger, Head of the Teletronics Business Unit at ENGEL in Schwertberg/Austria. The international supply industry benefits from this, in particular companies in the USA and Far East – including renowned TV manufacturers – who have relocated to or established production capacities in Mexico over the past years. ENGEL has acquired a leading position in this highly dynamic market environment and is now one of the top suppliers to the plastics processing industry. In the last five years the Mexican injection moulding machine manufacturer and automation expert generated sales of over € 50 million in the teletronics segment alone. "The demand is predominantly for system solutions for displays together with thin-wall applications for high-quality finishes," says Rasinger.
Inductive mould temperature control for superior component quality
One of the highlights of the event will be inductive mould temperature control, which produces mirror or matte finishes without weld lines. The technology – developed by Roctool based at Le Bourget, France, and optimised together with partners – employs electromagnetic fields to bring the mould surface particularly quickly up to the desired temperature. This enables a variothermal injection moulding process, which guarantees complete mould filling and precision machining.
A second highlight will be the manufacture of housing parts with lectures on production technologies and a demonstration of the manufacture of thin-walled, foil-decorated laptop casings using embossing technology.
Integrated system solutions for maximum efficiency
The potential of the induction process will be demonstrated at the TechCenter of ENGEL Mexico on a fully electric ENGEL e-motion injection moulding machine with a clamping force of 100 tonnes. It will be used to manufacture mobile phone shells by thin-wall process with a particularly high-quality finish at visible points. A new-generation ENGEL viper 12 type robot will remove the mobile phone shells from the mould. "Automation plays a key role in the manufacture of high-quality visible parts," continues Rasinger. ENGEL supplies integrated system solutions to its customers worldwide, providing a perfect mesh between injection moulding machine and automation, process technology and mould project engineering, thus ensuring the highest level of process security and efficiency.
At Teletronics Days ENGEL will be presenting further system solutions conforming to the high standards of the teletronics industry on an ENGEL e-motion machine with a clamping force of 280 tonnes and a tie-bar-less 220-tonne ENGEL victory machine.
The applications demonstrated at the TechCenter will be presented in detail in lectures, and the potential and technological opportunities of these innovative technologies will be discussed. The programme will be rounded off by a paper on peripheral technology.
For more information visit: www.engelglobal.com
At Chinaplas 2011 from 17 to 20 May in Guangzhou, PR China, the focus for ENGEL will be completely on energy efficiency, the number one topic in China's plastics processing industry. With its five exhibits the injection moulding machine maker and automation expert will be presenting turn-key solutions for highly economic manufacturing. At the same time, two other trends at this year's Chinaplas, increased precision and productivity, will also be presented at trade fair booth J 41 in Hall 4.1.
The need to avoid aggressive use of resources is becoming increasingly important in China's manufacturing industry. In its recently published five-year plan, the Chinese government firmly established the importance of sustainability. ENGEL, the worldwide pioneer in energy-efficient drive concepts, has taken a leading position among European machine manufacturers in Asia in this market environment. Before the end of the year, ENGEL will be doubling the capacity of its large-scale machine production works in Shanghai to an annual output of 200 machines in order to cope with increasing demand from China, but also from South-East Asia and India.
Up to 70 percent energy savings
The ENGEL duo 5550/700 injection moulding machine which will be producing engine covers on a mould by Mecaplast also comes from the Shanghai works. The machine is equipped with the servohydraulic ENGEL ecodrive.
ENGEL ecodrive is available as an option for all hydraulic machines in the ENGEL product programme, comprises a servomotor with fixed displacement, or variable capacity pump, instead of a permanently running asynchronous motor. The machine's speed is directly linked to the drive speed. When it is at standstill, for example during the cooling phase, the machine does not consume any power. The machine consumes up to 70 percent less energy than comparable, conventional hydraulic machines. This helps the ENGEL hydraulic machines to achieve energy consumption figures that can hold sway with values achieved by fully electric machines. On top of this, the ecodrive reduces cooling water consumption at the oil cooler to a minimum, in many cases even to zero. The oil temperature is an indicator of the machine's energy efficiency.
The duo machine presented in Shanghai will comprise a complete production cell including automation. A linear robot of the ENGEL viper 40 type will take the engine covers off the mould. The new ENGEL viper robot generation stands for best-in-class efficiency and productivity. Thanks to its mass identification software, the viper robot adapts the speed of its movements to match the weight of the part to be taken off. If the weight is below the rated value, the robot works more quickly. At the same time, the vibration control software reduces vibration, thus not only ensuring improved tracking and positioning accuracy, but also achieving shorter cycle times. Wait times are also minimised, with the robot using efficiency control to automatically adapt its sequences outside of the injection moulding machine to match the cycle time of the plant. Since the K trade fair last October, the viper robots have been available in five sizes with nominal load bearing capacities of 6 to 60 kg.
Maximum precision with standard machine technology
The ENGEL victory 1050/160 at ENGEL's trade fair booth is also equipped with ecodrive. The machine will be demonstrating a medical application where energy efficiency and maximum precision are the key requirements. Cylinders for 2-ml syringes will be produced using a thin-wall technology and a 32-cavity mould by Swiss mould maker Schöttli. Substantial reduction of the wall thickness compared with legacy syringes guarantees considerable improvements in material use and to cycle times. The material used here is medical grade polypropylene by Borealis from Linz/Austria. This application clearly demonstrates that high-precision thin wall applications can be implemented using standard ENGEL machine technology.
More productivity thanks to larger mould fixing platens
At Chinaplas, ENGEL will be producing LED leadframes on an ENGEL insert 80V/60 type machine; this application was a huge success when demonstrated at Koplas in Korea last year. The 60 ton clamping force insert machine was built at ENGEL's production works for small to mid-range machines in Pyungtaek City, Korea, and was specially modified to fulfil the requirements for leadframe manufacturing. The machine's mould fixing platens were enlarged to accommodate moulds with more cavities. This trade fair exhibit will be working with a 256-cavity mould by Woosung Hitech, Euiwang City, Kyounggi-do, Korea. The cycle time of this application is 10 seconds.
Fully electric at a reasonable price
Representing the fully electric machines, an ENGEL e-max 200/100 will be producing seal rings from liquid silicon at Chinaplas. The machine has been fitted with an LSR dosing unit by Elmet for this application and uses raw materials supplied by partner Dow Corning. The ENGEL e-max guarantees 100% compliance with the requirements of Asia's plastics processors by combining maximum performance, highest productivity and precision with an extremely economical drive technology. Thanks to the compact construction, its high efficiency unfolds on a very small floor space and with very attractive price/performance figures into the bargain. The machine can be upgraded by adding a variety of optional standardised technology modules to fulfil individual requirements in a targeted manner.
A second ENGEL e-max machine will be on display at the booth of ENGEL partner Max Robot, Yuyao City, Zhejiang, China. The machine will be producing mobile phone shells in thin-wall technology with an insert-placing part.
System solutions from a single source
With these five exhibits, ENGEL will again demonstrate its system competency at Guangzhou. From the machine, via automation and process technology, through to training and service, ENGEL covers the complete spectrum of injection moulding technology worldwide. Only if all of these areas mesh perfectly, it is possible to fully leverage the efficiency potential of the application, while at the same time improving the quality of the moulded parts.
"The investment climate in China is very good at this year's Chinaplas", emphasises Gero Willmeroth, Sales Director with ENGEL MACHINERY (SHANGHAI) CO., LTD. in the run up to the fair. "In May, we can look forward to launching numerous new projects in Guangzhou. The attendance figures at Chinaplas will continue to increase."
China recently set a target of seven percent growth per annum in its new five-year plan. One notable trend is the expansion of production locations into inner regions of the country. To ensure customer proximity, ENGEL already has three subsidiaries in China - in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen.
For more information visit: www.engelglobal.com or www.chinaplasonline.com
Integrated, highly automated and thus extremely economical production of plastic components for automobile manufacturing is the focus of injection moulding machine builder and automation expert ENGEL Austria's booth during the international "Plastics in Automobile Production". The VDI Wissensforum is taking place on 6 and 7 April this year at the Congress Centrum Rosengarten in Mannheim, Germany.
"The automotive injection moulding market is in full swing once more, the key topics, which are at the same time the growth and technology drivers, being lightweight construction, surfaces and functional integration", reports Michael Fischer, Head of Sales Technologies with ENGEL Austria in Schwertberg/Austria, looking forward to constructive talks in Mannheim.
ENGEL will be presenting the following technologies based on product samples and videos:
• joinmelt for thermoplastic hollow parts with complex shapes in a single step. joinmelt, the latest technology by ENGEL, allows hot gas welding directly in the mould without any noticeable slowing of the cycle time. This not only means saving a complete production step, but also assures decisive improvements in the quality of the weld.
• organomelt for thermoplastic hybrid structures in mass production. ENGEL first showcased its highly automated production cell for cost-effective processing of thermoplastic fibre composite semi-finished products, such as organic sheets,
at K 2010. The integrated process chain comprises heating, forming and back injection steps.
• clearmelt for scratch-proof, quality surfaces with a 3D effect. Using sliding table technology, a thermoplastic carrier is first moulded on a two-component indexing platen machine, and then flooded with transparent polyurethane. The PUR plant is integrated into the production cell.
• glazemelt for large surface, torsion free glazing components. The ENGEL duo combi M is a special variant of the ENGEL large-scale machine series that features a rotary table and piggy-back injection mould for producing large, multiple component and mainly transparent parts. The system is particularly well suited for parts with combined seals.
• dolphin for soft-touch surfaces in automobile interiors. The method combines injection moulding of a hard component and subsequent foaming with a special TPE in a single production cycle and is thus an interesting alternative to many of today's established multiple stage processes and to polyurethane foaming.
"Technology plays a critical role in the automobile industry and automotive supplies. The trend towards highly-integrated production cells, supplied as single-source, turn-key systems, is on the up", says Franz Füreder, Head of the ENGEL Automotive Business Unit. ENGEL sees its task as one of not only producing injection moulding machines and robots, but also of cooperating with brand-name system partners to offer integrated solutions for highly-efficient and economical manufacturing.
For more information visit: www.engelglobal.com
Highest precision and efficiency will be taking centre stage at the trade fair stand of ENGEL Italia at EUROSTAMPI from 24 to 26 March in Parma. The injection moulding machine builder and automation expert headquartered at Schwertberg/Austria will be giving live demonstrations of the manufacture of needle holders for safety syringes at the stand of its central Italian representative Leonardi SPA.
The cleanroom version of an ENGEL e-max 200/100 injection moulding machine will be used for the purpose. The machine's patented barrel extraction, stainless steel surfaces and raised position ensure that it satisfies the requirements for cleanroom class ISO 7. With its all-electric drive technology and highly dynamic servo motors, the ENGEL e-max machine series combines the highest degree of precision with maximum efficiency. Due to its extremely compact design it has a small footprint, further increasing cost efficiency in the cleanroom.
The needle holders are manufactured of polystyrene in a 32-cavity mould by Fostag Formenbau at Stein am Rhein/Switzerland. The cycle time of this application is approx. 8 seconds. As a component part of safety syringes, the needle holders make it impossible for the physician to use a syringe more than once.
From a single source
Maximum product safety, absolute cleanliness and precision, seamless documentation and traceability - no other branch specifies more stringent requirements than medical technology. But just as important as the technical requirements is trust in the partner on the supplier side. This is why a separate business unit at ENGEL is solely dedicated to the users in medical technology. On the basis of its in-house cleanroom at the parent plant in Schwertberg and a series of resulting machine concepts for cleanroom use, ENGEL has acquired extensive experience and competence with cleanrooms. In cooperation with renowned partners, ENGEL medical offers complex cleanroom system solutions from a single source – from the machine via automation, moulds and peripherals to the PDA system.
ENGEL Italia and Leonardi at Eurostampi 2011 in Parma: Hall 6, Stand H18
For more information on e-max injection molding visit: www.engelglobal.com/engel_web/global/en/128.htm
The Chair of Lightweight Structures and Plastics Processing at the Technical University of Chemnitz in Germany is taking a new approach to combining process technologies in the manufacturing of fibre-compound structural components. ENGEL Austria supplied the matching turn-key production cell. At the end of January, the new ENGEL lightweight technology cell was inaugurated with representatives from industry and science in attendance in Chemnitz.
The use of thermoplastic fibre composite prepregs such as organic sheets is becoming increasingly important in lightweight automobile construction. The aim of current research is to develop processes that support economic viable processing of this fairly young class of materials, thus achieving large series capability. After ENGEL presented an initial system solution for economically viable production at the K fair last October, in the form of the ENGEL organomelt technology, the TU Chemnitz is now taking up this challenge as evidenced by its investment in the new lightweight technology cell. In collaboration with partners from the machine and plant engineering, automotive and aerospace industries, the scientists will be seeking to establish new production processes for thermoplastic fibre compound and also hybrid parts based on existing knowledge. ENGEL will be collaborating with the TU Chemnitz as a project partner.
Unique combination of prepreg and injection moulding module
The heart of the new production cell is an ENGEL insert 1800 H/500 L/400/90 injection moulding machine with an articulated arm robot, which ENGEL integrated with the plant. The production cell is characterised by a hitherto unique combination of prepreg and injection moulding module. The prepreg module is positioned as an additional clamping unit above the rotary plate on the vertical injection moulding machine. It moulds the fibre prepregs into the right shape for back injection.
"The plant enables us to implement closed and energy-efficient process chains for near-serial production of fibre reinforced structural components", says chair holder Prof. Lothar Kroll enthusing on the new possibilities. The plant supports a variety of process combinations such as injection-compression moulding, two-component injection moulding and microstructure foaming. The multiple axis robot acts as an interface to future automation solutions.
Automotive industry keen
Against the backdrop of the inauguration ceremony at the ITC Industrial and Technology Park Heckert in Chemnitz, various test parts were moulded on the plant. The mould, too, was part of the ENGEL turn-key solution. The mould maker is ENGEL partner FKT Triptis.
More than 50 guests were able to experience the enormous potential of this innovative lightweight construction technology at first hand based on this example. They included numerous representatives of automobile manufacturers, system suppliers and plastics processors from all over Germany. A series of keynotes provided a framework for the event. Among others, Peter Egger, Head of Application Technology Large-Scale Machines, ENGEL Austria, talked about the machines and process technology behind the ENGEL organomelt technology.
"Think Thin" – this is the motto of the specialist symposium in Shanghai to which ENGEL is inviting decision makers from the laptop industry and their suppliers. On 8 and 9 March this year, the injection moulding machine manufacturer and automation expert will be demonstrating, in cooperation with partners, how additional laptop lid size and weight savings can be achieved.
"In future, our injection moulding machines will be capable of producing laptop lids with wall thicknesses of just about one millimetre," promises Heinz Rasinger, Head of the ENGEL Teletronics Business Unit. The typical wall thicknesses today are between 1.7 and 2.3 mm. With the weight and overall thickness of a laptop playing an increasingly important role, the challenge for the decorated plastic packaging is to undercut these values.
Extremely thin wall thicknesses are relevant in particular to laptop lids, which need to be manufactured with a UV hardened label including scratchproof coating using a technique that reduces torsion to the maximum extent. During the event in Shanghai, the new technology developed by ENGEL in collaboration with partners will be demonstrated live on an ENGEL duo machine with a clamping force of 500 tonnes. The machine is equipped with a compression package and in-mould labelling. The label is insert-placed and the finished parts are taken off by an ENGEL viper 40 type robot from the machine manufacturer's own linear robot programme. The injection-compression mould was supplied by Inmold Technology in Suzhou. Further development partners of ENGEL in this project include Bayer MaterialScience, Pröll, Böhler Edelstahl and Mold-Masters.
The symposium will be taking place at the ENGEL MACHINERY premises at Shanghai's Xinzhuang Industrial Park. All keynotes will be presented in English with simultaneous translation into Chinese. Besides decision makers from the laptop industry, representatives of other industries that require decorated thin-walled parts with quality surfaces are also invited to attend.
ENGEL flomo is one of the smallest manually configurable temperature control and water distribution devices with electronic monitoring on the market, and this is precisely what makes it so impressive. The distributor can be mounted in close proximity to the mould, thus minimising heat loss thanks to short hose runs.
The ENGEL flomo has seen injection moulding machine manufacturer ENGEL add a temperature control and water distribution unit to its manufacturing programme since K 2010. The system, with its name based on flow monitoring, is suitable for permanent monitoring of all cooling and temperature control circuits on injection moulding machines and moulds. As it works electronically, it is an extremely economic alternative to legacy, maintenance-intensive cooling water batteries with inspection glasses.
Water is fed in from the water supply through a central inlet or from a temperature control device on the manifold, where the feed pressure and temperature are measured. The temperature measurement serves to check that the temperature control device and/or cooling system are working properly. The flow lines are equipped with shut-off valves to allow individual circuits to be deactivated as needed. The flow rate and temperature of the water exiting the mould directly are measured in the system's return channels. The flow rates on any circuit can be set manually using the fine-adjustment regulating valves.
The pressure, temperature and flow rate signals are transferred via an interface to the injection moulding machine's control unit where they are displayed graphically and numerically, evaluated and stored for complete documentation. ENGEL flomo is integrated with the CC 200 control unit on the ENGEL injection moulding machine. In other words, the users keep their accustomed control environment rather than needing to learn how to operate the device. In addition to this, integration ensures a high level of process safety, as all quality-related parameters, including information directly from the mould, are visible at a glance.
Considerable reductions in maintenance overhead
Set values can be defined for the flow rate on the control unit. If the actual values change, e.g. due to soiling of the cooling bores in the mould, the system triggers an alarm. Leakage monitoring with automatic feed and return line cut-off is available as an option.
Compared with legacy water distributors, this also means considerable reductions in maintenance overhead. Two factors contribute to this. For one thing, the system no longer has inspection glasses, which would need to be cleaned at regular intervals; for another, the new distributors use vortex sensors that have no moving parts or water filters. This sensor type relies on an impediment in the measuring line to artificially create a vortex. Depending on the water flow volume, this creates pressure impulses which are converted by the sensor into a measuring signal proportional to the flow. Vortex sensors are more resilient to soiling than legacy turbine flow meters and this removes the need for water filters. This results in lower pressure loss on the system.
Standardization for optimum price/performance figures
The ENGEL flomo is currently available as a 4x and 6x module; if needed, multiple modules can be fitted in parallel. The modules are suitable for temperatures up to 95 °C and flow rates of between 1 and 15 l/min or 2 to 40 l/min. Measuring just 280 x 240 x 134 mm or 380 x 240 x 134 mm, these distributors are among the most compact in their class, and they can be mounted directly on the mould mounting platen next to the mould. This reduces the piping overhead and thus the heat loss.
Thanks to its standardised design, the ENGEL flomo offers a very attractive price/performance ratio. Integrated shut-off valves on the flow line and fine-adjustment regulating valves on the return line are included as standard equipment.
Mobile displays are optionally available for the distributor systems thus boosting efficiency in larger machine farms. The display helps the machine operator during manual adjustment of the distributor on site, as it can be located at any position on the injection moulding machine.
In collaboration with partners Hummel-Formen and KVT Bielefeld, ENGEL blazes the trail for a new dimension in process integration. The ENGEL joinmelt process supports hot gas welding directly in the mould.
This solution, for which a patent is pending, promises considerable potential savings, especially in the automotive supplies industry. "This removes the need for additional welding equipment. Part take-off and re-insertion are no longer needed, as the finished product can simply be taken off directly out of the mould." as Franz Füreder, the Head of ENGEL's Business Unit Automotive emphasises.
To allow this to happen, both halves of the component are injected simultaneously into a single mould. After the cooling phase, the mould is opened; one half of the part stays in the left half and the other in the right half of the mould. The movable left half of the mould is now positioned so that both parts are opposite each other in welding position. The heating element is positioned between the cavities and the edges of the component halves are heated. When the mould closes, the two parts are bonded so that the finished part can be taken off when the mould re-opens.
Improving quality and functional safety
Besides the enormous savings potential thanks to the integration of two manufacturing steps which were previously performed in sequence, ENGEL joinmelt also helps to improve the quality and functional safety of the parts. The fact that both product halves remain fixed in the mould during the welding process avoids issues with warping and considerably reduces the time to market. The process creates a clean and thin weld which is particularly strong and achieves a superior quality to welds created by legacy techniques with respect to bursting pressure.
This new technology is suitable for all thermoplastics. The process developers see huge potential in processing of glass fibre reinforced polyamides as media-bearing parts for deployment in engine compartments. Thus far these components have always had a visible bulge at the joint, making them prone to friction and reducing the service life of other functional parts, such as the valve tappets.
As the ENGEL joinmelt process avoids the bulge, the process additionally saves material and weight. Another benefit becomes apparent as early as the development phase of new products: there is no need to take a specific welding direction into account, and this means freedom of choice with respect to part geometry.
Teamwork with proven specialists
ENGEL developed the new technology in cooperation with two partner companies with the injection moulding machine manufacturer taking responsibility for developing both the machine technology and the software for controlling the integrated process workflow.
Hummel-Formen in Lenningen applied for a patent for hot gas welding in the injection mould and has contributed its mould technology know-how to the collaborative project. The company with its staff of 250 at two works specialises in injection and compression moulds for plastics with weights of up to 100 tonnes. Its service portfolio covers everything from product development through to sample making under serial production conditions. (www.hummel-formen.de)
KVT Bielefeld is responsible for the welding technology in ENGEL's joinmelt project and holds a patent for hot gas welding in a protective atmosphere to ensure a particle-free and highly stable weld. The company specialises in the development and production of plastics welding machines for use in various industries from automotive and domestic appliances through to telecommunications and medical technology. (www.kvt-bielefeld.de)