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Keywords of this article:  injection molding 
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medical 
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packaging 
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injection mold 
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Live demo of production of interdental cleaners at med.con in Hannover.
Live demo of production of interdental cleaners at med.con in Hannover.
Photo: 12

At the end of November, Engel organized the med.con medical technology conference at its German subsidiary, Engel Deutschland Hannover, which is reopened in May after extensive renovation work.

More than 50 experts from the medical industry attended the conference, who also took the chance to tour the modernized premises.

"Our customers and partners use this platform to learn and exchange information about trends as well as innovative products and processes," said Christoph Lhota, Vice President of Engel's medical business unit. "Feedback from participants has been very good, especially as many of the ideas are suitable for immediate, practical implementation."

The presentations focused on requirements, trends, innovative products, the opportunities of digitalization and, above all, integrated system solutions.

Close cooperation between all organizations at an early project stage is increasingly becoming a success factor, according to Engel. The examples on show illustrated this point. In one current project, the number of plastic components in an inhaler was reduced from the original draft design, thereby removing the need for several work steps and molds, reducing project costs significantly.

Engel works with other partners to deliver system solutions customized to the specific needs of individual firms. Several of its partners attended the event as speakers, including IGS Gebo Jagema from the Netherlands and Hekuma from Eching in Germany.

Professor Dr. Thomas Seul, Pro-Rector for Research and Transfer at Schmalkalden University of Applied Sciences and president of the Association of German Tool and Moldmakers (VDWF), opened the conference with a keynote address.

A personal report with a strongly practical focus was then delivered by Dr. Jochen Heinz of Transcoject; the family-run company based in Germany produces pharmaceutical packaging and application systems for human, dental and veterinary medicine, including highly complex prefillable syringes of cyclic polyolefins.

One highlight of med.con 2017 was the live demonstration of interdental cleaners production using a highly integrated and fully automated manufacturing cell. Engel teamed up with Hekuma and Hack Formenbau for a solution that produces up to 500 bristles in a single work step using a single-component injection molding process. These interdental brushes were inspected inline and packaged ready for sale.

The all-electric drive technology of the ENGEL e-motion injection molding machine helped to fill completely eight cavities with highly delicate structures and a total shot weight of just 1.93g.

Intelligent assistance systems from Engel's inject 4.0 range were deployed to compensate for additional fluctuations in environmental conditions and the raw material. Amongst them was iQ weight control that automatically adapts the switchover point, injection profile and holding pressure to current conditions shot for shot, thereby actively preventing rejects.

"Industry 4.0 enables us to make our production more stable, safer and easier to plan," emphasized Lhota. "Some very big opportunities have opened up for the medical technology sector especially."

After modernization work, Engel Deutschland Hannover has made inject 4.0 a firm focus of its interactive new technology center.

"We invite customers to experience and try out inject 4.0 products for themselves here on the premises, regardless of whether events or seminars are taking place," commented Christopher Vitz, the subsidiary's Managing Director. "Since the site reopened, we have had visitors almost every day. Now that the technical center is big enough to accommodate a range of machine types and robots, we can offer a demonstration environment to suit all customers."

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