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Keywords of this article:  injection molding 
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injection mold 
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injection mold 
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Whenthe last Fakuma took place in 2015, the idea of Industry 4.0 was still shapingup in the plastics industry. Two years on, practical solutions have been madeavailable for consistent automation of production and material flow. Manytechnology providers have integrated components, modules, subsystems andequipment into the Industry 4.0 structures.

Engel will demonstrate how the potential of smart machine can be used in practice with the production of inject 4.0 logos at its booth.
Engel will demonstrate how the potential of smart machine can be used in practice with the production of inject 4.0 logos at its booth.

Rising costs, the need to improve efficiency and automation, scheduling pressures, and greater diversity with smaller production orders have all led to increasingly complex processes, which should remain easy to control and cost-effective.

Industry 4.0 has arrived”

Industry 4.0 has arrived in the injection molding industry, declared Engel. “It is apparent to us as products from our inject 4.0 program are more and more frequently becoming part of an integrated solution,” said Paul Kapeller, Product Manager of Digital Solutions.

inject 4.0 is Engel’s answer for a smart factory, a modularized approach that allows processors to take advantage of solutions tailored to their own needs. It is categorized into three operational areas: smart machine, smart service and smart production.

Self-adapting assistance plays a decisive role in the smart machine area. iQ weight control was the first of its iQ systems to enter the market five years ago. Initially, the software was only available for injection molding machines with electric injection units, but now hydraulic machines can also be equipped with iQ weight control.

While iQ weight control maintains consistent injected melt volume throughout the entire injection molding process, iQ clamp control monitors the mold breathing in order to calculate and automatically adjust the optimal clamping force.

New for Fakuma 2017 is an iQ clamp control version for the large hydraulic machines of the duo series. “For large surface components, iQ clamp control provides an especially high potential for optimization,” explained Kapeller. “The software can be a crucial contributing factor in preventing rejects and reducing mold wear.”

To determine additional potential, the iQ weight monitor software calculates the improvement potential attainable with iQ weight control. In every cycle, the software compares the injection pressure profile with a previously defined reference curve, and simultaneously records viscosity changes as well as the injection volume.

iQ flow control, the third assistance system presented at the show, connects the injection molding machine, which is equipped with the e-flomo electronic temperature control water distributor, to the temperature control unit, thus enabling the pump speed to automatically adjust to the actual requirement. This results in higher energy efficiency.
It is no longer necessary to uninstall the plasticising screw in order to determine its condition. e connect.monitor views the interior of the barrel from the outside and makes the condition of the screw transparent.
As of Fakuma 2017, all Engel’s smart service products will be integrated into the e-connect customer portal. This simplifies and accelerates communication with processors, and provides a time- and location-independent overview of machine status, the processing status of service and support orders, and the prices and availability of spare parts.

The new version will first be launched for the German, Austrian, Swiss and UK markets.

e-connect.monitor is now also integrated with the platform. This allows the processor to obtain an overview of the condition of critical machine components, and plan ahead for maintenance work such as the installation of spare parts.

For the first time, e-connect.monitor is making it possible to monitor the condition of critical injection molding machine components in real time, and to calculate their remaining useful life.

At the show, Engel will demonstrate how, with the help of e-connect.monitor, the condition of plasticising screws can be determined through the barrel wall. In the automotive industry, this solution is already being used on large machines.

For smart production, the focus is on Manufacturing Execution System (MES) authentig. It is developed by T.I.G. Technische Informationssysteme GmbH, which has been part of the Engel Group for close to a year.

Tailored to the specific requirements of the injection molding industry, authentig offers particularly deep vertical data integration, down to the level of individual cavities. New for Fakuma is a certified SAP interface, which simplifies data integration between MES authentig and SAP’s ERP system.

Networking of all machines and peripherals

Under the motto “be smart”, all of Wittmann Battenfeld’s exhibits – machines and peripherals – will be integrated into a network under Wittmann 4.0.
Wittmann 4.0 display board.
For the first time, the integration of Wittmann ATON material dryers into the UNILOG B8 machine control system has also become possible in addition to the integration of robots, TEMPRO temperature controllers, GRAVIMAX gravimetric metering devices and FLOWCON flow controllers.

In particular, integration into the UNILOG B8 machine control system via Wittmann 4.0 will be demonstrated on an all-electric machine from the EcoPower series with an insider cell.

On this machine, an EcoPower 160/750 with 1,600kN clamping force, a coat hanger will be manufactured with a single cavity mold from Haidlmair, using the Wittmann Battenfeld AIRMOULD internal gas pressure process. The AIRMOULD interface is also integrated in the UNILOG B8 control system.

Integration of the WIBA-MPDV SmartMonitoring module in the UNILOG B8 control system.The parts will be removed and deposited on the conveyor belt integrated in the production cell by a W818 robot from Wittmann with the new R9 robot control system.

The company will also present new MES system from its new partner, MPDV Mikrolab, for integrating injection molding machines into a corporate network for Industry 4.0 solutions.

The MES software HYDRA from MPDV is characterized by modular design and includes a wide range of functional elements, which can be combined according to customers’ needs.

In many production plants, several upstream and downstream manufacturing processes are integrated into MES HYDRA in addition to injection molding, such as materials management, assembly jobs, printing, packaging, etc.

A special benefit for users of Wittmann Battenfeld equipment combined with MES HYDRA from MPDV is the facility to have various status signals from the MES displayed on every B8 monitor screen of the injection molding machines.

In this way, an overview of all machines connected to the MES system can be obtained from every B8 monitor screen. Depending on the equipment package installed, functions such as production monitoring, OEE evaluation or maintenance management are all visualized directly on UNILOG B8.

A special highlight is the WIBA-MPDV SmartMonitoring module. In this way, the status of all machines in the network can be viewed from every injection molding machine.

For the first time, the integration of an injection molding machine via the Euromap 77/83 protocol based on OPC/US will be shown, which will become available in the near future.

Realizing customized mass production

Whether it is known as Industry 4.0, digital transformation and smart factory, it calls for integration of IT solutions in the production process, such as Arburg’s ALS computer system, which makes possible efficient production of customized mass products.

Arburg will use the example of elastic tension belts to show how customer wishes expressed online can be integrated into the ongoing injection molding process.

During the show, visitors will be able to choose between rubber bands of different lengths and in different colors, as well as end pieces in hook/hook, hook/eyelet or eyelet/eyelet combinations and have their order recorded directly at a terminal.

A vertical Allrounder 375 V with a four-cavity mold (two cavities each for the eyelet and hook) flexibly produces the desired variant from shot-to-shot. The two corresponding cavities and hot-runner nozzles are controlled by means of slides. The inserts are handled by a six-axis robot.

Game changing product development method

Smart production is not limited to the manufacturing process. It can stretch back to the initial design and parameters optimization that leads to faster product development cycle and less error.
With the new SIGMASOFT Autonomous Optimization tool, the effect of process parameters and material selection on part quality can be easily assessed.
The injection molding business has changed. The room for mistakes is shrinking. Injection molders need to design their parts, molds and processes in the most efficient way, within the shortest time available. Only then they can uphold their profit margin.

Sigma Engineering has developed a new tool to find out the optimum design and production conditions even before the mold is built, to ensure maximum profitability and part quality.

In a conventional approach, a project would start with the design of the part and mold based on previous experiences, build the mold and then start trials on the injection molding machine to meet the desired part quality.

Many things can go wrong along this chain, so usually the time to find the processing window in the machine is short and the pressure high.

With Autonomous Optimization in its SIGMASOFT Virtual Molding software, it is possible to have a virtual injection molding machine to try all modifications and ask the virtual machine to solve by itself a desired problem.

The molder can ask for a result in pretty much the same way as he would demand it from a production team. The software will automatically find the best production set-up to meet this demand. It is possible to ask it to minimize part deformation, for example, and the machine will “set-up” itself.

Early adopters have described the SIGMASOFT Autonomous Optimization tool as a “game changer” in injection molding. “This tool will change the way we produce. It will change the way we set-up new processes and the way we design our molds,” said one of the molders which tested the potential of the new technology.    

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