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CHINAPLAS: ENGEL to show its digitalization progress for maximizing efficiency

Source:Adsale Plastics Network 2023-06-09

As the demands on productivity and energy efficiency continue to rise, integrated system solutions to support cost-effective injection molding are rapidly gaining in importance. At CHINAPLAS 2023, ENGEL will set up challenging applications to demonstrate how combining machines with smart digitalization can maximize overall efficiency.


ENGEL will welcome visitors to its stand with four machine exhibits alongside Expert Corners devoted to trending themes. Also, the new iQ hold control assistance system will be making its Asian première.


“All of us are very much looking forward finally to re-establishing personal contact with our customers, partners and the sector as a whole in Asia,” commented Gero Willmeroth, President Asia and Oceania at ENGEL. “Now that travel restrictions have eased, we are expecting more visitors from across Asia to attend the trade show.”


Coining with high precision molding


The production of mirrors for head-up displays of polycarbonate using a servo-hydraulic duo 2460/500 injection molding machine calls for the highest precision molding. Projecting a sharp display image on the vehicle windscreen depends on a perfect injection molding outcome. The coinmelt coining process and the ingenious design of the dual-platen clamping unit both contribute to this.


Platen parallelism is controlled by four individual pressure pads as the clamping force builds up. This ensures the precise parallelism of the mold halves throughout the injection molding process when using coining. In this way, the coining process can produce asymmetrical components with maximum precision molding.


At CHINAPLAS 2023, ENGEL will use a servo-hydraulic duo 2460/500 injection molding machine to produce mirrors for head-up displays in a high-precision coining process.

With low holding pressure, the melt is evenly distributed over the projected component surface. The material is protected, which is why coining is mainly used for optical parts made of transparent plastics. The convex head-up mirrors underline the high potential in this area. Here, the injection point is away from the center of the component.


ENGEL will be presenting an automated production cell. An ENGEL viper robot will remove the parts from the mold and place them on the conveyor belt.


Where ENGEL supplies the injection molding machine and robot as part of an integrated system solution, these access a shared database and coordinate their movement sequences precisely. This results in a shorter cycle time in many cases because the robot can start moving in during the mold opening movement.


For this exhibit, ENGEL teamed up with a local mold producing partner: Skymold, based in Ningbo City, China. Working with local partners ensures a high degree of cost efficiency even in the case of sophisticated and innovative technologies while shortening delivery times for the system as a whole.


Compact and highly energy efficient


Besides, ENGEL will present two applications on all-electric ENGEL e-mac injection molding machines to demonstrate how productivity gains can be achieved in a highly cost-effective manner. In both examples, the space and energy requirements of the production cell remain low as the mold cavities are scaled up.


An e-mac 465/180 with a 128-cavity mold will be used to produce the kind of connector seals needed in automotive electronics. The series mold, manufactured by Austrian Firm Nexus Elastomer Systems, is used by the automotive supplier Waexim based in Xiamen, China.


The special design of e-mac machines, which feature enlarged tie-bar spacing, makes it possible to install this large mold on the relatively small 1800 kN machine.


Moreover, the new generation of e-mac machines are extremely short. This means that processing firms benefit from space savings in their production facilities as well as additional energy savings resulting from the deployment of a relatively small machine.


While liquid silicone rubber (LSR) continues to gain significance as a material for complex injection molded parts, its specific properties mean that highly precise injection molding machines are required. This is another point in which ENGEL’s all-electric e-mac performs. Complex functional components of liquid silicone rubber can only achieve competitive unit costs where production is rework-free and waste-free.


Blood collection tubes will be produced from a 64-cavity mold on an all-electric ENGEL e-mac injection molding machine.

The second ENGEL e-mac presented will showcase a medical application: in the medical sector too, there is a distinct trend towards raising productivity through higher cavity numbers.


An e-mac 1340/280 injection molding machine will be used to produce blood collection tubes of PET from a 64-cavity mold supplied by NCM of Suzhou, China. The machine footprint is a relevant cost factor, especially in clean rooms.


Ample flexibility for insertion processes


The issue of surface area productivity will also set the tone for the teletronics exhibit on the ENGEL stand. Battery housings will be produced from fibreglass-reinforced PC-ABS on an insert 500V/100 rotary vertical machine, with metal rings inserted into the mold and overmolded. For this purpose, the insert machine will be fitted with a large rotary table and a compact integrated ENGEL easix articulated robot.


The ENGEL vertical machine offers ample flexibility in connection with insert processes. A clamping unit that is freely accessible from three sides makes process automation simplicity itself while the low construction height is highly ergonomic in the case of manual insertion processes. This exhibit was also made by a local mold producer: Suzhou Herui Technologies based in Suzhou, China.


Determining ideal holding pressure times automatically


Furthermore, to underline the strong potential of digitalization in terms of enhanced product quality and production efficiency, the injection molding machines on the ENGEL stand will operate with smart assistance.


The new iQ hold control assistance system determines optimum holding pressure times.

In similar fashion to the driving assistants used in cars, ENGEL’s iQ systems serve to ensure stable injection molding processes. Among other things, they automatically detect fluctuations in raw materials, ambient conditions and mold temperature control and compensate for such fluctuations in the same cycle; iQ systems can also determine the ideal set values for specific applications.


iQ hold control, which belongs to the group of smart assistants for nominal values, will be celebrating its Asian première at CHINAPLAS 2023. By automatically determining optimum holding pressure times, the smart assistant for nominal values accelerates mold setup times while enhancing component quality.


The holding pressure time is determined objectively, meaning that even relatively inexperienced process technicians can adjust the process parameters at the push of a button in case of a product change.


Further efficiency gains result where the automatically determined optimum holding pressure time is lower than the time set by the machine operator. In such cases, cycle times are reduced and the amount of energy needed also decreases.


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