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Fanuc at Fakuma 2011


Fanuc Robomachine Europe will be demonstrating three of its electric Roboshot injection moulding machines (IMM), series S-2000iB, at Fakuma 2011.

It is expected that this year, a large number of potential customers will show great interest in the machines characterised by their low energy consumption, a clear sign of the currently prevailing concern about energy costs and CO2 emissions.

Live demonstrations: A 30-ton Roboshot, integrated into a fully automatic manufacturing cell for micro moulding application will produce high-precision miniature parts (tiny cogwheels for watch movements). In addition, visitors can find out more about economical production of two-component moulded part (poker chips), using an eight-cavity hot runner mould. An E-Multi injection unit by Mold-Masters is part of the mould and responsible for the second component. Fanuc devotes a separate live demonstration to mould protection: a Fanuc LR Mate 200iC robot inserts a paper drinking cup into the closing mould of a 50-ton IMM and achieves the machine-stop – at the crucial moment – before either the mould or the cup are damaged.

A customer request: Using a Fanuc Roboshot S-2000i/30B, micro parts – tiny cogwheels for watch movements - are to be produced. A robot automation unit, a Fanuc LR Mate 200iC, is to be installed in a cell at the side of the IMM. The six-axis industrial robot will supply the mould with inlay parts, all functions optically controlled. These will be delivered via a helical conveyor equipped with a separating facility. At the end of the cycle, the robot will remove the finished parts and deposits them in small boxes. The image processing system Cognex Insight will carry out an optical quality control function. A positive result: consistent parts weight of 0.004 gram, accurate product (outer diameter = 3.2 mm, shaft diameter = 0.3 mm), dimensions and weights are within the range of tolerance, i.e. +/- 0.2 percent. The cycle time is below eight seconds, reject rates as good as zero. With regard to the implementation of customer specific automation solutions, the cooperation between Fanuc and Robotec Solutions AG works extremely well.

The Roboshot electric IMM operates with extremely low energy consumption. Its control monitor indicates the actual power consumption and regenerated power in a graphical and a numerical display. Also, the accumulated power over a specified period, the trend of power consumption and power demand are displayed. Energy savings are realized by the following features: Fanuc’s superior motion control technology for high efficiency, power regeneration, and insulation of the heating zone.

The feature of power regeneration – whereby the servo-drive motors in the Roboshot machines generate electrical energy as they decelerate – contributes greatly towards energy efficiency. According to Wolfgang Haak, applications engineer at Fanuc, the amount of energy produced in this way “… depends on the machine, but it amounts to around 10 percent of power saved on average, on top of the 40-60 percent lower energy consumption of electric machines as opposed to hydraulic ones. Today, we must not forget the subject of CO2 emissions: the greater the energy requirements of a manufacturing plant, the higher are the CO2 emissions. With our Roboshot machines, less energy is required from the national power grid, which means lower emissions and the protection of our environment”.

Moving on to the control system used by the Roboshot imms, Wolfgang Haak points to the actual energy displayed in KWh on the control system screen. He added: “The customer doesn’t have to make a specific input to measure the energy use of the machine. The FANUC system is the most effective transparency tool for customers with regard to their energy balance.”

The behaviour of melt in the cylinder is detected and shown on the screen – a feature only on the Roboshot. Several unique selling points are now available to stabilize the moulding operation – i.e. to eliminate short shots and/or over packing, and to minimize weight deviations. The first feature is the Backflow Monitor which shows the backflow of material at the time of injection on a screen. Stability of the injection, the closing characteristics of the check ring as well as its status are also indicated. The second feature is the Precise Metering Control (PMC2&3). This improves the consistency of dosing and minimizes weight deviations of the parts to be moulded. PMC2&3 automatically balances the pressure at the front and the rear of the check ring. It is also very effective with regard to elimination of stringing and silver streaking.

Here Wolfgang Haak states that “possible wear conditions of the check ring can be seen without dismantling the barrel/screw unit.” Fanuc points out that this means that hardly any time is required for maintenance of Fanuc Roboshot machines, saving both time and money.

Fanuc devotes a separate live demonstration to mould protection which is a standard function on Roboshot machines: a Fanuc LR Mate 200iC robot inserts a paper drinking cup into the closing mould of a 50-ton IMM and achieves the machine-stop – at the crucial moment – before either the mould or the cup is damaged.

The AI (Artificial Intelligence) mould protection and AI ejector function of the Roboshot series of IMMs are very practical and effective in both assisting in and safeguarding the longevity of the mould. The AI mould protection function stops the platen motion instantaneously as soon as it detects foreign parts or obstacles remaining in the mould – thus preventing damage to the mould. It also averts damage to the slide core when the mould is opened. Furthermore, the AI ejector function is very effective in preventing damage to the ejector when it moves forward or backward.

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