Advances in plastics technology in focus

Advances in plastics technology…

From June 18 to 20, 2024, Engel hosted the Digital Days event in Schwertberg and St. Valentin. This event provided concrete answers to central questions in the injection molding industry. Over 400 enthusiastic visitors attended, gaining exciting insights into the current state of advancing digitalization in injection molding through practical examples, and offering interesting perspectives on the near future. Engel's activities in digitalization aim to enhance customer orientation by optimizing production, reducing energy costs, improving quality, and addressing the skills shortage.

Gerhard Dimmler, CTO of Engel, and Hannes Zach, Head of Sales Digital Solutions at Engel, opened the event with a lecture on the importance of digitalization for the injection molding industry. Engel has evolved from a machine builder to a provider of complete solutions with a high degree of digitalization possibilities. The digital transformation encompasses process optimization, sustainability, and addressing the skills shortage. Digital assistance systems and products enhance production efficiency and quality. Engel sees the future of injection molding in the use of AI and digital twins for process optimization. Engel is a pioneer in this area and supports its customers with innovative products in digitalization.

Future meets reality

Under this motto, Johannes Kilian, Head of Process and Application Technology at Engel, presented how digital products can enhance productivity in the injection molding industry. Engel's "inject 4.0" strategy aims to enable customers to develop and produce high-quality, cost-efficient parts. Through the use of digital assistance systems, AI-based analysis tools like the iQ process observer, and shop floor monitoring in the e-connect customer portal, the entire production chain is optimized, from design to sampling, production, and maintenance. These digital solutions lead to energy savings, better part quality, and increased machine availability, ensuring long-term competitiveness.

Engel's One-Stop-Shop for digitalization was summarized as follows:

  • Engel takes care of the entire product lifecycle - from design to maintenance.
  • Engel offers solutions for all entry points of digitalization - whether customers are just starting or are already experts.

Unlocking New Possibilities

AI Evangelist Malcolm Werchota, Head of Generative AI at Triple Eight Solutions and Co-Founder/COO at CoatingAI, Switzerland, gave a talk on "AI in Industry - Has the Future Already Begun?" and provided a clear answer: “ Engel uses artificial intelligence to improve the process efficiency of its customers.”

In his lecture, he highlighted the benefits of generative AI, which is already being used in many areas today.


At the end of his lecture, he introduced the prototype of a world-first innovation:

Engel GPT

This large language model offers significant value to Engel's customers:

  • reducing the need for internal emergency services
  • Engel GPT can ease knowledge drain
  • minimal implementation effort on the customer side  

With Engel GPT, employees of injection molding companies will have all machine and process data available directly on the shop floor. Through simple voice input, they can access extensive and interconnected knowledge. The system is integrated directly into the customer portal.  

The prototype of the system was a crowd-puller at the technology center in the large machine plant in St. Valentin. Here, the opportunities and potential that AI offers for the future of injection molding became clear. At additional stations, Engel presented the practical implementation in digital products and assistance systems.

Presentations by Customers with Practical Examples

Customers using Engel's digital products in daily operations provided in-depth insights.

Dariusz Barton, Managing Director of SolidPlast Sp. Z O.O., spoke about transparent production at a medium-d company. With Engel's innovative concepts, SolidPlast improved its production processes. Thanks to Engel's iQ systems and shop floor monitoring, the innovative injection molder was able to reduce production costs by 4.2% and increase machine availability by 270 hours annually, leading to higher efficiency.

Injection Molding in Transition: BIC's Digital Journey

The global player in disposable lighters, razors, and pens, BIC, looks back on eleven successful years of digital cooperation with Engel, significantly enhancing its production as a result.

Yiannis Voultzatis, IMM Process & Mold Optimization Manager at BIC Violex S.A.: “ With Engel authentig we have improved our Manufacturing KPIs significantly. Our already high Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) for molding was increased by 3% and our scrap was reduced by approximately 40%, which is really significant, leading to a more sustainable molding process.”