Since March 2019, Bilora Kunststofftechnik GmbH in Germany has been operating two injection molding machines with Insider solution from Wittmann Battenfeld. These machines recommend themselves by their compactness, reliability and efficiency.
The origins of Bilora now date back an impressive number of 111 years to 1909, when Metallwarenfabrik Kürbi & Niggeloh was founded in Barmen-Rittershausen. Then, this company manufactured tubular tripods, pendant luminaires, music stands and other metal goods. Today’s corporate headquarters in Radevormwald were built and officially opened in 1911. In 1956, the company’s production output exceeded 1 million cameras.
The first plastics injection molding machine was purchased in 1961. The management had recognized the advantages of this new technology, and at this point the potential inherent in these materials originally frowned on as “cheap plastic” had already long been realized. Plastics were now able to compete with metals. Engaging in plastics injection molding resulted in numerous advantages, such as low-cost production of individual parts, virtually complete elimination of downstream finishing, perfect surfaces, light part weights and dispensing with numerous steps in assembly work. In 1994, the new company KÜRBI & NIGGELOH Bilora GmbH was founded, which now exclusively engaged in manufacturing plastic products. In 2016, this company was renamed Bilora Kunststofftechnik GmbH.
Today, Bilora produces a wide range of different parts made of engineering plastics by mono- and two-component injection molding in both small and large-production lots, using 40 injection molding machines with clamping forces from 150 to 2,000 kN. Bilora’s product portfolio also includes metal/plastic composites, such as are used, for example, in the automotive industry.
Many of the molded parts undergo further processing, including pad and screen printing, assembly of components (as well as functional tests if desired by customers) or shelf-ready sales packaging. Plastic parts for machine construction are frequently subjected to mechanical downstream finishing at Bilora, since the small numbers of units would not justify an investment in elaborate molds. The use of ERP and MES systems ensures complete traceability of every single batch.
For its in-house mold-making shop, the company has invested in a CNC machining center and a wire EDM machine. The company also operates its own design department supported by CAD/CAM applications.
Bilora und Wittmann Battenfeld
The cooperation with Wittmann Battenfeld started several years ago with the installation of a special parts removal technology. Bilora invested in various Wittmann robot systems from the W8 and W9 series, which were retrofitted to existing injection molding machines. Bilora produces its own parts removal grippers equipped with security query systems and some additional functionalities. Convenient facilities for easy integration and control of the removal grippers by the robot’s control system ensure optimal utilization of the available options. The reliability of the equipment and the good support provided by Wittmann Battenfeld were the decisive factors prompting Bilora’s subsequent decision to acquire Wittmann single- and dual-circuit temperature controllers (for water with temperatures up to 160 °C), as well as Drymax dryers and Dosimax dosing systems.
In March 2019, two servo-hydraulic SmartPower injection molding machines from Wittmann Battenfeld, with 600 kN and 900 kN clamping force respectively, were installed at Bilora – both models designed as Insider cells. An Insider cell comes with an integrated handling system for the molded parts, including a transfer conveyor belt, as well as a protective encasement firmly connected to the machine. Compared to conventional systems, these integrated fixtures reduce the work cell’s footprint by up to 50 %. Bilora appreciates the machines from Wittmann Battenfeld for their integrated auxiliaries as well as their compact design, moreover, they have also proved extremely reliable and efficient. Michael Müller, Managing Director of Bilora, comments: “The Insider machines from Wittmann Battenfeld recommend themselves primarily by their space-saving design, the good balance between mold space, clamping force and injection units, as well as CE compliance without any need for additional protective devices outside the machine, full integration of the robots, and last, but not least, the excellent user-friendliness, which we have already come to know and appreciate from the previously installed robot systems. With these solutions, Wittmann Battenfeld is helping us to continue manufacturing our products efficiently and with a high quality standard “