ENGEL at Chinaplas 2018

Because the pipette tips are used in fully automated analytical systems in medical diagnosis, reproducible product quality is the highest priority. As mass-produced parts, however, they are also under especially high cost pressure. To achieve a stable process and high economic efficiency, the system partners integrate a tie-bar-less e-victory injection moulding machine from ENGEL with a 32-cavity hot runner precision mould from Wellmei and high-speed automation from Waldorf Technik in an extremely compact space. The free accessibility of the mould area makes it possible to move the automation particularly close to the clamping unit of the e-victory injection moulding machine.

The electric injection unit on the hybrid machine ensures very high precision when injecting the plastic melt. To additionally compensate for fluctuations in the ambient conditions and raw material, iQ weight control is also used. The assistance system from the ENGEL inject 4.0 programme analyses the pressure in real time during the injection process and compares the measured data with a reference cycle. For every shot, the injection profile, the switchover point and the holding pressure are automatically adjusted to the current conditions and the injected melt volume kept constant throughout production. This is a proactive way of preventing rejects.

The automation is another key to constantly high product quality in this application. The automation solution developed by Waldorf Technik removes 32 pipette tips from the mould in sync with the injection moulding process and loads groups of 96 pipette tips, sorted by cavity, into racks. Every 18 seconds, 96 pipette tips are discharged from the production cell, which is enclosed to create a cleanroom environment.

In practice, subsequent steps such as quality control or packaging are increasingly taking place immediately after the injection moulding stage. In place of the many different downstream processes, during Chinaplas a Sawyer collaborative robot from Rethink Robotics (Boston, USA) retrieves the loaded racks at the end of the production process. A special feature of collaborative robots is that they require no protective enclosure and can operate safely hand in hand with employees.

inject 4.0: consistent quality without specialist knowledge

With intelligent assistance systems such as iQ weight control, ENGEL makes it especially easy for its customers to ensure consistently high product quality, even without specialist knowledge. The iQ systems continually analyse critical process parameters and readjust them automatically, shot for shot. The result is a self-optimising injection moulding machine.

The growing intelligence of the machine control is a key feature of the smart factory, the goal of Industry 4.0. Networking of production systems and systematic use of machine, process and production data additionally help to raise the productivity, quality and flexibility of manufacturing. Under the name of inject 4.0, ENGEL already offers a series of mature products and solutions for digitalising and networking injection moulding production that have proven themselves in practice many times. These generate considerable benefits both in isolation and as part of a digitalisation strategy encompassing the entire production operation. “Step by step towards the smart factory, that is our customers’ strategy,” Willmeroth says.

ENGEL is demonstrating the great potential of the inject 4.0 solutions in the production of inject 4.0 logos on a tie-bar-less and fully electric e-motion 80 TL injection moulding machine. The CC300 machine control is capable of simulating process fluctuations so that the automatic readjustments by the intelligent assistance systems can be tracked on the display. While iQ weight control maintains consistent injected melt volume throughout the injection moulding process, iQ clamp control monitors the mould breathing in order to calculate and automatically adjust the optimal clamping force. “With the self-optimising injection moulding machine, we are making it especially easy for processors to exploit the full efficiency and quality potential of the machines and technologies,” says Gero Willmeroth. “The first machines with iQ are already in operation in China.”

Source: Engel
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