Digital solutions are making it easy to maximise the full potential of production cells. They deliver a major contribution in terms of saving energy and cutting carbon footprints. At the Swiss Plastics Expo 2023 event, which will take place in Lucerne, Switzerland from 17 to 19 January, Engel will show how this works by using an all-electric, efficiency-optimised injection moulding machine. Connectors for vehicle electronics will be produced on its stand.
Where all components in a production cell – from the injection moulding machine to temperature control and digital assistance systems – are coordinated to the precise requirements of the product being manufactured and work together in complete harmony, energy savings of up to 67 percent are achievable. In the case of the trade show exhibit, this will be demonstrated by means of a PBT connector for vehicle electronics. Such delicate structures require highly precise moulding, which the all-electric Engel e-mac injection moulding machine with 800 kN of clamping force can guarantee. A four-cavity mould will be used, and the total shot weight will be 28 grams. An Engel viper linear robot in the new 4 will remove the components from the mould and place them on the integrated conveyor belt.
Constant temperature conditionsTo process one kilogram of PBT, the production cell to be presented at the Swiss Plastics Expo only needs 0.8 kWh of electricity. The all-electric drives of the e-mac machine contribute to this high degree of energy efficiency, which is enhanced still further by integrated temperature control technology in connection with digital solutions.
Mould temperature control is responsible for almost 40 percent of the total energy consumption of a production cell. This makes it by far the greatest energy consumer in injection moulding. With this in mind, Engel has devoted more than a decade to temperature control in injection moulding processes, building up its own product range. Accordingly, the e-mac 80 on show at the Swiss Plastics Expo will be equipped with e-flomo, e-temp and iQ flow control.
The e-flomo temperature-control water manifold system monitors and regulates the flow rate, pressure, temperature and temperature differences. On the basis of these measurement values, the smart iQ flow control assistance system actively regulates the temperature difference in all individual circuits. This means that the thermal conditions in the mould remain constant at all times, even if there are fluctuations in the system. The result is very high repeatability and minimum cooling water and energy consumption.
The integration of e-temp temperature control units into the CC300 control unit of the injection moulding machine via OPC UA delivers an additional energy saving. In the integrated Engel solution, the speed of the temperature control water pumps is automatically adapted to match the actual demand.