Engel has opened a new customer technical centre at the large machine plant in St. Valentin. With a great number of large injection moulding machines on show for a diverse range of uses, Engel now offers its customers an even greater opportunity to get to know and test products and technologies by Engel in an environment that is close to real life. The focus of this extended offering is on energy efficiency, digitalisation and the circular economy.
The Austrian injection moulding machine manufacturer, headquartered in Schwertberg, has invested more than 14 million euros in the new technology centre at the large machine plant in St. Valentin. With a total floor space of 3400 square metres, Engel has more than doubled the technology centre capacity at the location.
The machinery is divided into four sections. The Applications Technology Centre for the dual-platen large duo series machines produced at the location, the Machine Technology Centre of the Technology Center for Lightweight Composites, and the Packaging Centre are available to Engel customers for demonstrations, trials and joint developments. Engel uses a fourth area for its own development work.
Focus on sustainability
The Applications Technology Centre features several Engel injection moulding machines with clamping forces of 7000 to 17000 kN. They also include a 15000-kN large combi M type machine with an indexing table. And also a duo injection moulding machine with 9000 kN clamping force which is designed for the two-stage process developed by Engel. With the new process, Engel makes it possible to process plastic waste as flakes in injection moulding directly after grinding; this in turn substantially increases the energy efficiency in plastics recycling.
The Center for Lightweight Composite Technologies has grown, too. In addition to a v-duo 1700 with a vertical clamping unit, the machinery includes an insert 130 vertical machine and a duo 1700 horizontal machine with two easix articulated robots for composites processes. All of the production units are equipped with IR ovens developed and produced by Engel in-house. Beyond this, Engel is demonstrating an innovative tape laying process at the Centre for Lightweight Composite Technologies.
The Packaging Centre is a new offering by Engel to its customers in the packaging industry. Rising energy prices, establishing a circular economy and changing consumer needs pose serious challenges for manufacturers in this industry. At the Packaging Centre, Engel is presenting a transparent approach to boosting both the output and efficiency of the production cells in the high-performance range and ensuring competitiveness. The Packaging Centre is spread over two locations, Schwertberg and St. Valentin in Austria. A duo speed with a clamping force of 9000 kN is available in St. Valentin for the production of pails and containers with a high recycled material content, for example, along with an e speed injection moulding machine with a clamping force of 4200 kN, which is used, for example, to produce margarine pots in thin-wall technology.
All told, the new technology centre showcases numerous injection moulding technologies for a wide variety of industries, such as automotive, technical moulding or packaging. They include surface technologies such as foilmelt, clearmelt and DecoJect, sandwich technologies such as coinjection and skinmelt, foammelt structural foam moulding, coinmelt injection-compression moulding, multiple-component processes using the combimelt method, and composite technologies, such as organomelt and HP-RTM. All of the machines are generously equipped with digital solutions from Engel's inject 4.0 programme. Digitalisation is an important precursor to climate-neutral production. The Engel technology centre clearly demonstrates what impact digital solutions can have on each Engel customer's application.
The largest investment programme in the history of the company
The opening of the technology centre at St. Valentin sees Engel conclude the largest investment programme in the history of the company. In recent years, Engel has invested more than 375 million euros all told in the expansion and modernisation of its global production plants and stuck to its objectives through the automotive crisis and the Corona pandemic. The largest project was the expansion of the large machine plant in St. Valentin. In addition to building the new technology centre, various production areas were modernised and a new office building created.