Heading for the future with Arburg on the "Road to Digitalisation"

Heading for the future with…

The Arburg Technology Days have been around for 20 years now. Between 1999 and 2019, more than 93,000 invited guests from all over the world attended the highly regarded industry event. Between 13 and 16 March 2019, more than 6,000 visitors from 54 countries joined the event. Around 660 actively involved employees and trainees ensured that the Technology Days were a special event for everyone. The main focus was on the "Road to Digitalisation", along which the guests were able to gather comprehensive information about Arburg's digital components for production-efficient plastics processing. More than 50 machine exhibits and turnkey systems, the Efficiency Arena and a special service presentation were also showcased. Highlights included the "AM Factory" and the "arburgXworld" customer portal. Expert presentations on current trends as well as guided tours of the operating factory rounded off the programme.

Since 1999, the Arburg Technology Days have proved to be a successful concept, making it the world’s largest in-house event in the plastics industry.

Large groups of visitors from abroad

The share of foreign visitors has steadily increased over the years, reaching 44 percent this year. In 2019, the largest groups from overseas were around 140 participants from North America and 110 from China. Most of the European guests came via the subsidiaries in France (around 200), Switzerland (around 190), Italy (around 160), and the Czech Republic (around 110) as well as the Netherlands and Austria (around 100 each).

"Road to Digitalisation": digital solutions made understandable

“We have been travelling on our 'Road to Digitalisation' since Fakuma 2018, heading for K 2019. During the Technology Days, it was the overarching theme throughout the company. In this way, we have reached another milestone and made a complex topic more tangible," summarised Michael Hehl, Managing Partner at Arburg. "For example, our customers were able to experience in practice which tools using augmented and virtual reality we can provide to make training and service significantly easier in the future. Our new "arburgXworld" customer portal has already become a reality, its apps offering highly practical advantages in terms of machine fleet, service and spare parts ordering, and will be available worldwide by the end of the year. And of course, with more than 50 machine exhibits we demonstrated impressively how injection moulded and additively manufactured parts can be produced efficiently".

Road to digitalisation” throughout the company

As a pioneer in the plastics industry, Arburg presented all that it is currently able to offer in terms of "smart machines", "smart production" and "smart services" along the "Road to Digitalisation". One highlight was the "arburgXworld" customer portal which, after registration, can now be used by German customers free of charge with the "Machine Center", "Service Center", "Shop" and "Calendar" apps. Arburg bundles its digital services via this service marketplace in the cloud. The apps can provide a quick overview of the machine fleet, enable easy ordering of spare parts with interactive navigation and allow the creation of service tickets around the clock.

On the subject of digitalisation, Arburg's OPC UA solutions were also presented, illustrating how they can be used for the online provision of process information to higher-level systems and digital services. Allrounders were equipped with an IIoT gateway (IIoT = Industrial Internet of Things), offering great flexibility for the implementation of, for example, Arburg Remote Service (ARS), the Arburg Turnkey Control Module (ATCM), "arburgXworld" and the Arburg host computer system (ALS) through which all exhibits were networked. Each Allrounder in the Customer Center contained Arburg's six assistance packages as digital components. They actively support the operator and make it easier to work on the machine in line with the production requirements at hand – from start-up, set-up and optimisation, to production and monitoring, up to and including service. A hybrid Allrounder 920 H in operation was used to demonstrate the potential offered by a filling simulation that is integrated into the Gestica control system. For the first time, it became possible to visualise the correlation between filling level and screw stroke.

From augmented reality to predictive maintenance

In the Efficiency Arena, Arburg experts demonstrated the virtual maintenance of an injection unit via AR data goggles and video calls. This allows complex maintenance work to be carried out safely and faults to be identified and rectified quickly. Real-time monitoring of the condition of wearing components (condition monitoring) and predictive maintenance can prove useful in preventing malfunctions and unplanned downtimes. Among other things, load-dependent toggle lubrication on electrical machines and the detection of contamination on vacuum valves were presented. In addition, the control system will in future be able to detect whether the correct cylinder module has been installed via a chip on the injection unit.

Arburg virtual reality

ARBURG is one of the world's leading manufacturers of plastic processing machines.