Sumitomo (SHI) Demag - success through synergy

Given the current material expense and supply challenges, every plastic pellet must be transformed into a part rather than wasted. Processing 200 tons of material every year, the IntElect machines address this critical challenge, as well as other sustainability agendas including energy consumption, water use and noise emissions to safeguard workforce welfare.  

“The IntElect machines enable moulders to run much closer to low weight limits, with greater precision and consequently fewer defects and lower scrap rates. In practical terms, it means no additional quality control or associated costs are required. Simply put, each IntElect machine generates first class quality parts, time and again,” adds Paolo.

Luca Avataneo, who has managed the Italian company’s entire moulding workshop since the very first day comments: “We change moulds two or three times daily, processing very technically demanding polymers, including glass fibre reinforced polyamides, self-extinguishing materials, PBT, PPA and more. Consequently, every machine must be easy and fast to reset, reactive, flexible, reliable and high-performing.”

Moulding repeatability and precision on every single component is critical, as automated assembly lines are not tolerant to variables

Sustanaible and smarter

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s direct drives - developed in house by its Japanese parent company – are another feature valued by Electro-Parts. Designed and built purely for the injection moulding process by experts truly dedicated to motion control, the high torque motor is reactive and reduces the risk of inertia. Paolo explains: “Sumitomo (SHI) Demag is unique in that we don’t use conventional motors. The reason - injection moulding isn’t a simply standard process. It’s high speed with very fast acceleration and braking. Rather than incurring efficiency losses as a result of additional components used in conventional indirect technology, our motors are directly linked to the axis. Resulting in a higher injection power and a more dynamic response. As a result, in certain conditions moulders can achieve energy savings exceeding 70 percent and even faster cycle times in comparison to conventional moulding.”  

All of Electro-Parts IntElect machines are also equipped with Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s patented activeFlowBalance. This unique technology ensures complete filling of the mould tool cavities, ranging from single to eight cavities at Electro-Parts. As the main person overseeing the machines, Luca explains: “The activeFlowBalance feature uses the compression of the melt inside the barrel to stabilise the pressure, resulting in partially-filled cavities being filled by the expanding melt. It means equal pressure is applied to each cavity, avoiding flashes and incomplete filling. Doing this automatically saves me time by allowing complex injection profiles to be established in less than a minute, with minimal input from myself or other technical staff.”

Paolo confirms: “activeFlowBalance overcomes many of the problems which can cause malformed parts in the injection moulding process, undermining productivity and profit. Using this technology can reduce rejects by up to 40%.”

Another unique IntElect feature - activeProtect, ensures falling components are safely ejected during the opening and closing sequence, protecting the mould tool from damage. Paolo clarifies: “The additional sensor on the link of the toggle system controls and measures the forces on the clamping movement during the complete stroke. If the sensor picks up that the position or forces have deviated from the set  parameters and related tolerances, it reacts instantly.”

For added mould protection, activeProtect also monitors the opening strokes. This helps to ensure mechanical mould elements, for example pins, are protected from damage.

Since 2002, the Electro-Parts plant has expanded five times, adding equipment, gaining ISO 16949:2002 certification and establishing dedicated assembly and electronic R&D centres

The complete package

Providing all the equipment, including cooling systems and peripheral items, coupled with the consultancy support, training and process optimisation guidance from day one, has put Electro-Parts on a new strategic path which it is embracing with confidence. CEO Marco comments: “Having previously relied on sub-contractors to supply components, we now have the moulding acumen and capacity to consider expanding production to supply assembled precision motors to new markets.”

Excited about the future prospects, Marco concludes: “The extensive experience gained by injection moulding precision components to exacting quality standards in our highly efficient moulding shop, all fully equipped with Sumitomo (SHI) Demag machines managed by Luca has opened our minds to new production scenarios. Including sub-contracting our services out to manufacture high demanding parts for other OEMs. Reaching this point was made all the more feasible thanks to the unwavering support of Sumitomo (SHI) Demag. It has been a technology and team effort.”