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Dr Boy: automated over-moulding

Here, all processing stations relevant to the article are on a quick- change unit which - similar to the injection mould – can be easily lifted off the machine after disconnecting a few plug-type connectors. The robot hand is disassembled together with the modular processing cell and remains with the unit.

Already when planning the modular automation line, processing and cycle times are of great significance, meaning that the complete processing cycle of the parts should, preferably, not be longer than the cycle times for the insert moulding. Thus, maximum output is ensured.

The same is true for optimum changeover times: Due to the modular design, a changeover can be effected in a very short time, with the mould and the automation module being changed. In general, the robot remains on the machine frame and is thus available for other applications. This means that basically, endless production possibilities exist with just one machine. The maximum size of the parts is determined by the clamping force and the available size of the mould for the insert moulding machine. Especially the compact dimensions of all three insert moulding machines (BOY 22 VV, BOY 35 VV, and BOY 55 VV), the fixed lower platen, as well as generous space for peripheral equipment on the machine frame offer optimum integration facilities for downstream automation.

Taking a look at the beginnings of automation, you will find that the production of serial parts without corres - ponding automation very often was a strenuous and monotonous affair. One at a time, the parts were manually inserted into the injection moulding machine and then over moulded by the machine upon the push of a button. Subsequently, the parts had to be taken out, sometimes sorted, and separated from the sprue in a cumbersome way.

A first remedy were the so-called sliding and rotary tables. While the inserted parts were over-moulded at one station, industrious hands could place blanks/inserts into the other lower mould halves. After each cycle, the next lower mould half was pushed or pivoted into the machine.

Thus, some time was saved in feeding the machine; however, the time needed for demoulding and sorting / processing of the parts remained. To this day, manual sliding and rotary tables are used, especially for smaller batches or very simple parts, provided that the space needed to mount such tables on the machine is available.

Due to the parts being ever more complex, as well as a continuously growing number of integrated operational steps, automation with rotary tables reaches its limits ever more quickly.