Automotive: Technology integration opens new vistas of qualityThe trend of process integration as a path to greater efficiency, safety and quality is well established. Now it is necessary to adopt a more diversified stance. The object is no longer simply to integrate process steps upstream or downstream of injection moulding, but also to combine different process technologies with one another. To produce centre console components in PC-ABS at its trade show stand, Engel will be using an Engel duo 2550/550 injection moulding machine with integrated Engel viper 20 robot to combine two technologies: Engel foammelt, the MuCell foam injection moulding process developed by Trexel of Wilmington in the USA, and Engel variomelt, a variothermal injection moulding process. "For the first time, this will enable us to produce thin-walled parts with very high quality surfaces and excellent fine structure reproduction at the same time in a single injection moulding step," promises Franz Füreder, Vice President of the Automotive business unit at Engel.
To demonstrate the versatility of this amalgamation of processes, the sample part will have varying wall thicknesses and surface structures. The mould for the variothermal process demonstration will be supplied by Engel's partner Roctool (Le Bourget du Lac, France). Thanks to Engel foammelt the cavity, including the undercuts, is completely filled, and the component has no sink marks after cooling; meanwhile variothermal temperature control provides a high gloss finish. Away from applications aimed at car interiors, integrating Engel foammelt and variomelt opens up new vistas of efficiency and quality for white goods and household products.
The new design of the Engel duo injection moulding machine will be unveiled at Fakuma 2014. Users will benefit in particular from improved ergonomics thanks to a lower operating height and easier access to the mould and nozzle area. Other features of the new machine generation include roller rail systems for the moving platen, energy-efficient mould movement and a much cleaner mould area thanks to the discontinuation of central lubrication.
The Engel viper linear robot has also had a technical makeover for Fakuma, whereby it was adapted to the new CC300 control unit for Engel injection moulding machines. Thanks to the update, the speed, flexibility, compactness, energy efficiency and ease of use of the robots have all improved; even the standard version is fitted with a multidynamic drive package, which draws together the former load, regular and speed packages. Meanwhile the new C70 seven-inch hand-held touch terminal replaces the old C35 and C100 terminals; weighing in at 950 grams, the C70 is one of the lightest hand-held control devices of its size on the market. The sides of the robots have been adapted to the new design of the Engel machine control unit, ensuring a consistent operating system and uniform presentation. All robot settings can be performed using the hand-held unit or the injection moulding machine's operating panel; key setting parameters for the machine can also be displayed on the C70.